Impromptu cinema at #brewcamp – #socialobjects abound!

I went along to #brewcamp last night in Walsall.  It was lovely, I got to hear about the amazing open spaces and wildlife in and around Walsall from Morgan Bowers and Mark Blackstock's story of growing a local aggregator which confirming that people come back to places that send them away.  

As this was a local government focused group (although it nicely blurs the boundaries with lots of others involved) I took along a copy of Local Government to show.  Thinking about it this morning, I realised how much of the success of the evening was down to mediation through social objects.

Social Object #1 – The event itself: #brewcamp was inspired by #teacamp which in turn came out of Jeremy Gould's experience of attending #tuttle – which demonstrates the self-propagating nature of social objects (people experience one and think "I could do that") and the inheritance of properties (the mix of non-alcoholic beverages, chat and informal learning).

Social Object #2 – the venue – Starbucks helps people connect, whether it's in agreement or disagreement over the standard of the coffee, it also provides some familiarity through consistent branding and decoration, though of course I chose to subvert that later on. It's important to recognise that different people connect differently through a social object.  Social Object owners often think/wish they can control or heavily influence what that connection is. Nuh-huh.  I have to also say that the baristas in that store were great, helpful, they stayed open late specially for us *and* allowed me to hack the space. 

Social Object #3 – talks without powerpoint – taking away the visual aid forces the talk and the talkers to be the social object rather than the bullet-points on the wall – speech on its own seems to be a more conductive social object than speech+visual aid.

Social Object #4 – the film – is the obvious one, I wrote a bit about what I'm trying to do here. We're well practiced in watching a film and talking (before, during and) after it.  What I also noticed was what people tweeted about it while it was showing and the pictures that turned up on twitter and how the conversation drifted on afterwards.

Social Object #5 – the projector – I've borrowed the Time/Image pico projector to do this.  A few people were just interested in the kit. It's a PK301 from Optoma and costs about £250. It's not the cheapest but it works really well and simply and it really is not much bigger than a couple of iPhones strapped together.

Social Object #6 – hacking the space – the act of appropriating a bit of a Starbucks, getting them to turn some of the lights off and turning it into a pop-up cinema is a social object in itself.  It's not just the film that people have gone away talking about, it's the thing I did, the combination of it all, the idea of showing a movie to a small group of people that isn't about booking a big cinema and isn't about having people crowd around a computer screen.  It's one I want to repeat over and over.  I love doing it and look forward to seeing how it'll work in other places.

Social Object #7 – curry afterwards – how can you do an event in the West Midlands without it?

Can you see any more?

Originally posted on Lloyd’s posterous

On the road again

I'm unfixing my abode and going up to Birmingham and its environs for a few days, I have some potential for retreat in Oxfordshire later in the month and I'm cat-sitting in Wood Green in a couple of weeks (oh the glamour!) but otherwise freewheeling.

I'm always up for chats, tea, coffee, idling etc. I love talking at length to an audience about what I do, also ask about underground archive film screenings and face-to-face work.  

The way it works is you need to nab my time, don't wait for me to be coming near you.  If you call, I will come (AM&OSKE*).  Maybe not immediately and sometimes more quickly if you wave a wad of notes under my nose or can sort travel and accommodation expenses, but really, say now and we'll pencil something in.

(*Axe-murderers and other serial killers excluded, sorry)

Originally posted on Lloyd’s posterous

Indestructable! #allofme

This.  Over and over and over.

Knowing that I would be a grown-up in the 21st Century was very exciting.  The jury's still out on how exciting it actually is.  However I think if it's more exciting it's going to be for different reasons than I'd thought.

I doubt that we're going to find that Martian Mysterons actually have a base on our Moon and that we'll be at inter-planetary war with them by 2067 and I hope not to be proved wrong.

Oh to be indestructable. Oh to be able to do the most dangerous of things, to shoot guns, to climb up to the tallest of tall buildings and to slip and fall and still be OK. Oh to live and work in Cloudbase. Oh to hang out with girl pilots called the Angels. Oh to sound a bit like Cary Grant.

Originally posted on Lloyd’s posterous


"This emergent thing you're part of is really great, how did you do it?"

"Well, we just show up every day and let it emerge, encourage things we like, let things we don't like just die away."

"So how can I help you keep doing the same thing but design some elements to make it even better?"

"Well you'd have to show up every day and encourage the things you like and let the things you don't like just die away."

"Yeah, but what's the process we could use?"

"Um… 1. Show up every day. 2. Encourage the things you like. 3. Let the things you don't like just die away."

"Well in my 30 years of corporate experience that hasn't worked"


Originally posted on Lloyd’s posterous

Allan Jones sings #allofme

This is the sort of scene that made me want to be able to sing well.  I loved to hear guys like Allan Jones who made this big voice while singing soft songs – the link is that he got started in a couple of Marx brothers films, much of my childhood Sunday afternoons involved soaking up black and white movies.  Girls loved this stuff.  If you want women to fall madly in love with you (and of course you do), then learn to sing.  And let them drive you around in a car, while they wear ridiculous headgear and your voice cuts through the fact that you're in a open-top sports car while singing the soppiest of songs.  And they grin at you and you've got it made. That's the message I took anyway.

Also there was always a snigger in our house because my father's best man was called Alan Jones (with one 'l') so y'know "ha ha it's Alan Jones!".

Didn't know till I looked him up that he was Jack Jones's father.

PS I could have sworn I did an audioboo of this song at some point in the last couple of years, but I can't find it anywhere… boo.

Originally posted on Lloyd’s posterous

Groucho and Chico discuss contracts #allofme


Do you remember your first ROFL? yeah, me too, it was this.  Hysterical.  

I'm giggling even now and I haven't watched it for two or three days.  

These guys gave me a love of punnage and clever use of language.  Also a deep suspicion of lawyers and anyone who wants you to sign a piece of paper before they'll let you do something.

Originally posted on Lloyd’s posterous

public/private space and the web

Re-reading that bit from the Space Hijackers that I pointed to in the previous post, I kept coming back to this:

"If you’re a local council, selling off land to private developers is an easy way to raise capital. But the undermining of social liberties that comes with these sales is unprecedented. Take the construction of the Olympic village in Stratford for example. It’s an entirely privately owned complex. Although there will be public space, shops and entertainment, there will also be robotic CCTV drones monitoring everyone coming and going – thousands of cameras watching your every move, a ban on begging, busking, skateboarding, hoodies, public assembly, protest, loitering and much much more. Everything that makes our city so vibrant is drained out of the space and replaced with a 2D image of a city. Unless you're shopping you're not welcome."

and how the same thing is happening to the web, the privatisation of *our* data, the recording of our exhaust trails, the move from a place where conversation happens and interesting things are born to being just another passive, entertainment and shopping channel.

Originally posted on Lloyd’s posterous