Weeknote, 2nd October 2022

It seemed like a good idea at the time. Go down to Brighton. Kim doing a drawing group with some Proper Art Friends(TM) while I have a mooch around, see old sites, and generally enjoy sitting around and doing some writing. Then do something fun in the evening and back on Sunday.

HOWEVER… we took one look at the prices of the hotels and decided to cut it a little short, staying only on Saturday. That meant setting off at 8am to get there for 10. Plenty of time. It’s only an hour and three-quarters drive.

Except the M2 is closed, and there is a diversion. A diversion and a queue. A long queue.

Three hours later, we’re finally there. I’m pretty good in these circumstances because once there is nothing you can do about something, I relax about it all going horribly wrong. And Kim wasn’t too late.

With no hotel to check into, I spent the day wandering around, going back to old haunts and sitting around. I got a decent chunk of writing done, too — over 1200 words, which doesn’t sound like much but is more than I’ve been doing for a while — and managed not to drink myself into an over-caffeinated mess.

I met up with Kim after her course had finished at 4pm for a quick pint with a couple of her artist chums. Which turned into three pints. In fact, as I had sneaked one while I waited, four. I am not the kind of man who can drink four pints. More important, Kim couldn’t drink three pints and drive us to the hotel, which was out at Preston Park. Hence we ended up walking back this morning in the rain.

Of course, I also had no change of clothes and no charger. So my first, slightly hungover stop was the car to pick both up, then a nearby Costa to charge my phone.

All of which makes me realise how much I have come to rely on smartphones. Instead of trusting that when we arrange to be at a place with people, we will be there, we want the belt-and-braces of being able to send a message to someone, to check where they are and if they’re still coming. And it opens up the possibility, too, of not coming: if you text someone beforehand, you can just rearrange.

Reading and watching

Stephen Baxter released The Thousand Earths this week, and I have already finished it — one of the benefits of being around for a weekend without much arranged to do is the speed at which I read (something I should remember). Like some other Baxter works, this one involves a plot that revolves around the far history of the universe, in this case, trillions of years. It’s a decent read, with some good ideas, but the end feels rushed, and as with quite a few of Baxter’s novels, the secondary characters feel like caricatures designed to nudge the plot in the direction he wants to go.

Also started, Chokepoint capitalism by Rebecca Giblin and Cory Doctorow. If you have been following Cory’s recent blog posts about monopolies and how they come to dominate the creative landscape, you will find this familiar territory — but of course, with a lot more detail.

A trip to the cinema while in Brighton to see Moonage Daydream, a documentary about David Bowie. I love Bowie with all my glam heart, but this was an incoherent mess that went on too long despite jumping from 2000 to Bowie’s death with virtually no mention (and how could you miss out Tin Machine… ok, well, that was one good thing).

Episode six of Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power delivered in a big way. I can’t wait for the next one, and I wouldn’t count myself as much of an LOTR fan.

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