This afternoon I decided to try and do a Skype call from home. Our house is remote – there is no phone line (and therefore no fixed line internet). In fact, there isn’t even mains electricity or water. So I decide to use my phone as the connection. It will work with voice I reasoned.
On Friday, one of the group I was working with in Oxford asked me what "the trick" was for remembering names. I often get asked this. There isn't a trick. And that's the trick. I had spent most of the day sitting in a lecture theatre listening. Everyone was sitting in named places and I had all day til my session began at 330pm. The "trick" is simply to regard it as worth making the effort.
Where I live people are really struggling. There is little work and less prospect of work. And yet I have had a good year. Which is a bit tricky. For most of the year I have tried to be positive (without gloating) and to do what little I can to spend money locally and employ local people. Whilst being sensitive to what’s happening around me, it also seemed important not slip into negativity myself.
Recently, I was working with friend and colleague Marshall Young at Green Templeton College, Oxford. We filled three enormous whiteboards with scribbles, which I always think is a pretty good sign. We were thinking about how conversation works and what the underlying conditions or dimensions (many of them physical) that shape conversation are and what you would seek to vary or manipulate if you are endeavouring to create a series of rich conversations.
Had a couple of great bits of feedback from the Do Lectures. One was John of Brainjuicer, another of the speakers, who decided as a result of my talk to run a board meeting with no agenda. And Amanda Blake, who wasn't even at the Do Lectures but listened to a recording of one of my practice runs and was inspired enough to come up with four principles of the kind of work she wanted to do (which were - time flexibility, financial viability, helping to build a world you believe in, and collaborating with cool people). Nice.
On the way to the Do Lectures I was reading 'Everything's an Offer' and I found it a little depressing to discover quite how much of my own work I had forgotten. All that effort and how little of it I recall. Makes me wonder what else I have forgotten....
Just got back from the Do Lectures. Quite the most extraordinary four days I have ever had I think. One of the highlights was a conversation about craft and where the craft of improv lies. It was one of those conversations where I heard myself saying things I hadn’t ever thought before, which was what I liked about it.