I just wrote this for the lovely people who support #tuttle with a regular donation every month. If you’d like to be part of the gang, head over to patreon.com
Hi Patrons! Thank you again for your support this month.
We’re still going strong at Z/Yen every Friday morning, it’s given us a slightly different flavour being in the City and we get drop-ins who we may well not have been able to attract on the Southbank. It’s less convenient for some of course but overall I think we’re doing well. Michael has invited us to stick around for another month so we’ll be there till the end of April.
This month I ran a couple of Open Spaces with Helen at the WeWork Southbank offices. We looked at “What are we going to do about…” for Artificial Intelligence and for the Internet of Things. It’s good to see these conversations moving on. We have a bunch of regulars who are tiring of just talking about things abstractly and wondering what they can actually do. Great!
As commercial opportunities seem to be knocking more frequently on Friday mornings, I’ve relaunched a Slack Channel for us to talk about such things in semi-privacy and try to revitalise the Tuttle Consulting offer. I’d like to be doing more work under the Tuttle umbrella, with the lovely smart people I already know, so if you’re interested in taking part in this, just let me know and I’ll pop you an invitation.
I’ve also enjoyed going to other people’s things this month. The John McDonnell MP, New Economics series continued with a panel discussion in one of the House of Commons Committee rooms about Technology and the Future of Work. The irony of doing this while sitting at desks that still have inkwells was not lost on many in the crowd. I’ve also been able to go to a couple of Open Spaces from Devoted & Disgruntled and I really appreciate being able to sit back and be part of the crowd rather than leading things all the time.
Thanks very much for helping make all of this possible. Do come down on Friday morning if you’re able (and bring a pal) And please encourage other people to support me here however you’re able.
Often, if I’m out in town, I will catch a whiff of something nice. Some cologne or perfume or something that transports me to a happy warm childhood place or an image of someone or something or just a feeling of rightness, a rightness that isn’t there all the time. And I think wouldn’t it be nice to smell that more often.
But how do you find a smell? Even if it’s a mass-produced thing that you can find behind the counter in Debenhams, how would you start? How does this happen? I’ve never done it. I can remember buying after-shave perhaps once or twice in my life and then it was always pretty random. Oh yes, that one will do.
I know there’s a vocabulary, “lemony”, “sharp”, “tweedy”, “high notes”, “musky” etc. but I’m not sure what they really mean – they can only be subjective can’t they? There’s one that reminds me of a playgroup I went to more than forty years ago – how do I communicate what that is? I know it when I smell it but I can’t conjure it up in the same way as I can say, the smell of cut grass. It’s just out of reach. When I come across something I like, I want to say to someone, “what’s that smell? How would you describe it? Do you know what brand it is?” but that wouldn’t go down well on the Waterloo & City Line at 08.51 on a crisp Thursday in February.
I don’t like it. I don’t like writing about blogging, but sometimes it needs to be done to be cleared out of the way. If I write on paper about writing on paper that seems OK because it’s only here on my table and it might just go in the bin or in that file of many ideas not quite finished enough.
I’m angry about it. I’m angry about the way we, me too, I have let it slip away, have let others take the form and make it more like what they wanted to do in the first place. And then decided that I needed to fit in with that. We’ve made our newspapers into gigantic blog-like content machines, but none of them have much of the spirit of the people who write them, they’re just self-serving self-obsessed web-borgs.
A real person is in here, behind this screen, behind these words you’re reading. With all the ups and downs and back and forth and painfully, oh jesus, p-a-i-n-f-u-l-l-y slow learning about life and how to do it and who I might be and how not to be who I’m not.
But even I’ve forgotten that and started to believe that what I write here needs to be a certain way, needs to deliver “my message” to “my audience”, get more hits, trigger more likes, avoid feelings, avoid criticism. It doesn’t. And it seems I need reminding of that every now and then. Maybe you do too.
All right, thanks for listening, go back to what you were doing.
I heard recently about a director having the nasty experience of inviting a journalist into rehearsals and then having an unhelpful (I haven’t read it, it’s paywalled) preview article published just before the show opens.
Reading about it sent me back to look at what I wrote nearly eleven years ago (!) about using blogging in theatre. I was surprised to see what emphasis I put on buzz and PR (that was how the original question had been framed). And it’s that angle that all the marketing people picked up. I went to see John Berry at ENO because (see the comments on the post) they were doing something like this a couple of years later. And a year after this first post, I did a little site about the opening of Avenue Q. It had to be done, and I’m glad I did it, but I don’t read any of the West End theatre blogs or the mainstream journalism that has taken on our blogging form but sticks to traditional writing styles of reporting and criticism.
But I was thinking about more than marketing.
What I was thinking was of a kind of collaborative production journal, where everyone contributes… think “The Making of…” fly-on-the-wall documentary style, only on the web, and released in chunks as they happen, day by day rather than being stitched together after the show has closed.
I think this points to something much more interesting to do – about using these tools as part of the production, as part of the artistic process, to log progress and reflect on thinking and how things are emerging, for the benefit of the team themselves much more than prospective audience members and to create something bigger and longer-lasting and more networked than traditional documentation or archiving. It’s “sources going direct”, cutting out the dependence on news organisations (and their sodding paywalls) and making our own media.
Walked by the canal this morning, nice and slow and easy. Reflective, as canals are and encourage us to be. Not much to do except dodge buggies, joggers and duck poo. And think about something Steve Lawson wrote on Facebook this morning.
I'm the founder of the Tuttle Club and fascinated by organisation. I enjoy making social art and building communities, if you'd like some help from me feel free to e-mail me: Lloyd dot Davis at Gmail dot Com or call +44 (0)79191 82825