Skip to main content

Good day today: spent most of it struggling to get Java — running in Tomcat on the Mac — to call functions in R. Successfully in the end, thanks to Stack Overflow and others. Tonight: Infinity War!

Top-Ten Album Lists

Two album-related memes have been doing the rounds on Facebook lately. Both involve posting cover images of ten favourite albums across ten days. One involves doing so without any comment, but the more interesting one to me involves the poster writing about their thoughts on each album. I was nominated by my friend Peter to join in with the long-form version.

I’m all about owning my own content, as you know, and not having it locked away in Facebook’s walled garden. So my plan is to write about ten albums, but to do so here, on my blog. Links to the posts will automatically be crossposted to Facebook anyway.

I started compiling a list of possibles, and thinking about starting to write posts. First I decided to restrict it one per artist. Otherwise I could just pick five by The Beatles and five by The Clash.

But then I played some albums, and thought some more.

See, I knew right up front that it was going to be almost entirely a white-guy fest. I wanted to approach it honestly, and not try to appear to be anything I’m not, so that’s how it would have to be. It would be reflecting my life as a music fan. As it stands the long list has one woman and no non-white people.

But as I played those albums — albums I love — and as I thought about them, I realised two things:

  1. I know these albums too well. I’m not bored of them, but they can drift past without me really being aware of them, through overfamiliarity.
  2. This won’t be very interesting, and certainly won’t have any surprises for anyone who knows me.

So I’ve come to a decision, I think: I’m going to do it slightly differently. I’m going to write about ten albums that I like now. Ones that I’ve discovered in the last few years, maybe, or that I’ve known for a while but have listened to a lot more in recent years.

I’m not entirely sure what that list is going to look like. I only have two, maybe three definites on it at the moment, and it’s going to take a while to construct it. But I think it could be a much more interesting list — certainly for me — when it’s done.

And I’ll do a post with a rundown of what the original list would have been, just for completeness.

So watch out for those in the next few days.

Merlin Mann just said what I thought was “Trump loyal” on the Reconcilable Differences podcast. Intriguing.

Then I realised he said “trompe l’oeil”. Which made more sense in context, but was less interesting.

Injection Vols 1-3 by Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey, and Jordie Bellaire (Books 2018, 10)

This is a great story about how some people have to fix things in the aftermath of something they did that may change the world fundamentally, if not destroy it. With that description it sounds very similar to Ellis’s earlier webcomic (with Paul Duffield), Freak Angels.

Which is a fair enough assessment, though the triggering event in this case is a combination of AI, the internet, and old magic; as opposed to the psychic powers in the older work. Ellis has deeply embedded the “start late” advice often given to aspiring authors. Both of the works under discussion, and some of his others, start long after the events that set their plots in motion.

It can be a very effective device. We get to know characters who already know each other, and the past events are revealed gradually, through conversation and flashbacks. And the fact that the protagonists don’t at first fully understand what they did means that we learn along with them.

This is great, but the only frustrating thing is that these three volumes — comprising fifteen issues of the comic — are to date all that there is. I don’t know if they plan to continue it, but the last issue came out in November, and the story is far from over. Googling has not so far revealed the answer to this.

Recommended, though.