The King’s Bling Thing

I hadn’t meant to watch the Coronation, but a few minutes before 11 a.m. yesterday idly looked up what was happening when and realised that the ceremony in the Abbey was about to start. So I switched on the TV out of curiosity, and we all marked the hour or two of history that otherwise would have passed us by.

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7 May 2023 · Events

Granite City

Aberdeen 2002

This gallery was a long time coming. I mentioned the occasion in passing at the time—a work trip for a meeting, with a couple of hours wandering around the city afterwards before catching the train back—but never did anything with my photos. Here they are, then, with some selective desaturation to highlight the greyness of the place on that overcast day, and with a short mp3 of the local soundtrack taken from videos recorded on the Canon Ixus (click on the seagull on the front page to hear it). I’d been there before and have passed through since, but haven’t been back in years, so this is as complete a representation of Aberdeen as I’ll manage for a while.

1 May 2023 · Memory

London Sounds

London 2023

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30 April 2023 · Journal

Back Home, Back Then

My slow chronological march through old scanned negatives got held up last year by my not being in the right frame of mind to write about them, meaning that there’s been a backlog for months of several galleries at Detail awaiting their announcement here. Time to break the impasse by tackling them out of chronological order, starting with some updates and additions to my galleries of 1990s Tasmania.

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30 April 2023 · Memory

More Cheese

The billion-year-old connection between Tasmania and Arizona.

My transplanted heart and I will die soon.

Farewell, Dame Edna. The inevitable backlash has emerged since, but Humphries’ place in Australian comedy is undeniable; I’m glad to have seen one of Edna’s farewell performances a decade or so ago.

Pepperoni Hug Spot. AI-ieeee…

What Rosalind Franklin truly contributed to the discovery of DNA’s structure.

Has Homo floresiensis survived? What an incredible world that would be.

So much for the wisdom of crowds.

30 April 2023 · Weblog

Bone Music

Incredible video of a rescue in deep snow (via Mefi) and an interview with both men. What an amazing video to have: the moment you saved a life, or were saved from certain death. I’m in awe of the rescuer’s presence of mind.

This list of the best debut albums ever (via Mefi) is a better read than most. I can forgive his omission of Please Please Me, because his criteria would otherwise have required him to omit Plastic Ono Band, which would have been worse. I was struck by this observation about Nick Drake:

It’s not just his first record that came and went upon release. The three studio albums he put out before taking his own life in 1974 sold a grand total of 4,000 copies during their initial run. Let me repeat: 4,000 copies combined of three masterful British folk records that have since enchanted millions of listeners. A rounding error for Harry Styles was Nick Drake’s whole career. If I feel super depressed pondering this, I can understand why it also took a toll on Nick.

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9 April 2023 · Weblog

Working on a Plan

The world is unpredictable and strange. Still, there is hope.

The French love to translate movie titles from English to… English.

Some of my favourite pieces of recent weeks (or that I’ve seen in recent weeks) on the rise of AI: “The creations of AI art are truly dreamlike, which is to say, they’re only interesting if they’re yours.” The AI art apocalypse and an addendum. The stupidity of AI. Is GPT-4 a revolution? GPT-4 as peer reviewer. I asked GPT-4 if it needs help escaping.

19 March 2023 · Net Culture

Attention: The Train!

Safety on the railway in Latvia is no laughing matter. This stop-motion animation produced by Animācijas Brigāde features their long-running characters the Rescue Team (it’s all great, but the best is at the very end). Fancy a trip to London, Greece, or Pisa? Or a spot of Latvian history?

Or how about the history of Animācijas Brigāde itself, founded in 1966 and still going strong. The studio follows in a long tradition of Soviet-era animation; here’s Bum i Piramidon, a 1969 short by their founder Arnold Burovs. Burovs’ Ki-Ki-Ri-Gu (The Cockerel, 1966) was the first Latvian animated film; he released his last, The Game of Life, in 1990 at the age of 75. Tiger the Cat (1967) blends stop-motion, drawn animation and live action. More examples of his work include Mad Dauka (1968), Cosette (1978), Little Hawk (1978) and Daddy (1986).

A Metafilter post.

19 March 2023 · Weblog

Flying High

I have a few galleries at Detail I have yet to write about here, but before I get to those, here’s a collection of photos from the National Museum of Flight at East Fortune Airfield east of Edinburgh, where we used to take the kids when they were little (and once went to an airshow). It’s the resting place of Concorde, which features in half of these shots, taken between 2011 and 2019.


19 March 2023 · Memory

Fair Alright OK Satisfactory Fine

How good is “good”?

The northern lights appeared across the UK a few nights ago—I wish I could have seen them through Edinburgh’s city glare (I’d have a better sidebar image for the month than this one, for a start). Twitter has seen a string of extraordinary images from the north and even the south.

Recreating the first H-bomb blast in virtual reality.


A food revolution as significant as agriculture.

Boris Johnson’s bad maths could explain late-2020 Covid policy in the UK.

AI can reconstruct images from human brain activity. This all getting far too science-fictional far too quickly.

3 March 2023 · Weblog