October has come quickly and passed quickly. While I’m still enjoying my rural retreat, I’ve started to miss social events, and have been making more effort to get out and about. However, this comes against the background of rising covid cases. It’s weird to take the train and see no-one wearing masks while feeling like an idiot for doing so myself. But I can’t stay isolated forever, even if it does mean an increased risk of catching the virus. These are strange, unsettling times.
I’ve been making weekly trips to the Mindera office, combining that with visits to the Speculators Writing Group – moving writing away from being a solitary experience has been great for my enthusiasm. At the start of the month, I attended the DDD technical conference in Nottingham. I’ve also made visits to Hebden Bridge, Blackpool, and a visit to Halifax to watch a talk by Ben Graham on his book about the ill-fated Krumlin Festival.
Steps were middling with no big walks (although I’ve finally worked out how to remove spurious steps while driving from the fitbit’s total, rather than having to make them up later in the day). A total of 390,874 and an average total of 12,608. My maximum for a single day was 31,715, wandering around Hebden Bridge. Still no other exercise than walking.
Succession is back again, and it’s good to have that as a regular weekly show, along with Walking Dead: World Beyond. I also watched the BBC documentaries When Nirvana Came to Britain, and Nick Broomfield’s Last Man Standing: Suge Knight and the Murders of Biggie and Tupac. The Broomfield documentary was shocking. With Suge Knight in jail and time having passed, people are more willing to discuss the violence, crime and utter misogyny at the heart of Death Row Records. It’s a sad story.
I continued my exploration of Nicholas Cage movies with Prisoners of the Ghostland. Cage hits a 9/10 for performance with a unique and impressive rendition of the word ‘testicle’. The film itself was beautiful but slow, which was also a problem with Green Knight. I also re-watched Hostel, which is a more interesting film than it should be, probably deserving of a post of its own.
I played Resident Evil: Village on the PS4, but gave up near the end. It just felt too much like a video game. I couldn’t get into the Witcher 3, but towards the end of October I re-installed The Last of Us Part 2 for another playthough. That game feels a little like playing with dolls and playsets, but I enjoy the set-pieces; whereas replaying Death Stranding proved impossible because of the grind there. I’ve also been getting into Twitch streaming, mostly watching Ikeden‘s ‘Ultimate Runs’ on TLOU2, which is good to have on in the background when doing other things.
I’ve continued picking at books, finishing fewer than I’ve started. The Storyteller by Dave Grohl flirted with smugness, and just about survived. All the Marvels by Douglas Wolk was a fun project, looking at the Marvel Universe as a single consistent story, but too often felt like a blog in book form. Sally Rooney’s Conversations with Friends was tightly and precisely written but felt bland. The book seemed inconsequential and much less interesting than Patricia Lockwood’s recent novel. I’m very much in agreement with some of the criticism I’ve read.
I seem to have been enjoying a lot of interesting media this last month. The Content Mines has been a good weekly podcast, and I’ve been catching up with This Podcast is a Ritual. Fiq da Signifier has done an excellent pair of youtbe videos talking about why the ‘Old Kanye’ was important. I can also recommend Caw, one of the best short stories I’ve read in some time, where the world is ending because of crows. The new Lana Del Rey album has immediately become a favourite; Black Bathing Suit is a great pandemic ballad. I also love the new Helen Love song, This is My World.If you want to follow what I'm up to, sign up to my mailing list