Some things I’ve been in to this week:
A TV series: There’s nothing I like better than a good bit of infrastructure! Actually, a good bit of infrastructure and a ‘behind the scenes’ type TV programme. This week BBC2 started The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway a short series about the construction of Crossrail. This programme was generally fascinating showing you things you never realised they did as part of such a major project but what was genuinely awe inspiring was boring a tunnel just 80cm above an Underground line and 30cm below an escalator whilst both were still in use!
A TED talk: This is one of my favourites that I re-watched this week. It’s Rory Sutherland talking about the value of advertising and how it changes our perception of products. Whilst many may feel it shows why advertising is a bad thing, it also shows why what advertising achieves is useful in other areas and why it’s a fascinating industry to work in. Rory Sutherland himself is also massively entertaining.
A book: I’ve been reading quite a lot of books lately on dealing with anxiety and depression (something which I expect I’ll write more about some time) and also the general area of getting more done in life and managing work better. One book I’ve found is definitely from the latter but had massive parallels with the former and was really interesting and so I’d recommend it to anyone. It’s called How to be a Productivity Ninja by Graham Allcott. Don’t let the title put you off as it includes some really useful tips but is also an easy read.
A film: I’m going to recommend a film even though I’ve not seen it (yet). I’ve had a long standing love affair with the photographs of Vivian Maier and I want everyone to know about her. This week the documentary Finding Vivian Maier about how her photographs were discovered and about the woman herself was released. I imagine it’ll only be on at independent art cinemas, although I’ve not spotted it on at my own local one yet, but keep an eye out. An amazing photographer and an amazing story.
Another TV series: This week saw the return of Coast to BBC2 starting with a look at both sides of the English Channel. It’s great that this series has continued when the original premise was just to go round the coast of the UK in one series, and it always finds things that are fascinating. This week included amongst other things Mont St Michel (which I love from my one visit anyway), some impressive beach art at Arromanches, the dramatic Vauban forts off the coast of St Malo (a town which looks like somewhere I should visit some time anyway) and the interesting and surprisingly unknown story of the SS Mendi that sank of the Isle of Wight during the First World War.
An open letter: Finally, and not something unique to this week but I think is worth reading and re-reading is this amusing Open Letter to Metrolink. It’s nearly a year old now, but it is the result of someone finally getting so frustrated about problems with Manchester’s tram system that they penned this amusing open letter to its director. Anyone who commutes regularly will share the pain.