Monday, December 22, 2008


Rasta Christmas

Who was the Mighty Dread and what tunes did he play that seized their troubled minds?


Thursday, December 18, 2008



Here’s a good HYPOTHETICAL for the copyright lawyers to play with…

An American preacher politician is invited to do an introduction at a music festival organised by a community group and a record label. His speech is recorded and appears on a soundtrack album of the event. A Scottish band write a song, which is remixed for an album, and on the album version the producer uses samples from the speech. Then an English theatre company use the sampled text, in the same sequence and with the same timings, but without the music. How badly in trouble are the theatre company and to whom do they owe how much money?


Monday, December 15, 2008


Come Together to Pilot.

The majority of today was spent getting to grips with Come Together, a tiny piece we are putting together for Thursday’s Pilot Night. As with many Stan shows we take the stage with a tight set of rules, more unusually there’s a script, which comes to us from Jesse Jackson via Primal Scream.

Who knows what folk will make of it. But then that’s the point of a Pilot Night and at 10’22”, what harm can it do?



Thursday, December 11, 2008


New Storage Facility

A momentous day: we (Craig, me and a bloke named Dave (“used to be in the Marines – he can do the work of two men”)) moved an unfeasible amount of stuff out of the office to join the Constance Brown set and props in our clandestine new storage facility. It’s a pleasure to see it all set out in an ordered fashion.

Bays 1 – 4 Constance Brown
Bay 5 Plain flats
Bay 6 It’s Your Film (small pile)
Bay 7 Good and True (big pile)
Bay 8 Home of the Wriggler (bigger than you'd imagine) and Be Proud of Me (one table, one crate & a sling for slide projectors)
Bay 9 Lurid and Insane (mostly junk) plus Ocean of Storms (two silver boxes) and Bingo In The House Of Babel (a Bingo Machine).

On the right hand side, set back into alcoves, Of All The People In All The World

In the tec room sits tec kit.

Beside the loading bay is spare timber, banners and one tonne of rice.



Monday, December 08, 2008


Second Life in Coventry

My thought provoking week was rounded off by spending Friday being shown around bits of the Second Life computer world. It was a fascinating experience, half anthropological safari, half mathematical mindwarp. Coventry University are focusing some of their research into performances engaging this alternative reality and are trying to lure me in. Initially I had agreed to aid by playing the role of Arch-Sceptic however, as with many of these things, once you choose to engage with it prejudices start to soften. Slowly I started to engage with the possibilities and conundrums of the media and the project started to grow more attractive. Obviously I drew the line well before having my own Avatar created, but I sense a slippery slope ahead.



Thursday, December 04, 2008


Won £1,000 And Lost My Shirt.

Today was another out off office – thinking of the future day. This time the location was the curious fantasy world of The Public in West Bromwich and the activity was a day about DIGITAL stuff.

It was a good chance to think for a full day without having to do anything. As a result of this and various nudging and promptings I’ve come away with a bunch of ideas about the Stan’s Cafe website, Stan’s Cafe marketing, Stan’s Cafe collaborating, a new Stan’s Cafe show and finally, accidentally we’re making a thing.

After presentations, panel discussions, ‘speed dating’ and case studies, a tombola draw threw four of us delegates together for 30 minutes to come up with an idea to pitch. After a moderately uninspiring 28 minutes we came up with a decent idea. The decent idea got short-listed by a judging panel. Thus we qualified for 20 minutes extra thinking time, by which point there were just two of our team left. The final pitch got us second place and £1,000 to take the idea on further. Which compensates in some way for losing my shirt in the wildly overheated building somewhere (relax I was wearing a T-shirt beneath the lost shirt).


Self Assessment

This afternoon Arts Council England had called representatives from Regularly Funded Organisations (RFOs) to a meeting at the Paragon Hotel in Birmingham to discuss new proposals for assessment. It was another occasion on which living in a big city is a great advantage. For me it was a 10 minute cycle ride from the office but there was a man there who had driven up from Southampton. I travelled with the vague concern it may be a waste of time but noted lunch would be laid on. This other guy had a whole other level of commitment.

Essentially we were being asked our opinions of having Self-Assessment formalised as part of the Arts Council’s monitoring procedure and how we felt about Peer Review as a strategy for making value judgements about our effectiveness. It is too involved and dull to go into it in any more detail here, but contrary to my concerns it was a stimulating event. The discussions fired me up and as ever it was great to meet up with familiar faces from across the region and to meet some good people from further a-field.

In the final summing up a number of my contributions were quoted, verbatim and thankfully, unattributed. Out of context an admission of “paranoid self-assessment in the shower” is always going to raise a good laugh.



Monday, December 01, 2008


Creative City Award

On Saturday, whilst Craig was leading a team of stalwarts coping with 1,000 visitors pounding Of All The People In All The World in Barcelona, I was luxuriating in the corporate comforts of the ICC in Birmingham. I was at the Creative Industries Awards ceremony, with Hannah, a team from the board and various glamorous partners.

If you follow the link to Birmingham Post's article on the event you will see that it was ‘sparkling’ occasion, which it was – massive star cloth, DJs (that’s Dinner Jackets not the other kind), beautiful dresses Etc. You will also see that we ‘scooped’ the main prize, which we did.

Last year we won the International Development award at the equivalent event. The objective of entering these awards was to raise our profile in the City amongst various ‘Opinion Formers’. With this task achieved and a 100% record now feels like the time to retire from this particular field.

It’s easy to be cynical about awards (I have been many times myself) but if you take them in the correct spirit they can do a useful job for you. I hope that more arts companies will take our place next year. Although these awards are focused in a business direction it feels important that the Arts continue to be represented there. If not the City’s Creativity is in danger of being assumed to consist merely of Digital Solutions to various marketing/distribution/communication problems. Solutions found almost exclusively by young(ish) white men sat in front of sparkling new white macintosh computers.

Come on, let’s put ourselves about a bit – the city would be too sterile without us.



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