The 10 albums I keep coming back to

- - Music

Presented here, for purely self-indulgent reasons, are my top 10 albums of all time.

Now, these aren’t supposed to be the albums that I think have made the greatest impact on popular culture or anything like that – they’re simply the ten that I seem to find myself coming back to more than any others.

If you’re interested enough to want to hear them, I’ve added Spotify links to each album below and created a Spotify playlist of the standout tracks from each of the albums. You can listen to that here, using one of those funny embeds that requires Spotify to be installed on your device in order to listen to it:

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Leaving Posterous, moving to WordPress

- - Site Admin

With the news that Posterous is to shut down for good at the end of April, I thought it would be worth transferring my personal website over from Posterous to something I can better control, so here i am on WordPress.org. How log will I be here? I’m not sure. All I’ll say is that transferring across was incredibly simple once a small hosting-relating problem that probably would affect anyone else was sorted.

The only downside of the transfer that I’ve seen so far is that images get moved across in a rather low-resolution form, but I’ll disregard that for now.

I’m trying out PageLines for managing the site’s appearance. I’m only using the free version for now, but may upgrade if I think it will allow me to ‘de-WordPress’ the design, because WordPress does tend to have a pretty standard look, no matter what theme you choose. This story is to be continued…

Image credit: Titanas / Flickr

TechHub Manchester

- - Manchester

This week, TechHub Manchester was announced. This is exactly the the kind of support Manchester’s fledgeling startup scene needs and helps address the issues I mentioned in my talk at TEDx Manchester earlier this year.

It’s a priviledge to be part of the founding team for TechHub Manchester. I’m still Managing Editor at The Next Web – this is something I’m involved in additionally because I believe in Manchester and what it can achieve.

There’s a lot of work to be done before we open at Carver’s Warehouse in November, but the initial response has been excellent, including plenty of positive feedback from the Manchester tech community and press coverage from the FT, TechCrunch, The Next Web, The Drum and more. On Friday, the BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones was in Manchester and stopped by to see the space we’ll be using. He recorded an interview with us.

If you missed the announcement on Tuesday, here’s the video.

Five years

- - Personal
Tree

It’s five years since my mum died.

The fact that she chose a woodland burial rather than a traditional burial really upset me back in 2007. A gravestone is a substantial memorial. It’s a fixed landmark that will pay tribute to the person buried beneath it via its chiseled words for possibly centuries after everyone who knew its subject have passed on too.

An unmarked tree, surrounded by many others, lacks the same sense of reverence and permanence. I was scared that after a few years I wouldn’t be able to find my mum’s exact tree. How would I feel close to her when I visited if there was a chance that I was stood at someone else’s tree?

Funnily enough, if she’d have chosen cremation I don’t think I’d have felt the same way. A woodland burial just felt like an uncomfortable halfway house.

I’ve made it a habit to visit her tree every year on the anniversary of her death. I can’t be there this year as I’m out of the country, so I made the trip there a couple of days ago instead.

As I sat there, I realised that yes, I probably have stood at the wrong tree at least once, but I don’t mind at all. It’s not about a specific location or monument.

There’s beauty in life growing from death. It’s a reminder that despite the ego our humanity places upon us, making us believe that we’re masters of nature, in the end we’re just parts of nature ourselves. A woodland burial is a real statement of beauty, chosen in life but expressed in death.

Sitting in the sunshine, surrounded by the new life of the young trees in that field, I can celebrate her life with real positivity.

As with most things I disagreed with her about, my mum was right after all.