Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2008

Big Cafe on Transport Sustainability

About a month ago, I went to the "Big Cafe for Transport" event that was happening just around the corner from my house at the brilliant new "Co-Exist" sustainability business centre. Coexist run as a CIC and are just about to launch with a plan to open up green community and event spaces, funded in turn by work and business spaces. I really hope that means a market in stokes croft!

After I attended, I'd promised everyone I'd write up about it, and promptly left it as a nagging thing in the background as life took over. But now the official write up of the event has been published so I thought I should finish the abortive blog post I made that same night. A disclaimer: I'm allowed to make mistakes here, so if I've written anything wrong or stupid, please correct me!
A big cafe costs 20 pounds to attend. It started really early on a Saturday morning (thus excluding the entire population of Stokes Croft), but it included a lunch (from Kukuva Cafe acros…

Local Economy Management System

Today I did lots of healthy, useful things*, while the news around us is that we are in a recession, a very quick and serious one, and not just as a country but as a globalised western world. What this has led to is exemplified really nicely by the great Big Issue headline that came out a while back "The answer to the food crisis - Grow your own!" - and in general people are rushing to get more and more into planting and cycling and generally into more sustainable lives as they see this is probably the best time to do it - even if this is just a mini bust due to speculation.

And when I read an article in the weekend paper about a poor freelance journalist wishing he had studied engineering as a backup trade - and now impoverished by the credit crunch, I was inspired to expand freecycle and other stuff like that into an online community task/project/exchange coordination system, that could fall back into wireless if there was no main internet.

That's what I've been th…

The State of Fluxus day 2

The state of Fluxus, Day 1

This weekend I went back to what I did a few months back, and went down to the Tate Modern all the way from Bristol, to play (very little) crazy music and perform in front of loads of people in London.

Last time we were on Millennium Bridge, which (to explain for the non-londoner) is a very narrow bridge which gets swamped around 4pm on a Friday afternoon, by commuters going both ways. We were there lined up with loads of loud and eccentric instruments, in t-shirts and responding to a conductor, and to an orchestra by the Tate, and a boat with lots of improvising musicians (Evan Parker included, who is now coming to the Cube Cinema in June) playing samples of maritime, Thames noises - boats, seagulls, and some of the most complicated classical as well as improvised and participatory music that was a beautiful tribute to that space.




This time for us performers it was a 4 day experience - 2 days rehearsal, and 2 of performance, with some of the surviving masters of the Fluxus time, still …

Eduserv Symposium 2008

I came to attend this symposium out of the blue, having seen an email late one Wednesday afternoon, saying our assistant director was too ill to go, and after a quick look at the programme, I realised it was a follow-up to an event I'd seen on video a while back where an entire conference on Second Life had been trashed by a talk which had argued it was all pretty much useless hype. So if this year's presentations were going to be in that vein, it sounded like like a fun time.

This being a web 2 conference, lots of it was used, including a live chat backchannel ( http://www.eduserv.org.uk/foundation/symposium/2008/livechat powered by cover it live streaming software:http://www.coveritlive.com/ ), a ning based conference centred social networking site (which as expected didn't achieve critical mass but was a nice feature all the same), and of course lots lots more.

Eduserv's Andy Powell started the day talking about these "Disruptive technologies" we know so wel…

A letter to the times.

Sir,

Melanie Reid's article "I don't want to live in a scratchy world of hemp
lingerie" made me reach straight for a pen to reply (this email is a
transcription of that, you see), with many references to women's
impending return to a boring dark age devoid of skiing, exotic food and
sleek accessory porn, forced by "eco-purists" to go back to sewing
buttons, wearing rags and to the absolute unhappiness of the world that
preceded household appliances.


I'm sorry for Melanie, but these are in themselves dark times, in which
our senses and ability to experience emotion are dulled by the intensity
of the world around us, where any exotic meal, place or piece of
information is seemingly at our fingertips, or as Daisaku Ikeda, the
Japanese Buddhist philosopher puts it, "This imbalance takes the form of
a dulling of our natural responsiveness to life and the realities of
daily living". And I believe this dulling has in many ways been brought
about by the rational…

3 books for Bristol

Yesterday I went to the shops, in a desperate last push to get some new curtains, the inner liner white £1-a-metre ones that people put in a drawer when they move in somewhere, and then put back when they move out. And mine were all mouldy... Bleah! Anyway, I stopped in Waterstones for ages and bought 3 books: Clay Shirky's "Here comes everybody", Noam Chomsky's "What we say goes"(hope I don't get in trouble for linking to a torrent, but they're interviews, and that link will give you the full original audio for them) and Rob Hopkins' Transition Handbook.

All these purchases were devoted to my quest for finding a way for the re-use and investment in technology to become a strong part of the Transitionista's vision. I think we've got loads of equipment these days that we can recycle and make use of for a long time, and if we all have generators or solar panels, some of that charge can be spent on the laptop... So no matter how stupidly ap…

Dream Machines part 1

We live at such a key time, when on one hand we're waking up tragically to the effects of our use of fossil fuel and our extraordinary growth in the past few hundred years to this blip where revolutions can happen at any point, and go unnoticed, because it's given us an incredible luxury as well. As food prices increase and the skies punish us, we are more in touch with all our friends, family and community than ever before through the benefits of telecommunication.

I mean the Digital Revolution, or whatever is at the base the geekiness of ham radios, and at the top the equally geeky virtual worlds which start to take a strange grip on the real world - Second Life, Facebook, Myspace, Email, Instant Messaging, Texting and all the other ways we have added to the written and oral communication we had before. In a sense, all the virtual worlds are just an elite's pinnacle at the top of the incredible communications we're capable of as a global population, aided at this time…