I have returned to the place I am from

It feels appropriate to break out of the COVID-19 Journal now. At least for the next little while perhaps. I write to you from a little room in Perth, where I've been holed up for the past several days to clearly and unequivocally establish I will not be the guy to bring that horrifically contagious strain of the virus into this wide, brown land, my home. I'm exchanging madness for the belief I am actually doing a public service. 

The stupid part is I've watched the weather app tell me it's solidly been over 30'C since I've been here, yet the dessicating aircon has set my existence at 20.5'C unless I turn it off. Several friends have remarked to me I am chasing the winter this time around, to which I reply "pandemic?" with a shrug. 

I have returned to be with my family. It's been a long time coming, particularly because we'd always told each other since I left Australia in 2003 we could be together in 24 hours if we ever needed to. That was not possible this last year, until finally, Gerald at Singapore Airlines waved his wand and stuck me in an economy seat on the longest flight in the universe. So, I am here, and I wait. Mostly for the swim in the ocean I will have almost immediately upon my release, even if it's only 21'C, which it FUCKING looks like it might be. If you can believe that.

Quarantine has been a lot of this

I have also returned to another place I am from. I have accepted an offer to return to the Flickr Commons, a program I invented and launched back in 2007-2008. It has lived on since I left in spite of receiving no food or sunlight for the past decade largely thanks to corporates not knowing what to do with it. Flickr was acquired by SmugMug about two years ago and they "vow to revitalize the service". Now they can finally begin the revitalisation because they're done tearing out the Yahoo!/Verizon/Oath borg guts. 

It is strange to be back, especially remotely from quarantine. It feels a little like returning to a house that used to be your home only the owners in the meantime have chipped away the character you left there (but everyone's been super nice!). It's well-known that Instagram ate Flickr's mobile lunch back in 2010 etc, and Yahoo! rinsed it because ad revenue, making it all about viewing things instead of talking about them or describing them. That hurt it. The service and membership has suffered because of this drift, but the guys at SmugMug bought it because they know it's a treasure and worth not only saving now, but having for decades to come.

I'm looking forward to reconnecting with old friends and colleagues and the general digital cultural scene again. I feel like I've been heads down since I moved to London starting two small businesses and not really having time or scope to look around. I can't wait to see what's changed and what's stayed the same and see how we can really make the Commons a great big part of how cultures are preserved, both on the web and offline.

And I suppose this means I'm going to have to dust off all my old film cameras again: 123456.

If not now, when?

The Place Where We Are Right

by Yehuda Amichai 

From the place where we are right
Flowers will never grow
In the spring. 

The place where we are right
Is hard and trampled
Like a yard. 

But doubts and loves
Dig up the world
Like a mole, a plow.
And a whisper will be heard in the place
Where the ruined
House once stood.