2ND APRIL 2021
When I was at secondary school, I would often remark, with complete confidence, that I would die of a heart-attack at 56. I think I must have thought I was being funny, talking so matter-of-factly about my distant, yet tragically young demise. How I wish I could go back in time and slap my teenage self across his glib, beardless chops.
Today, I hit 56. If there’s one thing I’m determined to do over the next 12 months—if for no other reason than to prove that young idiot wrong—it’s to make it all the way through. Either that, or die in the attempt.
Anyway, I thought I’d better send this latest newsletter out pretty damn smartly, just in case…
Some stuff I thought worth sharing
These go all the way to eleven:
- The things I tell myself when I’m writing about nature
Helen Macdonald gives some sound, ‘not-too-serious and also quite serious’ nature-writing advice.
- ‘Viruses and man-eating tigers and predatory Asian hornets are all part of nature’
Patrick Barkham interview the veteran British nature writer Richard Mabey. As a fan of both nature-writing and literary correspondence, I was intrigued to read Mabey is considering writing his next collection of essays in the form of letters, very much in the style of his hero Gilbert White. Sounds perfect.
- The Wild Nearby
My mate Julian Hoffman on how the wild wills its way into the most developed and unexpected of places.
- The Royal Photographic Society archive
The Royal Photographic Society Journal is the oldest continuously published photographic periodical in the world. This digital archive provides searchable access to all issues from the first, in March 1853, up to 2018. Best viewed in full-screen mode.
- Perseverance Rover’s descent and touchdown on Mars
We are a talented species. Nasa’s Mars 2020 Perseverance mission captured thrilling footage of its rover landing on Mars.
- Emerging from a mussel shell
Christina Riley tracks down the work of pioneering seaweed collector and artist Mary A. Robinson.
A website inspired by a tweet. Draw icebergs and see how they would float. It’s totally addictive.
- Right Up Our Alley
Astonishingly skilful drone footage captured inside a bowling alley.
- Lou Ottens, inventor of the cassette tape, dies aged 94
Thanks for all the mix tapes. The Dutch engineer was also instrumental in the development of the first CD.
- ‘I had to put the pen down, take a deep breath, have a little cry’
Britain’s greatest guitarist, Richard Thompson, has finally written his memoir, covering a life-changing crash, and his fiery romance with his ex-wife and singing partner Linda Thompson.
- Scientists may have solved ancient mystery of ‘first computer’
Researchers claim a breakthrough in study of 2,000-year-old Antikythera mechanism, an astronomical calculator found in the sea.
After I’d made some encouraging progress on my Darwin book, things suddenly ground to a halt this month. I used this as an excuse to investigate a new(ish) software app designed to help people like me link and analyse their notes. I was hugely impressed.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off for some low-cholesterol cake.
See you next time.