Culture Hack Day and some unrelated reading

January 20, 2011

Me speaking at Culture Hack Day, picture by timmitchellphotography.co.uk

Since it’s my year of Saying Yes To Everything, I spoke at the excellent, very enjoyable, very supportive Culture Hack Day last weekend. Here’s a good post about what went on.

The points of my talk were roughly:

a) Things are fun, that you don’t think are fun.
b) Things you’re doing already are fun.
c) Finding something fun doesn’t mean you’re a twat.
d) Even the most banal things in the world can be seen as toys.

I mentioned Chromaroma as an e.g. of layering “play data” over something you’re doing anyway and of using the Oyster card as a toy, and Barnaby Jack’s ATM hacks as an e.g. of the world’s hidden playthings.

I’m currently working on some very exciting stuff for issue 2 of the newspaper. Be the change you want to see! Make the thing you wish existed!

Perhaps I can interest you in some links:

  • Big fan of John Graham-Cumming’s work and blog – he writes with a clarity that really appeals to me. He wrote about what a nerd is recently, and supplied some excellent advice on promoting your work through the (old) media.
  • I watched Horizon about the nature of REALITY the other day, and like all impressionable idiots, my mind was blown by the idea THE UNIVERSE IS JUST A MASSIVE HOLOGRAM. What can I do with that information?! Well, in my case the answer is obviously: write another mediocre humour book about entropy. I’ll keep you posted.
  • The Guardian is obsessed with stand-up at the moment, e.g. this little piece about Tim Vine and writing one-liners. I was interested in this: “Does this pernickety process attract a certain personality type? Compact joke-writing can seem almost mathematical.” There’s something about this gag formula absolutely working or not working, I guess, that might appeal to a different kind of character to the confident, languid storyteller. A lot of story-telling stand-up relies on just putting the audience in a frame of mind to find something funny, and saying something in a funny way, rather than actually saying anything funny. In a sense, it’s an illusion – a lovely illusion. The thing being described is only funny* because of the art that surrounds it, and what works to a crowd braced to be surprised won’t work in print. But you can’t get away with fluffing an audience with the fast lines because that’s all you’ve got – and it works in print as well. Which is why Simon Munnery is the best of all.

(*”Only funny” – it is completely, legitimately funny if it makes people laugh. That’s the definition of funny. But Tim Vine jokes have funniness in their structure, and either make a kind of sense or they don’t…)

4 Responses to “Culture Hack Day and some unrelated reading”

  1. enemyofchaos Says:

    Just spotted this as well, which is fun: how to cheat at “spot the ball”

    http://www.jgc.org/blog/2008/02/tonight-im-going-to-write-myself-aston.html

  2. Beano Says:

    As usual I am quite impressed. Thanks for brain food.


  3. [...] Spoke at the Culture Hack Day at the weekend. It was a very warm, very accessible event about sharing data from the cultural industries to make cool new things, with an overnight hack and lots of clever people and goodwill. I was on a panel, and talked about how the things you’re doing already are fun and hackable, mentioning Chromaroma and ATM hacking. And I blogged about it over there. [...]


  4. [...] is fun; toys are all around you, even if they don’t seem like toys’. [update: more notes and links from [...]


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