MJCarty snapshots February 2023

Badgers, beautiful winter sunrises and punk/DIY philosophies for the modern era… A selection of my personal highlights from February 2023, captured in tiny wee snapshots.

This is the first post in what I hope will be a monthly series. Here are my snapshots of things that caught my eye in February 2023…

Wednesday 8 February 2023: Frozen sunshine

Beautiful winter sunshine through the trees on the Ashdown Forest! This picture cannot convey how cold it was there and then. Nor how beautiful.


Thursday 9 February 2023: Blonde

I have not seen the Netflix movie Blonde.** But I decided to take a chance on the Joyce Carol Oates novel Blonde, which inspired the movie, after reading a Bret Easton Ellis interview in which he raved about the book. Here’s what BEE had to say about it:

“I’ve been immersed in Joyce Carol Oates’s novel Blonde, about Marilyn Monroe. I was very impressed by the Netflix adaptation – I didn’t think I would be – and I’ve become obsessed with reading about Monroe’s life. It’s very dense, about 750 pages, but it’s riveting; I don’t want it to end.”

I can only agree. I am at the time of writing not quite halfway through the book. And I don’t want Blonde to end. But I know it will end. And that the ending will likely (well, definitely) not be a happy one.

Blonde is an at least semi-fictionalised account of the life of Marilyn Monroe. It tells the tragic story of the life and death of Norma Jean Baker, whose identity would arguably be consumed and lost to the world when she “became” Marilyn Monroe. The writing is absolutely extraordinary. This epic book is a compelling, perfectly realised and fully rounded telling of the story of the life and times of just one 20th century American woman. It also tells us so much about the circumstances facing all 20th century American women. Highly recommnnded.

Saturday 11 February 2023: Writing our future history

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My friend Dr Paul Taylor-Pitt wrote some lovely words this month (in his excellent ongoing series of Postcards from the edge of employment) about the role that we all play in writing our shared future history. Paul’s words were so striking to me that they inspired me to write a post on this blog, entitled Our future history:

“Our past, our history, is rich with lessons that current and future generations can learn from. By remembering and helping others learn from the past – the bad old days as well as the good – we can help to make our future richer, better.”

Sunday 12 February 2023: Of data privacy and personal integrity

What does data privacy mean to you? Dez Blanchfield got in touch with me the other week to ask me precisely this question. He was kind enough to share my response via Twitter:

“Data privacy is as invaluable as your integrity or personal honour, and is just as easy to lose through carelessness or rash behaviour. Always respect and seek to preserve your own data privacy and that of others.”


Monday 13 February 2023: Badger!

What – as Black Sabbath once sang – is this that stands before me?* This mid-February week got off to an unexpected start… Whilst out on my freezing cold early morning walk, a badger sprinted out across the road in front of me, then turned to stare at me from the pavement opposite!


Tuesday 14 February 2023: Serving arboreal realness

Valentine’s Day 2023 started slowly, with a beautiful misty dawn.


Serving winter arboreal realness… the view from my countryside walk, a wee bit later on Valentine’s Day.


Wednesday 15 February 2023: Flowers!

The middle of this month was unusually spring-like – beautifully warm and sunny.

Out walking in the afternoon, I chanced upon some lovely and vibrantly coloured flowers, just a little way down my street. Crocuses according to my wife.


Later that same walk – the low sun glimpsed through winter-bared trees in a loca park.


Thursday 16 February 2023: All we really need

I am a great believer in resourcefulness, in somewhat punk/DIY principles of creativity and the realisation of ideas. So I was delighted to see the following tweet from Cari Luna, who was an entirely new name to me when she first appeared in my timeline. Cari says:

“My spring classes will continue, without Catapult. I’m going to offer them on my own. All we really need is Zoom, email, Google docs, and each other. You can find information about the classes here: https://cariluna.com/classes/”

It is a pleasure to have made your Twitter acquaintance this month, Cari. May I please wish you every success with your classes?

Wednesday 22 February 2023: The Comet is Coming!

As of today, I have a new favourite band! Every so often, I browse through the Soul Jazz/Sounds of the Universe website to see what new records they have on offer. Intrigued by their name and album art, I decided to give The Comet is Coming a listen. I am eternally thankful that I did. As one YouTube commenter says of their record Death to the Planet:

“Apocalypse jazz is the music genre I never knew I needed, but damn am I glad it exists. This album tickles my bones”

Hear hear!

Saturday 25 February 2023: Queen’s head!

Today (Saturday 25 February 2023) has started on an unexpectedly OK footing. Whilst out on my (extremely freezing) early morning walk just now, I somehow found a £20 note! I am humbled to have encountered a picture of the UK’s now-former monarch in this manner. I sincerely hope that your own Saturday has started (or did start, depending on when you might happen to read this) even more strongly than mine.


Your snapshots

What about you, gentle reader? What has made your month memorable? I would love to know! Post a comment below, or send me a tweet with your snapshots of February 2023 in my direction.

May you be nothing but kind today, to others and to yourself.

May today be nothing but kind to you and yours.


* These words come of course from the song Black Sabbath, the first on Black Sabbath, the debut album by the almighty Black Sabbath.

** Here is the trailer for the Netflix movie Blonde, based on the excellent Joyce Carol Oates novel.


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