July 2006

Idly pushing pictures in front of my brain in a (remarkably successful) attempt to stop my brain from doing anything: the Iconfactory are rebuilding their website, and rather than just launching it like anybody else, they’ve taken it offline for a week and replaced it with barkingly whimsical and gloriously cute little animations of what we’re supposed to believe is going on behind the scenes.

I mention this now because, presumably, if you don’t visit over the weekend, by Monday there’ll be a conventional (-ish) website there instead. And while there’ll doubtless be lots of their customarily magnificent icon art, missing these little films would be a grave shame.

So: The Iconfactory. Go. Enjoy. Chuckle.

Yay! That was fun. I’d write a heap more, but this is more-or-less the first time I’ve stopped in a month, and I’m wrecked. So you’ll have to wait. Sorry.

There’s a campaign group with a mailing list and everything: Save Children’s TV.org.uk.

To quote Colin:

If, for the sake of argument, we were instead facing the collapse of commercially funded adult tv, then we’d be losing shows like Corrie, The Bill, Taggart, Midsommer Murders, Tonight, etc., and replacing them with US imports. We would all have a sense of UK culture being under threat and we would want something done – so why shouldn’t children’s culture be given the same protection?

Dang, I should be on the road to Manchester by now. I should also have written something – anything, really – for my project management session on Friday. However, I’ve just spent most of an hour tweaking a Christmas Lectures script snippet, about chickens.

Sir John and the RI bunch are in Tokyo, rehearsing for a British Council-sponsored run of last year’s lectures. And the chickens are unhappy.

They’re not, you see, the same sorts of chickens as we had in London. They are, however, real live chickens – which is something of a shock, since we’d rather assumed they wouldn’t be, and I’d tweaked the script to match. Some frantic last-minute tweaking has been going on, therefore, to write the chickens back into the script.

Such is my life.

James’ Variety Show was a massive sellout, he reports:

The only publicity I had for this show was the website… owing to that fact, and the fact I was a one man band who was managing all the acts, I had to mainly use word of mouth to sell tickets, I could do little but expect a small turnout… I have only been in New York for 6 months and obviously don’t know that many people… I didn’t really expect it to be too big… I had only sold about 50 tickets a few days before the show.

Over 250 people turned up (we stopped counting); it was a massive success, have had nothing but positive feedback!

It was such a hoot – it was everything it should be. It was chaos backstage, strippers and cowboys and contortionists warming up together, me running round like a madman, the bearded lady turned up drunk and I had to sober her up… everybody got really really pissed and we were shouting at the stage… it was a total hoot.

I am ‘summering in Europe’ (thats what i say to the New Yorkers, in fact, I have to come back to sort out a visa), but this week I am looking to take this to a big 500 seat venue where they may let me run the show fri and saturday for fall and autumn…

Fantastic!

See, I told you you should have been there.

Am in the front carriage of a train back from London, where I was – rather fleetingly, sorry Tom – for an interview. The Dublin project sounds fun; people seemed pleasant; they hinted darkly that there’s some delicate political juggling to be done (so what else is new?); either I’m way out of step, or they’re going to struggle to get somebody for the rate they’re suggesting.

Hmm. It was worth meeting them, anyway, and we’ll see what happens.

It was also worth being down today to complete and hand over not just an invoice for SciCast, but also an expenses claim. The latter came to the best part of £2,000, since it includes all the kit we’ve bought so far as well as things like all those tapes I keep taking photos of. Those running the project don’t seem to be entirely familiar with this sort of thing, and I’m trying to convince them that having their contractors cash-flow the project is, frankly, nuts. They may start to see my point now.

Tomorrow: Glasgow. Wednesday: Manchester again, for the BIG Event. I’m starting to get very nervy about the session I’m hosting that’s about project management, though mainly because the way I’m planning to do it, I’m rather reliant on there being at least a modest audience. If there are only a handful of people, it’s simply not going to work.

Aaaanyway, my real reason for posting is to note that at the very, very front of this carriage there’s a young couple who, to all audible appearances, are having (mostly) furtive (but occasionally yelping) sex. The rest of us aren’t sure whether to be appalled, to crack up laughing, or to marvel at our collective British reserve, which is proving to be so strong that none of us dares turn around to find out what’s actually going on.

Remember that UGTV meet-up in London last Wednesday that I mentioned? Since I was in a school making, you know, films an’ all, I couldn’t attend. So I just hit the search systems to see if I could find out what happened there.

Big thanks to Dug Falby for posting his entertainingly rambling cameraphone (?) thoughts – they’re enough to give a feel for what was going on, which sounds like a resounding ‘meh.’ Tips o’ the hat also to Dierdre for her post, and I look forward to a report from Scott at The Stage in the hopes that I learn more about what was said there beyond ‘cheap!’

But speaking of cheap – is it a cheap shot to observe that, for a meeting about user-generated content, UGTV appears to have inspired spectacularly little content from… er… ‘users’? I know we’re hardly at the bleeding edge of blog take-up here in the UK, and I know it was a small event, but… four blog posts?

And come on, people, you’re a cutting-edge new media company! You mean you haven’t got a DV camera, tripod, and a copy of iMovie kicking around? For shame, we did better than this with NotCon!

Meanwhile, it’s hard not to be proud of what we’re setting out to do with SciCast. It’s simultaneously more humble, but also more grand, and perhaps better thought-through (heh – watch that come back to haunt me). We’re not trying to make money out of it, which perhaps makes it easier. Then again, this week I’ve been standing in classrooms explaining copyright and Creative Commons licenses to 12 year-olds…

[update: Mint have published their own summary of the event, hurrah!]