- There are two different types of chain lubricant, dry and wet. One for dry season when you get a bit of rain. One for wet season.
- Don’t overdo it. I’ve put on far too much lubricant and what it does is collect loads of grit laying a mushy dirty grease layer over your frame and parts and doing more harm than good. I got into a bad habit of liberally applying grease before each ride, nope, wrong move. It’s a balance, I got lulled into thinking adding more grease would keep everything flying but the trade-off with grit and muck attraction and buil-up offsets this.
- Clean with degreaser using a cleaning gizmo and then wipe as much grit off as you can from the chain and gear parts
- Then grease, put a drop of lubricant on each bead (I learned this from a Brilliant Bikes video guide).
- Try and clean once a week and add grease once a week if you’re doing around 100k a week.
- Chain maintenance, along with keeping your tyre tubes inflated, is one of the two most influential things on your ride quality.
- The better cleaned and lubricated, emphasis on quality of the process, the more efficient your pedalling will be and the less friction from your chain and parts.
- WD40 sits in a weirdly useful space and feels to me like a combination between de-greaser and greaser; use it as a cheat when you’re in a rush or to clean the chain when it’s been wet and you need to ride again the next morning. But I think greasing and de-greasing properly is still better.
We stayed at a pub-stop in the New Forest. There was a magnificent oak tree down the road. I stood with it for a few moments and thought about the bark, gave it a hug.
Apparently there is a book of fiction called The Overstory, which describes how trees are interconnected for miles and miles and communicate with each other through growth and the distribution of nutrients. That fascinated me and I can’t wait to read it and study trees more. I feel happy around trees and in forests.
I’ve been reading/listening to a couple of books about the Ethereum blockchain. I’m sure this isn’t an original thought but it hit me that blockchains can be described like digital trees. Moving forward constantly and growing in one direction mostly, up. Some child DAO’s wither and die without the right conditions.
Others grow into huge structures, requiring stable nutrients and conditions to thrive. Right now they are all too power hungry to coexist additively with our world long term. What could they give back that feeds us like trees?
Once I heard on a podcast that you can look at different blockchains like cities. For example Ethereum could be New York with its defi layers and large volume of traffic comparable to New York’s finance and business sectors. I liked that metaphor but I like this one too.
The books are The Cryptopians by Laura Shin and The Infinite Machine by Camila Russo.
And The Overstory.
Why I like this Argon mug
The white enamel camping mug with a blue lip is a design classic. See Falcon for a nice origin story. I have enduring fomo from missing this run of Ghostly mugs.
The blue lip is great for sipping. The look of the body is clean, matte white and pleasing. It’s light and easy to hold with a large handle for clumsy hands like mine.
If inclined you can put soup or food in it. I’ve enjoyed being served fries in one at a pub. You can (re-)heat contents on a stove. If it gets chipped, which it does, it looks well-weathered.
At first I didn’t like the idea of this Argon Tableware variation. Cynically reluctant to accept variations on classic designs I prefer to admire the original and accept an evolution when it brings something useful with it. I was weary of the fancy bowl shape and glossy finish.
There is a big downside to the Falcon design: liquid gets cold quickly, which ruins the slow sipping of morning coffee outside or inside on a chilly day. Worse when you’ve put time into the brew and money into the grounds.
Two things surprised me about our new Argon mugs. One, they keep coffee warmer for longer, extending it past the cooling pain point by a smidgeon.
I’ve been pondering why. Perhaps the bowl protects the liquid surface from exposure to cold air; or evaporating liquid hits the sides and slips back in.
The walls feel thicker versus the Falcon design. Either thicker steel or a thicker enamel coating, which would contribute to heat retention.
The shape contributes to the experience via the smell though, retaining the aroma in a bowl which you can dip your nose into. So the bowl skins in to utilitarian territory via the nose.
Two, on one of our set of six there is a slight build up or bump approaching the lip on the contact side for sipping if holding it with the right hand. It’s a comforting feeling and my favourite of the bunch. I did wonder if they were finished by hand and will research whether production is fully automated and this is a quality control slip or by hand and a natural variation.
I prefer the design of the original Falcon but as far as enamel camping mugs in our van grab bag [basket] go the Argon tops it until it gets warmer. I’ll be enjoying this mug on outdoor adventures for a while, maybe even bring one inside for summer mornings.
The Falcon mug makes a great cold drink vessel in the meantime.
Casual remarks like this, with Michael Stipe thrown in an afterthought, are one reason I like reading artist memoirs.
Burroughs was a key originator of the cut-up technique used by beat poets and musicians including Kim Gordon, Bob Dylan, David Bowie and Thom Yorke, in which sentences or paragraphs are cut up and put together again. A friend of the Beatles, Burroughs also happens to be one of the people on the cover of Sgt. Peppers.
Cut up was the feature behind David Bowie’s Verbaliser app.
For your ears. I found myself listening to Cats this week. The new version. The one recorded at Abbey Road.
The sessions were in Studio One for a week. You can hear that magnificent sound in the opener, when the orchestra kicks in. Wow.
The theme is quicker than I remember it. From the old cast version which I listened to when I was a kid. It works. But what really tickled me was track two. Jellicle cats. Such fun. So many words. So many lovely musical notes. The playful backing note stabs carrying the rhythm. The cast having to pronounce the words and sing them in time and together. Try following pedantical cats, metaphorical cats and the other words at the end. The bass player having a whale of a time driving everything forward.
But it’s following the singers that’s really a treat. And a thought hit me yesterday when I was tired, drained and bored after a long week and listening to cheer myself up. In a world struggling with homogenous dynamics, musicals could be the next best thing for one’s ears and listening brain.
Hearing the little timing differences between the ensemble singers delivering very challenging lines. It feels good, to spot those differences, to hear detail.
And it’s fun too, because you’re also listening to stories and words, which is something I don’t do enough of at the moment, I think.
Just a thought. I’ll be listening to more musicals this year either way, amongst the Japanese noise rock and everything else.
And yes, I do have a cat, a wonderful white moggy called Zoe.
Cats, the new one, at Abbey Road https://open.spotify.com/track/1jCDF7sWqYmOr2Ll5WkNuT?si=ErqmzXBrSheXVxP4yW3sIg
A delightful couple of stops looking for vinyl in Aarhus while visitng friends over new year. The first was Badstuerock. A cavern-like store in a quaint old building, of which there are loads in Aarhus. Dark-ish lighting, lots of crates, and when I asked for something ‘Danish and obscure’ the chap obliged with a release that they put out on their own label in 2017. I’m intrigued as to what that one will sound like judging by the cover and pull-quote (!). See pics at the bottom.
I also enjoyed buying Nephew and Gangway records here, on home soil.
The second was Route 66, deeper into the centre of town. A lovely feeling and layout in there. Oak-y and wooden. Plus an enticing selection of discounted vinyl upstairs, which was a drag seeing as we only had five minutes up there before jumping onto the airport bus.
I came away from there with Obverse by Anders Trentemøller after phoning (asking) our (expert) friend for something Danish, obscure and electronic-y.
Such fun. I would recommend visiting Badstuerock and Route 66 and I look forward to exploring the other couple of record stores in town when we’re back. Aarhus is a lovely, historic town with lots of lovely architecture, streets and stories around the buildings, by the way.
Found these quirky Beatles records in Badstuerock. Ringo loves…
Also this one. Does one need a headset in the Animal Republic?
Nice to see Abbey Road featured in both stores, of course! This is outside Route 66.
This is the haul, pictured on a table in the departures lounge at Aarhus airport. Very excited about all of it. Particularly spinning the Nephew and Gangway records.
Starcrash. ‘Worm Cover №2’… ‘This is exactly the kind of music punk rock set out to destroy’.
At BBC Introducing last year I sat on a panel about music and tech, specifically where music may take tech. The conversation naturally converged on a key point of optimism or contention, depending how you look at it.
The post is quoted below directly from the Abbey Road website. If you’d like to see the original post with links and pics then go here.
A Positive Spin on Artificial Intelligence and Music by Abbey Road Red Innovation Manager, Karim Fanous
There is a lot of negativity out there but if we want to spin the proverbial AI vinyl with efficacy, we need to not fear the [robot] reaper. Sure, the music robots are coming. In fact, they’re already here. But are you going to fear substitution – think synthesiser – or are you going to ask how much can this new gizmo do for me, and how do I push it to its limits? – think Beatles – rather than shall I pack up my pedal case and throw in the creativity towel.
Yesterday I found myself at BBC Introducing, sharing the stage with Bobby Friction and Nikki Lambert discussing where music and technology are going as an awkward or symbiotic pairing.It’s an exciting subject, was a fun discussion, and I’d like to summarise some of the main points I took away about artificial intelligence and music in as simple terms as possible.
Caveat: this is not a technical piece and I won’t go into detail about technology or startups, it’s just a nice way of getting one’s imagination around the topic.
Tech has been playing a part in music since well before the first guitar amplifier was created and Bob Dylan ripped up the rulebook. In fact, when looking at the date for the origin of the synth, even though it was popularised by the wonderful Moog line in the 60s, the Theremin was created as far back as 1920! How many amazing new genres and amazing records were made using this electronic instrument? (The synth, that is, not the Theremin, although I’m sure there are a few out there!)
Fear of substitution is more damaging to our creativity than substitution itself. We can sit around all day worrying about the potential damage that tech might cause, but what’s the point? When The Beatles were offered the REDD desks made by Abbey Road’s Recording Engineering Department, from which our incubator, Red, derives its name, did they say, ‘no I don’t want to use the four simultaneous channels this desk can give me’? Nope! They said, ‘Give me more!’. They pushed technology to the limit and past.
The question you could be asking isn’t when will my creativity become redundant, it’s what will my creativity become? Artificial Intelligence, algorithms, machine learning – these technologies will power tools that fold into your creative process and the layers and structure of that process, in the same way that you insert a plug-in into a DAW channel strip or patch and analogue compressor into your digital set-up. The more fun question to explore is how will you use the tools? Where will they sit in your process?
The process of creating and listening to music is linked to our human selves and nature, it’s relational, social, linked to the stories of our daily lives and artificial intelligence doesn’t replace that. But it could enhance it. When we create a piece of music we put our heart and soul into conceiving, performing and making choices about production and the settings on our tools, whether pedals, analogue desks or plug-ins. Our creative moments are driven by our conscious thoughts, subconscious thoughts, feelings, mood, surroundings, relationships with other creators and so much more. The same goes for our listening moments, whenever we experience something, actively or passively, there is always context around us and the experience. It doesn’t feel like this is directly interchangeable with an AI or piece of music tech. But you can use it in the process.
If you don’t want to compete with AI, don’t! You don’t have to use it. But at some point you are going to have to compete for share of ear with other writers / performers who are using it.
There are interesting experiments afoot. Do some research around Holly Herndon and her AI, Spawn, or how Benoit Carré is using François Pachet’s Flow Machines technology to interpret music and create and edit building blocks of tracks. These are two great examples at opposite poles: one creator ‘birthing’ an AI to interpret her vocals and perform its interpretations back for her to use, and another using AI driven tools to pragmatically interpret and layer music like building blocks.
The tools are out there, how are you going to use them? Two examples from our own stable of alums are Vochlea’s Dubler microphone and LifeScore’s adaptive music platform. Vochlea’s intelligent microphone can recognise what you are vocalising in realtime and output it in the correct sound, with the nuances of the performance captured. So you could be beatboxing one second and making a trumpet noise the next and it would recognise and output that in realtime. It can be used as a writing, recording or performing instrument.
While at the other end of the spectrum, LifeScore’s adaptive music platform takes human performances – high quality input composed and performed by humans – and uses them as the foundation for evolving soundtracks triggered by data inputs, whether movement, weather or other. So for example you could be turning left or increasing speed and the music will change in response, using the recordings to output an adaptive soundtrack with integrity.
Both pieces of tech marry machine and human creativity, one as an instrument, the other as an adaptive music platform that uses high quality human created and performed inputs. A third, Humtap, is exploring fully generative composition, enabling people to create fully produced tracks by humming and tapping and choosing a genre.
All of these tools could somehow fall into your creative process or set-up, whether as instruments or writing aids. The question is what do you need from AI and music tech, how do you want to, or not want to, use it?