Weeknote 15th October 2023


The beginning of the week saw me back in Bristol for a couple of days of workshops with Nomensa, a creative agency I’m working with.church tower lit by setting sun

Monday night we had dinner at The Coconut Tree an excellent Sri Lankan restaurant – superb food and lovely service.

Tuesday night I was flying solo and headed over to Wapping Wharf, a very cool collection of restaurants and bars all inside shipping containers.

I’ve always loved Bristol. My Dad was evacuated from London to the West Country and grew up in and around Bristol. He moved back to Bristol after a short period back in London and met my Mum when they were both working at Bristol University. As a child we used to visit my Dad’s mum, spending weekends in Bristol, Bath and Keynsham.

Bristol was weaved through the early part of my life, and it’s been lovely reconnecting with it over the last couple of  years.


Thursday I was in London for Interact, Nomensa’s annual UX conference. It was a really good day of talks and great being at a conference I wasn’t running. I wish I’d thought to count the number of times AI was mentioned, as a drinking game it would have been carnage.

90s rave detroit techno wednesday morning

Spotify mobile ui showing daylist called 90s rave detroit techno wednesday morning Spotify has a cool new feature called daylist and I’m really enjoying it. Your daylist is an automatically generated playlist that changes through the day with morning, afternoon, evening and night versions based on what you tend to listen to at that time on the day in question.

So far my daylists have been pretty good with a nice mix of old and new tracks. My only concern is that if I then listen to the daylist it will confirm to the bot that is what I listen to and gradually reduce the new and prioritise the listened to, which I’ve always felt is the risk of AI generated playlists and timelines – confirmation bias induced ever decreasing circles.

The daylist names are entertaining in their own right:

  • analogue minimal techno monday afternoon
  • krautrock motorik thursday early morning
  • groovy eclectic friday afternoon
  • frutiger aero breakbeat Saturday night
  • bells instrumental afternoon

Mind you confirmation bias induced ever decreasing circles isn’t a bad name for a playlist either…

Weeknote 8th October 2023

Mug of tea and toasted tea cake with a copy of The Road Rat in the garden. Weeknote 8 October 2023.I want to get back to writing and publishing, I thought about resurrecting my newsletter but it never gained any real traction, mostly due to my rather ad hoc publishing approach I suspect.

I’ve recently seen a couple of bloggers using weeknotes and feel that could be a nice framework without any self imposed pressure or expectations. Time will tell…

Synthfest 2023

My son and I headed up to Sheffield (the spiritual home of electronic music?) on Saturday for Synthfest 2023. Synthfest has become a bit of a tradition and it was lovely to be back after a Covid induced hiatus.

The unexpected highlight of the show for us both was a seminar on the Theremin including a performance by Lydia Kavina who was taught to play by Leon Theremin himself.

On Clear Writing

Clear Writing Gives Poor Thinking Nowhere To Hide.— Anon
Via Do Lectures Newsletter

RIP Twitter?

RIP Twitter Tombstone

I took a break from Twitter when Musk took over and quickly laid off thousands of staff via email.

I didn’t think that even he could do so much damage so quickly.

I was one of the very early users of Twitter as it took off in the web design community.

I’ve made friends through Twitter that have become friends IRL.

Twitter was key to early success of Milton Keynes Geek Night, with our Twitter friends becoming a little black book of fabulous speakers.

I’ve watched as many of those friends have ebbed away from Twitter, some to other platforms and some away from social media completely.

It was a quieter place, but it was a place that still held a special place in my heart.

Which is why seeing it brought to its knees by Elon Musk has been difficult to watch.

Yes it’s just a website, but it’s more than that, it’s more than just the code and the pixels it’s a worldwide community I loved being part of.

I hope that if or when Musk finally breaks Twitter somebody better buys that code and brings back the community.

While Prince’s Guitar Gently Weeps

When Prince died in 2016 one performance more than any other was shared online, and surprisingly it wasn’t one of Prince’s own songs.

In 2004 Prince joined Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne and Dahni Harrison in a once in a lifetime performance of While My Guitar Gently Weeps, to commemorate George Harrison’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Prince nearly didn’t play as Harrison’s widow Olivia originally wanted only performers that had known George to perform. Olivia was convinced by Tom Petty to let Prince play and boy did Prince play, transforming the song completely and wonderfully.

I love this performance, and I love it even more now having stumbled across the comment below on YouTube, which explains exactly why Prince stole the show in the way only Prince could.

A good friend of mine was P’s Guitar Tech for some years around this time and was working this very show. He was told that when he caught the guitar at the end, he was to give it to Oprah Winfrey. (In the original broadcast it cut to her looking bemused and astounded.) It DID come back down people…LOL

There was just one rehearsal the night before the show proper, and Marc Mann basically ran riot over the two spots Prince was originally asked to take (middle and end solos). Despite concerns and apologies from the Production team, he was nothing but gracious about it, and told them not to worry and it would all work out fine. As we know, it did – and then some.

As for talk of Petty being pissed at him, not true. Yes, there’s one camera shot that seems like Petty looks annoyed, but not so. Watch closely, and in the next few bars they’re both smiling and nodding at each other, knowing this is “a moment” that should be relished as they were all in the zone doing George’s song such beautiful justice.

Finally, regarding the “showboating” that some people talk of, Prince was actually a major practical joker. Earlier that night, he noticed Dhani seemed in a somber mood – whether it was the occasion, thinking of his Father or both, Prince told him that he was going to make it his mission to put a smile on his face by the end of the evening. So when you see Prince fall backwards off the stage into the brace of his bodyguard, if you watch, you’ll see Dhani burst out laughing. That moment was for him. Nobody else.

Amongst everything else going on that evening, and during the middle of a performance like that, Prince wanted to lift someone up. THAT’S what that whole thing is about.

The Return Of The KLF

Posters promoting the KLF coming to streaming on January 1 2021

In December 2020 fly posters appeared in Shoreditch London, announcing the return of The KLF.

Solid State Logik 1, was released onto streaming platforms and YouTube on January 1st 2021 and is the closest release yet to a greatest hits.

I love that Solid State Logik 1 ends with their legendary, and previously unreleased, BRITs performance of 3AM Eternal with Extreme Noise Terror, which concluded with a voice announcing “ladies and gentlemen the KLF have left the music business”.

After the BRITs the KLF deleted their entire catalogue of music which is why their long overdue return is big news to fans like me.