Monthnotes – August 2020

August has been a month. I’m doing my best to get out and do things, but there’s an unavoidable crappiness to pandemic life. Without cafes and bars and galleries, Brighton is just an overcrowded town with too much building work, too many drunks, and junkies shooting up by the bins. Life isn’t as fun as it used to be, and some days I feel isolated and trapped. There isn’t much to be done about much of this – even when the office re-opens, socialising and moving about is banned, so that’s not yet an option. In the meantime, I’m in my flat most of the time.

I guess it’s about finding little things to hold the days together. I’ve been doing lots of hiking. Another highlight has been Naomi Wood’s Creative Writing workshops, hosted by Brighton’s feminist bookshop. I’ve been enjoying the challenge of these, and Naomi has pushed me to try new things. I’ve also been watching Bad Seed Tee Vee, Nick Cave’s YouTube channel. There’s also something reassuring about the burble of chat on the side of the screen.

Work feels like it has a little more flow, particularly since the team have solved a couple of major issues. There are still things to be faced, but the team’s daily life feels much easier now – we can focus on the challenges rather than the problems. I’ve also got to write some code, a pleasure I’ve not been allowed as much as I would like.

My daily walking felt a little easier recently, and I’ve managed a respectable amount. My total was 563,173 with a daily average of 18,167, with a high of 43,492. Not bad. I’m still a little frustrated by the lack of hiking options around Brighton, but I’ve made the best of this, with walks including Pyecombe, Southease, Amberley to Devil’s Dyke, Belle Tout lighthouse to Alfriston and along the Ouse, as well as a couple I’ve yet to write up on the blog.

Reading continues to be slow. I only finished a couple of actual books, but KJ Parker’s How To Rule An Empire and Get Away With It was a fun light read, a light fantasy which looks at some interesting details. I also re-read Nemesis the warlock and was amazed at how well it held up today.

I’m also finding it hard to concentrate on films. Much of my TV time has been spent scrolling through Prime and Netflix until I run out of time for a movie. I watched most of Upgrade, without managing to finish it. Blackkklansman was another excellent Spike Lee film; The Edge of Tomorrow started interesting but the contrived concept fell apart as it went on. I finally watched Stalker which was incredibly slow, and finished the month with gritty prison drama Starred Up.

Lovecraft Country is on Now TV and started with one of the best episodes of TV I’ve seen in a long time. The subsequent two episodes were less gripping, but I am enjoying having a weekly show to watch.

Meanwhile, I’ve been thinking ahead to winter. The claustrophobia is likely to feel more intense as the weather worsens, and the pandemic is not going away any time soon. I’ve picked up a PS4 and have been (slowly) making my way through The Last of Us. I expect it is going to be a slow, boring winter.

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