Weeknotes - w/c 10th June 2019

/ About 4 min reading time

I pondered the state of frontend web development

Actually, I didn’t ponder anything. I sat down this morning with a coffee and an episode of Love Island on the TV and I started writing what turned into a rant about Frontend Engineers who can’t write HTML. It turned into something way too big to be included in this week’s notes, so I’m pulling out. I’m going to work it up and publish it as its own post at some point in the next day or so. So look forward to that, I suppose.

I rode a bike

On Sunday I took part in the Yorkshire Mountain Bike Marathon, a challenge event organised by Northern Ride.

Two laps of 40km each, set in part on private land around Birdsall House that would otherwise be inaccessible to the public, this stunning route featured miles of singletrack, swooping descents on cattle tracks into steep valleys, long climbs, old railway lines, technical woodland trails and some of the most amazing scenery the Yorkshire Wolds has to offer. It was a tough event, especially as I’ve not been doing much training recently, but I’m happy with how I got round, and that I managed to ride with friends. I’d half resigned myself before the start to only doing one lap, knowing that I wasn't on great form, but by the 40km point I felt like I still had legs. I continued and I’m glad I did. A satisfying day.

The Luther Vandross Experience

About 17 years ago I took Nicki to see her favourite singer, Luther Vandross on what would turn out to be his final tour in Europe before his death. In an entry-level job with a new mortgage, the tickets seemed like a lot of money but my new wife was worth it (obviously) and I wanted to surprise her. I didn’t tell her about the tickets but one Saturday night told her we were going out and she should dress for dancing. We got in the car in the dark (it was November) and set off on the drive to Sheffield Arena. I pulled off at every motorway exit and came straight back on the entry slipway in an effort to disorient her and keep the surprise alive (this turned out to be completely pointless as Nicki has a terrible sense of geography and was lost before we’d got out of York).

Eventually we got inside the venue when Nicki saw a program seller and twigged who we were there to see and wrapped me up in a big screaming hug.

Now, I’m not a ‘soul man’ and certainly at the time my CD shelves were stacked almost exclusively with 90’s Britpop and Indie, but I enjoyed that show. The production was amazing and blimey, that fella could hold a tune. It opened my eyes to the kind of gigs where the floors aren’t sticky with spilled Snakebite & Black.

Late last year I had an email from our local venue, York Barbican, listing events for the next year. Amongst them was an act called “Luther UK: The Luther Vandross Experience”. I booked the tickets immediately (I’m in the fortunate position of having a bit more disposable income than I did when I was 22). Nicki had already had her birthday and Christmas was too far away from the June event for them to be an impactful gift there, so I put the tickets on a shelf and kept my powder dry until the time was right. I opted against a repeat of the mysterious drive to the venue big reveal this time and just waited until a day when I felt like my lovely wife needed cheering up. I’m happy when Nicki is happy.

Luther UK were brilliant. An incredibly tight band, a trio of backing singers who shone, both vocally and physically, and a charismatic Luther-a-like with a buttery-smooth voice.

Obviously, this was different to the first concert. Harry Potter is not actually Luther Vandross and the Barbican, whilst a great venue, is not an arena. The production budget was a fraction of that afforded to an American soul superstar and the audience were in a large part there for nostalgic reasons, rather than to revere the star of the show. But the effect was the same. We were watching fantastic performers at the top of their game.

It was acknowledged that their would be a contingent in the audience who were here with their ‘better half’ and would probably only know three Luther songs. I was in that contingent but had a great night regardless. Most importantly though, Nicki had a great time, and that’s what makes me happy.

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