Five things on Friday #58

Things of note for the week ending February 7th, 2014.

StationtoStationTrainRenderingCDougAitken

1. Station to Station
For three weeks late last year, Doug Aitken took an LED-laden train from New York to San Francisco, making ten stops along the way, as a kind of ‘kinetic sculpture’. At each stop, artists, musicians, writers, film makers and other creatives were asked to contribute to this mobile happening.

Personally, I just love the idea of an LED-lit train (it is a gorgeous image).

More.

2. Banishment Rooms
In Japan, this incredible practice is unbelievably commonplace –

“Shusaku Tani is employed at the Sony plant here, but he doesn’t really work.
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For more than two years, he has come to a small room, taken a seat and then passed the time reading newspapers, browsing the Web and poring over engineering textbooks from his college days. He files a report on his activities at the end of each day.
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Sony, Mr. Tani’s employer of 32 years, consigned him to this room because they can’t get rid of him. Sony had eliminated his position at the Sony Sendai Technology Center, which in better times produced magnetic tapes for videos and cassettes. But Mr. Tani, 51, refused to take an early retirement offer from Sony in late 2010 — his prerogative under Japanese labor law.
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So there he sits in what is called the “chasing-out room.” He spends his days there, with about 40 other holdouts.”

via The New York Times

3. Travel Lessons
This collection of travel advice is pretty invaluable. Having been lucky enough to see more than my fair share of this world already, many of these tips speak to me. Especially the ones about the ability to travel lightly (this is coming from the guy that only took hand luggage on a two week, two festival, three country trip back in the summer of 2013 – not kidding). So yeah, I like this because in the main, this is how I travel.

4. Emptying Gestures
The output of this artist isn’t anything mind-blowing. But how she gets there, to me at least, is pretty mind-blowing. First, look at the work –

2

22

3

But now the killer (emphasis mine):

“Emptying Gestures is an experiment in kinetic drawing. In this series, I am searching for ways to download my movement directly onto paper, emptying gestures from one form to another and creating something new in the process.”

The very idea of ‘downloading movement onto paper’ sparks my mind into all kinds of interesting places. How do you ‘download’ kinetic motion, something intangible, onto paper – and make it tangible? I just love the whole thought behind it.

5. Something creepy to sign you off with
It’s Friday, so why the hell not?

CREEPY

Until next week.

 

 

 

The things I saw @FlowFestival 2013

Quite simply: the best weekend I’ve ever spent in Finland.

FLOW FESTIVAL IS FUN!

After the intense theatre-going antics of the Edinburgh Fringe, I hopped on a plane in Glasgow and flew my tired behind over to Finland for what is their biggest and best music festival, Flow.

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For the past six years, behind this former power plant in deepest darkest Helsinki, the people of Finland have laid host to musicians many, and fearless festival fashionistas too.
But we’ll come back to that one shortly…

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Arriving on the Thursday meant that I’d missed the opening party on the Wednesday (featuring The Knife) however, not to be perturbed, I embraced Friday’s antics like there was no tomorrow.

In fact, instead of just reeling off what I saw on each day – I’m going to list the, quite frankly, AMAZING bands/singers/acts that I managed to see over the course of the three nights I was there. Before I start talking about just how awesome the festival is, you need to understand the breadth of musical talent available to you, via FLOW. Ready?

Friday

  • Kendrick Lamar – ‘Good, but not as good as I hoped it’d be’.
  • Cat Power – ‘Really bloody good’.
  • Alicia Keys –  Ahhh Alicia! I actually met Alicia Keys back in 2001, when she was doing the circuit promoting Songs in A Minor (I’ve got the copy that she signed for me knocking around the flat somewhere) and I really wanted to see her again. She was… AMAZING (of course).
  • Moderat, never heard of them, turns out they’re amazing. We danced. HARD.

It was an amazing day.

And it ended with a random house party somewhere in south Helsinki at a converted loft apartment with our host serving champagne and salmon until the early hours. No, really.

I bloody love the Finnish.

Sidenote: Look up Huotron

Saturday

  • Lieminen. A Finnish sensation which basically culminated with every Finnish person I knew leaping around shouting – ‘Party time! Excellent!’ – like this, but with a stronger beat.
  • Tim Sweeney, with his Beats in Space radio show – SO good.
  • Space Dimension Controller (MENTAL). With trippy inter-galactic chill out tunes and voice-overs such as ‘Flying through space and meeting a robotic prostitute that wasn’t mentioned in the tour guide’, SDC was certainly a festival highlight.
    Sidenote: The RBMA Backyard, where I heard the last two acts mentioned, was my discovery of the day on Saturday. With myriad electro-beats from Tim Sweeney and then into the mind-bending acid-tripping storytelling from the Space Dimension Controller, it all got pretty weird, pretty quickly. Great vibe though)
  • Cody Chestnut. Everyone had a really good dance to this stuff. A really good dance.
  • My Bloody Valentine. The signs said ‘WEAR EARPLUGS’. The Englishman said ‘Don’t be so daft! You Finns worry too much!’ My friends said ‘JAMES. WEAR EARPLUGS’. I said… ‘AAAAAAAAARGH MY EARS!!’
  • Circuit Des Yeux. This was our attempt to see something random at the The Other Sound stage. It was pretty random, definitely. Imagine soft folk music, with a dash of whale song. Now strangle that whale and beat it against the kitchen table. Yeah, that’s what it sounded like. Still, they had bean bags. Which was nice. After three songs we got up and left, took a stroll past Nick Cave and wandered off for…
  • Mount Kimbie. Another recommendation from my host, Robin. I don’t know how we ended up in the tent where they were playing, but they turned out to be bloody EPIC. And the perfect way to end the Saturday night. Must look them up some more when I hit home turf. Similarly to Moderat, a really good dance discovery.

Ended back at Siltunen for dancing til 4am.
Blagged my way in.
Danced like a maniac.
Job done.

Bonus from Saturday? Regular readers will know that I’m currently reviewing a neat little gadget called the Autographer. On the Saturday I decided to clip it to my friend Ville just to see what happened. Not only did Ville (with the Autographer) end up taking nearly 1800 photos(!), but he also threw them all together into one awesome little 3min video. Check it –

How awesome is that? Scratch one up for ‘useful applications of wearable tech’, right there.

Sunday

  • Public Enemy. It’s a bold man that dedicates a set to both trayvon Martin AND Michael Jackson but that’s what Flavor Flav did. Legend. That plus Mixes, raps and crowd runs. Full on, rubbish and yet brilliantly bonkers all at the same time. Towards the end of Public Enemy I was encouraged to leave a bit early and head to…
  • HAIM. So I did. My reward? A damn good spot for what was probably my performance of the entire festival. Even though the lead singer had a throat infection (and yet refused to cancel – like oh so many others) the set was re-organised, tracks rearranged, and everyone had an epic time. Seriously, I loved them –

After that we wandered back to find our friends and watch some…

  • Of Monsters And Men – Hey! – that’s all I need to say really.
    (…then we skipped Disclosure for…)
  • Bat for Lashes! YES! MAD as a March hare but oh so amazing with it. I really enjoyed this, as did my guests and friends. I think BfL was one of the few ‘full’ performances that I caught all festival. And I was glad for it. After that, we donned our glasses and sought out ourselves some…
  • Kraftwerk………
    AUTOBAHN in 3D, bitches. IMMENSE.

3D ARMY

Much laughter ensued. Post-dicking-about here, we went off to catch the..

  • Opening tracks from Goat (mental) seriously, WTF-levels of AWESOME. And then, last but not least —
  • Grimes, who must’ve been hammered. She couldn’t get her sound right and then had these random dancers.. it was just, strange. Give me a repeat of HAIM any day.

And that, was that. Well, I say that, I mean – that was all the MUSIC that we saw. IN THREE DAYS. Amazing. I know I’ve used that word a lot over the past several hundred words or so but seriously, Flow Festival was amazing. My original plan was to just list the music and then talk about how much of an awesome time I had. However, I think I’ve managed to kill two birds with one stone with the above descriptions…

However! One thing I do know though is —

Next time anyone asks me, ‘What is FLOW?’ I will answer:

  • Flow is the best festival I have ever been to overseas.
  • Flow is the most fun I have ever had in Finland.
  • Flow is the best place to find the widest selection of popular, random, esoteric, and world music.
  • Flow is home to some of the best-dressed festival-goers in the entire world.
  • Flow is where I’m going to be this time next year.

I’m serious: if you’ve never been to Finland before, go for Flow Festival.

You’ll have the best time ever.

——

PS. Early bird tickets for 2014 are on sale NOW.
PPS. Want to see more? Check out my Flow Festival Flickr album!

 

 

 

Touching Switzerland

Almost…

Love you, London x

This past Saturday, My Switzerland invited a few lucky bloggers to head into Londontown and ‘experience Switzerland’.

(if you were following on Twitter, that’s what all the #swisswinter buzz was about)

But how does one experience Switzerland in England’s capital? Simple.

1. You go make (and eat) a TON of chocolates

—- I want to eat you #swisswinter So maybe I did #swisswinter It's all getting a bit... medical #swisswinter

—- CHOCOLATE   #swisswinter Chocolate. Cocktails. #swisswinter SEXUAL #swisswinter

2. You go drink mojitos in A BAR MADE OF ICE

Ice, yeah? #swisswinterIce bar #nofilter

With some gorgeous food thrown in to boot –

3. And then you go ice-skating

Obviously, I was ice-skating so I only managed to get this image of my feet –

Swish #swisswinter

Oh yeah that – and the AMAZING PHOTO that heads this post too.

Seriously, ice skating at sunset outside the Natural History Museum really was quite magical (and I spent most of the time whizzing around on my own just beaming to myself at how awesome it was).

A gorgeous and lovely day was had by all. Not only did I get to ‘experience’ Switzerland, but I also got to meet some ace fellow bloggers along the way.

Big love to Jamie, Julie, Jai’me, Andrea and Krystelle; all of whom were just great company for a somewhat sugar-crazed (read: tired and hungover) Whatley…

And why did we do all of this lovely stuff?

Well, throughout the rest of November, Switzerland Tourism are planting five blocks of ice in and around London each representing a different Swiss ski region.

EDIT: The first one went live at Canary Wharf this morning.

Each block of ice has within it 75 ‘swag cards’ on which are printed unique codes that can be exchanged for prizes ranging from Swiss Army Knives all the way through to seven night holidays – many many prizes, there are indeed.

More information can be found on the ice drops over on the ‘Reach out + Touch It’ website, in the meantime – I’m off to look at booking a trip to Switzerland.

I really am. Apparently there’s a SNOW TRAIN these days.

Amazing.

 

Five things on Friday #37

Things of note for the week ending September 14th, 2012

1. Removie Posters

Removie Posters are basically movie posters re-imagined with one letter from the original title removed. The above is a quite striking Jurassic Ark (see what they did there), but I think The Men That Stare at Oats is my favourite…

2. How To See The Future
The first of two keynote transcripts this week. This one – ‘How To See The Future‘ is from Warren Ellis and is probably one of the best things I’ve read this year, if not – ever.

3. Fight, Fight, Fight
Amando Ianucci is next with this, quite frankly, excellent speech from the annual BAFTA television lecture. Entitled ‘Fight, Fight, Fight‘, it is a wonderful celebration of that is great about UK TV creativity; littered with history and filled with inspiration. Read it.

4. Transformers On Your Street
This kind of activity has been done before*, but I really like the execution: to celebrate the launch of the new Transformers video game ‘Fall of Cybertron’ you can actually have Transformers on your street. Great use of the Google Maps / Streetview API.

Go and give it a go

*See Arcade Fire and British Airways

5. Solitary Peace

This gorgeous set of photos remind me of my travels with Lucozade several years ago. The multitude of locations, the sparse surroundings – Gustav Willeit has struck a deep nerve in me: I miss the air up high.

‘Til next time…

 

Five things on Friday #33

Things of note for the week ending August 17th, 2012

1. Extraordinary Travel Destinations

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Stunning. Just, stunning. Bucket list worthy even. The full set really does need to be seen to be believed.

2. Bad Robocop
New Robocop script has leaked and it apparently it’s not looking good. Sad times.

3. Telegraph Olympics images
Now the Olympics are over (and the Paralympics just ’round the corner), it’s a great time to pause and reflect at the awesome achievements that have taken place over the past two weeks.

You could start With the ‘50 Best Images of London 2012‘, and then maybe move onto these awesome tilt-shifted photos too – that’s what I did anyway.

4. Useful Foursquare plug-in ahoy!
I’m a big film fan. I’m also a big Foursquare fan. Regular Foursquare users might know that as well being able to check in to cinemas these days, you can also check in to films at those cinemas.

Now imagine if you will, when you checked in to a film, somebody was kind enough to leave a comment on that check in telling you whether or not you should stick around after the credits.

Yeah, that would be awesome right?

Well, imagine no more.

5. AND I AM ON HOLIDAY. HERE.

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Back soon.

Bonuses:
– Satisfying read: OFFLINE
– Real time ads – from AT&T

The Weekend Media Festival

Back in late September 2011, I was fortunate enough to be asked to lecture at the Weekend Media Festival in Rovinj, Croatia.

Weekend Media Festival!

Now in its fourth year, the festival is known for being the key event for the local communications industry and, with an expectation of 3000+ attendees, Nokia were onboard as sponsors; with both a device launch and a booth on site, part of the deal was that they were able to nominate their own speaker for the weekend.

The brief? An introduction to word of mouth marketing; a relatively unknown discipline in that part of the world. Case studies would be a necessity but, while I was permitted to talk a little about the work with Nokia, any heavy-handedness would not be welcome.

‘Perfect’, I thought. ‘It’ll be me, a room of 20 or so people, talking about (and probably kicking ideas around) the idea of word of mouth marketing and what it means to the modern-day brand’. Donezo.

Upon arrival [landing just after midnight, after leaving Beirut in the morning and making a short stopover in London for lunch – long story], I was asked to come down to the venue to meet the team and pick up my credentials.

‘But it’s really late and I doubt it’ll go on for long, I’ll do it tomorrow’, I said.
‘No’, they insisted ‘the party is only just starting. Come now.’

I did, and they were right: the party was only just getting started. However, that wasn’t the only surprise of the night. After meeting and greeting the rest of the people I was there to represent, I was asked if I’d like to see where I’d be speaking on the morrow – ‘Yes’ I replied, ‘that’d be great’, expecting to be shown to some corner/booth somewhere in the main hall.

Oh no. How wrong could I be?

Imagine my surprise as I was shown into the main conference hall and simply told ‘Yes, you’ll be in here’
‘Sorry? How many people can fit in here?’
‘Oh, about 900 sitting but probably closer to a full thousand when we fill up at the back’

Right.

The following day I rewrote the entire presentation (less Q&A and small numbers, more pretty images and big stories). I had potentially one thousand people to entertain. At 5:30pm. On a Friday. Plus, after once reading about Jyri Engestrom‘s tendency to wear bright red cardigans whenever he gives lectures to large groups of people (it helps the audience keep track of the presenter on stage apparently), I thought I should rock the red trousers too.

So I did – and it was awesome.

[vimeo width=”525″ height=”295″]http://vimeo.com/30436391[/vimeo]

PS. Rovinj is gorgeous, I thoroughly recommend visiting if you ever get the chance.

Bare Jing

Writing up my diaries, it seems that China really did get the better of me and my Moleskine. What lies below is the last full entry, after here it’s just random scattered notes that I’ll do my best to put into some kind of coherent timeline. Wish me luck…

I. Love. It. Here. Already.

Moleskine Entry April 24th 2011

  1. Bejing (and China in general actually) is beautiful. Stunning even. I am more at peace now than I think I have ever been. I am calm and immensely happy.
  2. We have been busy.

We arrived on April 22nd. It was raining. Hard, Asian, Bladerunner-esque city rain.
It was perfect.

I had video to show you, but it never saved – this makes me sad, but I think the definition above does it justice.

China!

After checking into our hotel and getting our debrief, we ventured out for some food.

OH MY GOD THE FOOD.

Oh my God it was so good

THIS WAS AMAZING

Plus, naturally, my first experience of Chinglish.

Chinglish... YES!

Eight ate, total? £40. You can see why we love it here.

After our appetites were full sated, we ventured out to the bizarre food market to try out the the strange delicacies therein.

Starfish @ The Night Market

How about some lobster?

I ate a scorpion. Nuff said.

The lights, the buzz, the constant chatter of bartering; the atmosphere is enchanting. With my new found friends in tow, we continued.

Our guide had mentioned a lake far north of the city surrounded by bars. It was a fair old walk but we found it, eventually.

Gorgeous lanterns

Walk far enough around and you’ll make your way past the over-priced tourist spots and find more appeasing, friendly bars who create new prices on the spot (and, when asked nicely, will let you play your phone’s Spotify playlist through in-house sound system).

It was ace.

Which leads us nicely to yesterday; April 23rd:  Mao Money, Mao Problems

Today we did as much as we could. We’ve planned to do the wall tomorrow and as such, the others don’t have much time left to do the tourist bit. Our honcho this time ’round is a bit more hands off, choosing to show/tell us things and then let us find our own way.

Things we did:

— – — – Whatley out

Silent Tee Protest