As a child I hated Cubs. All that running around and shouting, the church parades, and camping on a damp field at the edge of Danbury Common. But in a twist of fate I find myself parent to three boys far more enthusiastic than I ever was; my oldest recently got a badge marking seven … Continue reading Keep the campfire burning: a thread of whimsy from Baden-Powell to Berners-Lee
If you live in, work in, or occasionally visit a city, any city, but especially one in England's North, please set aside half an hour or so some time soon to watch and read two powerful critiques of the prevailing techno-determinist vision of the so-called "smart city". All 11,000 words of Dan Hill's post on … Continue reading Make mine a messy city: Riot Sim and the City that Didn’t Riot
For the past four years a story has accreted on this blog. It's a meta-narrative, a story about stories. Looking back, I believe the arc began with the partial collapse of Leeds' Temple Works. That's what led me to encounter the people who made this city, and then to talk about them in pixels, in … Continue reading How’s it going to end?
Notes from my presentation at Bettakultcha, Leeds Town Hall, on Wednesday 9 January 2013. What an amazing venue. I could spend the next five minutes just talking about this building. I could tell you how the Leeds Corporation raised a special tax and set a budget of £35,000 to build a grand new town hall. … Continue reading Five minutes, one year, two buildings, a thousand stories
For my wife's family it is the crockery. Staffordshire-raised, they can't resist upturning plates and bowls to check their makers' marks - Doulton, Wedgwood and what-have-you. And my own father grew up near Sheffield, so in restaurants I also study the knives and forks - David Mellor was a Noughties Brit cuisine staple. But Leeds, well … Continue reading Three machines made in Leeds
This is the text of my presentation at the Leeds Digital Conference on 12 October 2012. If you like this, you may also like my TEDxLeeds 2010 talk, The Makers of Leeds. In 1763, the Corporation of London, wishing to make way for bigger boats on the Thames, ordered the removal of a central pier … Continue reading The future beneath our feet
On opening the great arch at London Bridge, by throwing two arches into one, and the removal of a large pier, the excavation, around and underneath the sterlings of that pier, was so considerable, as to put the adjoining piers, that arch, and eventually the whole bridge, in great danger of falling. The previous opinions … Continue reading Mr. SMEATON IN UR RIVR FIXIN UR BR1DGE