Weeknotes 10th June: plotting

AAA picWe haven’t had any regular weeknotes for a while, have we? It’s like there’s been a Gwyneth Paltrow-style meltdown (OOOooh, someone’s been reading Grazia). But now it’s back to normal, regular, multi-million dollar Hollywood movies and unusual comments about water’s feelings (Grazia, again) service. Don’t get too settled. I’m sure I’ll think of something else to complain about before long.

There are still some tickets left for the next Hack Circus event, Access All Areas. But unless you like being crushed into a boiling death pit, not many. After that advert, how could you not buy one and come along, a skip in your step? Actually it should be particularly good on Saturday. Lighthouse have been great. The studio residents are pulling together on this, it’s amazing to see it happen. Paper electronics genius Coralie has made a fantastic poster and is developing a stunning linear countdown timer to mark the Hack Circus break, with Seb – who is also working with Sinead (over email! they’ve never met!) to visualise brainwaves with 3D printers and his giant Lunar Lander plotter. Hell, I even did some shitty soldering today that immediately had to be re-done by a grown-up. Yeah, it’s all happening.

I’m meeting loads of really interesting and unusual people through Hack Circus. They’re a slightly different crowd to the Shift Run Stop people, and it’s fun getting to know them. Impromptu meet-ups have led me to all kinds of fascinating stuff, like (just today) God Helmets, ghost finding apps, the ultimate Star Trek fan thing (I KNOW!), how to navigate by graves, and this amazing drawing robot arm. Think of the magazine as the penguin hosting tip of a much more unsettling iceberg. It looks like a sweet Christmas card, but look closer and you’ll see it’s a fucking Far Side cartoon.

More generally, all of this influx of interestingness has crystalised in a brand new podcast. Have a listen. Please. Literally. Take my wife. Not really; it takes a lot of time, that’s all. I’m interviewing people I find interesting on the ‘fantasy technology and everyday magic’ axis. So far that means my mate, the amazing Helen Zaltzman, Joe Banks, an excellent artist involved with things like acoustic illusions – and a social engineer called Nick Drage who I introduce as “The UK’s Kevin Mitnick”, because yeah it’s geeky but it’s still showbusiness. The latest episode stars the delightful magician Mike Stoner – he did some great tricks on me, we talked about subtly freaking people out as you go about your everyday business, and oh my god, you have no idea how many things in life are really about marketing.

Issue 3 of the mag is out this week, it’s themed on Access All Areas, and includes interviews with Sarah Angliss, Isabelle Arvers and Punch Drunk, a disturbing photostory by an urban explorer, an ill-fated space probe, aforementioned social engineer, a brand new encryption method with playing cards, the truth about prisoner ankle bracelets and loads more. Loads. Pre-orders will be offered imminently.



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