February 20, 2016 | Permalink
72 Seasons tells us that it's now 'First Spring 3: Fish Rise From The Ice'. For me we're entering Chillier Than You Think.
The highlight of Season Two was going to see Tim Dunn talk about the Sierra Leone National Railway Museum at the Model Railway Club. (Yes, they are the Model Railway Club.)
Good, random facts that I noted down:
Sierra Leone has used a former Isle of Wight hovercraft as a ferry (though it is not currently in operation.)
Those Bounty ads were filmed on Sierra Leone beaches.
Freetown is twinned with Hull.
One of the locos on the SL railway was very similar to Russell of the Welsh Highland Railway, after which, family history has it, I was named. (That last fact was not noted in the talk.)
Less randomly, the Sierra Leone National Railway Museum is a good thing.
February 14, 2016 | Permalink
According to '72 Seasons' we are now entering The Nightingale Sings. For me, it's been Friends Pop Up, or maybe The Knees Refuse.
I went to a 4 quick little talks at the magnificent Fitzrovia Chapel. It was, basically, a Woods Bagot internal meeting but they were kind enough to make it public and it popped up on the chapel's twitter feed, so I went. One of the talks was about 'the Maker movement' and referenced Newspaper Club. It was a proper little thrill to see them pop up on the screen. Made me realise how much I miss them.
And we played 5-a-side the other night. On a newly-laid bit of astroturf near Warren Street. It's fantastic to be playing there, right in the middle of the city, in the shadow of the BT Tower. My ageing knees are not actually up to it but I loved it. Running around, teenagers versus grown-ups, a bit of inter-generational football banter. (Though as one of our party pointed out the teenage football banter is incredibly densely-packed, short bursts of impenetrable meta-reference. I couldn't get most of it, though I assume they were patronising me.)
It seems vaguely ridiculous to suggest that Fitzrovia is 'gentrifying' but it is. The investment money is pouring into property and squeezing out the older little communities, so it's nice when you see stuff going on at the chapel and local kids playing on the 5-a-side.
February 09, 2016 | Permalink
Chris pointed me at this 72 Seasons app. It's the least appy app you could imagine, more like an intermittently released PDF, but maybe that's why it makes me happy. Occasionally it reminds you that you're entering one of Japan's 72 microseasons and that there's a new food, animal, flower, haiku etc to read a bit about. They all have good names too - yesterday we entered Season One, the start of a new year - East Wind Melts The Ice.
I've been looking for a new periodicity for this blog too. I wrote a post every day in 2015 and I enjoyed the discipline of that but most of them were just a picture or a postcard, there wasn't much actual writing. But, if I don't have deadlines I don't do anything*. So, now I've decided to follow the 72 seasons and write a new post every time the app tells me it's Mist Starts To Linger or Plums Turn Yellow or something.
So, this is that, my first season for 2016 - Resolutions Have Failed. Happy New Year.
*And, if I do have deadlines, I don't do anything either. In fact I'm writing this as a way of avoiding another deadline I curently have.
February 05, 2016 | Permalink
Some developments to report:
I've realised that I'm as stuck as an old media snail and that RSS probably isn't going to be a suitable way to inform everyone about this whole Interesting business any more.
So, in the very short soon, I will be creating an actual internet website whereon will be posted all the relevant details, this will include:
One. Details of who I've already got lined up to talk and the kinds of things they're going to talk about, and the kinds of things we've had in the past. Hopefully this will help potential speakers get a sense of the kind of event it is. And I'm looking to add something inspired by the emfcamp call for participation. Thanks to Jay for the suggestion.
As a starter, here's some of who I've got so far:
Ade Adewunmi is going to talk about the importance of watching TV
Alby Reid is going to talk about polonium poisoning
Kim Plowright is going to "try and explain what it feels like to preserve memories and talk about dementia and death on social media, whilst still occasionally making people laugh (and how her Mum would’ve had her guts for garters if she'd realised what she was up to)"
Two. Details of the people who've offered to do training, support and mentoring for speakers and potential speakers. (And big thanks to everyone who's volunteered to do that!)
Three. A code of conduct, again, probably based on the EMFCamp one. I've only been to emfcamp once but it seems like a great model to follow.
Four. Details of tickets, prices etc. My thinking is that tickets will be £15 each. The cost of the venue and the PA etc is £1,200, and unless I've forgotten anything that's the only cost there is. There are no sponsors to offset costs, so in order to break even I'd have to sell 80 tickets. Even with my old school RSS-based marketing skills that feels do-able. Anything more than 80 tickets and we'll use that money to support speakers who have to travel to the venue or might need help covering child care or other caring costs. Then we'll spend money on making the event itself as accessible as possible - access, sign language / live transcription etc. Once that's taken care of I'll distribute the rest of the money evenly amongst the speakers. The venue capacity is 400 so that's a (very) theoretical £4,800 to be shared out.
January 29, 2016 | Permalink
I've had a few people volunteer to do talks at Interesting. Which is good! They're all interesting ideas and they're all lovely people. Very lovely.
But all the people are from a very similar demographic. You can imagine.
I'm working hard to 'reach out' to a broader range of people but I'd like some help please.
I think that one of the good things about Interesting is that the audience, you lot, are incredibly supportive and welcoming. That's a good start.
Also the talks are short. Could be just 5 minutes. You don't need to worry about a beginning, a middle and an end. You just start and then it's over.
And, we're not looking for anything 'thought leading' or 'disruptive', Interesting works because it's people talking about stuff they're actually interested in. The best talks, the ones that have stuck with me, have been about horses, hoovers, teaching, sunsets and toilets. Equally it doesn't have to just be everyday stuff. I'd love to have talks about death or illness. It's the range of talks that makes for a good evening. And it's the fact that speaker is interested that makes for a good talk.
So, it seems to me, that Interesting would be a good place to practise presenting. Maybe not for your first time *ever*, but for your first time in that size a venue.
So, I want to encourage people who are maybe a bit nervous about all this to volunteer to talk.
I have one idea for doing this, which is to offer people mentors and or trainers who will help them prepare for their talk. Would anyone like to volunteer to be a trainer? Please let me know.
And does anyone have any other ideas for how we make Interesting more welcoming? Please let me know that too.
(I am already planning on a code of conduct and, hopefully, some kind of childcare.)
January 19, 2016 | Permalink
Right, I think the risk of it turning into 'a thing' has dissipated sufficiently that it's time to do another Interesting.
I've booked the Conway Hall again, for the evening of the 15th of September, 2016. If Google's implementation of the Gregorian calendar is to be trusted, it'll be a Thursday.
Short and sweet this time. Something like 7pm to 9pm. Otherwise, the same old Interesting. Short talks about stuff. If you'd like to do a talk, or you'd like to see someone talk, let me know via @interesting or email me. (interesting at russelldavies.com)
Tickets will go on sale when I've remembered my eventbrite login. They won't be much. More than 50p but not too much.
January 13, 2016 | Permalink
As is now traditional for a Monday, above is my spotify listening for the week. There's not a lot to say, it was a week of gentle listening, that post-Christmas lull.
Below are my top 10 listenings for the year (based on last.fm scrobbles, not that reliable).
I clearly love Mr Richard J. Birkin don't I?
January 04, 2016 | Permalink