Weeknote, Sunday, 12 Mar 2023

Is it just me or are the weeks at the moment a weird mix of being both extraordinarily long and incredibly short? It’s like time is bending in on itself somehow.

Despite the snow, this is the time of year when the garden starts to spring into life. The daffodils are out and weren’t muscled into submission by the cold. There are small rabbits, this year’s batch, bouncing around the garden. They will sit outside our patio doors eating the odd blade of grass because they haven’t yet learned that humans are an immense threat, but they are wary.

Yesterday we went into that there London to see Travis Alabanza’s Burgerz at the Southbank. It was magnificent: alternately funny and heartbreaking and an absolute wake-up call that trans people need our support because what they are going through is terrifying. If you get a chance, see it – or if you don’t, get the book.

There are many things about living in London which I don’t miss. Even though I grew up in (what became) a city, the council estate I was born on was right on the edge of it. The countryside was a ten-minute cycle ride away, and of course, if you head north from Derby you are very quickly into some of the country’s most beautiful landscape. Where I live now is also on the edge of a city, although Canterbury is a very different one from Derby.

What I definitely miss about London, though, is the culture. The ability to get on a tube and 30 minutes later be in the National Gallery, or the V&A, or on the Southbank was brilliant. Despite its rich history Canterbury is a bit of a cultural wasteland: if you want art or interesting events, you have to head to the coast. Ramsgate, Folkestone, and of course, Margate are all more culturally rich than Canterbury, which is in thrall to its past. Never live in a place where half the city centre is a world heritage site.

I finally caved in and bought Elden Ring, after about a billion people recommended it. I’m only a few hours in – five hours play time, apparently – and I’m not that impressed. I think my issue is that the world is just too open: and so far, at least, there isn’t much in the way of a world to interact with. All I’ve done is kill things and die, with a smearing of a story on top. Maybe I need to explore more, but so far it feels dull and very focused on grinding.

Getting it running meant getting my gaming laptop updated and working well again. It’s been about six months since I started it up, as I dropped out of playing Elder Scrolls Online after playing it consistently. I think I will get back into it once I’ve been through some of Elden Ring (enough to confirm that I don’t like it). MMORPGs have been a consistent part of my life for over 20 years after I first started playing Ultima Online. From UO, I went to Dark Age of Camelot, World of Warcraft, and then ESO. I even have a statue of an orc riding a warg, which was sent out by WoW to everyone who had played for ten years from the start (I was actually in before then, in beta).


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