why are there so many clowns here

Hello, readers.

I’m writing this on a particularly cold and grey Tuesday afternoon in London. Over against the exposed brick wall, cloaked in dim light, two men–one young, dark of head, dressed all in black and one older, silver of head, dressed all in flannel–discuss things over a glistening computer screen the way one supposes that on the dark afternoons of some other century, people discussed things over candlelight. Across from me, a woman eats her coffee with a spoon. I’ve heard of this but have never chanced to witness it. Oh! There she goes again. Mug held up like a bowl. Spoon scooped through and up, then slipped between her lips. People. Fascinating creatures.

Of late, there has been much talk in our flat–and in pubs, and restaurants, and the occasional cafe on some dark afternoon–about how, over time, I might experience many more Tuesdays in London without having to resort to hiding with the toshers. We’ll work it out, I’m sure. It’s simply a matter of time and effort. Applying for a visa does have the unintended effect, though, of making one feel like a criminal. Possibly, that’s silly. It’s very possible, after all, that this effect is not at all unintentional.

Recently, a small gathering of lovely people gathered at our flat to eat a ridiculous amount of food and discuss important things such as clowns. This was a past Friday evening. It wasn’t December yet. Nor was it particularly cold. Nor were there women eating their coffee with spoons. It was a different time. A simpler time, in which friends appeared with wine and dressing and brownies and corn bread and quinoa salads and sushi. Yes. Sushi. People. Fascinating creatures.

We sat around the living room, on couch and chair and floor. We ate and we discussed. Old friends and new. All together, and in our own, smaller clumps of conversation. We learned things about each other and about the world. Among other things, some of those things we learned were:

  1. As mentioned, clown eggs. Apparently, it was, possible is, traditional, in order to make sure no two clowns stole the face of another, for one to visit the room filled with clown eggs and compare and design one’s own face and place it upon a egg such that future clowns will see all of the old eggs, as well as your egg, and no two eggs will be the same. This particular slice of the conversation began with one member of our group describing their travels through London and spying a great many clowns filing out of a building and he wondered, ‘Why are there so many clowns here?’
  2. In Japan, this sort of thing happens. This sort of thing being ‘radio taiso’. ‘Radio taiso’ being the sort of thing where people wake up really early and gather together, in body or spirit, turn on the radio, and exercise.
  3. Shipping. Some people did not know what it meant to ship people together. Some of these people will never again hear the shipping news in quite the same way again.

Happy Tuesday, readers.





Hello, readers.

At the moment, EG’s up front, getting ready, and I’m taking this moment to draft a blog. I’m sitting on a small, black chair, in a room of small, black chairs, on which sit other people chatting and tapping and munching on popcorn and drinking elderflower cordials, all of us gathered in East London, in a warehouse-cum-office building, awaiting the start of the latest in an ongoing series of events called 300seconds (here’s some video from an event at Facebook‘s UK office) dedicated to putting a diverse set of smart people in front of other smart people and letting the magic happen. Or, in their own words:

300 Seconds is a series of talks by and for the digital community. We believe that digital is better when we can learn from the brilliance of the many, not just the few. With our events we hope to give our peers, and in particular women, a means of gaining confidence and experience in speaking in public.

It is now tomorrow. The event finished. Many interesting people spoke about disrupting art, managing mental illness, Ugandan tech culture, responsible responsive web development, and so forth. On a whiteboard, on the left-hand wall, were written the wi-fi network, password, and a hashtag for the event. Tweeting was encouraged. And people did that. And that was cool. A part of me, at one time, might have avoided live-tweeting out of a misguided notion that it would prevent me from paying attention–which turns out to be the opposite of true! Live-tweeting perhaps forces, nay! encourages, people to listen harder, for those cool quotes and key ideas.

One might consider turning off the Tweetbot bleeps and bloops, though.

The lightning talk style, while perhaps leading some to not quite finish, means there’s never a chance for boredom to set in, nor a chance for speakers to become unduly nervous. After all, you’re only up there for 5 minutes. Considering their mission, in large part, is to cultivate a new and diverse group of speakers who might otherwise not take that first step towards public speaking, it works and works splendidly.

Also. EG talk good. She make people laugh. And go oooh and ahhhh. She wrote about the experience here.

Also, also. Head over to her webspace to look at the pretty pictures.

Happy Thursday, readers.

If you’ve got something to say, say it. If you don’t have something to say, listen.