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Aug 23, 2016
Thanks to everyone who replied to my last letter. Feedback suggests not everyone understands everything in my letters. But, you enjoy receiving them anyway. It’s hard to know what to write, as I have such a variety people on this list. The original aim for this letter was to be a general update for Friends and Family. Since I removed my Facebook and don’t use social media, I felt I needed to find ways to stay connected. This should be an infrequent summary of everything I’ve been up to. But, unlike social media I aim to make it a bit more mindful. I think about what to write. But, it’s hard. With friends, family, and colleagues from the various worlds I inhabit, it’s hard to cater to all. Most of what I do is with technology, but I try to save the more technical writings for my blog.
The theme for this letter is returns. Yes, I’ve just done my VAT return, but there’s more exciting returns to tell you about.
First, the Creative Coding Meetup group that I started in 2014 is returning after a long hiatus. We had a good run of events in 2015, but after losing our regular venue it was hard to keep the momentum going. Earlier in the year I was at Resonate, as were many members of the group. After reminiscing about the excellent meetups we’d had, Jonathon volunteered to help me with the running of the group. The search for a new venue took us a while, but we’re back from September 12th in a shiny new venue near Old Street. More information will appear on the Meetup group page.
The Silly Ideas Factory is also making a return. We’re taking our participatory pantomime, “Whose Shoe is it Anyway?” to Shambala festival this next weekend.
I started the Silly Ideas Factory with two burner friends, Michael and Nat, to encourage more silliness in the world. Towards the end of 2014, Michael and I started talking about organising a party to celebrate the invention of the Kaleidoscope. An event, I’m sure you’ll agree, is worthy of celebration! We don’t know the exact date that Brewster invented the device. We do know he first demonstrated it in 1816, and was awarded the patent in 1817. But, I found a date of some of his early experiments that lead to the discovery in 1815. That was convenient as it meant in 2015 we could rightly say “200 years of Kaleidoscope”.
Michael and I started looking around for venues that would let us create our vision. We’d just been on a site visit in East London when we sat down for a drink and discussed our options. After a lengthy discussion, we realised that perhaps we didn’t want to organise a party. All we really wanted was an excuse to be silly, and for others to join in the silliness too. We talked about creating an event where people could come and be as silly as they wanted, with no fear of judgement. And the Silly Ideas Factory was born.
We ran a series of silly events at The Others in Stoke Newington: A participatory pantomime “Whose Shoe is it Anyway?”; A night of computer games bought to life called “Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start”; the “Glow Stick Crisp Packet AGM”; and of course the very silly “Silly Sports Day” in Regents Park. We took The Factory to festivals that summer, including Secret Garden Party, and even hosted an event at Somerset House in London as part of their “Now Play This” festival.
Now we take it to Shambala festival, one of my favourite festivals in the UK. If you are there this weekend you should come along and join in the silliness. We’re on the Cocoon Stage at 12:30 on Saturday. This is a new space to provide more family entertainment. Silliness that all the family can enjoy!
Another return: This last month I made my return to Scandinavia. I spent a month in Denmark in 2001 for a post-graduate summer school in computer science. The end of that visit coincided with the Copenhagen Jazz festival, where I got to see Ray Charles. Amazing! This time it was just a couple of days in Stockholm. Nikki had a meeting there, so I tagged along for the ride. It was just a brief visit, but we packed in a lot. A highlight was visiting the Nodem building, a space created by the local Burning Man community. It’s great as a burner you can go anywhere in the world and meet like minded people. We attended an event called “Teal for Burners.” I’ve had the book, Reinventing Organisations, on my reading list for a while. After this event I came home and immediately started reading it. These are world changing ideas. The event was inspiring. I was also inspired by what the Swedish burning man community have created with the space. I’m going to try and return next Summer for Borderland, the Scandinavian burn event.
I’ve returned to work with CTVC on the TrueTube project. This is just a day or two per week at the moment, as I’m also working on another project 3 days per week until mid-October. After that I’m travelling for 2 weeks to visit Nikki’s family abroad.
Anyway, thanks for reading, I hope not too many of these letters get returned! :)