Category Archives: weeknotes

Belated Weeknote – 29th Jan. Where did all the time go?

This has definitely been quite the week of contrasts – some losses marked, some incredible gains, some new potential futures, a few frustrations, and even some getting wiser. But it also feels like it’s just flown by. So this is very much “in no particular order”…

The good bits

Let’s start with an upside. I had a wonderful day at the Tate Modern – meeting an old guitarist/techarch friend for coffee and then wandering round everything. I heard good things about two of the exhibitions, but trying to buy tickets was a bit painful and so I ended up just signing up for membership. Criticisms of poor UX that led to this situation aside, it was great just being able to show a barcode and amble in to whatever I felt like. Cezanne was a bit overwhelming, and very full of people much older than me, but that was a bit of a “whatevs” compared two other exhibitions I got to see.

Magdalena Abakanowicz produced these incredible billowing organic textile pieces on a truly epic scale. I just stood being with them for ages, soaking them in. One of the centrepieces of any previous Tate visit was always the Rothko room, which I’d normally just settle into for well over half an hour – writing in a notebook in the company of their hugeness. The Rothkos are out on loan at the moment, which I was gutted about, but this nearly made up for it.

Ginormous textile beasts. Who were fabulous company.

The other thing about her work was the smell. They were all made of reclaimed rope, so there was this incredible seaside/gym rich dusty oily aroma around everything. It’s not often you go to see an exhibition and spend a lot of time just breathing in next to the pieces.

Maria Bartuszová produced some amazing tangible sculptures too, using all sorts of media – but often plaster cast in amazing soft analogue forms using distorted rubber sheets.

How did she remember where the knots went once the balloon had gone?

The pieces below were particularly delightful – they were sculptures designed specifically to be enjoyed by people who couldn’t see, so it was all about feel and exploration:

Sculptures specifically for tactility – that you’re not allowed to touch.

Of course there was a great irony that these days they are locked away in a glass case where we can’t touch them – but you got to see the joy they produced in others when they were still able to be used:

Sculptures specifically for feeling, being hugely enjoyed by people who couldn’t see them.

However, while I was sitting in the members’ bar of the Tate Modern, inspiration finally struck on another front.

More leaving gifts!

The kind people of DIT DDaT had also given me Quite A Large Amazon Voucher as part of my leaving present, which was (again) very generous and thoughtful. But I was slightly stuck to know what to do with it. I’m a former catholic after all, and I’ve been very well trained that rituals matter. I couldn’t just quietly spend the voucher on a few useful cables that would get mixed up with all the others – it needed to be on something notable and distinctive I’d remember, and remember them with it. But I’m also a bit of a shopaholic – there’s a lot of stuff I’ve already just got for myself (even if I may not have been entirely candid with Vicky about how much it cost). So, what to get the man who has everything?

And in the bar, staring out at the Thames and imagining the sounds of the wind and the rain, I remembered.

I’ve always had an element of ‘found sound’ and ambient texture in all my music. Back when Vicky and I were creating our own tracks in the 90s, I’d adamantly refuse to use any presets – and any samples from libraries/CDs couldn’t be used “straight”. I’d have to create, capture or distort as much of my stuff as possible.

Even today, I’ve often got the “voice memos” app sitting ready to go, for interesting ambiences or textures. That escalator that makes a funny noise, the particular way two lift chimes work together. It’s nicely inconspicuous to have your phone in hour hand, even if the app then compresses the audio and makes it harder to recover the fine details.

The sort of nonsense in my ‘voice memos’ app.

These types of field recording are buried in the works of Leafcutter John, Haiku Salut, and so many more. I have a few running under some of my tracks – but they’ve always been a little bit crap – so I’ve always been after a proper field recording setup. But I know it’s frivolous. I’ve therefor never been able to justify the thing I wanted, and knew I’d be slightly disappointed with the thing I could financially justify.

But no longer. Because ‘added frivolous’ is exactly the point.

Thank you DIT DDaT folks, for enabling me to get my Zoom H5n at last!

Recording the sound of the Thames by Woolwich Arsenal pier.

Getting deeper into piano

New ways of perceiving also cropped up in the piano this week. I had an odd piano lesson on Saturday, where – for once – I didn’t actually play a single note. Seb helped me understand the shape of a Schubert Impromptu – because I was finding it impossible to make any tangible progress through the vast sea of twiddly notes. He pointed out, really usefully, that I was looking at the wrong hand to understand the structure. I think I’ll start making a lot more progress on this very quickly as a result.

I’d got a bit dispirited by progress on Debussy’s ‘Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum’ which I linked to on Spotify the other week. It’s quite incredible that I’ve come far enough that I can kinda-play it end to end within six weeks of my first focused attempt at learning it. But with that comes new frustrations – that there’s still a lot of embedding it properly to be done, which previously would have happened while I was chiselling away at it in small chunks over potentially two terms. So there’s a new type of trajectory in my practice, as the inital learning gets easier – but other bits are exposed as a result. All progress, but still.

The final thing we did a bit of work on was one of my old Debussy favourites – “Sarabande”. This piece is almost the bedrock of Art of Noise’s amazing “The Seduction of Claude Debussy” and I’ve known 80% of it for ages – but not been good enough to get through the rest of it until now. But there’s a really horrible section near the end with a huge load of descending chords where I couldn’t see any fingering that worked. In the second half of the second bar below I couldn’t see any decent way to make it legato across all three chords of the phrase.

That turns out to be because there isn’t one. You’ve just got to make the best of it, and try not to give up and play three staccato chords. But the really interesting thing is that – after the lesson – I noticed there are also some really big clues in the dynamic and phrasing markings on how to pull it off. You’ll see I’ve now circled the staccato marking on some of the chords. They buy you a bit of time and really separate the phrases. And look at the hairpins in bars two and three: the third chord at the end of each bar is the quietest – so that’s the one to sacrifice. Similarly in the last bar, you can see it’s two small sighs – and that’s your clue about how to handle where to move and where to be legato. The phrase markings in that bar echo this too. So I now have a much better sense of how to interpret the pianistic markings to avoid RSI – which can only be a good thing.

It turned out the clues were out there all along. And now I’m cracking on rather wonderfully.

You can miss that you’re relaxing

One of the odd contradictions about the Tate, and the piano time, and the field recording is that they were almost too effective as a break from work. I ended up in such a flow state – being in the moment and totally absorbed – that it felt like I didn’t do much of note. Unlike a clear project or task where you can say “I made that happen”, this is almost the opposite. You emerge feeling like you’ve not achieved anything. Where was The Leisure? Instead you were just ‘being’.

Which is kind of the point.

Meanwhile, your subconscious definitely knows you’re relaxing and processing things. It’s busy moving on, even if the conscious bit of you hasn’t spotted. This can unexpectedly lead to new ‘old unresolved things’ expanding into the new mental space you’ve created. So, in the immediate moment, it actually feels like you’ve even taken a step backwards because you’ve got a sudden new worry that’s come from nowhere. It’s only with reflection you can see that the stillness, and the emotional mining, are actually making really good progress.

Keeping moving

I also finally managed my 50th Parkrun on Saturday. I really like parkrun as a format – a non-competitive way of using others to set a pace you might not quite have chosen for yourself on your own. But 9am? As a friend once said, “it’s a bit blimmin early”. It takes real willpower to not have a second cup of tea and settle into the crossword in bed. And then there was the stupid ankle injury that wrote off the second half of last year. But anyway, it happened…

Quite tired after getting round in 27’15”. Really need to find a longer running jacket, I realise.

The downside

So that was the upside. But there were a few rubbish bits last week.

The biggest was the funeral of my godfather Hedley, who died from a particularly grim form of cancer. He was the first person I was ever aware of who talked about mental health, and it had been a struggle for a few big periods of his life. But he accomplished so much – as a bass player, a chemist, a gardener, and a parent. He was my dad’s friend since primary school, and he’ll be sorely missed by all our family.

I also had to take Daisy back to university – which is a mixed experience. The house feels emptier without her, and she’s off facing a new term of challenges, so we are a little apprehensive. And carrying her heavy bags up all those flights of stairs was really bloody hard work. But also, there’s a little more space to think. Even if I feel slighlty guilty about that.

As a result, I spent a LOT of time in the car between London and East Anglia last week. And I had a long-booked day trip with Vicky too.

This all coincided quite poorly with onboarding into the new job – as I was suddenly nowhere near the Big Computer during working hours, at precisely all the times I had a very gated sequence of tasks to undergo. I’d fill in a form, dash out of the door, and get to my destination only to find that this had unlocked a request for another new bit of paperwork or evidence or contact information I had to look up that evening. Each individual step was hugely tedious and rather mundane – but with a lot riding on it. It was a hell of a lot like certain aspects of being back at work, and definitely not helping with the relaxation.

As a result, I currently suspect that I won’t be starting at GDS on the 6th, but wonder if that might be a good thing.

Next week

  • I’ve got a chat with another potential coaching client, which could be very interesting as a complement to the GDS work
  • I’m trying to sort out someone to help them do more of the deep work on the strategy they need, as I won’t have time to do more than the highest level principles, so have a few chats with people to see if they’re interested
  • Tannhäuser at the Royal Opera House on Wednesday evening
  • Meryl Pugh’s “Feral Borough” book launch at the Wanstead Tap on Thursday evening
  • Going to see a friend who’s recovering from an eye operation, and maybe will be in a fit state to enjoy a glass or two of something comforting
  • Planning to continue to stay off Twitter and LinkedIn as much as possible – deleting the apps off my phone has been very good for my wellbeing. There have been a few interesting debates I’ve seen on the few moments I’ve dropped in, and I’m very glad I managed to draw breath and walk away.
  • A lot more music, hopefully. And definitely some being still.

Weeknote 20th Jan – Simplification

I don’t really have much work stuff to share, but I thought it might be useful to talk about some of the anti-work things that are going on. How I’m going through the process of untangling myself from people and places and habits, in case it’s useful for others.

Obviously I’m still absolutely blown away by the kindness and generosity of DIT at my leaving do. The presents were so incredibly thoughtful, and I’ve been rereading the card every few days – not least because it helps me work out what on earth it is I actually *do*. Supporting, being wise, being kind – those seem to be the main themes. And that’s not a bad thing to be known for really, is it? Oh, and gossiping in pubs, of course.

I’m still trying to work out when in my life I’d do anything notable enough to warrant opening that bottle of Bollinger Grand Année – but I’ve got until 2040 to find something. I’ll take it as a vote of confidence that something I do will warrant it.

But with the flurry of all that behind me, this was a full week of looking at all the plans I made and dreams I’d had for this time, and work out what really matters. Where to focus.

It’s come down to three simple things really:

  • Getting over the emotional burnout from my time at DIT
  • Getting ready for the new job at GDS in February (but not in an impostor syndrome way – I don’t have to prepare, I just need to be in good shape)
  • Maaaaaaybe having some kind of creative artefact or have some stories to tell

It’s odd how the list has shrunk. Yes it would be great to have a whole load of songs written, to have got better at the bass again, or have seen a bunch of friends in remote places,…but not at the expense of those first two things. And definitely not by taking on some new stressful personal project that’s going to lead to any steps backwards.

So the days have become much simpler. Each morning I just think about those three things, almost like they’re OKRs, and say “what do I need to do today to get closer to those”. And that’s shown how much other environmental noise I’ve been carrying around with me – and how that’s been getting in the way of everything.

So this is the new desktop. All the postit notes that covered the desk/surrounded the monitor – gone. All those principles to remember, the Laurie Santos checklists, or inspirational musical half-ideas I ought to explore at some stage – all transcribed and thrown in the compost bin. The good ones will be back.

I deleted the Twitter and LinkedIn apps from my phone at the start of the week too. Even with notifications turned off, they felt like unhelpful patterns. I need to be looking in to myself and tidying up, not getting nudged into social validation during all this spare time.

Also, controversially, I’ve taken down the modular synth. I love it dearly as a place to get lost and discover the unexpected, but it’s too broad and exploratory when you’re just trying to cover ground quickly. I find that I get caught up in obscure technical problems when trying to make recorded audio from a sequenced jam link up with things I’m adding on later – and that sends me spiralling into gloom because that kind of task feels too much like Being At Work.

So for the next week or so: it’s just me, Ableton Live, the Push, the Prophet 12 synth and the plugins I had already. A large canvas where I can get tons done, but not so vast I don’t flounder. And I’m finding that work is more focused as a result. I’m getting more stuff to happen. I’m finding it easier to amass ideas for collating later. Sound design is less of a distraction. And I’m actually having more fun and feeling better about myself as a result.

Alongside this, I’m getting deeper and deeper into the piano again. I stopped having lessons when the kids were little and there wasn’t time any more – and then they were the ones being dragged along to Seb’s. But in late summer I decided it was time to broaden my horizons again, and so I signed up after over a decade away. Last term I was really just consolidating all the pieces I’d been working on solo – and fixing things. But since Christmas I’ve managed to get at least an hour of proper depth practice in every day, and I’m making just the hugest amounts of progress. A wonderful thing to be getting out of this time.

In other news:

  • I spent the best part of a day dealing with onboarding onto the systems needed for my new contract and the ensuing queries. That was a bit miserable.
  • I’ve booked myself two nights out – completely on my own. They’re quite me. On 1st Feb I’m going to see Tannhauser at the Royal Opera House; on the 15th I’m off to Ally Pally to see Carly Rae Jepsen.
  • I’ve had two very nice afternoons in a pub with a notebook. One of them followed on from a nice lunch with Daisy. These have been amazing for recovery. Just that feeling of being in a bubble while the world happens around you, while you try and stretch out 2-3 pints as long as you possibly can.
  • I’ve watched a lot of fabulous films. Living, The Fabelmans, Tar, Brian and Charles. And some less good ones.
  • I’m managing to meditate for a good while every day.
  • I’m having a run or a big walk every day. (Although the injury from September is sending me some warning signs right now, so I’m going carefully)
  • My posture’s definitely getting better.

Of course, I’m a product person, and really it’s down to measurable impact – against the goals I set myself, not some vanity metrics. And really that’s come out in terms of one big thing. For various reasons, I’d not really slept properly since April-ish last year. I’d wake up in a panic after about three hours, and just lie awake turning things over in my head for a few hours more, trying to work out how to fix whatever was bugging me from work. This had become utterly normal, and carried on all the way through family holidays, Christmas, whatever. And on Tuesday I slept through the night. It was bewildering to be woken up by Vicky getting up at 6:45am…but bloody brilliant. I’m hoping that’s the cycle broken, not postponed.

I’ll leave you with Carly performing one of the greatest songs ever written. Have a fabulous weekend.

Weeknote 18th December 2022

An odd and multifaceted week. Endings are coming closer. Some options for new beginnings too. A lot of other transitions too.

I’ve taken a massive back seat on my final project at DIT, so the team can see how they do without me – and find any gaps they need to fix. No going to standups or planning meetings, and also letting them handle stakeholder metings. The only exception was going to their fortnightly presentation to our senior management team – so I could see how they brought the threads of the work together without me.

It was an interesting exercise. On some aspects it highlighted my own high production values around these things – which is kind of ‘part of the service’. But also there were a few gaps – thankfully we’ve got a week left to tweak the few key bits that are less about personal taste and more around making sure we can get signoff and a clear runway for the team in the new year.

I’ve been trying to follow the “lead by context” ideas used at Netflix, and create slide decks for the teams saying “this is why we thought pursuing [problem x] was a good idea, these are the artefacts you’ll need to understand how the business has tried to solve this problem before, here are some known landmines, and here are the biggest unknowns”.

I’ve also been going through my onedrive and googledrive, finding things that might be useful for our product community’s posterity. Old slide decks and documents that I thought were “best practice” so teams didn’t have to reinvent the wheel the next time they’re creating a vision, or a product strategy, or making the case to fund a beta. Also lots of the training materials from prior community sessions. The greatest hits of nearly four years in an organisation.

I had my last face to face ‘one to one’ meeting with my boss Miranda – and we actually ran out of things to talk about, because there aren’t new things to start.

I variously said goodbye to a bunch of colleagues who were finishing for Christmas on Thursday and Friday. Some lovely and kind things were said/emailed/messaged. Might have needed a few deep breaths before I went onto the next meeting.

Next step – leaving drinks on the 12th January. (Trying to book anywhere this side of Christmas is a nightmare). Loads of people are coming – we’ve had to increase the space in the venue. I’m hugely touched by everyone making the effort.

Elsewhere:

  • Some good conversations about what’s next. One tempting option fell through, but I’m glad they’ve got someone that’s an even better fit – and I won’t be sad about the Large Commute
  • Lovely evening seeing Robin Ince and countless lovely science/comedy/music people and “Nine Lessons for Curious people”. Wonderful to see old friend Ben Moor talking about 20 years of the cumberland lawn frisbee tree golf club
  • Wonderful chat with Victor about opportunities with startups and creating music
  • Picked up Daisy from UEA – five hours of driving was a lot, but it’s fab to have her home.
  • Watched the new ‘Matilda’ – which is very charming
  • Loved settling into the modular system using my Mordax Data to understand more about what’s really going on with it. But also thinking I’m soon going to be wanting to overtly write more, and discover less
  • Realised that I’m very tired – and actually having a very minimum of January off is an unbelievably good idea. Not least to watch a ton more films, and play with some of this lovely music gear, and read some of these books.

Next week’s is going to be really weird – as DIT will be over. So many fabulous people to miss. Sigh.

Weeknote 10th December 2022

I’m starting to let go of this place now.

Old Admiralty Building – DIT HQ

It’s not often you get to work in somewhere quite so iconic. This is where Ian Fleming had his office. And look – you can see more of it in the film “Operation Mincemeat” with some famous people!

(Thanks for cropping and grading this so nicely, The Guardian. Don’t Colin Firth and Johnny Flynn look handsome in front of OAB? Not sure what’s going on with Matthew McFayden’s moustache though.)

It turns out that – after four years – letting go of the job and the role is considerably easier than letting go of some of the people. Was sitting in the pub after an awayday on Wednesday, just watching two colleagues bantering about nonsense – and found myself welling up at how much I was going to miss everyone. And they weren’t even in the list of ones I already knew I was going to miss. So god knows how I’m going to get through any form of leaving do.

Had to commit to a venue for that as well. Decided to go for “the place nearly everyone has their leaving do” because a) the acoustics aren’t terrible, b) every few hundred yards extra to travel probably means we lose ten percent more people. However this also meant answering the question “how many people do you think will come” – which is just about the worst thing to ask someone with crippling impostor syndrome. Ho hum.

In other news:

  • Started to much more proactively hand over the current project to the person who’s taking it forward. In effect this means Stopping Going To Every Meeting, and waiting for DMs instead.
  • Continued to refine our product strategy and roadmap, but only from a storytelling viewpoint – the actual product choices aren’t really mine to make now.
  • Completed an annoying thing that’s been on my to-do list for nearly six months – updating the internal reference list of all the services we run, for cross-referring against other stuff on our internal data platform. This meant bringing together the previous quickly-hacked-together list someone created from memory, with everything in our Live Operations team’s runbook, but also some critical services we run that nobody really notices because they’re “Just Content”. It was nice thinking through “what actually counts as a service”, but also leaving the work in a good place for Jukesie to own from now.
  • Had an interesting awayday with all the Product and Delivery folk. In the middle we had to break for ‘huddle’ which is our weekly team internal comms session. I’d turned up with various bits of kit to make that work well remotely – jabras, external webcams, gorillapods etc – and was so busy worrying about that holding up for the boss that I barely took in her telling everyone about me leaving. It was an oddly out-of-body experience.
  • We also heard the sad news that service designer Jamie Freeman had died of brain cancer over the weekend – this cast quite a long shadow over huddle as well. He was a lovely person, and also an amazing musician. RIP sir. Much love.
  • Had two chats about new jobs, and a formal interview for one of them. I’ve got another chat about something next week which might be a bit too “big IT” for me, but let’s see.
  • Ready for the January of music, I took delivery of a wonderful gadget for my modular synth setup – a Mordax Data. This allows you to inspect all the voltages in your system, so you can truly understand what’s going on. When you’ve got some pretty ‘deep’ sound sources and processors, like I have, everything can be a bit “poke around and hope” so this is going to be like having a Haynes manual – helping me truly master some of the beast.
Mordax Data – on the left – alongside a whole pile of things I barely understand, but soon will.

One of the stranger things to happen was that I got asked if I was interested in joining the board of a startup. I’m really flattered, but don’t actually know what to do next. Presumably one has responsibilities, and gets money, and needs to make time – but how do you find out whether the company is a good one to get involved with? How do you make sure you’re not about to get yourself into trouble? Any pointers from anyone who’s done it would be very welcome.

Everyone in the audience is currently feeling seen.

And last thing – had a lovely night at the Wanstead Tap with Adrian Chiles talking about learning to love drinking less. It was an incredibly though-provoking hour, which venue owner Dan hosted brilliantly. We’ve got the book, and I’ll probably do a proper post about it later, but some key miscellaneous takeaways:

  • If you drink a lot, you tend to assume everyone else does, but actually 70% of people drink less than the recommended units per week.
  • Someone who goes out and drinks enormously every time it’s the football may never actually drink during the week.
  • The best drink is the first drink, maybe the second, and after that all you’re doing is chasing the dream.
  • NYE and Christmas are terrible times for big drinkers, because it’s when the amateurs get involved.
  • But the fact that the amateurs end up in a bad way, and you’re the one helping them into a taxi, is possibly more of an indication that you need to rethink your own life.

And now, it’s time to pop out to a lovely local wine bar that closes forever tomorrow. *sniff*.

A weekish-note – 3rd December 2022

Daisy and Milo decorating the tree. While V and I drink fizz.

I’ve been nudged by into starting to do weeknotes by Matt Jukes, my successor at DIT, after a big DDaT awayday where he took a lead on two of the sessions and talked about how more people should be doing this. I’ve realised I’ve become increasingly worried about the amount of my digital outboard brain that’ll evaporate if Twitter does finally go up in smoke, plus if this gets a few other team members comfortable with the weeknote format it’ll have been worthwhile.

Admittedly I started this post on Friday, just as a set of headings, and almost immediately had to DM Jukesie and say “oh, that’s why I’ve been knackered then?” Apparently that’s a side benefit!

I’ve also long been a fan of journalling gratitude/small victories, following Laurie Santos’ rather excellent ‘Science of Wellbeing’ free online course about happiness. There’s a tiny notebook by my bed for noting things that went well or I enjoyed – but since the summer it’s been rather neglected. So perhaps I can kickstart noticing more of the good things, alongside the wry takes on what’s been going less well. There’s been no shortage of Real Life going on since June-ish, and I’ve rather dropped the ball. Anyway, “we are where we are” now…so where is that?

Work things

  • I had the last day of running the Mind the Product Leadership course with Bea Kovacs/Barker. Every time I do courses with her I learn more about the art of teaching Product things well.
    In theory this was a much easier week, because there wasn’t a ton of slides and content to learn. However, week 4 is several hours of freeform “dear group, we’ve covered the core content, what else should we talk about?” As a result, there’s a fair bit of pressure on us as trainers. But I’ve really loved working with this group as they came out of their shells since week one. And the course is a really good excuse to delve into the scholarly side of Product Craft. Lots of reading that’s been on the to-do list for ages, or in some cases the “should really read this again” list. On which note:
  • I read Tendayi Viki’s “Pirates in the Navy” which is a nice tract about sustainable intrapreneurship, and all the ways that innovation units can fail in large organisations. Some of it felt like a positive throwback to the Fictionlab mantra of “innovation in the mainstream” in the early 2000s, but I also recognised some of the political traps that led to my problems there, at MTV and particularly ITV. And of course it was great to feel the presence of lovely Sonja Kresojevic behind much of it.
  • Continued updating the DIT CRM product strategy, adding in a set of ‘even over’ statements that felt like tangible things we could use as principles with the teams, and validate with stakeholders. e.g. “we currently value more targetted working of our frontline staff to get greater economic outcomes, even over fixing rekeying data for backoffice staff to increase admin efficiency”. Lots of really good structural thinking brought together, even if it was more of a slidument than I’d have liked.
  • Presented it to our SMT – along with the draft 18 month roadmap as a ‘worked example’ of the product strategy. This, sadly, didn’t down as well as I’d thought it would. Lots of questions, lots of divergent suggestions, not very much saying that the work was any good. Was quite dejected afterwards. But colleagues pointed out that the strategy was largely agreed – it was just the actual roadmap aspect where there was a lot of disagreement. So I’ve started going round individual SMT members saying “and what were you expecting from this roadmap thing anyway” which will hopefully bring it together next week.
  • Big awayday. Being in a room with about 200 other people was loud and draining. Really good sessions on things like storytelling and burnout. I found the burnout one particularly hard, as the stories told felt like layers of the last four years. I realised that I’d been getting more and more run down on each bit of work, and then to counteract the burnout from that I’d find a new project to pour myself into – and sometimes those projects were teams or people. Which it’s even harder to disengage from when things go awry. Lots to think about on the back of that.
  • A few people have already shared my blog post about ‘what I’m looking for in my next role’ which has led to a few interesting approaches already. Thank you everyone. All LinkedIn shares or even recommendations are very welcome. Particular shout outs to Matt Jukes for including a link and kind words in his weekly digital public service jobs newsletter. You should subscribe to it if you haven’t already.
  • Sat on some interview panels for Content Leads. It was nice to use some different bits of my brain.
  • Applied for a job.

Home things

Went to a lovely gig at Islington Assembly Hall with my percussionist/TechArch friend Steve. A silly but lovely modern progrock band called Frost*, who combine glitch etc with classic Genesis vibes. There was a Casio VL-Tone solo.

Frost*

Support was from a lovely two-piece called Quantum Pig, featuring my friend Mark Stevenson on vocals. His fabulous book An Optimist’s Tour of the Future has been bought and given away sooo many times, so it was lovely to see him doing something else. In a Carl Sagan t-shirt.

Quantum Pig

I did lots of piano practice, just in case someone at the work awayday spotted a piano and tried to get me to play something. That bullet was dodged, but the work led to a really good piano lesson on Saturday, getting into some really interesting new nuances of some current pieces I’m working on.

Saturday was stupidly busy in other ways:

  • Rearranging our little loft storage space to find the decorations
  • Picking up the christmas tree
  • Doing lightly-worrying things to my right thumb with a saw while trying to get said tree safely into the stand
  • Picking up Daisy from Stratford bus station
  • Dragging everyone to Prezzo in Chingford, wherre we were eating dinner before…
  • Watching Vicky’s choir performing Mozart and Haydn
  • Then decorating the tree – assisted by kids and cats, and quite a lot of fizz.
Finished xmas tree. Ooooh.
Special helper.

Today’s been about roast dinner, and prepping mentally for the week ahead, where I have to start disengaging from DIT and creating a vacuum. Tomorrow also brings a concert at St john’s Smith Square – Rach 2, among other things, which should be rather a treat.

But yeah, no wonder I’m tired.