Playlist Pick: Kraftwerk, ‘The Model’

Or ‘Das Model’ to give it its original name!

I became an ’80s obsessive during the first big nostalgia wave of 1998-2004 (my teenage years), and I had this song on every playlist I made during that time (it was actually a late ’70s track, but one of those late ’70s tracks that was ahead of its time and is more associated with the ’80s in popular awareness today). I’ve been in a synth mood again this week, and this is a highly suitable song. Nostalgic for many reasons!

Booze Alternative: Freixenet 0.0% Alcohol Free Sparkling Rosé

This is my favourite booze alternative of the last two and a bit years of sobriety. It’s an absolute go-to…

Freixenet 0.0% Alcohol Free Sparkling Rosé
Freixenet 0.0% Alcohol Free Sparkling Rosé.

…and in recent weeks Asda have stopped selling it, so I can’t get it regularly anymore! Oh well.

It doesn’t taste quite like alcoholic fizzy, but that’s what I like about it (it means it’s not triggering). Instead, it’s got a distinctive taste all of its own – perfect sweetness, very refreshing. I hope I find another local source for it soon.

Sunday Race Memories: Blaydon Race 2017

Blaydon is a very special local race and I’ve done it three times now. Geth and I only found out about it when we saw runners with race numbers on in town in 2016, when we were on our way to a gig. We entered the following year and have been lucky enough to get in on every attempt – it’s always a real rammy on entry night because the race is so popular. It was actually our main impetus for becoming affiliated members of Lonely Goat RC in late 2019, because it meant we’d be able to queue on club entry night for the 2020 race – which made things much, much easier! Sadly the 2020 race – and then also the 2021 race – had to be cancelled due to COVID, but our 2020 entries are valid for 2022 so I’m really looking forward to returning to the race next year.

2017 was probably the most special Blaydon for me because it was my first one, but I was still extremely slow back then and found it tough going. Nevertheless, I loved the atmosphere, and we were lucky with the weather that day – a point driven home when we volunteered at parkrun the next morning in the pouring rain, with lots of sodden new Blaydon Race t-shirts going past us!

Blaydon Race 2017
Struggling somewhere halfway!

I’ve not had a good race at Blaydon yet, but I really hope 2022 will be my year!

Saturday ’80s Photo: The BBC Micro Still Works

And so does the five-and-a-quarter-inch floppy that holds all the games we used to play on the BBC Micro in the late ’80s, surprisingly. Or at least they both did in December 2019, when Dad and I booted everything up for the first time in decades.

BBC Micro

I can’t wait to be able to visit Mum and Dad in Edinburgh and play with this amazing old machine again! There’s an Acorn Electron I want to try booting up too…

We used my old TV (my gift for doing well in my Standard Grades in 2000) as the monitor, because it’s the only CRT screen left in the house. It was really trippy to boot up all the programs and suddenly remember games I hadn’t even thought about for thirty years.

Virus is still my favourite, as that was about the limit of my gaming ability when I was three or four. However, I’ve got a real soft spot for Cheese, Planets and Tarot (imaginative names!) too, just for the pure nostalgia rush when they appear on screen.

The real eventual test will be getting some of my own programs to run on the system!

Making space

I found myself burning out a bit this week. The last couple of months have been very productive but also a bit manic, and I’ve realised I need a bit of a break, so I’ve pared down a few of my activities. I log daily or weekly streaks for just about everything I do, because I find it’s the only way I can keep up with things – I’m very obsessional about my hobbies but also very fickle, so I’ll spend a few weeks obsessed with playing videogames and then a few weeks obsessed with making games instead and then a few weeks where running is my main passion… Maintaining daily streaks such as my run streak is the best way I’ve found to make sure that hobbies don’t get neglected during times when they’re not my main ‘thing’. However, when I have a lot of these streaks going, they become overwhelming and take over my life. As such, sometimes I have to decide to let go of some of them, and that can be really hard when I’ve put so much effort into keeping the streak going for so long.

This week I had to quit the Fetchpoint game again. The game involves going out every day and collecting tokens, including a red bug token that appears daily in your local circle and needs to be collected and taken out of the circle in order to be ‘squished’. You get bonus points for a bug-free circle at the end of the day and minus points if there are any bugs remaining. If you squish your bug for thirty days in a row, you get a badge. I have been chasing this badge for a long time and very nearly had it in September – unfortunately, after I ran the Virtual GNR, I felt too ill to collect my bug for that day and so the attempt came to an end. I started playing again in March to make a fresh attempt, but other areas of life have meant that some days I just don’t have time for the two-hour walk that a bug hunt often requires. It’s been a frustrating experience, and so I’ve given up again for the time being. Hopefully there’ll be a time in the summer or autumn when things are a bit quieter.

I’m looking forward to a quiet bank holiday weekend. A bit of running and walking, but mainly just sitting on my sofa with my game code 🙂

Next door's cat
It really makes me laugh when I open my front door to find this familiar figure sitting on top of my car and staring at me balefully! He was still there when I got back from my run thirty-five minutes later.

This week’s earworm playlists:


Michael Land – ‘On The Hill’
Sia – ‘Cheap Thrills’
MC Hammer – ‘U Can’t Touch This’

And a bonus track that Geth was humming that day:

Michael Land – ‘Phatt Island Waterfall’


Michael Land – ‘Upstairs At The Hotel’
Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé – ‘Barcelona’
Public Image Ltd. – ‘Rise’
Levellers – ‘Julie’


Dee Cooke – ‘Control Room’
Michael Land – ‘On The Hill’
MC Hammer – ‘U Can’t Touch This’
Michael Land – ‘Upstairs At The Hotel’


Michael Land – ‘Upstairs At The Hotel’
Princess Superstar and The High & Mighty – ‘Bad Babysitter’


Dee Cooke – ‘Control Room’
Pride & Fall – ‘December’
Michael Land – ‘On The Hill’


Michael Land – ‘The Barbery Coast’


Cole Porter – ‘Anything Goes’
Michael Land – ‘On The Hill’

Phone Box Thursday: Temple, Temple

Odd title I know. The street name is Temple, and so is the village name. Mum and Dad drove through it on their road trip the other week.

Red phone box
Red phone box, Temple, Temple, 16th April 2021.

(Coordinates 55°81’54.0″N, 3°09’15.1″W.)

It was hard to find an angle on Street View where the image wasn’t doing the weird ‘turn all the red things green’ effect that it sometimes does!

This one still has a phone in. Nice to see!

Playlist Pick: ‘Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis’

I’ve largely been sticking with the LucasArts adventure game soundtracks these last few weeks, as they’re great background music for work (and are very inspirational when doing creative stuff). Fate of Atlantis has always been a favourite for music as well as a favourite game.

It probably has my favourite depiction of Atlantis of all time, and that’s saying something! The music reminds me of many happy hours in my younger years, exploring the beautifully pixellated Atlantean corridors. I really need to pull the game out for another playthrough sometime soon.