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A stream of consciousness by Laurence Hughes

Hi, I’m Laurence. I’m a Glaswegian web developer using modern web standards to create user-focused, responsive websites. I also make music, play records and ping pongs. This is my online home; a playground for coding fun and place to share thoughts on the web, music and more.

Latest posts

Sakamoto: Art is long, life is short (BBC Sunday Feature)

He was a prince.

Alejandro Innaruto’s description of Ryuichi Sakamoto puts it perfectly.

This BBC Sunday feature offers a fascinating insight into an amazing man. I loved it!

It starts with how 1952, the year of Sakamoto’s birth, was an important year in Japan’s post-war transition. It explores his influences including Debussy, his exceptional talent for melody combined with a taste for experimentalism, and how with YMO he satirised anti-Japanese prejudice. It covers his anti-nuclear stance, and how he is a huge icon in Japan where they see him holistically for everything he represented.

Most of all I just marvel at his music – it perfectly captures my taste (and I realise after this documentary that I still have so much of his to explore, which is a happy thought). I loved the parts where the commentators gush at the beauty of his Last Emperor soundtrack (“every note is like paradise”) and when Alejandro Innaruto relates his experience of first hearing the opening two notes of his soundtrack for The Revenant.

Roast dinner before disaster for Scotland

I had a brilliant time hanging out with old friends this evening. We went for a Sunday roast dinner at Maison Glaschu. I tried french onion soup for the first time (but not the last) before enjoying the roast beef and yorkshire pudding with veg.

Laurence and friends at dinner at Maison Glaschu
Me and friends at dinner at Maison Glaschu

It was sunny so we stopped for a quick alfresco beer at The Bier Halle before heading down to the Admiral Woods to watch Scotland in the hope of a historic first-time qualification from the group stage.

Sadly Scotland couldn’t manage it (too cautious with the substitutes for me) but that didn’t stop us having a good time.

Cheers to Craig, Debbie, Alan, Karen and Mark for all their good vibes.

Volunteering at Edinburgh Western General Hospital

Today was a nice break from the old routine. Rather than working at a computer, I and some teammates went to Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital to do some gardening.

My employer supports the charity FACE (Fighting Against Cancer Edinburgh), part of NHS Lothian Charity.

FACE provides the ‘little things’ which can make a real difference for patients undergoing treatment for cancer. These things help make the time spent in hospital as comfortable as possible; the environment and experience as positive as it can be.

Our job today was to tidy the area surrounding the FACE garden. The garden serves as a quiet outdoor space where patients, visitors and staff can find solace away from the hospital wards.

Supervised by the conservation charity TCV, we tooled up and set about weeding the garden and paved areas. It was a sunny day, we chatted while we worked to colleagues we hadn’t met, and by the end you could see we had made a significant dent.

I hope we made a useful contribution and I certainly enjoyed doing it and would do so again. Thanks to my employer for the opportunity.

Richard King discussing his book on Arthur Russell

A nice (if brief) catch-up with Gav as we take in David Barbarossa in conversation with Richard King about his new book Travels Over Feeling on the life of enigmatic New York musician Arthur Russell.

I love me some Dinosaur L and Loose Joints, but I can’t claim to be as much of an Arthur aficionado as most of tonight’s crowd. However I’ve learned a lot and am now off to listen to World of Echo.

Talking to kids about being a software engineer

I’m not the most confident public speaker these days. So I had mixed emotions when my neighbour asked me to talk about my career at Pollokshields Primary School where he teaches.

However, I liked the theme of helping the kids to expand their horizons. And I’m keen to be involved in the local community, so this was a good opportunity.

I also had my fears dispelled somewhat when I heard that although there’d be lots of kids they were all around 11 years old. I’m working on my presenting and workshop facilitation skills at the moment so again, a good opportunity with – hopefully - a captive and gentle crowd!

I’m pleased to say it went well and generally gave me a warm glow. On reflection I think I prepared well, my nerves were manageable, and I communicated clearly. The kids were lovely and asked lots of questions! What characteristics do you need to be a good software engineer? Did my parents support my career choices? And so on.

They also gave me a lovely certificate and a large Dairy Milk bar (something that’s always welcome in our house).

My message of thanks from the kids and teachers at Pollokshields Primary School
My message of thanks from the kids and teachers at Pollokshields Primary School

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