Whats happened in Islington Wharf over summer?

The test window in the garden
The test window in the garden with the UV screen

You might remember I blogged about the potential works at Islington Wharf.

So a little update, we received a letter about securing a different location for the builders yard. Originally Waterside Places was planning to take over our garden for 2+ years but I gather the council stepped in and they found another site. Where exactly isn’t very clear, like a lot of the comms from Waterside places.

Waterside places letter Sept

So with this there has been a lot of talk about the alternative, would releasing Laing O’Rourke of their obligation be the worst idea? Each person has different views on this all. To be fair now the garden is off the table I feel slightly better about things. Although its not super clear (I have asked directly this question).

As it seems typical in 2020, a blackswan event like the Covid19 pandemic? just hit Islington wharf.

HS2 the high speed two train system wrote a letter to most of Islington Wharf.

I am writing to you today to advise you that following further development of the design for High Speed Two (HS2) Limited, some or all of your land and/or property may be required in order to build and operate the railway for the Western Leg of HS2 Phase 2b.

Manchester Piccadilly East
The shaded area is my suggestion for the HS2 expansion. It also indicates a part of the red light zone

Its a proposal and its not clear how much of Islington Wharf will be affected as I thought the inner ring road and Ashton canal would be problem if they wanted to expand Piccadilly Station. On top of this, there is a lot of land around Piccadilly Station currently the Red light zone or Piccadilly East if you been watching Manctopia.  Between Fairfield Street, Chapeltown Street and Great Ancoats Street theres quite a bit of room and a lot of it is made up of old commercial places. Places which would be cheaper to move and are generally not that occupied either.

Its a interesting dimension on top of the saga with Waterside places. Wonder if they were even aware of the HS2 change?

A unforgettable summer in the city: the mix

A unforgettable summer in the city mix

Its been one heck of a summer, from the covid19 pandemic, national lockdowns to the protests for .

Every once in a while I have been putting out a few mixes under the new album/category of locked down and mixing out. The mixes have been good but I felt they each had something missing, so this is the best bits of previous mixes put together into something extra special.

Its the mix I am listening to when I get out with the Diabolo or go for a long walk.

Enjoy!

  1. A new beginning – Marcus Schossow
  2. Chinook – Markus Schulz pres Dakota
  3. Opium (Quivver remix) – Jerome Isma-Ae & Alastor
  4. Open up – Leftfield
  5. Intruder – Armin Van Buuren vs M.I.K.E
  6. My Beat (Ambassador extended remix) – Blaze
  7. Follow me (Jerome Isma-Ae Extended remix) – Jam Spoon
  8. Floyd (Extended mix) – Jerome Isma-Ae & Alastor
  9. Opulence – Simon Patterson
  10. Numb the pain – Will Atkinson
  11. Seven Cities (V-One’s living in the cities mix) – Solarstone
  12. Halcyon – Andy Moor
  13. Tears (Protoculture remix) – Dakota
  14. Outlaw (Extended mix) – Fatum
  15. Amino Acids – Tau-Rine
  16. Freedom (Extended mix) – ARTY v Muvy
  17. Indigo – 4×4

Alton towers and social distancing?

On Sunday I went to Alton Towers as the park was open from 10am – 8pm (this is normal hours in Europe for most theme parks). Part of me wishes I didn’t bother, but as the UK is on the brink of another national lockdown I decided to drive there and back. Its not the first time I’ve done it and this time at least it wasn’t pouring with rain.

As I drove in to the car park I could see the huge long queue to enter with social distancing. I think the monorail was closed because of social distancing too. After 40mins, a bag check, temperature gun check and a check of my eticket I was in.

First stop the Smiler. This is when I spotted the sign about single riders. There will be no single rider queue due to social distancing guidelines join the main queue. I knew then it was going to suck…

Social distance markers in Alton Towers

Standing in the queue, which was extended up and around the top ridge of the Smiler compound. You could see markers on the ground of where you are meant to stand. Problem is most people were not standing on them no matter how much Alton Towers staff shout over the loud speaker system. Heck they even called out a few people and it made no noticeable difference.

One of the biggest problem with the Smiler queue is it exists underneath the ride structure and its setup to be like a maze for mice. Of course this isn’t good for social distancing at all. You could see there were obvious gaps to allow distance between the fences but people just took it as they were 2 meters from the people in front and back and that was enough.

The Smiler queuing system

I got on the ride twice and I’ll be honest twice I had to glare at the people following me to back off. I really should have worn my mask, which you only need to wear when entering the station. I honestly didn’t feel that safe while queuing. Of course all this queuing means you are in close contact with people for a long time. A hour each time for the Smiler.

The Smiler train has 4 rows of 4 seats (16 riders), I shared a row with a couple the first time (there was a seat between us) then had a whole row to myself the second time. You can easily see why queues were so long.

With two rides I looked around and saw the horribly long lines for food so decided to head over to Nemesis and Galactica (I didn’t bother going to Rita or 13). The queue for the cable cart was 60mins (Imagine it would be 1 household per cart), so I walked over. Nemesis had a queue time of 55mins and they had opened the line up to include the extended line right up in the field, last time I been up there was back in 1999! Usually Nemesis’ queue is no more than 5-10mins. The bunch of men/lads/idiots behind me stood within 0.5-1 meter. I did tell them to back off and they made stupid faces and silly noises. I couldn’t be bothered so popped my headphones on, pretty much ignored them. On the ride I had a whole row to myself again. No wonder it was such a long wait. For all that waiting, Galactica was only 30mins wait which isn’t that far off the last time I was in Alton Towers. I did share the row with another couple like the Smiler.

The killer for me was Wicker man which I have never been on and finally got the chance but there was one hell of a time cost. Almost 2 hours of queuing in to be fair a socially distance observing line. The line was moving so slowly, most people had given up standing and were sitting around. It was dire, make no mistake. After listening to 2 hours of the Guilty Feminist’s audiobook I finally got on the ride and it was clear why things were so slow. Each row had 2 seats and they were seating every other row. Meaning a maximum of 12 riders per turn, not the usual 24.

By the time I got my ride on Wicker man I decided I was fed-up and close enough to the entrance to drive home before the sunset and I didn’t fancy  driving at night through country lanes.

I’ll be frank Alton Towers is a horrible place to be during a pandemic, I felt a lot safer going to Blackpool Pleasure beach. The staff seemed a lot more knowledgeable, gels (for example there was no gel in the line for the smiler over 2 hours) and cleaning was a lot more visible.

I’m not the only one who had worries about Alton Towers.

Maybe I’ll revisit next year out of season…

We the Privileged

Douglas Rushkoff’s latest medium piece is something I urge all to read.

Its a very uncomfortable read for us who have retreated to our homes with yearly salaries, beautiful gardens and not having to deciding between a  earning an income and risking our household lives.

How much are we allowed to use our wealth and our technologies to insulate ourselves and our families from the rest of the world? And, like a devil on our shoulder, our technology is telling us to go it alone. After all, it’s an iPad, not an usPad.

We are all guilty of this, its human nature but Douglas is right, we need to think again. Theres ways to make things better for us all not just ourselves.

Many of us once swore off Amazon after learning of the way it evades taxes, engages in anti-competitive practices, or abuses labor. But here we are, reluctantly re-upping our Prime delivery memberships to get the cables, webcams, and Bluetooth headsets we need to attend the Zoom meetings that now constitute our own work. Others are reactivating their long-forgotten Facebook accounts to connect with friends, all sharing highly curated depictions of their newfound appreciation for nature, sunsets, and family. And as we do, many of us are lulled further into digital isolation — being rewarded the more we accept the logic of the fully wired home, cut off from the rest of the world.

Guilty, I recently bought a new chromebook (currently typing this on it) but about to give my old one to my parents. I will take their old one back and likely donate it somewhere as its still useful but no longer supported.

The amount of sunsets I have taken has increased and reaching out to friends and family for a catch up has been great. All while complaining about 7 zoom meetings in a row. There is a aspect of relativity to account for this all but the point is digital isolation is only afforded to a privileged group of people.

And so the New York Times is busy running photo spreads of wealthy families “retreating” to their summer homes — second residences worth well more than most of our primary ones — and stories about their successes working remotely from the beach or retrofitting extra bedrooms as offices. “It’s been great here,” one venture fund founder explained. “If I didn’t know there was absolute chaos in the world … I could do this forever.”

Here is the kicker. Even myself, has considered could I actually do this for much longer? Of course I don’t have a summer home, live in a very hot flat with a shared garden, etc. But I have a 1gig a bit fibre connection, the expertise, experience and technology to do this for much longer. I also don’t have kids so could happily do this (working from home) for quite a bit longer. I’m actually aiming to be the very last person back in the office because except for my work laptop SSD problem I can do almost everything I need for work remotely. I certainly am protecting myself as I am at slightly more risk than most but I already mentioned how I’m considering my location for working. I know a lot of people are thinking the same if they don’t need to be close to work or in cities. For me this is more of a reason to be in the city and maybe the prices of city centres will become more affordable in the long run? I’m very aware of my privileged position being able to actually consider these options with a career I love. We all need to remember and act on this… but I’m the wrong person to be saying this…

I have also been watching Anand Giridharadas who is pointing in the same direction as Rushkoff. Our self interest has clouded our vision. He gave this powerful talk at a recent TED event, which included this quote (mainly aimed at Americans)…

If you live near a Whole Foods Market , if no one in your family served in the military, if you are paid by the year and not the hour, if most people you know finished college, if no one you know uses meth, if you married once and remained married, if you not one of 65 million americans with a criminal records. if any or all of these things describe you, then accept the possibility that actually you may not know whats going on and you may be part of the problem.

I guess if you were translating that to the UK it would be…

If you live near a Waitrose supermarket, if no one in your family served in the arm forces, if you are paid by the year and not the hour, if most people you know finished college, if no one you know smokes pot, if you married once and remained married, if you not one of 11 million people with a criminal record. if any or all of these things describe you, then accept the possibility that actually you may not know whats going on and you may be part of the problem.

All really powerful thinking and connects directly with another blog I recently posted.

Films you may have missed during the Covid19 lockdown

Host (2020)

Following on from my previous post about films to watch during the Covid19 lockdown. Now the cinemas are starting to open, I thought I’d write another set of films and TV I have watched between June – August.

The list of films I usually post are ones you may not have seen or skipped over.

Films

Archive

Target Number One (2020)

Based around a true story, its a slow but insane story of drug addict Daniel Leger. Being built up as a major international drugs smuggler. Its well worth a watch

Irresistible (2020)

Quite funny film written by Jon Stewart of the Daily Show fame. Really points the finger at the system of money which drives the elections and politics in America. No one gets away clean in this one

Swallow (2020)

There are a short list of films I will only watch once a year as they are just uncomfortable. I’m going to add Swallow to this list. Its a difficult subject reasonably told but a bit slow in parts.

Archive (2020)

Intriguing AI type film, its no Ex-Machina but it will surprise you in the end. Solid Sci-fi which slowly builds and hits you out of nowhere. I don’t want to say anything more.

The Rental (2020)

Every Airbnb nightmare ripped large with hidden cameras and a over bearing host. Nice little twists and the tension is about right for this thriller rather than horror.

One Night in Bangkok (2020)

This reminds me very much of Hummingbird and Vengeance. Its a bit slow in places but there are some soft twists and the character development does help you feel for them.

Host (2020)

Not a fan of horror, only because I find the jump silly and the gross parts just stupid. Host surprises as its of a moment, while we are in the pandemic using zoom. Host comes along and leans right into it. Well worth watching even if your not into horror.

Ava (2020)

I mentioned in the last review a film called The Rhythm Section and its similarity to films like Anna, La Femme Nikita, etc. Its a good film and likely better than the Rhythm Section thanks to Jessica Chastain’s performance.

TV

Tell me who I am

Tell Me Who I Am (2019)

Yeah I know it was available in 2019 but I hasn’t come across it till someone mentioned it to me recently. What a story and then it gets very dark very quickly. It reminds me of the film called Rewind which I recommended a little while ago. Both are worth your time and patience around this incredibly difficult subject

On the Record (2020)

I heard bit of the story during the peak of the movement but it got drowned out by other women’s experiences. Its clear it didn’t get the absolute attention it deserved and for f-sake, Russell Simmons and others are pretty untouched. For the record, Russell has stepped down from his positions in Def Jam Recordings and other companies as a result of these allegations. He moved to Bali where there is no extradition treaty to the U.S.

Alex Rider (2020)

I wasn’t sure about this one. It kinda fell under the radar for what ever reason, but it surprised me. Its well thought-out and well told. Its a got a lot of production behind it and it really shows. Expect a series 2 maybe?

Upload (2020)

I wrote about Upload early in the pandemic, comparing it to the now ended Good Place. There’s a lot of comparisons but its going to take a season or two to get up that level. Get the first season and enjoy potentially the start of something special?

A open conversation about race with Tara & Stef from Truly Inc

During a very busy time over the last few months, I recorded a number of podcasts including the ones for the tech for good live (which I highly recommend listening to).

One of my friends from the past the incredible Tara Hunt aka Miss Rouge interviewed me for the Anatomy of White Supremacy in Marketing podcast (Anatomy of a strategy podcast). We sat back and just chatted, so theres a lot in the podcast which was cut but the core parts were contextualised and added to the 30min podcast.

I really enjoyed the conversation with Tara Hunt and Stef Forester (not related as she lost a R somewhere in the name). It was late night (almost midnight) when we recorded and although I was standing at my standing desk, we could have kept on going for another hour easily.

If I can offer a tip for new listeners of the Anatomy of White Supremacy in Marketing podcast. I would start with Tara and Stef talking about the bigger reasons for the podcast.

For the past few months, between COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter protests, we’ve opted to put a pause on AoaS to create space for other conversations (with the exception of the episodes with Laura Fitton and Joe Jackman, which we thought were relevant to the COVID-19 discussion).

Now, we see that our silence on the topic of Black Lives Matter was akin to saying, “This is not our problem.” This was wrong and it took a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion facilitator, Karlyn Percil of KDPM Consulting Group, calling me (Tara) out on this silence to knock me out of my comfort zone (and white fragility).

So, Stef and I sat down and decided that we need to do the work and speak up about it and that this podcast was a fantastic place to start. This episode is the introduction to a series (which will be as long as it needs to be) of conversations with Black professionals in various parts of the marketing industry on their experiences, perspectives and insights into how marketing – as an industry, an institution and as a practice contributes to the perpetuation of white supremacy and anti-Black racism.

Then naturally the interview with moi before listening to the other great interviews which currently there is Anatomy of Code-Switching with Cher Jones.

Civilization is falling apart?

Junk found on the beach
Photo by John Cameron on Unsplash

I like a lot of what Umair Haque writes but this one titled 2020 is a Warning That Our Civilization is Beginning to Fall Apart. I will be frank is pretty terrifying. I say terrifying not from a fear point of view although its pretty scary for that. Almost all the points Umair makes, I find it very difficult to counter them in any reasonable way.

Are you beginning to get what I mean by “accelerating pulsation of disaster” yet? As we head into the age of catastrophe, a new range of calamities will become our dismal new normal. They’ll recur, in cycles. Only each time the cycle spins, they’ll get worse and worse. Megafires, megafloods, pandemics, extinctions.

His lasting point is strong and draws lot for us to think/reflect on.

Its extremely sobering to read and worth it even if it doesn’t offer any strong solutions

Visiting the cinema to see Tenet on 26th Aug


I like this trailer unofficial trailer

I have been waiting for the cinemas in the UK to fully open to finally watch Tenet on the IMAX screen. Its 10 years since Inception and although I did spot a few cinemas replaying inception but there was no way I’d watch it unless it was on the IMAX screen.

I booked my ticket for Wednesday 26th August and while booking I noticed there is 2 clear seats either side of me. This is good but also great to know masks are required (unless eating/drinking – not sure how they maintain this?) Either way Vue have created a Covid19 video explaining what they have done.

Looking forward to finally seeing Tenet the way Christopher Nolan wanted it to be

#56blackmen in the age of #covid19?

Me in my mask

I remember when I first saw the 56 black men project, its impressive and well thought out. But with the recent (not soon enough) governmental push to get all UK citizens to wear masks in public indoor spaces.

I was thinking maybe its time to rerun 56 black men but using face masks? The reaction I received to my Bain mask during Blackpool was interesting to see.

Ian or Bane

Its also a shame I missed this call out a while ago.

https://twitter.com/56BlackMen/status/1269360379693608961

Stellar’s freedom mix

Looking into the universe
Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

Not really had the time to do many mixes in the last few months. I did this one while wondering around the Manchester when the Covid19 lock down was lifted. Its not very long (less than a hour) but its a interesting quick blast through a few newer tunes.

I haven’t yet setup my funkwhale or airsonic instance, so its mixcloud for now. Although I am making cue files along side my nfo files.

Enjoy!

  1. Stella – Jam & Spoon
  2. Natural (extended mix) – KhoMha
  3. The Dark night – KhoMha
  4. Floyd (extended mix)  – Jerome Isma-Ae & Alastor
  5. Opium (quivver remix) – Jerome Isma-Ae & Alastor
  6. Open up – Leftfield
  7. Follow me (Roger shah Extended deeper translation remix) – Jam Spoon
  8. Running up the hill (Jerome Isma-Ae bootleg) – Placebo
  9. Freedom (extended mix) – ARTY vs Muvy
  10. Tears (protoculture remix) – Dakota

Update

Stellar’s Freedom made it to 78th in the global tech trance chart. Not bad as lots of DJs are now using Mixcloud in lockdown.

78th in the global techtrance chart

Update Monday 10th Aug

Another update to say Stellar’s Freedom is now at 47th in the global tech trance chart. I think its one of the highest rated mixes I have done. Going to need to do another one soon.

stellars freedom 47th in the global techtrance charts

John Ashton on Boris Johnson’s sick responsibility

This is quite a powerful monologue by John Ashton as part of Double down news’s great coverage. He’s right all that good will during the lockdown is going to be massively tested as the furlough scheme comes to an end in October, a second wave for winter (although we haven’t finished the first one honestly) and the aim to get us all out is fine but eating junk food is almost laughable.

This government is a sick joke and John Ashton is right, the messages are mixed, muddled and deadly!

How the rest of us sleep

Sleeping person
Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash

In the previous post I mentioned sleep… Its something which is so important and since I’ve been tracking my sleep for many years. I have noticed how much better my sleep has been in relative times compared to before Covid19. Its strange but I’m getting about 8-9hrs a night and its good quality sleep.

Except when I eat silly things, my sleep quality is up by half a point across the board in the last 90 days.

I was reminded of Matthew Walker on rethinking sleep a part of BBC’s Rethink series. Matthew proposes a radical rediscovery of how, when and why we sleep during the pandemic of covid19.

Our sleep does seem to have changed during the pandemic there’s some emerging data from some sleep tracking companies that suggests people are going to bed at different times than they were before but also typically on average waking up a little bit later. Now for some people overall that means that they are getting actually more sleep. I think what we’ll find is that when we look at the data that’s probably at least two clouds of results. There are some people during the pandemic who will have been struggling with sleep and being getting less and it’s more difficult. Then others who are actually getting more, but I think what we’re really seeing in this data is that people are starting to sleep more in harmony with what we call your chronotype. In other words, are you an evening person are you a morning person or are you somewhere in between?

I’m certainly a evening person, I say typing this at 2am. I am also getting more sleep than I use to generally. I know its massively unfair but its what it is. The other night I took part in 3 podcasts and the last one ended at 1230am BST, and I felt great. Went to sleep a hour later and woke up 7.5 hrs later no problem.

The moon
Photo by 🇻🇪 Jose G. Ortega Castro 🇲🇽 on Unsplash

It turns out that you don’t really get a choice in that as it’s largely genetically determined, so it’s hardwired but what does this mean for the future then or what could it mean for the future in terms of sleeping well. Perhaps when people return to work, what if we asked everyone to fill out a very brief set of questions and we asked them about their preferred sleep times. When they would prefer to wake up when they prefer to go to bed. Companies can then start to try and accommodate as much as they can people’s individual work schedules?

I think this would be a fantastic idea. No harm in asking, you don’t have to fill it in but for evening people this could be a massive change. I’m currently working 11-7pm.

The notion of working 9-5pm fills me with fear to be honest, but I also know people who are doing 7-3pm and 8-4pm. Hence it would be useful in the other direction too.

That way they allow the employee to start sleeping in a much more compatible way with their biology rather than in conflict which is what many of us seem to do in this modern world society is really designed to bias and favor these morning types, but there’s a great big range and as a consequence we could have better rested employees and better rested leaders. We know that more sleep does equal more productivity. It’s not true that less sleep makes us more productive.

I think thats the main point, its biology not lazyness or all the other things people say. If you want the best out of employees, now is a perfect time understand what naturally works for them. Larks or owls its worth understanding from a business point of view.

Sleep on a clift
Photo by Kristopher Roller on Unsplash

I’d love to get an idea of the percentages of the population would naturally go for later (owl) and would go for earlier (larks), if they were not on mass socially engineered into the 9-5pm?

Part of the reason I don’t watch much TV news

While major news networks have struggled to figure out the right way to cover the Trump administration, political satirists like Samantha Bee, John Oliver, Stephen Colbert, and Seth Meyers have demonstrated why comedy can be such a powerful antidote to bullshit.

I was thinking the other day, I don’t really watch much TV news. Ok I don’t watch any live TV anyway but News would be very low in that tiny percentage.

However I do watch a lot of Comedy news from last week tonight, the daily show, realtime with bill maher, etc. That backed with reading news from credible news sites makes up most of my news. News sources which take a longer view on things, rather than whats happening right now.

Boris Brexit Bus
I will never forget the Boris Brexit Bus

The nonsense from our politicians is alarming and theres only a certain amount I can personally take. The only way to cope is to laugh at how stupid the whole system is and not breath in too much of it.

I guess because of this I sleep pretty well at night (especially with my new hours) I certainly don’t do the  doom scroll thing, worrying about what I saw on the news.

Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (July 2020)

Hackers hoodwink facial recognition software with masks

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed considering the new normal for cybersecurity or uber’s underhanded approach to get its Jump bikes back.

To quote Buckminster Fuller “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

You are seeing aspects of this happening with projects to finally make clear IOT devices more legible and the EU putting weight behind Free and Open software.


The world we want post Covid19

Ian thinks: I have read a lot of post covid19 predictions, even started writing my own. But this one really felt more like a manifesto for where to go next.

Technology which perpetuates racism

Ian thinks: Good look at tech policy decisions which directly affect people of colour.

Beyond the tweets of support, where’s your tech being used?

Ian thinks: There is a real murky history of tech companies helping to arm law enforcement with stronger and ways to enforce without real regulation or legal oversight.

How do you defend against an opaque system of surveillance?

Ian thinks: Terrifying story of a man wrongly accused by an algorithm. He’s not the first and won’t be the last, the call for transparency, legibility and legal oversight is ever so strong.

How Taiwan used digital tools, to solve the Covid19 pandemic

Ian thinks: Taiwan mainly avoided the Covid19 lockdown. Audrey Tang, Taiwan’s Digital Minister, shares how tools/techniques like crowdsourcing, a transparent supplies system and the use of humor on social media have resulted in less than 500 confirmed cases.

Is anonymous or actually hacktivism which is back?

Ian thinks: Theres been an uptake in techniques similar to anonymous & occupy in the wake of . Its a mistake they are back when this simply the future of protests?

Why is the police body camera a false hope?

Ian thinks: Its all American body cameras in the studies, however there are similar aspects in the UK which are starting to stir.

Different ways to defeating facial recognition

Ian thinks: Great summary of techniques to defeat facial recognition complete with demos. Take your pick which most suits your style.

A comprehensive guide book to manifesting reality

Ian thinks: I know a lot people prefer paper to digital, and the node zine is a great e/book covering a lot of the digital technologies I cover in the public service internet newsletters. You can download if for free or order a nice print copy.

The future of work post covid19?

Ian thinks: There’s a lot debate over the advantages and disadvantages of working from home. Each case is different but I found this economist video had all the points nicely wrapped up in short video. Lots to think about as the world starts to open again.


Find the archive here