I enjoy a challenge. Persuading a computer to do what you want is always challenging, but it can be immensely rewarding, too. That’s why I chose a career in programming. When I retired after nearly 40 years of writing software I assumed I’d continue to do a bit of coding for fun to fill the empty days. But it didn’t happen.
There were several reasons for putting aside the software developer’s tools. When the world is your oyster both the opportunities and the distractions are endless. I got hopelessly sidetracked. Almost immediately, the unlimited spare time I thought I’d have turned out not to be infinite after all.
Then there was the realisation that a niggling disillusion with the software development process had formed within me. Forty years ago a useful computer program could be written by an individual programmer in a few weeks without too much head-scratching. These days the operating systems, the languages, the library packages and the associated build & deployment tools are so complex that you need a team of experts to deliver even simple apps. The solitary occupation of computer programming had turned into a team sport called software development, which was much harder and much less fun. One man and his computer doesn’t cut it any more; the hobbyist programmer is on the road to extinction.
And then came Covid-19. When I was working I spent most of my time sitting in front of a computer screen. Things are much the same now except that I can choose how to occupy my time. With fewer distractions and the prospect of my screen time reaching unprecedented heights over the next few months this seemed like the perfect occasion to dust off the programming tools. And, to make it more interesting, I decided to learn another programming language¹.
Looking back I have to wonder whether this was such a good idea. Learning the new language has soaked up far more precious time than I imagined. One week on I’ve written two programs, both utterly trivial, and I’m still only half way through the language manual. Maybe I was just a little stir crazy. Or perhaps I was suffering from introvertigo.
(Please note that this song does not carry the Crotchety Stamp of Approval; I mention it only for the entertainment value of that neologism.)
With little else going on it was natural for my new computing project to provide the context for the next Crotchety blog post. It had to be something about languages. And it didn’t take long to find a band called Another Language.
A fusion of folk and funk. A synthesis of soul and rock. A blur of blues and dash of rap completes this outfit of soaring female vocals and earthy male grunge.
The band is based in Brisbane, Australia. They have recorded one EP, Shoulder to the Sun, and it has provided some very welcome aural stimulation in the Crotchety studio. The heart of the band is the husband and wife team of Josh and Roelien Morrison. There’s a little information about them on their Facebook page but almost nothing else online. Discogs, for example, doesn’t know Another Language, Shoulder to the Sun, or Josh Morrison.
Another Language‘s music is an unusual entry in these pages in that it adds elements of funk and soul to what is basically a pop/rock act. That’s probably not what Charlemagne had in mind, though, when he declared that knowing another language is to possess a second soul.
- For the record, I’m learning Swift, a language created by Apple and first released in 2014. If learning a new language gives you another soul I have a hatful. But you can never have too many souls, can you?
- This bonus track by the Kronos Quartet and Laurie Anderson fits the theme of this post too neatly to be left out. It’s about singing in Korean … in a Dutch karaoke bar … where the software crashes repeatedly.