Chris Ballantine-Thomas

I’m a designer working in graphic and interaction design. I work at the Government Digital Service, where I’m on the GOV.UK Design System team.


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Weeknote S2 E9

It’s bank holiday Monday and I’m writing this weeknote in advance, to be published on Friday. Is this speculative fiction?

Right now I’m scared about how my newly-planted plants are going to deal with the frosty weather this week. I’ll try to protect them, but my attempts will be thwarted by a bastard fox trampling all over my carefully-constructed assemblage of upturned pots and sheets. (One actually shat on a Bergenia the other day. Gardening in London is war).

Liverpool play Real Madrid on Tuesday evening. Liverpool will have most of the ball, play it around in front of Madrid for 80 minutes to no real effect, then one of either team will score a goal undeservedly from nothing. Prediction: 1-0 or 0-1.

At some point, maybe Wednesday afternoon, I’ll have a brief moment of abject despair provoked by looking out of the window, looking into the days ahead, and seeing nothing but the same flat tone of middle grey.

Around that time I might try and log back into my Instagram account after attempting to delete it last week. I hope it’s not as easy as just logging in again. If it is as easy as that, I’ll look at overpriced menswear for a while and delete my account again.

We’re getting some new blinds installed in our living room on Thursday. This will be the highlight of the week. They’re those shutter blinds that all middle class London homes with street-facing windows have. I discovered recently that these blinds are known as ‘plantation shutters’, which is fucking grim. The shutters industry probably wants to have a look at this.

I’m expecting another news story about someone making a basic error in their job that causes an absolute shitstorm. It might not be setting an alleged sex offender loose or blocking a major international shipping route, but something. Everyone is completely fried.

Someone in a position of extreme power will make an equally calamitous decision and no-one will notice or care.

At work I have what looks like a fairly meeting-free week. If this lasts, it should mean I manage to finish off some things I’ve been working on for months. That would be nice.

Towards the end of the week I’ll start contacting friends to make plans for the long-awaited-week-commencing-12-April. A few pints on a cold bench outside a pub. Some will reply, some won’t. Some will have forgotten who I am. I will try to forgive them.


Weeknote S2 E8





Weeknote S2 E7

My cat Bev is staring at me uncomfortably as I write this. Like a cold dead stare.

This last week has been quite bland, in a good way. No intense lows or feelings of dread. I don’t know why that is but I’ll take it.

If I haven’t written or recorded anything for my weeknote during the week, I usually look back at my camera roll, calendar, emails etc. for a trace of life. And there’s pretty much nothing since last weekend.

Feels a bit like how people speculate that the Dark Ages were a period of unprecedented peace because no history was happening. Not true, like. Just chaos and suffering that no-one wrote down. What am I feeling that I’m not aware of? I’m not always very in touch with my emotions until they get bad.

It could just be that Liverpool haven’t played for a couple of weeks.

My week at work was filled with a lot of writing things up and telling people what’s going on – summaries of work we’ve recently completed, summaries of work we’re planning to do. We’re trying to be more transparent about the decisions we make in the Design System and better at communicating them to our users. Which I think is really important. But I had this moment towards the end of the week where I was like ‘holy shit we are a design bureaucracy and I am a design clerk’. That’s not inherently bad. Hopefully we’re the good kind of bureaucracy.

Dunno what else happened. A load of news I can’t comment on. Some arsehole property developer NIMBY woes that I probably shouldn’t comment on. Had a few nice walks. Made some more wedding plans. Threw out some sauerkraut I was making that went mouldy. Booked some tables at restaurants for when that’s possible again. That’s about it. I don’t know why you read this, but thank you.


Bits of work