Live blog: Open Meeting of Pride London

We’re in the basement of city hall. The room is not very full. Most of the people here are white cis gay men. Everyone at the front appears to be white and not young.

Apparently, at the last meeting some people were thrown out by security, but this time only the chair can eject people.

The board is now introducing itself. The first guy does all the stuff. The woman finds sponsors. Social media. Treasurer. So most of the people deal with office stuff and one guy actually does the festival?

The chair says they are focused on the community. They got control of pride in 2012 and need to be self-financing by 2018. The chair is invoking Orlando. They have some successes. Good at advertising, bigger great, low crime rates, worked with black pride.

Subsidised walking places for NGOs. Did a hustings. Did a lgbt history month event. They are claiming they ran the Soho vigil after Orlando.

They did some survey on survey monkey. 90% of respondents were cis. Most were men. Mostly atheist. Hugely white. 74%

They got respondents through their social media presence. The sample was large.

People come to pride because they want to celebrate. A small number have come to make a statement. Many just come for the parade. Satisfaction with the parade was high.

Volunteers were helpful. Accessibility was lures good. Allies felt more represented in the parade then lesbians did.

People are happy to see corporate involvement.

The community engagement board has some vacancies. You must be a member and official representative of a community group. The board vets every group in the parade.

They’ve got a silver in accessibility and are trying to improve.

‘Pride’s got talent’ continues to grow. It was a ‘very professional’ final (of unpaid talent).

Pride in London has joined international pride organisations. There is now a UK pride organisers conference.

Pride’s got Talent will be split. They want to provide an umbrella for festival events. They will do something for history month and Idahobit.

They want to reach out to women and minority groups including trans people, bme people and young people.

307 groups in the parade.
Announcement podiums through the route.

Trafalgar square had done speakers. The red arrows flew overhead. (Doing great reachout to minority groups…)

Lgbt businesses got involved.

The us ambassador got emotional at the Orlando tribute.

Official after parties raised some funds.

Most volunteers were cis gay white men.

Income is going up. Costs are below income. Funding from the mayor will go down next year.

Most of the costs are on Trafalgar square. Then the parade, then Soho. Then the picnic.

Sponsorship grew this year, including gifts in kind. They got 7 new giant companies to give them stuff. They got money from gay businesses. They collected change etc from people. They will collect for a charity.

They want to diversify their funding. They have grown their fundraising team. Now they’re showing corporate logos.

The communications guy is now talking about good media coverage. Much of this was due to Orlando. The abfab involvement also helped.

Their research got a BBC news story.

They got coverage from a bunch of news outlets. Social media engagement has been high. A million page views. Lots of twitter followers. They have more followers than other pride campaigns. They have an app with lots of downloads.

The proposing bobby story got lots of coverage.

The campaign was #nofilter which was meant to refer to people in the closet. And as a call for people to celebrate the spirit of pride and authenticity.

This was a massive success, they say. They got some free ad agency support. This was the biggest pride campaign ever. They got on telly. They showed some trans couples. They got on MTV. They wanted more women, trans, bi and BME people in their ads. And they won some marketing adverts.

The marketing came in under budget.

They put up billboards on Westfield, put up some films. They took their hash tag nationally.

They are revealing the shocking news that not everyone is 100% out all the time.

Made an impact on the marketing industry. One of the trans people is a soldier. Which is very positive.

Their research indicated that looking at trans soldiers makes cis people more comfortable with trans people. As did the involvement of mainstream brands.

The sponsors were happy.

Now they’re taking questions:

Somebody is adding about the parade route.

They can’t afford to do the festival in a park.

Uk Black Pride wants to know how survey data will be used.

The community board uses it for their review. They want to figure out why black respondents are less satisfied with the event. The data is stated with sponsors and to improve pride, but is not sold. It is also used for their educational outreach.

Now there is a question about parks. The board member is taking about all the parks.

Now somebody is taking about security. The board member is taking about volunteer training.

What happens when the 5 year mandate has been met? The mayor is very committed to pride.

Will pride ever have paid tickets? They want to keep the event as free as possible, so they ask for suggested donations. There is no plan to have paid tickets. They are committed to appropriate crowd control.

What about emergency services in pride? The emergency services are an important part of the city. We are very grateful to emergency services and want them to be part of it.

The 2017 date will be confirmed imminently.

The lgbt cons want to know why political groups are placed at the back of the parade. The board wants every group on the parade to be respected. They try to avoid putting groups next to each other that won’t get along.

Jo is asking also about politics at the back and also about individuals who want to march outside of a group.

The board days they were concerned about health and safety in light of Orlando. If everyone who was concerned about Orlando had marched, it would have brought central London to a standstill. They need to pay for stewarding, which means supporting paid groups first.

Somebody who wants biodegradable confetti cannons on Twitter. They are expensive to clean up.

Somebody wants to know the relationship between the picnic and black pride. Could the parade be as diverse as black pride? Also why was the sound system so crap at the black stage?

There was some poor communication around staging.

The trans representative from the CAB is happy there were more trans people than previously and how will the board increase trans participation? The board member is keen to help on trans stuff and also to speak over the trans representative. They only have so much budget. They want to have a trans cafe, but need to make collective decisions. Their sponsors are really great for trans visibility and we can learn from our sponsors. There are a lot of vacancies and they want trans volunteers.

Algorithms and Authorship

A recent Wall Street Journal article (paywalled, see below for relevant quotes) felt it necessary to quote associate professor Zeynep Tufekci on the seemingly self-evident assertion that ‘Choosing what to highlight in the trending section, whether by algorithms or humans, is an editorial process’. This quote was necessary, as Zuckerburg asserts Facebook is a technology company, building tools but not content. He thus seeks to absolve himself of responsibility for the output of his algorithms.

It’s surprising he’s taken this argument, and not just because it didn’t help Microsoft when they tried it after their twitter bot turned into a Nazi.

Facebook is acting as if the question of authorship of algorithmic output is an open question, when this has been settled in the arts for decades. Musicians have been using algorithmic processes for years. Some John Cage scores are lists of operations performers should undertake in order to generate a ‘performance score’ which is then ‘realised’. The 1958 score of Fonatana Mix ‘consists of 10 sheets of paper and 12 transparencies’ and a set of instructions on how to use these materials. (ibid) Any concert programme for a performance of this piece would list Cage as the composer. That is, he assumes authorship of algorithmic output. The question of authorship has had an answer for at least 58 years.

Indeed, other Silicon Valley companies, some located just down the road from Facebook have quite clearly acknowledged this. The Google-sponsored ‘Net.art’ exhibition, included in the Digital Revolutions show at London’s Barbican in 2014, included artist attribution next to every single piece, including those making copious use of algorithms.

Art has already tackled even the issues of collective and collaborative algorithmic authorship. In 1969 Cornelius Cardew published Nature Study Notes: Improvisation Rites, a collection of text pieces by Scratch Orchestra members. Each of the short pieces, or ‘rites’, has individually listed authors. However, when programmed for performance in 2015 at Cafe Oto, the programme was billed as ‘The Scratch Orchestra’s Nature Study Notes,’ thus indicating both individual and corporate authorship. Some of these pieces are best described as algorithms, and indeed have been influential in tech circles. As Simon Yuill points out in his paper All Problems of Notation Will Be Solved By The Masses the anti-copyright notice included with the score uses copy left mechanisms to encourage modification.

Some may argue that the artist gains authorship through a curatorial process of selecting algorithmic output. Unlike Iannis Xenakis, John Cage never altered the output of his formulas. He did, however, throw away results that he deemed unsatisfactory. Similarly, Nature Study Notes was curated by the listed editor, Cardew. One can assume that performing musicians would make musical choices during performance of algorithmic scores. It’s arguable that these musical choices would also be a form of curation. However, composers have been making music that is played without human performers since the invention of the music box. To take a more recent algorithmic example, Clarence Barlow’s piece Autobusk, first released in 1986, is a fully autonomous music generation program for the Atari. The piece uses algorithms to endlessly noodle out MIDI notes. Although phrasing the description of the piece in this way would seem to bestow some sort of agency upon it, any released recordings of the piece would certainly list Barlow as the composer.

Facebook’s odd claims to distance itself from it’s tools fail by any standard I can think of. It’s strange they would attempt this now, in light of not just Net.Art, but also Algorave music. That is dance music created by algorithms, an art form that is having a moment and which is tied in closely with the ‘live-code’ movement. Composer/performers Alex McLean, Nick Collins, and Shelly Knotts are all examples of ‘live-code’ artists, who write algorithms on stage to produce music. This is the form of artistic programming that is perhaps the closest analogue to writing code for a live web service. Performers generate algorithms and try them out – live – to see if they work. Algorithms are deployed for as long as useful in context and then are tweaked, changed or replaced as needed. Results may be unpredictable or even undesired, but a skilled performer can put a stop to elements that are going awry. Obviously, should someone’s kickdrum go out of control in a problematic way, that’s still attributable to the performer, not the algorithm. As the saying goes, ‘the poor craftsman blames his tools.’

Algoraving is a slightly niche art form, but one that is moving towards the mainstream – the BBC covered live coded dance music in an interview with Dan Stowell in 2009 and has programmed Algorave events since. Given Algorave’s close relationship with technology, it tends to be performed at tech events. For example, The Electro-Magnetic Fields Festival of 2016 had an Algorave tent, sponsored by Spotify. As would be expected, acts in the tent were billed by the performer, not tools. So the performance information for one act read ‘Shelly Knotts and Holger Balweg’, omitting reference to their programming language or code libraries.

Should someone’s algorithmically generated content somehow run afoul of the Code of Conduct (either that of the festival or of the one used by several live code communities), it is the performer who would be asked to stop or leave, not their laptop. Live coders say that algorithms are more like ideas than tools, but ideas do not have their own agency.

Zuckerberg’s assertion, ‘Facebook builds tools’, is similarly true of Algoravers. Indeed, like Algoravers, it is Facebook who is responsible for the final output. Shrugging their shoulders on clearly settled issues with regards to authorship is a weak defence for a company that has been promoting fascism to racists. Like a live coder, surely they can alter their algorithms when they go wrong – which they should be doing right now. To mount such a weak defence seems almost an admission that their actions are indefensible.

Like many other young silicon valley millionaires, Zuckerberg is certainly aware of his own cleverness and the willingness of some members of a credulous press to cut and paste his assertions, however unconvincing. Perhaps he expects Wall Street Journal readers to be entirely unaware of the history of algorithmic art and music, but his milieu, which includes Google’s sponsorship of such art, certainly is more informed. His disingenuous assertion insults us all.

150 years of Toxic Masculinity in the Arts

Angelica Jade Bastién, writing in the Atlantic, has an article, Hollywood has Ruined Method Acting. In it, she describes how some male Hollywood actors have undertaken extreme preparations for their roles. She notes women actors doing the same would be labelled high maintenance and have their careers suffer. Indeed, it’s considered risky for women to make any change to their appearance that does not increase how ‘conventionally’ attractive they are.

Two things strike me about this article. One is how these extreme methods to increase ‘art’ are often applied to films that hardly seem worth the effort. Jared Leto engaged in anti-social behaviour over a Batman spin-off. I know we’re at a high point of pop culture, etc, but summer Batman movies are not usually considered the kind of high art in which ones needs be a master of the craft. It’s a silly franchise with some very silly films and, lately, some extremely mediocre films.

Much like Leto’s latest film is a boring retread, so is this entire discourse. Undertaking hollowly desperate manoeuvres to reflect masculinity to a supposedly effeminate art is, alas, not forging new ground. I’m reminded of 19th Century composer Charles Ives’s horror of being considered anything other than hyper-masculine. Indeed, Ives, despite being a composer, viewed all of music with deep suspicion. When people asked him what he played, he would tell them ‘baseball’.

Ives learned music from his father and, like his father, played church organ. Somehow, this literal patriarchy was not enough for Ives, who sought desperately to distance himself from composers and listeners he felt to be beneath him. This, unsurprisingly, included women, men he felt were effeminate, and people of other races. None of these people performed masculinity as well as Ives, or so he asserted.

Ives imagined a delicate listener, unable to deal with the sheer virility of Ives’s chords. This imaginary audience member was named Rollo. Ives frequently mocked Rollo, demolishing this strawman at every opportunity. Rollo was responsible for Ives’s struggling music career for years, until a younger generation of composers discovered and championed Ives’s work

Composers such as Henry Cowell, who wrote Ives’s biography, and Lou Harrison, who edited Ives’s work for publication, pushed to get Ives’s work more well known. (Unlike Leto, Ives really was a master of his craft. His work was worth listening to.) Both of these younger composers worked closely with Ives on their project of getting his music out.

Cowell wrote approvingly of Ives’s attacks on Rollo, treating it as a family joke. His recounting is affectionate and warm. Of course it’s humorous to hate the inadequately masculine, he affirmed. He wrote the book before he got caught cruising and sent to prison. Ives and Cowell were on less good terms after Cowell went to San Quentin for homosexual acts. Harrison, too, was gay, although luckier than Cowell.

It was (and is) normal for people in the closet to laugh off jokes about themselves and participate in hatred against them. And these wasn’t much of a chance to be out of the closet at the time.

In addition to the inadequately masculine men, there were, of course, women who were not just listeners but composers. Ives’s assertions that some chords were masculine successfully gained traction. So that, in the early 20th Century, when Ruth Crawford Seeger received critical praise for her work, they wrote that she could ‘sling dissonances like a man’. Seeger understood this as praise and took it as such (and also had the support of Henry Cowell), but still stopped composing within a few years to work on folk music instead.

How much pain have people like Ives been able to cause people like Cowell, Harrison and Seeger, all for the sake of their insecurity? Were he alive now, instead of ‘Rollo’, Ives would certainly attack ‘PC Culture’ in his quest to make music great again. Ives and Leto both use toxic masculinity to boost their self esteem or their careers or both. Acting like a dickhead for publicity is nothing new. Toxic masculinity has always been, and remains, corrosive and succesful.

Raspberry Pi on a hot day

Edit

Whatever is causing my Pi to crash corresponds with a spike in heat, but I now suspect it’s not caused by the heat, but rather the heat is generated by whatever is crashing it. The pi is meant to deal with heat problems on it’s own. I’m leaving this up because parts of it are interesting, like suspending processes, writing functions, etc

A specific case

Let’s say you want to build the latest version of inkscape on your raspberry pi computer. And let’s say you want to install it via dpkg. You may find it crashes from overheating.

Fortunately, I’ve got a script for you.

Before running the script, do the following:

  • sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list
    • Uncomment the line with deb-src in it
  • sudo apt-get update && sudo nice apt-get upgrade -y
  • sudo apt-get build-dep inkscape -y
  • sudo apt-get install build-essential dpkg-dev fakeroot cmake bzr dh-make -y
  • sudo apt-get remove inkscape
  • sudo apt-get autoremove

Then, when it’s done:

./pi_build_inkscape.sh && cd ~Downloads/ && sudo dpkg -i inkscape*.deb

The General Principle

What you need for any overheating for of problem is the ability to check the temperature and then pause processes until it falls. First, how do we check the temperature? Bash functions can’t return values, so we’ll write a global variable.


#!/bin/bash

deg=0

function get_temp {
  cpu=$(</sys/class/thermal/thermal_zone0/temp)
  deg=$((cpu/1000))
}

get_temp
echo "$deg c"

That’s good. We can do some testing with $deg and put a process to sleep and wake it up again. But we also need to do subprocesses! We’ll do some recursion.


function pause_proc {
  #renice -n 15 $1
  kill -TSTP  $1
  for i in `ps -ef| awk '$3 == '$1' { print $2 }'`
  do
    #echo "pausing $i"
    pause_proc $i
  done
}

function resume_proc {
  kill -CONT $1
  for i in `ps -ef| awk '$3 == '$1' { print $2 }'`
  do
    #echo "restarting $i"
    resume_proc $i
  done
}

Now we just need some way to track if a process is still running, and to sleep between temperature checks etc etc


function run_proc {
  
  stopped=0
  sleep=1

  get_temp
  echo "$deg c " `date +%X`

  while kill -0 "$1"; do #run this loop while the process is running

    get_temp

    if [ $deg -ge 49 ] ; then # high temperature is 49
      echo "too hot! $deg c " `date +%X`

      pause_proc $1 # Do this every time in case we missed some last time
      stopped=1
      if [ $sleep -eq 5 ] ; then
        sleep=10
      elif [ $sleep -eq 10 ] ; then
        sleep=15
      elif [ $sleep -lt 5 ] ; then
        sleep=5
      fi
    fi
    if [ $stopped -eq 1 ] ;then
      if [ $deg -le 47 ] #Ok temperature is 47
        then
        echo "cool enough $deg c " `date +%X`
        resume_proc $1
        stopped=0
        sleep=1
      fi
    fi

    sleep $sleep

  done
}

I picked the temperatures of 47 and 49 based on when my pi tends to crash. theoretically, it should be ok up through the 60’s. If you don’t know what’s going on with your pi getting too warm, you can also set a loop in another window to print out the temperature in a loop.

So if we want to use this for some intense process in a script, we could put those functions at the top (under the #!/bin/bash ), and run our command like:


nice -n 15 some_command arg1 arg2 &
run_proc $!

Or if you want to make this a script you can run from the command line with your intense command:


nice -n 15  $@ &
run_proc $!

To add extra resilience to my poor pi, I’ve also put a heat sink on the CPU and, right now, it’s sat in a dry bowl which is sat in another bowl which is full of ice. It’s like one of those old Supercomputers, except probably faster.

A fortnight on

As the crisis meanders onwards, a peculiar time dilation becomes evident. At first, everything seemed to be happening all at once. Everything was in the present tense, be it past, future or actual present. It’s tempting to blame my initial drinking for this, but I’ve now been sober for days and it seems like several weeks have passed. They haven’t. It’s been a fortnight.

There is a claim that people are able to see their entire lives flash past them near a moment of sudden death. We don’t, as a country, see the past, but a strangely elongated present. The political parties continue to have their leadership campaigns at the speed of Twitter. Tory candidates have come and gone within the course of an afternoon. The US police have executed several black people. By gun, and in a gruesome new domestic use of battlefield technology, by a bomb-wielding killer robot. The Chilcot Report about Tony Blair’s role in the Iraq War has come out. Everything is happening at once.

Meanwhile, like a person who has just stepped off a cliff, distracted by visions, reality is still lingering at the edges of our perception. The pound continues to fall. Investment firms are leaving. The consequences of Brexit and the memory of the campaign is pushed out of our consciousness, but the mechanics set into motion – the conversion from potential to kinetic energy – has not ceased.

A few days ago, I managed to have my first conversation that did not mention Brexit. More have come since.

Today was a Rally for Europe across from Downing Street. As the shock dies off, so too apparently the crowds. By normal standards, it was a good protest turnout, but I worry this is not enough. To make a change, we really must turn out week after week. The speakers emphasised even this is not enough. ‘Don’t go home and feel proud of yourselves’ he said. We need to build a movement and organise.

The speakers talked about racism and lead us in several chants with uncertain rhythm. No instruction was given as to how one might organise. Perhaps this is something to google now that I’ve gotten home.

From the rally, we marched over to Green Park. Or perhaps we wandered. There was no more chanting or megaphones. There, we joined some sort of Picnic for Europe event. There were a lot of groups of friends sharing lunch. No speakers. Few signs. Some of us had flags. I was uncertain of the purpose of it.

The speaker at the earlier rally said we need to convince people to change their minds about Europe over the next 15 months or so. ‘Maybe’, he nearly whispered, ‘Article 50 won’t get invoked.’ If we can change people’s minds. If 60% of people come to decide the EU is a force for good.

While this neatly elides the question of democracy, I’m at a loss of how this might happen. The Tories will pick the next Prime Minister. The leading candidates right now are someone who wants to scrap Human rights legislation vs someone who is apparently unaware such legislation exists at all. If the next PM will blithely risk the British union- Good Friday Agreement be damned- then what hope for leading us back towards the EU? The slow-seeming financial catastrophe may not turn people left.

Indeed, I turn to the left and I see nothing. The problems with Keynesian economics that became clear in the 80s have never been solved. Neoliberalism so ubiquitous, it largely goes unnamed. We call it ‘reality’ and the left ‘dreamers’. But what are we dreaming of? The glory days of the post war consensus; of making socialism great again, like an inverse Donald Trump? Some are campaigning for a universal basic income, but I’m suspicious of some of the backers. A totalitarian pleasure regime is an improvement, sure; but shouldn’t we can aim for a utopia rather than merely a less hungry dystopia?

It’s possible something is going on and I’m missing it. I don’t know how to organise and I don’t know what to do.

At the rally, when I held my EU flag up over my heads, a European tourist couple attracted my attention. The woman expressed solidarity and gave some words of encouragement. She was glad to see this push back happening. I thanked her. But it’s not enough. I expect to turn out week after week for the next few months. It’s the minimum required, but it won’t be enough.

Weekend

Things continue to settle down to seeming-normalcy. There’s no longer the foregrounded sense of shock and danger. Time seems less fully gathered in one spot. Or perhaps this is because I’m finally sobering up from the semi-heavy drinking I’ve been doing since the crisis started. Predictably, lack of sleep coupled with much higher than normal alcohol consumption has left me with a cold, which is enough to get me to slow down at least.

On Saturday, I went to the March for Europe. I met friends and one of them immediately began talking about redundancies in his former work place. His wife is an EU Migrant. She is applying for permanent residency here, but has no enthusiasm for it.

We stood at the back of a queue of people and waited ages to step off. We assumed things were running late. Only much later, on an incline did we get a sense of the largeness of the march. It seemed small from where we were. It was impossible to get any perspective.

The march moved slowly, a pace that seemed exhausting. People cheered or chanted occasionally. Once in a while, a song rose up. 80’s pop songs about love figured prominently, but were always short. Nobody knew any of the words aside from the refrain. For a while, we marched next to somebody with a battery amp, playing the full Rick Astley song, which became ‘Never going to give EU up.’ Once a trumpet player suddenly started playing Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. This is the EU hymn. A cheer went up, but nobody knew any words, so we could only hum along.

The slowness of the march created a funereal air. I heard people talking about how marching was ‘important’. Angrier people talked how it was undemocratic to strip people of citizenship. The police are largely unseen, a stark contrast to the student marches of the coalition. It seems we don’t need policing. ‘Put things back how they were a fortnight ago’ is hardly a call to revolution.

As at all British protests, the signs were clever and pun-filled. ‘Yes to fromage; no to Farage’ ‘I will always love EU’ ‘Gove uck yourself’ ‘I want to be inside EU’. One sign was just a chart of the value of the pound over the last fortnight.

As we got to Downing Street, there was the only visible police presence. We turned to look at the street with bad feeling. One man yelled ‘wanker!’ and a chorus of boos went up. We trudged on to Parliament square, which was full of people. More marchers continued to pour in behind us. At the front was a projection screen and a speaker array. I could barely see the screen. The voices of speakers echoed around the square, but were unintelligible from where we were standing. Only an occasional phrase would come through. The space in front of us was packed with protesters. Behind us were even more people, many of whom were dancing to 80’s torch songs.

Near the end of the rally, they started playing Abba’s SOS. People on stage swayed with signs. People in front of us sang along. Then the rally was over.

Afterwards, we went to the park and had tea. It was a lovely sunny afternoon. I left and went to a barbecue. About half the people there were Americans. Most of the conversations were about Brexit or Trump. I wasn’t drinking because of a cold, but most people had been going for hours. A lot of discussion retreated to the safer, more familiar area of the future of the Labour Party. A temporary problem with a temporary solution. Something a lot easier to hold in mind.

Today, I went to the stone setting for my wife’s grandmother. It’s a year since she died. There was a short ceremony and we went to breakfast. Most of the family are a generation older at least. One relation confessed that they’d voted leave. They said it like they were asking for forgiveness – they probably were. It was a protest vote. They didn’t expect to win – don’t know why they’d voted that way. They said they need to have a period of self-reflection to understand why they voted as they had. It was my first time meeting anyone with ‘Bregret.’ I got a bit snippy. I don’t know how to react to this. They were horrified by the results. They were grossly misinformed of what their vote even meant.

If everyone who feels regret writes their MP, could that make a difference? This is democracy without information. How can it be meaningful to have a vote when no one knows what they’re voting for?

One well-attended march is not enough to stave off leaving. And the uncertainty is also bad. It is impossible to plan under these circumstances. There is a rumour of another march next weekend.

One sign at the march said, ‘Britain is not an island.’ Perhaps it’s a ship, drifting rudderless along the sea.

New Boots

For some days, the news cycle stretched to 24 hours. Things kept happening through the night. Stepping away for a moment meant missing something. But at some point, exhaustion must have stepped in. Nothing happens overnight now.

The days, however, are still moving rapidly. A joke goes around, ‘it’s the most astonishing day in British politics since yesterday.’ An American newspaper responds to speculation about the country breaking up with a portmanteau for a new country made up of just England and Wales: ‘Wangland’. It seems apt. Perhaps citizens could be called ‘wangkers’.

On Wednesday, a piece of music I’ve written is in a concert at a conference. I go despite not having signed up. The piece crashes, but it’s not my fault. One of the performers is stressed by it and tells me later that he was unable to regain his composure. The music is the kind of fast, chaotic, noisy music I usually like and it’s very well played, but I have trouble concentrating on it. The non-stressed performer is pleased by how everything went. Some people have taken good pictures of her playing and she wants to post them to facebook. She looks at everything else going by and feels guilty. ‘How can I post about my good concert when the world is burning?’

We go to the pub. I’ve been trying to cease drinking entirely, but I order a pint anyway. It’s not very good. I bicycle for half an hour to meet my wife in Brighton. We go to the Vegetarian Shoes shop. I had been planning to get new trainers, but I also get steel capped boots. I say I may need them. My wife thinks I am being silly. I don’t know.

One of the PM candidates is a long-standing opponent of both immigration and human rights. I feel like a time may be coming shortly where I have very little to lose. I can’t tell if I’m being overly dramatic. Things are starting to feel quotidian again, as if Real Life has returned, but of course it hasn’t. I don’t have permanent residency in this country.

My wife and I go to the beach to stare out across the water towards France, but neither of us is able to put our phones down. My wife is instagramming the weather and I hit update on Twitter over and over. She seems unconcerned. I find her optimism unnerving in it’s rootlessness.

A decade ago, the day I learned my mother was dying, I assured her things would be ‘OK’. I felt it strongly as I said it, despite being unable to know what I meant. When I’m feeling uncharitable towards myself, I think I must have meant that things would be ok for me. She would die, but I would carry on. Now I wonder if it was the certainty that I found so reassuring.

Since the referendum again

Tuesday, I have meetings, with friends and colleagues. All anyone speaks of is brexit, their voices animated with despair. Attempts to broach other topics are ponderous and difficult. Nothing stays on topic. We take turns to rant.

Some of my neighbours voted leave. I have avoided them for days, afraid of what we’ll say to reach other. I no longer wish to know them.

Everyone I speak to is exhausted. Other migrants talk about where they’ll move. I have been arguing with my wife about Canada. She doesn’t want to go. And truthfully, I don’t either. It suddenly feels like I’ve spent the last decade of my life avoiding Canada.

I hit reload on Twitter compulsively. Sometimes great masses of news tumble out at once, sometimes a trickle. A Muslim business bombed. A hate chant in Camden. We’re all to wear safety pins to show we support migrants with subtle plausible deniability.

I feel free floating anger at all the political parties. All the institutions have failed us as we lurch leaderless through the crisis. The country seems certain to break up. I tweet a name jokingly for a new country, but then see something very similar on an serious proposed map.

I saw tweeted newspaper covers that expressed sadness at the football, but joy at the breakup of the country. I want to do something, but can’t think what. I day dream about stomping a fascist to make myself feel better.

I do not go to the protest because I’ve taken the train to the countryside, to a place that mostly voted leave. I hear the foreign twang in my voice and speak louder than I should when in public. It is a beautiful day. I consciously try not to overhear what others are talking about.

The parties tear themselves apart. No confidence in the Labour leader. I go to my home and all the pictures I brought from America are leaning against the walls. After months of living here, we’re finally hanging them up.

Since the referendum

I stay up all night Thursday night. Friday, I am in daze of exhaustion and disbelief. Saturday is pride.

I decided to go this year after the massacre in Orlando. It felt important. It’s also the first planned protest since the vote. Almost all LGBT rights come from EU law. I search for something coherent to put on a sign, but draw a blank. On the way out of the house, I pause to get my pink Union Jack flag, but then don’t, in anger. Looking around the march I see that most others have made the same choice.

My dog’s tail has been dyed rainbow this week. There is a university LGBT staff and student group marching behind us. Some of the students come up to pet my dog. Their university has lost more than 60% of it’s research funding overnight. I let them put a sticker on my dog’s collar.

After the march, we go to the pub. Everyone is speaking about the referendum and the air force’s planned flyover. The person seated next to me is an EU national who doesn’t meet the extremely narrow requirements to be prescribed hormones in their home country. They’ve lived here for 2 years and will have two more years after the shoe drops. It takes 5 years to get permanent residency. I want to say something reassuring, but I can’t think of anything.

The Red Arrows streak overhead, blowing coloured smoke behind them, in the colours of the trans flag. This is unexpected. Most people at the pub cheer, but I don’t. This is coming from the same government that made transphobic clauses in the new marriage law. The same government who put migrant humanity up for a vote. A large public display of trans inclusion from their military fills me with mixed emotions. For a moment, I fear I may cry.

This has been the first year we’ve been cheered at pride. My first year, the crowds were openly hostile and have gradually become more welcoming. This year, we are one of them. It is North Carolina and Orlando that have made this true. The deaths of Americans over there have brought LGBT togetherness over here.

I spend the rest of Saturday drunk. I go to a friend’s house where the others are drinking chocolate milk. I drink all of their beer and come home and drink whiskey, looking at Twitter through the night. Reports of racist attacks are trickling in. I wait for a political leader to do something decisive, but no one on the national stage does. It becomes apparent that nobody in the country has made contingency plans. Everyone expected this to fail. We are in recession and leaderless.

On Sunday, my choir is singing in a festival dedicated to Minimalism, but I am not singing with them. I have missed all of the festival until Sunday evening, and drag myself to the venue, hungover and exhausted. I am enlisted to sell CDs.

They sing Pauline Oliveros’s Lullaby for Daisy Pauline. I have sung it with them many times, but never been in the audience for it before. Their slow movements are mesmerising. The piece is transformative. The magic of the piece is in the changes, as the choir slowly moves through the sections. Change in music is so beautiful, but change in life is so painful.

Afterwards, the festival director interviews the composer. He forgets what he’s talking about for a moment and says the piece made him feel high. He talks of Deep Listening as a source of hope and empathy almost mystically. But Pauline is from America, where no shoes have yet dropped. ‘We’re in a dangerous time’ she says. Listening is how you sense danger.

She leads us in a listening meditation. The entire audience, breathing, listening and singing together. The sound comes in waves, as people sing for one complete breath and pause to listen. By some spontaneous consensus, the piece stops, as everyone independently decides it was the right length.

The choir returns to the stage to sing pieces by Meredith Monk, which are about the Holocaust. The programme seems starkly timely. We return to the present- to the real from the possible.

I go to the bar afterwards. I’ve promised myself not to drink more, but I do anyway. The choir director says their last rehearsal had been Thursday. The music had changed completely in the mean time. Everything seems to carry more weight. I cycle home wondering what minimalism meant in the 1960s. Then I return to twitter, as if my following of news might change something.

On Monday, I struggle to pay attention to my to do list. The pound falls further. I have a rehearsal that I need to fix a piece for. I am still hungover. In the evening, we go to my mother-in-law’s house for dinner. Her father was born in Ireland, which means my wife and her sisters can apply for Irish citizenship. Their mother has the needed documents. She’s made fish pie, but I was not expected. We stop by a Polish shop to get extra food on the way in. There are reports of anti-polish violence around the country, but none in London yet. I stand outside with the dog and everything is completely normal.

While my sister-in-law eats, I hold the baby. She did not register before he was born, so his only nationality is British.

We’ve been talking about moving to Ireland, but my wife asks me if I’d like to buy her mother’s house. We come home and argue about moving to Canada. My Spanish friend has said she may go to Spain. Most of my friends are migrants and I wonder how many will leave.

The document liberation project

The project: they believe documents and contents belong to their creators, not software vendors. Open and free standards are required to achieve long term accessibility of data. Until vendors support open standards, open source must support closed formats.

Their mission is to figure out how to extract data from closed formats. They will read closed files, but not generate them. The are part of the open document format ecosystem.

These guys have a lot of libraries for parsing. And some generator libraries. They generate text files and some image files. And some introspection tools.

American fuzzy lop prevents the system from crashing on badly formatted files.

Updates on the project: more formats are supported. Many more formats.

They deal with a very wide variety of types of formats.

They are accepting code. Or you can try to decipher formats. Or you can generate documents.

Questions:

What about DRM?

They scrupulously follow the law

What about stitching projects?

Sort of.