They just released a short 8 minute mini documentary recapping the themes of the festival with interviews with the participants.
It features me talking about Platforms and Solarpunk. I almost sound like I know what I’m talking about.
The idea of terraformation was once the domain of writers and artists. We’re entering a new space race to colonise and terraform the universe. Silicon Valley companies like SpaceX, Google and Planetary Resources are in the front seat. As we edge closer towards inevitable environmental collapse these big tech companies are scrambling to colonise new habitable worlds on distant planets. By shooting a cherry-red Tesla car into space, they shape the future narrative of man in space. But what are we leaving behind on Earth? If today’s technological leaps aren’t improving our natural environments than what legacy will we inherit in worlds abroad?
Speakers • Pippa Goldschmidt • E.J. Swift • Jay Springett • Ivan Henriques • Miha Turšič • Maja Kuzmanovic & Nik Gaffney (FoAM) • Films: Margaux Hendriksen, Matthew C. Wilson
P.S Even after all these years I love the way my earrings look 😍
I have always been a ‘notebook guy’ – since I was about 16 . I carry one and a parker jotter pen literally everywhere. Perhaps it started as an emo diaries thing or just an affectation that I thought would look ‘cool’. But the thing, there is a natural law which going something like ‘If you carry a note book and a pen you will end up using it’.
I’ve had a lot of types of notebooks over the years and switched over to Moleskines variants in 2013. Since then they have all developed a fairly consistent aesthetic too.
So this week for the first time (perhaps) this year I wrote a list of 21 things to do this week and when I hit post on this blogpost I will have done 18 of them.
Thats not a bad score for the first week back in to giving a shit mode.
I’ve archived over 10k emails in gmail this week, everything is tagged and filed. SO SO GOOD!
I’ve always run my life from lists. My general policy when I’m in a workplace is ‘if you didn’t see me write it down then it is not going to happen’. This has been an extremely useful rule at several startups i’ve worked in. To the point where close colleagues will say ‘write that down’ to me.
Sometimes, people who are younger than me (an occurrence that is increasingly more and more common to me much to my creeping horror – I was always the youngest person in the room since going right the way back to helping run the Geekscene DIY collective in margate at 15ish) laugh at me about that rule. But they quickly understand that I’m not joking – I’m a week late on something, they chase me and I say “Argh I didn’t write it down”.
Indeed Alex from Common Knowledge chased me up this week for a testimonial and I realised I hadn’t written it down as he asked me in the Dark Forest whilst I was away in the Netherlands last week.
I started writing lists properly very soon after getting my first proper job out of uni. Before then I’d only worked in retail and many of the tasks daily/weekly were routine and could be held in your head, scribbled in the shop diary the day before by another supervisor. I found very quickly in the office environment that I just couldn’t keep all the things i needed to do in my head, and getting in trouble for not doing something sucked.
Eventually when I was a team leader in the shared service centre I worked in. My todo list would be written out every morning, and I’d carry over about 1 column of a 2 column A4 page every day. By the end of the day I’d have filled the whole page and marked off a lot. A running list of 100 things to do however is an endless task and not very psychologically healthy.
I should also note: There is absolutely no point in staying late or working yourself to the bone in a start up environment – Especially if you are in the senior layer but you actually have very little influence over anything super important. Don’t get manipulated to finish one more thing before you leave – The endless list of things to do will still be endless the following morning.
I sometimes wonder what sort of person I would have been if I’d found the secret of lists before I was an ‘proper’ adult. At school or university even. My life could have been very different.
I reckon if I was growing up now, I’d be extremely into bullet journaling (my notebook kinda looks like one anyway see below)
I can see how/way I got in to project management and implementation consulting and eventually operations management. It’s a natural progression from being a ‘list guy’. Offloading your tasks one layer of abstraction higher into a project plan is obvious in a techno social institution like a company. AND as a result of being ‘The keeper of the list” you get to tell other people when and what they need to do as well.
But this week I’ve surprised myself by how easy it is to return to the feeling of having wrestled back some control just by having a list of things to do.
I have been running the last 18months with a daily chore list – meditate, write diary, write LAP or some fiction, Make my podcast on a Friday etc but doing that means you feel satisfied having done the bare minimum. As i understand it daily habit building is supposed to build on everything else you do daily so you can do more – not the bare minimum.
The running list in physical pen and paper zeros/zooms in on immediate priorities.
I did a GTD course years ago as a project manager and it changed my life. I am not naturally an organised person at all but GTD combined with project management training were vital skills that I took on board and it changed my day to day. However I very rarely apply them outside of the work environment to my own life. With the exception of all my bills and utility filing system.
Seeing as I’ve been freelance for 18months now perhaps i should … Anyway this is a long way about saying that i feel good about the last week and want to carry the momentum into next week – buy writing another magic list.
Catching up the last two weeks. I cover some of what I said at Bordersessions festival in The Hague.
Yeah fuck loads of stuff got done this week. The first of the samizdat PDFs coming soon. By encouragement from m1k3y
I re-red dark night of the soul by John of the Cross this week. Its full amazing lines.
Silence is God’s first language.
Is one of the truest lines i’ve ever read and makes me belive that my meditation practice is actually getting somewhere. As i know this to be true.
Louis Center returned to twitter this week. But in the Dark Forest he sent me a link to this track. Its amazing if you are in need of a dose of Super Sweet Glitchy Chiptune in your life right now.
I’ve been listening to it non stop this week. Even going as far as making it my alarm clock music. (RIP rollin’ by limp bizkit)
I also bought a USB to 3/4 inch jack cable this week. For the first time ever I can plug a guitar into my laptop with no external device. I’m not really sure about the build quality of the cable but for 11 quid on amazon its already been worth the money. I might do a proper review of it at some point.
I had barely recovered from last weeks unexplained lurgy and then headed off to the Netherlands once again to The Hague to give a talk – this time at bordersessions. Here’s my Trip Report:
First observation, despite public transporting being incredible over there. The Hague is just that bit further away from everything. Previously it has seemed trivial to just hop cities whilst i’ve been staying. But hoping from The Hague to Rotterdam or up to Amsterdam for dinner etc is a bit more of a mission. I should also note that its more a little more of a mission to get to the airport if you miss the fast train. (Not that I wan’t to relive the trauma of my return journey which included nearly missing my flight on the pages of this blog)
Anyways. I’d never been to The Hague before. I learnt that like 60% of the people who live and work there work for the government. Like a souped up company town I suppose. It does have a lot of church bells, and thats lovely.
The first night of the festival was speakers drinks and the headlining interview with Paul Mason. He was talking about his newest book Clear Bright Future.
During the day the next day I attended the workshop ‘How to measure the ecological development of a zoöp?’ at Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam. the emerging project continuing from the Terrafictionworkshops I took part in last year.
In the zoöp concept: an important role is played by the zoönomic instrument that helps indicate the ecological development of the collective body of nonhumans within the zoöp.
I didn’t take any pictures during the workshop but I did tweet this:
It was good to see other folks there. Sjef, Klass, Theun, Ian etc. Also the folks who have commitments to start a zoöp. Let me tell you, wild speculative ecological conversations in Holland are a decade ahead of where they are in the UK.
I’ve spoken to Sjef and Theun about it a few times now. I suppose its partly around the Netherlands being a totally human managed environment. Landscape engineering is Just what you do with a decade. I dearly hope that when the opportunity arrises, I can some how be the conduit to segue all this important work and thinking into the UK.
Anyway, that evening I spoke on Solarpunk And The Great Unfolding: Building Keystones Of Continuity at the main festival night. The talk was quite well attended and I had some really interesting conversations afterwards at the bar.
I also saw some other fantastic talks, one about the burgeoning Kite energy sector, and another panel on the Zoop, which was all on more than human personhood. Many assumptions at the beginning of the panel, the audience nodded along with zero pushback – wouldn’t of happened in the UK for sure.
Friday, I had the day to myself. I was thinking about attending some of the other workshops as part of the festival but my social battery was below absolute zero so I took myself off to see James Turrell’s celestial vault and ‘The Sand Engine’. Took a fun long assed bus ride though the outskirts of The Hague to the coast.
I got to the coast and set about hiking to the vault. You crest a big hill and are greeted with the crater
You then enter via a tunnel wall and see the alter:
I spent about an hour in the vault. Laying on the alter looking up at the sky. Seeing the first sunshine that had been in the sky since arriving 2 days before hand, the sideways rain had stopped whilst I was on the bus there. It was an amazing experience to have such a long private time with the art work.
I went to see Hollands ‘Sand Engine’ that was further down the coast.
The sand engine (also called Sand Motor) is an experiment in the management of dynamic coastline. The first one was run off South Holland in the Netherlands. A sandcastle-shaped peninsula was created by humans; the surface is about 1 km². It is expected that this sand is then moved over the years by the action of waves, wind and currents along the coast. To protect the West of the Netherlands against the sea,
At this point. I was 90mins from the bus stop and about 2.5 hours from my hotel. I was also burning a little bit. Ill prepared for 23 degree heat with a rain coat stuffed into my travel pack.
In the evening i went for dinner with Theun Karelse and Ian Ingram in Amsterdam and I enjoyed their company a lot.
The hour that I spent ‘charging up’ on the Alter was very impactful to me. I let my mind wander in a way that I only really do when doing Journeying practice outside of meditaiton.
Laying on the alter in the sun looking up at the sky i felt gears shift and engage, like a complicated pocket watch ticking back to life. I spent a lot of time thinking about what I am doing with my life, and experiencing a humbling.
Indeed, having a lot of free time to myself in a foreign country outside of festival commitments gave me a lot of opportunity to just consider.
Routes though and ways forward. Self reflection, hubris and resolve.
Still smashing though Warhammer books i’m afraid. Im sure you are not interested but I read 2 books last week. Vengeful Spirit + The Silent War.
I was listening to a lot of Sun 0)))s life metal album. Thats about it.
We got back from our grand tour a little over a week and a half ago. Life is already back into full swing. It is nice to be approaching familiar tracks and paths with new eyes.
If you were close enough to me to be following along on instagram you know that Eve and I had a lovely time. Asia and Australia (especially Indonesia) are places that I never thought I’d go. So the whole trip had an added kind of surrealism wrapped around it.
I remember seeing a thing on Blue Peter once as a kid. About how the water goes down the plug hole in a different direction in the southern hemisphere – and it blew my mind. The first thing I did on arriving at the AirBnB in Indonesia was to turn the tap on and witness it for myself. A Miracle. A wonder of nature. It’s always the small things.
301 – 1901 – 1000mph club
This is literally just me talking about going away and getting back from my holiday. New year same old me. Trying to ease back in to making this.
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I’ve been encouraged by a few people I admire and value in private conversations since I got back to publish, publish everything, push all ALL the content.
It is apparently vital that I stop waiting for the threads of the future come to me and push out things to make the hustle of what i want to do with my life viable. With this in mind I’m going to do so.
I’ve been extremely worried – perhaps since the earliest stacktivism days – that publishing things that i think and believe on the internet is going to get me canceled. This is the main reason i haven’t ever just pushed out content at pace. The other reason is as an artsy person/under student the one thing that I feel university should have taught me (to ditch perfectionism) didn’t.
But its 2019 and I have so much to do and get done. The only option is to push stuff out and move on. Only Forward.
Been quite a nice week this week. Not very much to say about it tbh so today will be a short one.
Had lunchtime coffees with friends through out the week.
Spent a lot of time hanging out with eve which has been really nice.
It was one of my closest friends birthday bbq/party yesterday hence this post being a day late. Which means I got to spend the day with 4 of my really close friends.
Just 7 of us hanging out all day in the early September sunshine. Was really good to see everyone.
For some reason this week I’m grumpy about the new Apple phones, Angry about action figures, call a man who drives a bulldozer a land artist and describe cut throat razor shaving as exhilarating and dangerous.
The dystopian lake filled by the world’s tech lust
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Had a pretty fun week with all the various birthdays and stuff that happened, but I got rained on and now have an unshakable cough and a mystery cold. It’s been really annoying.
I started ‘The Couch to 80k Writing Boot Camp‘ this week. Had to go out and buy a notebook and pen as it suggests its better done by hand. so i went out and bought a new writing notebook the day after Andrew and I submitted the short story we wrote together to the anthology on Wednesday. I’m expecting another rejection – It’ll be my 5th one this year but ah well.
Another Solarpunk author asked what it was about in a mailing list, and this is what he got back:
“A group of solarpunk anarchist drug manufactures cook up contraceptives in a lab under a big box store set in a retrosuburban Boise Idaho.”
Not that I mind the rejections as each and every one makes me a better writer in various ways. I’ve probably written in excess of 150k words so far this year. None of it will probably see the light of day. But at least I’ve felt busy.
So i’m going to do this writers boot camp then roll straight into Nanowrimo if i still have the energy.
In other news my tomatoes are still absolutely Jammin’
We made pasta with them all obviously.
I think I’ll probably get another load of tomatoes before the end of the year about the same size. As long as the sun comes back out again here.
Nostalgia? A folk festival, the Horizon, and a weeping virgin I have a cough and a cold.
Thinking about applying for a full time job instead of working freelance so I noodled around in the hell documents known as CV and resume.
I’m going to East Asia + Australia for like 6 weeks next year so we’ll see if thats a problem. I’d be looking for something fairly senior in Operations or Strategy so maybe I could swing it. Dunno tho.