I’ve been taking lots of woodland walks with my girlfriend this past month. Mallards Pike in the Forest of Dean was on the agenda last weekend and I visited Windsor Great Park on my way to a podcast recording on the 22nd. The colours at this time of year are beautiful.
These woodland walks are an attempt to claim back some time at a period where almost every other animal is also hibernating. Wonderfully, the Forest of Dean is devoid of all phone signal thanks to both its density and its remoteness. If you get the chance to visit, do, but driving is a must. Public transport, rather unsurprisingly, isn't as regular or reliable as it is in a place with a larger population.
In an effort to wean myself off of constantly checking the news, I purchased a subscription to the Guardian at the start of November. The Guardian Daily mobile app delivers one edition per day which mirrors the newspaper, published sometime before 5:30am. The app has tonnes of one star reviews in Apple's App Store but I think its layout and function is perfect.
In music news, it's been another varied month for listening. I heard a sneak peak of Coldplay’s newest album – Everyday Life – a week before it was released and have to say I wasn’t bowled over by it. Their live rooftop performance from the middle of Jordan, from sunrise to sunset, perfectly back-timed with the call to prayer from the local mosque changed my mind. If you have an hour to spare, it’s pleasing to watch.
I've also been listening to music from around the world this past month. Femi Kuti's album One People One World is a good listen as is the album Mangaliso from Bongeziwe Mabandla.
I rediscovered Dan Croll's album Sweet Disarray, the title track from which is absolutely sublime. His 2017 follow-up, Emerging Adulthood, is also good.
I also finished listening to the six-hour epic Seven Days Walking that I mentioned at the start of October. I really like the way themes and melodies are introduced in cycles.
Also from October, the Jeffrey Star and Shane Dawson YouTube series finished last week after the launch of their newest make-up line. I'm not a make-up person but watching a commercial product go from inception to production, all packaged like a reality TV show, was fascinating and fun. It's yet another demonstration of the power of YouTube and how everyday people like you and I and challenge even the mightiest of TV networks and streaming giants.
I've been working on a few projects this month including something I mentioned in the last newsletter to mark the approaching decade. I've also been drawing and designing things from fonts to fancy graphics. They hold no purpose at the moment but are locked away in the cloud should a reason ever arrive... I haven't been writing much this month but I have updated my post that details the charities I support to reflect that I am now both a 1% For The Planet member and that a portion of that 1% goes to the environmental law charity, ClientEarth.
In between this newsletter and the next one is a General Election. In my constituency, which is a notorious Conservative stronghold, the incumbent has been ousted from his own party for voting against them on the UK’s exit from the European Union. My preferred party aren’t standing in this election and I’m torn because I believe tactical voting to be a truly awful solution — it provides zero indication of voter will, actively harms your preferred party by voting for the ‘lesser of two evils’, and shelves values you believe are important for entirely different agendas. That said, this might be the only opportunity, for the first time since the creation of the constituency I reside in, for it to change hands. My postal ballot should be with me soon and the only thing I know for certain is that I’m really fucking uninspired.