A year into working life, I’m not entirely sure where the time has gone. These 6-month trainee seats seem to fly by and, we collectively discovered, it’s with some apprehension we suddenly find ourselves no longer first years and instead expected to help out the new crop. I’m moving into a litigation seat, a department that seems incredibly busy and is likely to cut down on my free time significantly. While I shall endeavour not to disappear entirely, at least you know why in advance…
To be honest I didn’t “get” Spotify at first. I thought it was trying to replace Last.fm but without its “scrobbling” feature which tracks the music you listen to and suggests others, as well as comparing your tastes with friends and letting you see what they’re listening to. Eventually I caved and gave it a whirl about a month ago. I swiftly realised that Spotify wasn’t competing (out of the box it supports Last.fm, scrobbling everything to which you listen) and has much loftier goals: nothing short of a paradigm shift within the music industry. In fact, quite how it got away with it remains a mystery to me. After downloading the client music player (which is simple, vaguely reminiscient of iTunes) you have access to a vast library of music for free. While there are still notable gaps at present, every single album recommended to me by someone in the past month has been on there. That’s quite something. For licensing reasons Spotify isn’t available in the US yet, but they are working on it. The service is ad-supported but a subscription fee of £9.99 per month will remove them. With an iPhone App just released for music on the go, this really could change how people acquire their music. I highly recommend everyone with the remotest interest in music signs up to both these services: I’ll probably start mentioning more albums now that linking to a Spotify playlist is as simple as providing a URL.
My bank holiday weekend has been equally split between having friends round the the flat each day and playing through Batman: Arkham Asylum. Eschewing the usual film release tie-in model, they have instead crafted a game that stands wonderfully in its own right, feeding off the entire comicbook back-catalogue. By setting the game in Arkham, they are able to wheel out any Batman villain they want, since virtually all were incarcerated on the island at some point. All its required mechanics work wonderfully — stealth, combat, gadgetry — and it looks stunning to boot. Mark Hamill turns in a deliciously gleeful performance as Joker that really pushes the game forward. Probably the year’s best game so far, you don’t even need to be a particular fan of Batman to enjoy it, and I recommend people pick it up before the inevitable “holiday season” crush of new titles begins.