Chesterfield May Day

There were fewer red flags in Chesterfield than last year. Frances O’Grady spoke from the TUC.

chesterfield may day 1

Here’s the tail end of the march.

chesterfield may day 2

Bring the Paint

There was this graffiti street art festival in Leicester, I went across to Frog Island to see what was going on.

graffiti 1

This bit of graffiti covered such a large area that the artists needed a scissor lift.

graffiti 2

Bevels and shadows on these letters under the old station on All Saints Road.

graffiti 3

Lots of artists on the canal.

graffiti 4

graffiti 6

Graffwerk painted the side of the Blue tower, making the tallest piece of street art in Europe.

I’m not sure whether these pieces are really graffiti. If everything is planned and approved by the building owners and the city council beforehand, it’s more like a commissioned painting. Legal street art is attractive and makes an area look cool, but graffiti is frowned upon, and when you see them side by side there’s not that much difference between the two.

After the festival, I noticed people in high-viz jackets painting over the tags outside of the approved painting zones. So there’s this kind of self-governance, where the street artists themselves enforce rules on who is allowed to paint where. Beside the questions raised about the policing of graffiti, I like all the new art around the city.

Camping

I went camping with Matthieu in Oxfordshire.

little tew

We walked from Little Tew to a campsite near Adderbury, then down the Oxford Canal to Kirtlington.

Here is Matthieu as we set off, with the Butcher’s Hill radio mast in the background.

matthieu in field

Lots of small hills and large fields.

empty field

green field

We made pasta for dinner.

matthieu camping

There were some pigs at the campsite.

pigs

I got badly sunburned on the second day, I wasn’t expecting the weather. Matthieu was much better prepared.

Minor site update - HTTP/3

AWS recently announced support for HTTP/3 in Cloudfront. The moment I saw the announcement I went over to enable it on this site. It’s not easy to measure any performance benefit for several reasons, but mainly there aren’t many benchmarking tools which support HTTP/3, and the mitigations for head of line blocking are dealing with connection stability not just speed. The only way to really test it is to load the site while in a moving vehicle with intermittent or spotty mobile connection.

Minor site update - system UI fonts

I replaced the Andika font with a system font stack, again. This was partly for performance reasons. The font files were aggressively cached and compressed, it just bothered me to see them served to every new visitor in the site logs. Posts without images can be extremely lightweight and I’d like to optimise that as much as possible.

I spent a long time agonising over font loading strategies, and eventually concluded that system fonts look good enough. There is still Grenze for post headings, which is loaded with font-display: fallback.