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It’s funny when you hear the DJ on BBC 6Music saying, ‘I borrowed some records from the John Peel Archive’; and then you realise it’s Tom Ravenscroft. ‘I got some records from my dad’s collection’ doesn’t sound quite so… distinguished.

Site Update

As you might notice if you look around here, I’ve made some changes to the layout and presentation of the site. Nothing very dramatic, but the header and sidebar look a bit different.

I’m open to — and seeking — constructive criticism. How does it look? Is anything misaligned, or confusingly laid out, or hard to find?

Let me know in the comments, or on Twitter.

The Man Who Sold the Moon by Robert A Heinlein (Books 2020, 11)

A set of linked short stories, this, all part of Heinlein’s Future History. In these days of companies launching rockets to the International Space Station, the title story seems slightly relevant. In it, businessman DD Harriman attempts to launch the first mission to the moon — it was written in the 40s, long before Apollo.

They’re all decent enough stories. But we are in a very masculine world. The dodgy sexual politics of the last one are largely ignored by the almost complete absence of women. Except in ‘Let There Be Light,’ in which a women is effectively co-inventor of solar power panels.

Heinlein’s writing of women characters is generally considered to be poor, and I’m sure that’s true. But it’s interesting to think how he developed from these early stories to the later novels, where at least there are women, and they are major characters.

What Must Be Said

I hope I don’t need to say this. But silence is complicity, so:

Black Lives Matter.

My daughter went to the London demo on Wednesday (note: there was no riot, contrary to some bullshit hashtag that was trending yesterday morning). I am so proud of her. Her whole generation seem so thoughtful, so engaged.

Why didn’t I go? To be honest, it’s because I was scared. Not of the demo, or anything that might have happened there. I was scared of the virus. Of the close contact that was sure to happen.

I gave her a lift to her friend’s house. They walked for two and a half hours to Hyde Park. I picked her up in Camden afterwards. But part of me wishes I’d gone myself. She said it was a much younger crowd than the Trump or Brexit demos. sure, it was a weekday, but more of us olds — me included — should have been there.

Listening to the Bikini Kill Peel Session, and it does have Peel’s intros. So good to hear his voice again.

How Iceland Beat the Coronavirus

Great piece in The New Yorker, by Elizabeth Kolbert, about how Iceland handled the coronavirus. Which is by actually being guided by science. The experts decided what needed to happen, and it happened, without interference from politicians.

Of course, it’s a country of less than 400,000 people, so the scale is different from even the UK, never mind the US. But it does make you dream of what might have been.

My son is doing university exams in the kitchen.

Such is the world we live in now.

Peel Sessions

Warren Ellis draws our attention to this incredible listing of links to Peel Sessions. They’re on YouTube, so there’s always the chance that any of them will go away, but in the meantime, what a resource.

Got to ask, why doesn’t the BBC make this available officially?

I have only one complaint about that page: it needs use stop-words in its sorting, or otherwise deal with bands called ‘The’ Something. I scrolled down to the ‘F’ section and thought, ‘Well there’s a bit of a large gap here, surely?’ Until I scrolled down to ‘T’, where we find The Fall.

Also, it would be even better if we had Peelie’s introductions, but I guess those aren’t in the released versions.

I’m listening to Dolly Mixture as I write. Who remembers them? Well, hardly even me, to be honest. But they introduce themselves in their very first track.