Hack Circus for Interesting 11… thank you!

June 21, 2011

Seems pointless duplicating everything everyone else has already written about Saturday’s “Interesting” conference, so I’ll keep it brief. Roo has all the best links, as usual – admirable levels of detail and accuracy!

First of all, I really enjoyed the whole day. Highlights for me were Chris Heathcote’s food-tasting masterclass and Alby’s mass mousetrap madness. I had a section too, this year, and having invested so much time in this one, I was, like Russell, incredibly moved by the general goodwill of both punters and performers.

By way of thanks, here’s a very VERY quick bit of behind-the-scenes and some responses.

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My new job

May 27, 2011

Just in case anyone doesn’t somehow know through all my other channels, I’m now working full-time at an agency in London called Made By Many. I’ve been there three weeks, now. There I am, look, failing to melt the office dog’s steel heart. ->

They are an excellent agency and I’m really enjoying it. It’s creative and interesting, and as a result I’m sure you’ll understand why I’ve now axed everything else I used to do. As far as I’m concerned, it’s all paid off, now, and in a better way than I could have imagined.

I’m still blogging my weekly news and latest thoughts about games or making or whatever, on Fridays, at Final Bullet. I might blog the odd thing here as well, if there’s anything worth sharing.

Feels like things are really, really good at the moment.

Hackers! issue 2 – reminder

April 24, 2011

If you’re interested in the idea of a newspaper about doing things you’re not supposed to, and you’ve enjoyed or learned something from any of the bits of free entertainment I’ve supplied over the years, then maybe you can spare £4 for a limited edition issue 2 of Hackers!, the first thing I’ve ever had the audacity to charge for, and help safeguard this project, which currently isn’t covering its own costs.

I think this issue is excellent, exactly as I pictured it, and although it’s a lot of work, it’s very much all I want to be doing with my time. There are amazing writers, like Becky Hogge and Alby Reid and Jake Eliot, who have done this for the love of the ideas and nothing more, and thoroughly deserve to be remunerated for their exceptional talent. However, it might be the last issue I can afford to do for a while – the postage and design costs mean it’s not sustainable at the moment. Get it from the website or in person, or talk to me about a bulk buy if you think your office reception should be shipping them in as a regular subscription. You can write it off as expenses, I bet.

I’m interested in hearing from potential sponsors and advertisers, too; this paper goes out to major agencies in London and clever techy companies and individuals all round the world.

New paper, new website, join in!

April 3, 2011

Issue 2 of Hackers! is now available to buy online. I’m exceptionally pleased with this one. The writers have created a newspaper full of things that I think are incredibly interesting – somehow, I’ve compiled the perfect newspaper for me! After all, what else do we have to go on?

I decided I should make something fast, to back up that talk I’ve been doing lately. To that end, my friend Tim and I have spent most of our free time over the last couple of months writing a new humour website called Extreme Acts of Kindness. It’s a bit embarrassing, how much we’ve been laughing at our own jokes. Anyway, Tom built the amazing website – mostly over this weekend when he should have been relaxing – and we think it’s ready to show the world.

When you’ve got the gist of it, you can join in by using the #eaok hashtag on Twitter. We have a couple of spare “Sorry you were…” postcards; if you have a funny concept for a photo like the one above, let me know and I’ll make sure you get a card. The theme is basically “going the extra mile”, to comical effect.

It’s been a bit quiet on here hasn’t it. I’ve been sort of ill again, but I think I’m on the mend. Oh, and I’m still blogging work-related stuff – such as it is – every Friday over on Final Bullet.

The books of youth

March 5, 2011

I thought I’d continue Reminiscence Season here on Channel Old with a post about books. Out of nowhere, this incredulous email has just arrived from my brother.

“Hey, am I remembering correctly? Did you take on holiday to Tunisia a hardback copy of Bravo Two Zero?”

I’m afraid I did, and thanks for remembering that I had it in hardback. This was 1994 and probably the first ‘grown up’ book I read, and I loved it. I loved everything about it. I loved the astonishing war story, and I especially loved that it was the size of my head and had textured flames on the cover. Brave Two Zero came out in 1993, when I was 13. Now clearly there are many questions here, and to avoid asking them we were trying to remember what my brother took on that holiday. We think it might have been the equally literary Gridlock by Ben Elton.

Something weird happened between childhood and the burgeoning adventure of adulthood – something marked by that Bravo Two Zero fascination of the 93/94. I think the gear-shift that takes place every so often in the unravelling of childhood can be felt – even re-experienced somewhat – through our memories of the books we have loved. And sooner or later we must all abandon the dog-eared tales of magic animals for the charms of an unlikely squaddie. Or must we? Yes, we must. Here’s how it happened for me…

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January 30, 2011

I don’t like cartoons at the cinema. For a start, I hold this multimillion pound industry in such disdain I can’t help but refer to its myriad achievements on the shifting landscapes of visual culture as “cartoons at the cinema”. I don’t like films that are for kids ‘but really adults too’. I despise Shrek, hate Nick Park, have no interest in Toy Story, and absolutely can’t watch anything where Robin Williams is doing a squawky voice. It’s the words, definitely, but it’s the pictures, too. I live in a world of graphics geeks, but I just can’t seem to get appropriately worked up about animation.

I tell you all this so you will understand the weight of what I am about to say.

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Creative friends who win things

January 29, 2011

I feel like I might burst with pride. Several people I know have been publicly recognised by their peers for their extreme talent recently, and I want to tell you about them.

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January 28, 2011

This is pretty much the only animated film I’ve had any genuine interest in for at least 10 years. It’s a modern spin on the Rapunzel story, and unlike the gruesome and indestructible Shrek franchise, it just looks so funny, unpretentious and cute. Yeah, say what you like about Disney, they never forget the golden rule: that everything should be cute. I just hope it’s as good as it seems.

(Can’t get any of the embed links on Youtube to work, sorry)

Barbies, Princesses and My Little Ponies

January 24, 2011

I was thinking about Barbies the other day, because someone on telly wore a dress that reminded me of Peaches and Cream Barbie. It was always between her and Crystal Barbie, wasn’t it. The latter was a shade more trashy, which worked in her favour as far as my six-year-old tastes were concerned, but P&C’s outfit genuinely looked mouthwatering.

I never ever had Barbie, I was only allowed Sindy – even now, a little embarrassing to admit. If only I’d had Barbies, I can’t help but think, I’d have turned out a different sort of person altogether. More confident, more conventional, certainly more attractive. See, Barbies were so pretty in their spectacular outfits. They had that alluring, creepy, American-ness about them. They looked at me with their funny flat eyes and they promised so much. My friend Joanne’s dad was an airline pilot and she had all the Barbies and the house and the car AND the horse. I went round there a lot. In retrospect, I wonder about my motives for that friendship. I was a tiny gold digger.

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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:

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