The back-to-back battering of storms Ciara and Dennis earlier this month proved largely uneventful for me and my travels, although there was a hot minute where I thought the roof was going to blow off of my local train station. Disruptive but relatively low-destruction storms like these serve as a handy reminder that extreme weather events will become increasingly frequent as temperatures continue to climb.
I wrote about (and spoke about in my podcast) how to educate yourself and others on the climate crisis. It's a list of 24 things you can do to learn more, understand the solutions, and become a climate activist. Read it on my website or listen to the podcast episode.
As well as working on my own podcast, which you can subscribe to on your podcast platform of choice, I've also been working on and enjoying the podcasts of other people. The Space Programme is one of them. It launched on February 21st. You can listen to the first two episodes by subscribing wherever you get your podcasts. It's a twenty-part drama/soap opera for children, created by Bafflegab for the UK's children's radio station Fun Kids.
I designed the artwork. The orange version is the final thing (below) but you can also see what version one looked like too...
As well as The Space Programme, I've also designed bits and pieces for BBC Radio Gloucestershire's newest on-air initiative, 50 by 50. Presenter Dominic Cotter just turned 49 and and he's on a quest to do fifty new things – one per week – in the countdown to his 50th birthday.
Take a listen the podcast version of this newsletter by tapping here and you'll hear a very nice testimonial from Dominic.
Where There Is Light, an art installation built to celebrate 20 years of Action for Refugees and Asylum Seekers, was installed at Gloucester Cathedral from mid-January to the end of February. As well as a gorgeous evolving light display, a soundscape created in collaboration with the Everyman Theatre, The Music Works and Squidsoup, featured stories of refugees and asylum seekers from various countries who are now living in the area. I enjoyed that Brexit-voting Gloucester (58% leave) was perhaps unwittingly absorbing these diverse and vital voices.
Take a listen the podcast version of this newsletter by tapping here to listen to the artwork.
I heard the School of Life's Alain de Botton on Virgin Radio at the start of February and purchased one of his books, The News: A User's Manual, shortly thereafter. It's a good look at what's happening to our media, how you can spot news stories that cycle around and around again, and why neutrality in news organisations is bollocks. The podcast episode of this newsletter (which you can subscribe to here) contains a snippet of a 2014 talk that de Botton gave on exactly that topic.
I saw 2014's The Kingsman and its sequel for the first time the other day. If you haven't, make sure you do. It's the perfect mix between a classic spy film and an action flick with some dark, Tarantino-like humour blended in. My girlfriend recommended the movies after we spent the morning walking around Croome.
Croome's a National Trust site – we're both members – and also home to RAF Defford which became the main station in Britain for the development of airborne radar during and after WWII. As well as large parklands there's also a museum dedicated to the service men and women and their work during the war.
Minutes after sending my last newsletter I stumbled upon a group of people who knit the weather. I'm a fan of taking concepts that are hard to grapple with and distilling them into simple things. In 2017 I made a clock with a single hand that takes 365 days to complete a revolution to demonstrate the passing of time and at the start of 2020 I made something similar to mark the coming decade. That's called Decade Clock.
Here's Josie explaining how to knit the weather:
I decided that this year, every day, I would knit a row on a scarf to mark the corresponding daily temperature/weather of my town. It felt like a good way to engage with the changing climate and with the changing year. A way to notice and not look away.
I picked up Marrakech Intense, a parfum from my favourite skincare and toiletries brand, Aesop. I don't find it as intense as Hwyl, the other perfume I've been raving about from them, but it makes for a nice change. I also love the format; a roll-on is so much more discrete than a spray bottle and makes it easier to shove in my coat pocket to allow for top-ups during the day. It's marginally cheaper than their other offerings but still £67 for 10ml, so try it before you buy it.
After almost a year of trusty service, I've finally worn out the two pairs of Calvin Klein jeans I purchased in May 2019. I've gone for some classic tapering Levi's 501s to replace them.
I've been a lover of meditation app Calm for almost ten years (even speaking to its co-founder Michael Acton Smith back in 2016, read it at /calm) but have recently subscribed to Headspace. I still use, love, and recommend Calm and it's not that Headspace is a more or less superior app, it's just that change can be good – and sometimes a challenge, but that's sort of the point of meditating. I am particularly a fan of Everybody Headspace, ten minute meditation sessions every 30 minutes that groups of people do together in real-time. Plus Andy Puddicombe's voice is nice.
That's all for now.
Until next time.