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Guest blog: 19.28

Nottingham is wet, but that’s not why I’m leaving. I was just reading the brief for the guest blogging spot for, which explicitly advises you to keep it Nottingham-focussed, before jumping on a train out of creative Nottingham, which is possibly not the best start. But y’know, please understand I’m going away for a few days to do things *for* Nottingham, so I hope that excuses me.

It’s actually kind of appropriate to be writing this on the train to St Pancras. if you’re anything like me, whatever project you’re working on you often find yourself spending lots of time on the Nottingham to London East Midlands mainline. It’s just something that you often find you need to do. Actually, you know thinking back, one of the things that could have saved the festival (and prior to that, me as a freelancer) substantial amounts of cash would have been some kind of creative discount for the route. If you’re financially constrained in the way that I am, you end up needing to schedule your London travel to trips which only take place off-peak, hence it becomes tricky to have meetings before 11am – and if like tomorrow, I need to be in Guildford by 9, you really need to travel down the night before. Which is boring, anti-social and lonely amongst other things. It also irritates my family. The train to London is an important track for most creative folk , I think. Almost as important as the train back.

So, this time I’m going down there for a gig we have tomorrow night. One of our big projects at the moment (and probably for a while to come) is a playground we’re building at Woodthorpe Park with Keita Takahashi. It’s been our slowest burning project, and is reaching this odd stage now where years of emails, m.o.u.’s, beermat plans and prolonged politicking has resulted in some amazing plans which we’re getting achingly close to understanding the cost of. I’m excited about getting to that point, as there’s nothing i can really add to the project until that happens. It’s all very well instigating these things, but now engineers, play consultants, landscape architects and health and safety experts are all working their alchemy, in which I can play no part.
Tomorrow, we’re talking about it at the Japanese embassy to an audience of (I’m told) around 200. I pulled the event together around the theme of ‘play’ to raise the visibility of the playground to the broader community, before we roll in later in the year and mug them for cash. Keita is talking about his work, and of course the playground, Mark Stephenson from Media Molecule is talking littlebigplanet2 and play as a tool for creativity – followed by a panel with Martin Hollis (he of goldeneye64 and Zoonami). I just have to introduce it and chair the panel, which I’m planning on preparing for just as soon as I’ve written this.

This might be old news to you, but having never been to an embassy before this event and the meetings prior to it, there’s a whole load of formality which is necessarily demanded. Photo ID is just about fine, but presentations is advance is something i was unable to manage. I’m just not very good at deciding exactly what I’m going to say / show that far in advance, so I’ve elected to talk without any slides, which stupidly feels like a big deal to me now. PowerPoint can be a crutch.

Before that however, tomorrow morning I’m off to Guildford for an early meeting with a publisher about a big project we’re hoping to do at the festival this year. Of which, more later. I have in my bag the signed 6-page NDA which allows us to have the meeting at all, so i probably should resist any indiscretions on here.

Wow. Just reached Leicester.
Basically, it’s quite a busy week so I thought I’d try and document as much of it as possible on here if that’s ok. Bit late now if it isn’t I s’pose.

See you tomorrow….!