SXSWi in 2010 via oh I don’t know loads of places

homage to wankergirlSo here’s my poorly thought-out, unplanned, half-baked, undetailed, but totally awesome idea for the Spring of 2010.

I’ll be attending SXSWi in Austin, Texas again. My panel was not picked, but emotion aside all that means is that I’ll have to pay $blah or so for a ticket. So I’m definitely still going to go – it’s just well, you know, too lovely and awesome not to.

Last year we flew over a few days before and had some holiday time hanging out and getting acclimatimed and then flew back the day after interactive closed.

This time I want to take it a bit more gently. Here are the bare bones of the evil plan, which I’d prefer to do with a gang of tuttle-istas if we can find ways of funding it:

1. Find the shortest flight to North America possible (does that mean least-polluting? I don’t know but that seems like a good aim to bear in mind) and fly at least a week before SXSWi opens ie arrive March 5th at the latest.

2. Devise a series of train journeys from wherever I land, down to Austin, preferably going via New Orleans to visit that good friend of Tuttle, Mr Taylor Davidson and see how his Crescent City adventure is panning out. Yes, you read that right, train journeys. I understand that the US train system is not quite as beautiful or efficient as its European sisters. However, train travel rocks, it just does.

3. At stopping places throughout the journey hold Human-scale Conversation sessions with local people talking about differences between US and British culture – not trying to solve anything particularly, just getting the subject out on the table and seeing what comes of it. There will be heavy-duty social reporting of these conversations. Note that the format has been refined since July with some extra flourishes – this is how I introduced something like it at the Tuttle/Counterpoint event in December.

4. Once in Austin, continue to hold Human-scale Conversation sessions on the same subject and present #kebab-style what we heard, found, learned, saw along the way.

5. Make our way back to the east coast overland again, putting together a documentary film from the footage shot during the first part of the trip, so that we have something ready to show when we get back to London.

Howzat grab ya?

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Here’s 8 ways you can help (and I’m sure you’ll come up with more)

1. Tell me how you’d improve on the plans and make them even more exciting.
2. Tell me why this is oh so very wrong-headed, misguided and stupid (I won’t listen very much, but I’d rather ask you for this than you just provide it out of the blue!).
3. Help me work out rough costings for each variation.
4. Provide money (just loads of it, regardless of the costs!)
5. Suggest routes and interesting stopover points, tell me why you think it’s interesting.
6. Volunteer to tag along and tell me how we’d pay for that.
7. Find other supporters with more money than time who’d like to see this happen.
8. Introduce me to sponsors who might provide help in terms of cash, food, shelter, transport as well as social reporting equipment.

UPDATE (18/01/10): The planning for this trip is now going on over here Come see!

#leweb makes the whale fail

I can only imagine that everyone is trying to say “have got out of the shower, am having breakfast before #leweb”

that’s what I really really needed to say anyway but the whale of fail is the only response I can get out of twitter this morning.

Obviously now Loic has invested so much in making the wifi work, some other bit of the infrastructure has to fall over. First up on stage this morning? Jack Dorsey :)

Ah well. Allons-y!

Spending some time with me

Views from my windowI’m in Tenby in South West Wales for the weekend. ‘m doing a bit of work tomorrow in Carmarthen and so i thought I’d take advantage of being over here and have a couple of nights by the sea. I love Tenby. My parents honeymooned here and we had at least one holiday here when I was little – happy days.

It’s the first time I’ve been away on my own for a while. My main holiday this year was of course interrailing with Ewan which was great fun, but we were in each other’s pockets all the time.

And I realised today that whenever I’ve gone away like this, I’ve always been thinking about how great it is to get away from the madness of #thatlondon or whatever. I’ve been trying to get away from it all, with no real understanding of what it was I was actually trying to get. This weekend for the first time, I’ve been enjoying the positive side – having time with me.

And having spent some time with me, I’ve found that I really like:
listening to the rain;
staring out of steamed up windows, watching condensation dribble down;
walking by myself on the beach;
walking into very strong winds;
watching the sand being blown over the beach;
saying “good morning” to people I don’t know in the street;
saying “good morning” to people ‘cos they’re in the same hotel as you;
having a picnic lunch by myself;
running downhill and not knowing how I’m going to stop myself;
taking photographs;
learning about a new bit of kit – today the Canon 5D Mk II;
learning to check the settings on my camera after I’ve given it to someone else to look at;
having a cup of tea in my hotel room;
having someone else make my breakfast;
reading the Sunday Times magazine with my breakfast;
deciding what I want to do next;
smiling;
yeah, smiling a lot;
singing very loudly on the beach because nobody can hear me;
not caring when I turn round and find that someone *can* hear me;
hiding by the rocks and talking to myself;
being aware of the amazing amount of life that the sea supports;
seeing the sun break through the clouds onto the sea;
finding gulls sitting on my window ledge when I drew the curtains;
suddenly seeing a rainbow appear, right in front of me.

y’know that sort of stuff.

The other thing is that I realise I have all sorts of negative expectations about coming here. When I was a kid, Wales was very definitely another country. Everything was shut on Sunday. The telly was different. All the shops were different, so you couldn’t get the things you got at home. I’ve kind of expected that to still be the same, to feel a bit deprived and thwarted – but of course, there’s wifi in my hotel so I can blog and keep an eye on twitter if I really want to (in between all the other things I’m doing – see above). There’s cable telly in my room but I seem to have grown out of watching telly altogether – I tried last night but I got bored after 10 minutes. And I have had a perfectly good phone signal in most parts of town and have been able to chat with people when I’ve wanted too. Aren’t we funny, the way we hold onto how things usesd to be?