Vote for the Tuttle SXSWi 2010 session

Vote for my PanelPicker Idea!

Please. Thank you.

I’d love to talk at SXSW interactive in Austin next March about what the Tuttle Club is and what we’ve been learning.

The panel is entitled: Community Building: Organization Without Organization

And I’ll be trying to answer (at least) the following questions:

1. How do you get people to do something without telling them what to do?
2. What kinds of business models emerge out of a community of passionate users of the social web?
3. What sorts of people come when you open your doors to everyone?
4. How do you get co-working going in one of the most expensive cities in the world?
5. How do you organise stuff without a formal organisation?
6. How do you make money out of social networking?
7. How do you protect an open community from predators?
8. How long does it take to create a productive and self-supporting community?
9. What roles do you need people to play to create a sustainable community?
10. What principles have helped sustain and grow this community so successfully?

If you’ve had a positive Tuttle experience and would like to help make sure that this session gets picked, there are a few things you can do.

1. Vote – you’ll need to sign up for the site, but it’s very simple and they don’t ask for masses of personal information. Then towards the top of the description there’s a thumbs up button to vote “for” and a thumbs down to vote “against”.

2. Leave a comment at the bottom of the page – see, lots of lovely people already have, thank you, but the more that people say, both about what they’ve got out of Tuttle, but also what they’re interested in hearing about, the more likely the session is to happen.

3. Blog about it – tell me not just that you’ve voted for it but why. Or blog about why you couldn’t bring yourself to vote for it. Or, shock horror! what if you actually voted *against* it? – yeah, blog about it and we’ll talk about why. Whichever you do, please link back to this post so that I’ll see the pingback. Again, people have already, thank you Chris & Taylor

PS there are, naturally, *lots* of other lovely panels up for voting too – I’ll do a round-up of the one’s I’ve voted for shortly.

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uke practice 090820

I’ve been away from my uke (and not allowed to sing for long in my son’s presence) for at least 10 days and I’m gigging with teh lovely Lawsons et al on Tuesday so I thought I’d better do some practice. And then I thought I’d better record some bits cos there’s lots of new material.

And then I thought why not share it with you.

No polished gems here folks, just practice – you should hear the ones I didn’t choose to publish!


Download: All of me


Download: Just a little while to stay here


Download: I can’t give you anything but love, baby


Download: Sweet Lorraine


Download: Down among the sheltering palms


interrail days 8,9&10

180820091884OK, I’m going to sew it all up now. I’m back at home anyway so in the tradition of school trip reporting this one will be pretty much “we went to Paris, had some food, walked about a bit, and went home”

We had an extra morning on the beach, thanks to the train booking cock-up. Much the same as the last though I think I spent more time in the sea – also enjoyable because we moved a little up the beach to the spot underneath where people were doing that parachute-ride-behind-a-speedboat thing. So every now and then there’d be a woop and the uncertainty about whether someone was about to fall on top of you from a very great height. I also swam out a bit further, there seems to be a steep shelf just away from the coast there – never saw the tide out – and so while there are lots of people around where you can put your feet on the floor easier, it’s more secluded just a little way out.

We walked up and Ewan had a KFC for lunch. This was the point at which I tweeted about being told off for not having my trousers on. They didn’t chuck us out, by the way, he just wanted to check that I did have some trousers and asked me to put them on.

So then to the train station and by now Ewan was getting fed up. We had half an hour to wait at Nice, then two and a half hours on a stiflingly hot and full train to Marseille and then another hour to wait for the TGV. He said “Dad, I want to go home tomorrow, I’m fed up with this” Foolishly I tried to persuade him otherwise briefly, but soon realised the counter-productivity there and said “Well, we don’t know what the situation is with our Eurostar tickets. If you really want to go back, the best we can do is go to Gare du Nord first thing in the morning and see if we can get a refund and a new ticket for you” That’s all he needed. By the time we got to Paris he was relaxed about it all again.

The TGV really is fast – 3 hours from Marseille to Paris which is about 500 miles and the first class cars are nice and comfy (although ours came with a free screaming baby)

And so we were in Paris, our hotel was a short walk from Gare de Lyon and we flopped into bed to enjoy “Le grand blond avec une chaussure noire” the inspiration for this.

I’m bored with Paris to be honest, it’s become a bit meh for me all round. Going there’s not much more exciting than going to Brighton – I get there and it’s beautiful yes, but I think I’ve done all the frothy touristy things there are to do so yeah, meh.

And Paris and the parisiens do tend to say “Non!” a lot. And the public signage is appalling – you go somewhere where you know there’s a metro station and it’s impossible to find the entrance.

It served it’s purpose though – on Monday morning, I could have stayed for another week, by the end of Tuesday I was ready to come home.

And so, on Wednesday morning, we did.

And after 10 hour journeys through the Tyrol, the Eurostar felt like a commuter dash.

interrail day 7

170820091866I’m realising that much of this feels like school trip reporting – we did this, then we went there, then we did this and then we went to sleep. It has been a bit like that but I hope I’ll be able to write something more reflective once I’ve laid out the bones here.

Day 7 was Sunday. This seems to have made the streets of Nice more busy, especially it being mid-August, what with sunday-trading being a mortal sin ‘n’all (it turns out – I saw it on the telly, I’m not going to research it further, find your own link, I’m on holiday – that this weekend was the beginning of sunday trading)

We started with the (predictable but still severe) disappointment that is le petit dejeuner – particularly severe given that I don’t eat bread or croissants or butter or jam and so was restricted to coffee. So I watched Ewan chew his way through a baguette and then it was back to the handy supermarket.

NiceI’m having trouble now remembering. The morning was spent on the beach – I went for a swim and spent the rest of the time, really not looking at topless women, no really trying not to look, or at least, not to stare – trouble is, every time you look somewhere else, a new one wiggles into place. For example, the amply-proportioned lady underneath the red striped parasol in this picture promptly sat up just after I put my camera away.

The afternoon and evening consisted of food and catching up in my feed reader and going for another walk and some crap french telly in our room. Oh and getting bitten by fleas in the room too. Thanks.

Ah yes, I remember, the other thing was I went over to the train station to book the tickets and found that it being a Monday in mid August when lots of people are going back to work and school, there were no places on the train I’d wanted to get to Paris. In fact there were no places on any direct train to Paris on Monday. Or any obvious indirect routes. So I had to (well actually I was quite pleased to, it made for a nice treat after our hotel experience) get an upgrade to first class on a TGV from Marseille and we’d have to get the slow local train there first. I booked the Eurostar tickets back to London at the same time – it started to feel like we were near the end.

interrail day 6

150820091859So I got out of step with this and now I’m trying to catch up all at once.

This was the day we left Milan for Nice. So, although the longest journey was behind us (Vienna to Milan) it was still difficult to get up and get on another train for hours especially since neither of us had been to Milan before and we’d arrived in the dark the night before. But we did. We walked down to the square in front of the Duomo first of all, so that we at least felt we’d gotten a feel for that old bit of the city. This was our first proper sunshine too but it was comfortable in the morning air.

We got the metro to the central station and then I spent an annoying 30 minutes queuing to try to make a reservation on a train only to be told that I couldn’t get one and should just get on the train. This is an annoyingly vague aspect of the interrail system, whether you have to reserve or not and how much extra that costs. I hope to write something up about that later.

Stazione Centrale has recently been refurbished and is an amazing sight – I’m guessing from the grubby bits that aren’t quite finished yet that it had become pretty poor, but maybe someone else here knows for sure.

So we just went and sat on the train and waited for the people to come along who obviously *had* booked those seats and then we sat in the corridor seats until the train started and then I went for a little walk and found, that although there were lots of other people stan ding around, there were a couple of seats in a compartment a couple of coaches away so we moved in there for the duration (still nervous at every stop that someone was going to come and take “our” seats)

Basically the journey was pretty (and not so pretty) northern italian countryside down to Genoa and then along the Cote D’Azur in and out of tunnels, past little coves of blue water and exclusive looking houses perched on clifftops.

Nobody checked our ticket all the way.

Arrived in Nice OK, but walked completely the wrong way to find the hotel so spent half an hour sweating back again with suitcases. Our hotel was not the cleanest or best equipped (a comparison of each hotel is also on my to do list) and of course the a/c wasn’t working properly but there was a supermarket next door where we could get a quick food fix before taking a walk down to the beach (about 10 minutes) to see what there was to see. Then we both agreed it was time to just crumble into bed (once I’d just gotten the wifi working).

I didn’t get much sleep though because we had to have the window open occasionally to deal with the heat but Nice is not a quiet place on a Saturday night.

interrail day 5

SalzburgNow, where was I? Too many days with unreliable wifi…

So day five was Friday, when i swapped Tuttle for Tyrol.

This was to be the longest train day – 4.5 hours Vienna to Innsbruck, and hour stop and then another 4.5 hours Innsbruck to Milan. Phew – that’s a lotta train.

Hotel Urania in Vienna had all the faded grandeur that you might expect – plus a missing lift, so we had to carry ourselves and stuff up three flights. The wallpaper was like something out of an abstract expressionist porn movie (you all know I’m a connoisseur) at least the wifi was free and available in reception. And it was ten minutes walk to the Mitte station where we could get a metro to the WestBahnhof to get our train – it was a fairly leisurely morning for once and then we settled back and enjoyed the scenery basically from one end of Austria to the other.

At Innsbruck we found the ideal combination – a supermarket for me to stock up on Kabanos and salad and a Burger King for the boy to indulge his love of Bacon Double Cheese Menu mit Pommes und Coke Light – ketchup bitte, nicht mayo!

I’d realised in Vienna that I’d left my contact lens solution in Berlin (the only mishap so far, fingers crossed) and I contemplated trying to also find a chemist but thought that was pushing my luck. As it was the train was 15 minutes late anyway. So then it was pretty much Heidi-land for a couple of hours with the mountains slowly giving way to smaller hills until we hit Verona and then turned right across northern Italy to arrive in Milan at 8.30 just as the sun was going down. The only downside was my complete knackeredness which made me want to declare war on the giggling group of Norwegian geeks who were playing cards across the aisle.

I took a look at the queue at the ticket desk but decided to try for reservations in the morning. Good move as it turned out but that’s tomorrow’s story.

150820091850I was stunned by the architecture in Milan, even in the dark – I’m so ignorant – I’d expected everything to be ultra modern but no, it was big and marble and fascist. Fortunately, I’d worked out that Milan had a metro too (who knew?!? – google maps shows stations, but just doesn’t have details of the times the way it has for other cities) So we took that, complete with water-spraying cooler fans to our little hotel near Il Duomo. 1 Euro for a standard ticket – cheapest metro ever!

I gave up trying my hand at Italian when we arrived and just played stupid British tourist (I do it pretty well). There seemed to be wifi at the hotel, but I couldn’t get it to work and needed sleep more than internet – we watched a bit of Calendar Girls dubbed, but the disjoint between Helen Mirren gabbling away in Italian in a Yorkshire Dale somewhere was too much for either of us.