The bank holidays we're having are messing with my sense of timing. This morning I determinedly headed over to the community centre to vote thinking it was Thursday 23rd May.
Part of these extended weekends we're blessed/cursed with is that I've been binging on podcasts and probably listened to about twenty hours of history this weekend which is obviously fascinating but also has a strange Hitchcock zoom effect. The histories I listen to tend to be driven by the personal narratives of the people at the centre of the story and their decisions.
I go in phases with podcasts and at the moment I'm not so into the heavily edited and well produced ones like 99% Invisible or Pod Save America. History podcasts tend to be of the 'one person in their bedroom' genre like Hardcore History and Revolutions. Dan Carlin's Hardcore History was a new one for me - he has a gruff, hyperbolic style which sounds a bit like a shock jock so it's one of those things that took me a couple of listens to get in pace with but it is excellent. He also is a little more analytical (although, in a self-admitted conservative interpretation) than Mike Duncan's stuff. He tends to come from the perspective of; 'Why did this thing happen? Who were the people and what was the context and ideas that enabled it?'
He also made a point in the one on Persia (which was excellent) about all this history we just don't know and probably never will. He coined a phrase that's been rattling around my head since - 'History is the story of what you did to or with the Greeks.' In the story of Persia, most of what we know comes from the exaggerated hero myth of Alexander the Great. He argues that there's good evidence to suggest that to the Persians, the Greeks were nothing more than a bothersome little province rather than this great, pre-destined empire. We also have only one contemporary source for Alexander the Great which is a brief inscription on a temple, almost everything else was valorised in the Roman re-tellings.
I know it's obvious but we don't really know what was going on for most of the human population for enormous tracts of time and only have these brief windows where bits were decided to be plucked out and quasi-mythologised as part of European political projects. I need to spend more time on the Eastern histories, there's a podcast on China that I started a while back but I struggled with but I'm going to give it another go.
I've been approached about exhibiting the project in a few weeks in a great sounding exhibition but I'm faced with this perennial problem of how you exhibit a website. I think that it might be a good idea to develop a static, streaming version of it rather than an interactive one, which at least would be a fun new challenge so that's something to look forward to.
Voyager's done an interesting thing. I didn't think about it before but Voyager's distance is sinusoidal because of Earth's orbit. So from when I started collecting data Voyager was actually getting closer to Earth rather than further away. This meant I spent ages thinking the data was wrong and trying to fix it. It's now moving away again so the line has ticked up.