Monthnotes: March 2023

I started March in Croydon, where I attended a series of work meetings. Despite all the times I’d been stranded in East Croydon station as a commuter, this was the first time I’d visited the place itself. Work went on to dominate my month.

Boxpark, Croydon: home to good but expensive vegan milkshakes

I made a trip to Brighton – although I worked a day of that, and was too busy/stressed to plan much. I went book shopping with Ben Graham, visited KateS, saw Anna & Chris, and stayed with Rosy. I was there to give a talk at the Sunday Assembly, which was great fun. Brighton did its best to persuade me I still loved the place, and I bumped into some old friends by accident. It would have been good to meet up with more people, but I didn’t have the energy to arrange anything. I did have a surprise text from Tom, who was also passing through Brighton, and we had a brief but wonderful reunion. I also had visited Newcastle where I caught up with Laurence.

I walked 341,043 steps in March, an average of 11,001 a day. My highest total was 24,930, on a borrowmydoggy trip with Lola the Labrador. I finally got a new pair of scales, which told me I had put on 3½ pounds this year. It’s miraculous it’s not higher given the amount of bad food and stress I’ve been dealing with.

I’ve done very little writing recently, since work has left little space for it. I published a new story on the blog, The Bone Wardrobe. One good thing about being forced to pause the writing is having time to think about what I would like to be working on – and I am determined to make more time to write in April. I also posted an Introduction to Psychogeography on the blog, written in preparation for the Sunday Assembly event.

I didn’t finish many books this month. I re-read American Psycho, which was both more abhorrent and better written than I remembered. I attended a good literary event at the Trades Club, organised by White Rabbit Books, with readings from Terri White, Amy Liptrot and Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite. That was a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Netflix B-Movie Fall was a great watch. Sadly I didn’t like Only God Forgives as much as Mr Spratt. I also made a rare trip to the cinema to watch Creed III which was disappointing. I enjoyed the first episode of Succession season 4, and have re-started The Last Of Us. I tried the first two episodes of Swarm which was good, but a little too ‘cold’ for me.

I’ve been working long days and have not had much energy by the end, so I’ve been playing more of The Last of Us Part 2, doing the encounters without auto-aiming, and experimenting with harder difficulty levels. The only trophy I’ve not claimed is for playing on Grounded difficulty. That seems an almost unthinkable achievement, but I seem to be working towards it.

  • I’ve rejoined BeReal and I love the ambient intimacy. The ‘discover’ page is fascinating. I’m not sure my daily life is interesting enough for me to sustain this, but let’s see. I’m orbific.
  • I had a power cut one Friday evening. I ended up going to bed very early that night, as I was too tired to think of things to do by candlelight.
  • We also had snow towards the end of the month – a very light touch, but the cold was unwelcome. I’ll be glad when this winter is done.
  • I find synchronicity fascinating, but I’ve always been immune to it. However, on my visit to Newcastle I had a run of 23’s. I’m not sure what this might mean.

The main theme in these monthnotes (as well as in February’s) is my job. I’m working hard, to the exclusion of many other things in my life. I should have visited Brighton twice last month, but missed Kate’s 40th as I didn’t have the energy. A few friends have asked if I’m enjoying it, and it’s been good to have the question raised. This job has not been fun, but it is compelling. However, I am not sure it’s worth the energy that I’ve been putting in. A recent announcement about layoffs – in response to the company’s highest-ever profits and growth – does suggest a need for more balance.

I asked myself what I would say to someone else working this hard at something. Back in 2005, working on Flirtomatic with Future Platforms, it felt good to be pushing myself that hard. There were times I hated that project, but I was working alongside talented and decent people. Looking back, I’m glad that I did that job. I can’t see myself feeling that way about this project, and if I’m going to work that hard then it needs to be for something meaningful. In April I will address my work/life balance. It’s good to know I can work this hard, and I should be spending that energy on things that matter.

Faded remants of the pandemic on Brighton seafront
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