My life is filled with so much music at the moment. In some ways it’s like being a teenager again. I seem to spend most of my spare cash on vinyl, CDs, downloads and tickets to gigs. I’m now in three different album clubs, which means that typically there will be three nights in a month where I will sit down and dedicate to intently listening to an album. I love it.
This week I heard a Velvet Underground album for the first time, as our album club host had picked Loaded for us to listen to. It was superb. Hearing Lou Reed sing “fine, fine music” in Rock And Roll made me think of Kill The King by Lena Deluxe and reminded me to check out her album from a few years ago.
Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights were spent with two of my best friends. We went to see PJ Harvey play her new album plus a selection of her old songs at the Roundhouse in London. It’s an incredible venue but could benefit from a sloped floor — we ended up behind some tall guys and people with massive barnets which meant that we were straining to see her as she moved around the stage. The music and performance of the whole band was incredible. Hearing The Words That Maketh Murder was electrifying.
The next day we found ourselves in the basement of Pizza Express in Holborn to see Grant-Lee Phillips. I’ve been listening to his music since Grant-Lee Buffalo’s Mighty Joe Moon album in the mid-1990s but had never seen him live. The venue is absolutely beautiful — it has a classic intimate jazz-club vibe — and was a perfect setting for him and his guitar. Hearing so many songs that I’ve loved for years sung by someone so close that you could almost reach out and grab them was something special. His voice and his music are criminally underrated.
I do wonder whether I should be prioritising even more time to music as I love it so much. I spend a significant part of my week with podcasts on politics and current affairs but I’m not sure it does me much good. It’s great to be informed, but life is short; I get the feeling that it would be better spent with music than hearing about the latest drama happening in the world.
This was a week in which I:
- Got back to work after a week out of the office, catching up with the team on what was going on.
- Created and a short summary of risks related to Generative AI and Large Language Models, much of it based on the recent book by Baldur Bjarnason, and published it to our internal working group.
- Gave my Digital Literacy presentation on Generative AI and Large Language Models twice, to one of our Executive Committees and one of our regional offices. I’ve now covered everyone in our part of the business, having given the presentation around 25 times.
- Reviewed a draft set of learning patterns and frameworks that we plan to offer to the rest of our department.
- Looked at the Planview roadmap functionality and reviewed a proof-of-concept that the team had pulled together last week. Got SSO working with Roadmaps and AgilePlace again after we discovered that the settings of the former override the latter.
- Attended a town hall meeting for our part of the business and heard some wonderful stories of the work we have been doing with, and for, our clients. We had some lovely office drinks and chats afterwards.
- Met with the project team who are coordinating our Technology town hall meeting in November.
- Extended our finance tracker out to 2024 given that the end of the year is fast approaching.
- Reviewed and updated my open operational risks.
- Had our monthly Lean Coffee session.
- Attended the monthly Architecture Community of Practice meeting.
- Scoped out a draft agenda for the Gartner IT Symposium in November.
- Enjoyed a lovely ‘random coffee’ with a fellow member of the WB-40 podcast community.
- Completed my tax return. Always takes more time and effort to think about it than it does to do it.
- Had an eventful Saturday morning club bike ride. Halfway round I felt as though I couldn’t get enough air into my lungs and found myself coughing, spluttering and unable to keep up with the group. I’d had a Barry White voice on Friday and had just put it down to too many late nights, but this seemed like some kind of bug. Two COVID-19 tests were both negative and by Sunday I was feeling a lot better. A couple of other cyclists in our group got stung or bitten by insects and one of them has had a nasty reaction, his face blowing up like a balloon.
- Had a wonderful dinner with friends on Saturday night that featured a banoffee pie of epic proportions.
- Deleted my Clubhouse account. I think we knew at the time it took off during the pandemic that it was just a fad.
- Tried to diagnose some home network problems where everything felt like it was being transmitted through treacle. Rebooted the router. Unplugged it and plugged it back in again. Restarted both of my Pi-holes one after the other. Changed our Internet DNS from OpenDNS to 126.96.36.199 for Families. Nothing seemed to make any difference. Finally tried rebooting the Virgin Media router — which is running in ‘modem mode’, so I assumed wouldn’t have a significant role to play in terms of network performance — and it all suddenly started working fine. I wish there was an easier way to investigate where network bottlenecks and issues are.
Next week: Seeing Gang of Four and making some big project decisions.