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Dateline: 2022-02-22

Just wanted to note the loveliness of today’s date: 2022-02-22 in ISO format, or 22/2/22 or 22/2/2022 in either US or normal numeric date formatting.

All those 2s. I find it very pleasing. There won’t be another date like it for a while. 200 years, in fact.

The Kids by Hannah Lowe (Books 2022, 3)

I don’t think I’ve ever written about a book of poetry here before. That’s because I don’t read that much of it. Whenever I do, I think, ‘I should read more poetry.’

This won the Costa, but that’s not the main reason I picked it up. The author, Hannah Lowe, was a tutor on my MA course. She taught my Creative Nonfiction (CNF) module. Which sounds a long way from poetry, but a person can have skills in more than one type of writing. She was very good as a tutor, and in fact I got my highest single mark in CNF.

It’s a very short and easy read, but some of the poems go to some dark places. Others — most, I’d say — are highly positive and life-affirming. They were inspired by her time teaching sixth formers in English schools. Which made me wonder on my CNF class chat, should we be worried about what her next collection’s going to be about?

Hopefully she won’t repeat herself. These are all sonnets, or in one cases a series of sonnets under one title, and very good, as the awards people clearly think.

Wordle on my phone is still at the original site. But my partner’s goes to the NYT. There’s no obvious reason for the difference, and there has been no practical difference.

Today we got different words. Mine, both obscure and not even an allowed word on the NYT. What?!

Raw Spirit: In Search of the Perfect Dram by Iain Banks (Books 2022, 2)

Rereading the great Mr Banks’s whisky book/travelogue/memoir

Posting about books is slow because I’m reading something gigantic. More of that later (possibly much later). But in the interstices, a return to The Great Banksie Reread. My friend John mentioned recently that he had just read this for the first time, which prompted me to revisit it (that, and perhaps some great whisky I got for Christmas).

Mildly surprised to realise that when I wrote about it before in The Whisky Post it was not one of my typical book posts. I guess in 2003 I wasn’t doing that. It was just over 18 years ago. Wow.

I concur with my earlier opinion, but note this quote:

Banks gives us a brief overview of the steps in the distilling process, fairly early on, and then makes appropriate use of the various technical terms during later distillery visits. All fair enough. But there is one term for part of distillery’s apparatus — the lyne arm — that he starts referring to without ever explaining what it is (I’m fairly sure: it is possible that I just missed that explanation, but I don’t think so).

Well, I offer an eighteen-year-late correction: he does define the lyne arm on first use. I must have missed it the first time. And I note with mild but resigned annoyance that the link in the quote above is dead, even though the site, Whisky Magazine, is not.

Anyway, well worth a look if you haven’t read it. You may not learn that much about malts, and the scene has changed a lot over the time, but it’s still a joy to spend time with him.

And it seems like Glenfiddich no longer make the Havana Reserve expression. If you search for it online there are prices quoted of around £400 pounds a bottle(!), though no actual bottles for sale. Which is a shame, because it was good, and I’m sure it would still sell if they made it. Maybe they stopped being able to get the rum barrels.

The Word on Wordle

To celebrate the news of Wordle‘s sale to the New York Times, here’s my result from today:

Wordle 227 2/6

🟨🟨⬛🟩🟩
🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩

The first time I’ve got it on the second line.

While I don’t blame Josh Wardle for making a ton of money out of it, it does perhaps slightly undercut the narrative over the last few weeks about how he did it for his partner and for fun. But like I say, who can blame him?

It does seem likely that the NYT will put it behind their paywall eventually. As they did with the formerly-free review site The Wirecutter when they bought it, for example. Which would be a shame.

Something I meant to write about before, but never got round to, was how all the mainstream press wrote about it. They made it hard to find, and, I think, helped to encourage the scammy app store rip-off versions. Because they (mostly, from what I saw) did not say that it was a web-based game, and worse, they didn’t link to it. That’s sloppy at best.

Anyway, it seems I’ve done it successfully for 21 days in a row:

A screengrab of the Wordle word game showing 21  days with 100% success. This is the only day on which the game was completed on the second try.
Day 21 of my Wordle streak

Out, and Into Town

I’ve just been into the West End of London, to various shops. Travelled by bus, masked of course, unlike many.

I’ve still not been back on the Tube since about January 2020, though I have been on short train journeys a couple of times.

Just checking in with the outside world.

The Beatles: Get Back, 2021 - ★★★★★

I wish I could give this six stars or seven. Hell, why not ten? Actually watching it twice in two months and giving it five stars each time is giving it ten.

It is so, so good, in so many ways.

Apparently Disney are releasing an IMAX version of just the rooftop concert soon. That’ll be interesting, if too short. I mean, I’d watch the whole thing in a cinema with a good sound system. And I speak as one who once watched the eight-hour version of Wim Wenders’s Until the End of the World at the BFI, so you know I mean it.

See in Letterboxd