Week 46: Meeting the makers

A busy week. No complaints.

  • On Monday I met up with Six To Start‘s lovely chief nerd, Adrian Hon. If you don’t know Six to Start, you’ve almost certainly come across their stuff. They’ve made things for Penguin, WIRED UK, the BBC, phones, TVs, radios, the internet… They make puzzles and games and multimedia extravaganzas and all sorts. I’ve known Adrian for a while but don’t have enough *actual talks* with him (we had a great chat about time travel games, a couple of years ago, and he leant me some Usbourne Puzzle Adventure books to reminisce over…) But then after Duncan and I went to the Transmedia thing I was reminded of how splendid he is, and booked him for a chat. We talked about things we can do, separately and perhaps together. He knows a lot of games and sci-fi. Coffee him, I recommend it.
  • Tuesday, Wednesday, I don’t know.
  • On Thursday I went to the launch lunch of the Maker’s Guild, where people who I slightly know who they are, like Jonty from the London Hackspace and Alexandra from RIG (formerly makesmith of Tinker It), talked about what they do and why we might need a Guild for it. It was great, I sat between the brains of Paul Battley and Dan Lockton.
  • Friday was meetings, all the way.
  • I’m still going to bed really early. It’s working.
  • This week was a bit stressful in places, culminating in this weekend and my utter inability to do anything, though tomorrow I hope to build a radio and make flapjacks. There are some very exciting lunches, events and meetings coming up next week. We have our company away day, at which I’m going to be speaking about content, writing and mayhap stories. Then the week after it’s the event I’m running with Sara, Story Warp. After that, in early August I’m going to a retro tech hack camp in Suffolk, run by a chap I met at the Gadget Show Live. THEN it’s the incredible Chaos Communication Camp in Germany. Then we’re off to Cornwall for a week. AND FINALLY, if I’m allowed any more time off and have time to revise it a bit, I’ll be doing “Dear Star Trek: I have some questions” at Spacetacular for one night only, in Edinburgh.

Anyway, couple of thoughts…

1. I’m not already nostalgic for the present, I’m already excruciatingly ashamed of it. I go to conferences and meetings, and post my brain into the future to try to listen, from some place detached of context, to the way people talk and the things people get excited about. Because already so much of it feels like it will definitely be wrong. Barking up the wrong tree. Latching onto words and ideas and pushing them into the future. We have a blindness for propaganda of the present. When do things start to look dated? How far to we have to be from them to see the quaint, esoteric, “of its timeness” of the things we say and the way we behave? Or do we absorb them, drag the language of our times up with us? I’m trying to tune my brain out of these frequencies. “THIS IS THE MOMENT,” says everyone, at everything I go to. But it’s always the moment. So it’s never the moment. Say something that makes sense.

2. I’ve been thinking a bit about building an analogue hypertext machine. I’m having overwhelming urges to just bloody build stuff, and this particular idea has been on my mind since issue 2 of the newspaper, which I wanted to be a magical 2D puzzle box of sliding tabs, transporting you from one part of the experience to another. Of course, not possible to do within the constraints of the newspaper printers, but maybe something individuals could cut out and make. Then I started thinking about conductive ink, after Dan Lockton mentioned it at the Maker’s Guild thing, citing a printed battery he’d seen. Then I thought, let’s have a hypertext event, or an event about ‘digital connections’ more generally, where the audience are somehow playing a part in completing circuits or transmitting information to each other. Let’s turn the room into some kind of switchboard, maybe… I mentioned it to Sarah Angliss, and she said “use it to do potato printing”. Seriously, the best minds of our generation are working on this.

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