Week Notes 1 - 7 April 2024

White people love Underworld
7 April 2024

In this week’s notes we have public sector tendering, biking, two shows (Max Cooper & Underworld), and a visit to the Cutty Sark!

Public sector tendering

I’m pitching for a chunky piece of public sector work. I’ve forgotten how painful it is to go through a full procurement exercise. Even a “mini” one. Cyber Essentials, BPSS, GDPR statements, multiple references & case studies, and a ninety nine page agreement to read and sign among other tidbits. Then there’s the proposal and actually delivering the work! Do you know what TUPE is? Now I do! 😉

Biking with the lad

On the bank holiday Monday I took a lovely bike ride with my son along the whole length of the Parkland Walk from Highgate to Finsbury Park. It started hailing midway through and I feared it would put him off cycling forever but he took delight in catching hail in his hands and eating it! As a lover of transport, he was also thrilled to learn that it had been a public railway in a former life. We saw some cool graffiti along the way, too.

Squid was here!

Max Cooper

I’ve been a fan of Max Cooper’s work for several years since his “Yearning for the infinite” project which I was lucky enough to see at the Barbican back in 2019. This time he was back at the Barbican again with a bigger line up, even crazier visuals including laser projections, and a soundtrack to titilate even the most stalwart of eardrums. We brought our son (and his earplugs). He hated it but stuck it out until the end. I think it was a little too intense for him. Oops. Ah well, still cheaper than a sitter for the evening and hopefully it will pique his curiosity for future gigs.

Max Cooper: AKA Inside my brain on an organised day


Two big concerts in one week? I promise I’m not normally so lucky. I discovered Underworld as a senior in highschool when Trainspotting came out. The soundtrack featured the sleek, menacing, and hynotic Dark & Long as well as the anthemic Born Slippy. I was hooked and made it my mission to dig up whatever I could at my local record shops in Colorado. Seeing them live seemed like an impossible dream. So when I moved to London and got a real job I jumped at the opportunity. I saw them perform in 2014 at the Royal Festival Hall, in 2015 at the Hammersmith Apollo, and in 2023 at the Royal Albert Hall. The Albert Hall show was so big and sparkly and mind-melting that I thought nothing could top it.

The mothership and the faun.

When I heard they were going to play Ally Pally – which is pratically in my back garden – I told myself I didn’t need to see them. I said I didn’t feel like spending the money and standing up in a giant sweaty room for 3+ hours while they played two back to back sets. I didn’t think I needed to see Underworld for a fourth time.

But how very wrong I was.

Life had been feeling a bit short & stressful and I knew how inspired I always felt after seeing Karl prancing across the stage like a 66 year old kid at a party and how much joy it gives me to see Rick behind his giant mothership of a console grinning and knob-twiddling (and sometimes singing) like a mad scientist.

I knew I had to go.

By this point, tickets were sold out, but Dice (full disclosure: made by my old friends at ustwo™) made it easy to get on the waiting list and when a ticket popped up, I grabbed it.

Holy smokes. What a show. Glad I brought earplugs. They played all my favs and of course, ended with a raucous rendition of Born Slippy .NUXX. During the interval I made my way up to the very front and stayed there for the duration. Rick and Karl have such a magical vibe. We should all be so lucky to have that kind of work relationship. After the show, I went digging back through the classics like DOOT DOOT and it dawned on me that these guys have been honing their craft for 4 decades. No wonder it sounds amazing.

The Rick & Karl magic
Green peace
From Romford to Ally Pally
A well-deserved bow

Visiting the Cutty Sark

Finally, on Sunday our son specifically requested a visit to the Cutty Sark so off we went. Why haven’t we been before? It was good fun and very and educational. I hadn’t realised how the completion of the Suez Canal, the advent of steam ships and a relative lack of wind on the Red Sea meant that tall ships like the Cutty Sark had just a few more years sailing to Australia to get wool before their days as commercial vessels were over. My favourite bit of the museum was the collection of figure heads! I think my son’s favourite part was riding the DLR to get there. 😜

The Cutty Sark's barnacle resistent hull
A few of the figureheads from the collection
Nice knots

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