Oct 5, 2014
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On loving a problematic thing

I love Doctor Who. I have done since discovering it in 1991, and binge-watching my way through 30 years worth of UK Gold repeats in about three years. I was absolutely delighted when it came back in 2005.

Nowadays, lots of people don’t like the show. That’s fine. There’s a lot to criticise. I don’t necessarily see all the bad things that they see, but that’s OK. I want to learn to understand what I’m missing.

But I get genuinely sad when I hear that people don’t like the show. Not because they are wrong. But because:

a) I love the show and want it to appeal to as many people as possible - I want it to be unarguably the best show on TV, ever


b) because often the people who I hear not liking the show - I respect and admire enormously, and I want them to love it - I want them to feel it’s something they like, too. I want the show to be good enough for them to like. 

I’m not sad because they’re attacking something I love. I’m sad because the thing I love isn’t good enough for them. And I’m sad that people I like feel sadness, and hatred, towards a thing that I love. I don’t want that for them, I want them to be happy.

I don’t want to fall into the trap of telling them they’re wrong. They’re not. It’s hard to enjoy something that’s problematic. But the other side of analysing and critiquing a problematic thing, is to channel that energy into something positive - to create something better. Because who knows, if you do create something better, then the people who do have the power to make the ‘real’ thing, might sit up and take notice, and might make their thing better, or, just maybe, might invite you to take the official reins instead.

Sep 30, 2014
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I don’t think you have time to waste not writing because you are afraid you won’t be good enough at it.

You can’t fill up when you’re holding your breath. And writing is about filling up, filling up when you are empty, letting images and ideas and smells run down like water - just as writing is also about dealing with the emptiness. The emptiness destroys enough writers without the help of some friend or spouse.

Anne Lamont, Bird by Bird
Sep 29, 2014
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Unlike modern readers, who follow the flow of a narrative from beginning to end, early modern Englishmen read in fits and starts and jumped from book to book. They broke texts into fragments and assembled them into new patterns by transcribing them in different sections of their notebooks. Then they reread the copies and rearranged the patterns while adding more excerpts.

Reading and writing were therefore inseparable activities. They belonged to a continuous effort to make sense of things, for the world was full of signs: you could read your way through it; and by keeping an account of your readings, you made a book of your own, one stamped with your personality.

Robert Darnton, as quoted in Steven Johnson’s Where Good Ideas Come From, pp. 86
Sep 14, 2014
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The beauty of difference of opinion

The beauty of difference of opinion

Excellent! There is a social object (often a cultural work – a piece of art, an episode of a TV show, a song) that we have a shared experience/knowledge of.

Oh. Your opinion/reaction/interpretation to/of that thing is different from mine. It could be negative, whereas mine is positive, or maybe we agree overall, but have picked out different aspects of the thing to react to.

That’s OK though.…

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Jun 24, 2014
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A Song from a Band You Hate (30 Days of Music)

Took me a while, but here’s A Song from a Band You Hate -

AqualungJethro Tull

I’m not really sure about this one, to be honest, but it’s taken long enough for me to get around to writing anything for this category, so here goes. Can you really withstand six minutes plus of this?

There’s something traditional about rebelling against the culture of your parents. Whilst this isn’t true in every aspect of my experience, it certainly hits the spot here. I…

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Jun 11, 2014
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Day 10. Write with others



Can you help write this post?

I hope this counts, as I’m writing a day late - I am on a train, though (Jubilee line, heading south, currently between Canons Park & Queensbury). This morning, I’m listening to “…And I Will Kiss..” from the 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony, reading a book about the Industrial Revolution, recovering from a hack day, and wondering when/where/who for a summer holiday. Snapshot done. Thanks writeitonatrain for the invite to contribute :-)
May 9, 2014
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30 Days of Music

30 Days of Music

Shamelessly cribbed from Matthew and Mark – let’s just call this attempt number 765 in the long, long series of me trying to establish a regular writing pattern. Oh yeah, the newsletter, I’ll pick that up again soon.

Thing is, whenever I’m writing something, I’m overcome by massive self-doubt – that what I’m doing is self indulgent, irritating and so on. Twitter is, for some reason, probably the…

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May 7, 2014
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Some quick thoughts on URLs

Some quick thoughts on URLs

This past week, there’s been a kerfuffle about an experiment within Google’s Chrome browser which hides URLs from the user. Lots of good folk have chipped in (three posts there, to give you an overview), which is good, but here’s a few thoughts before I forget to write this at all:

- As with any design decision, this has good and bad points. The discussion needs to be level-headed and focus in on…

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Mar 13, 2014
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On Design as a Service

On Design as a Service

Yesterday, Tom Maslen wrote this piece, on responsive design and how the BBC’s User Experience and Design (UX&D) teams are set up to work with the various BBC ‘product’ teams. It’s good, you should read it, and then come back and read the rest of this.

I agree with almost everything in there, but thought there were a few points that needed fleshing out, perhaps with a slightly different…

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Jan 9, 2014
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My Mission for 2014: Writing is Structure

It will come as no surprise to anyone that I’m interested in writing, and specifically the writing of narratives. I’ve always harboured a desire, if not the will or confidence, to write stories – scripts, sketches, that kind of thing. And, in the realm of…

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