Monday, June 15, 2009

An idea for a charity forum thingy

So, I'm posting this on a rather defunct blog I used to write, not 'cos I'm planning to restart it (although I might, thinking about it) but because I couldn't think of where else to put this so people could access it easily.

Here's the idea I'm trying to get my head around and am hoping to have other people help me turn it into something useful. First a bit of context...

Last week was unexpectedly inspirational. First off, the MyCharityConnects conference (including a quite splendid presentation by @TopsAtWarChild, @RyanTaylor and @Withoutayard). That was followed by my first creative meeting with War Child ad agency, john st (more later if I decide to restart this) and then the john st dinner, with a talk by Richard Florida on the seismic shift in the economy that we're currently living through (creativity is the new black, apparently). So there I was on Friday trying to process all this and an idea came to me based on some revelations/reminders during the week.

It occurred to me that charities tend to live in a permanent state of competitiveness, furiously guarding their ideas and strategies from the prying eyees of their peers. What MCC made clear is that if charities started collaborating more and helping each other with problems, we could all benefit and make our sector significantly more creative, productive and efficient. I know I have seen other people's campaigns and thought, 'that's great but if only they had done x or y, it would have been awesome.' And I'm pretty sure others have looked at War Child campaigns or fundraisers and thought the same.

At the same time, it became clear that there is a great pool of creative talent in Toronto (particularly among the tweeps) that like to contribute ideas and some time to help out charities and social causes, but don't want to tie themselves to any one organization. They just want to help out on cool stuff but also have their own job to do for most of the week.

So, I'd like to create a forum where charity people and creative people can get together and improve ideas and make things happen. This could be a monthly, informal tweetup, or it could be an online forum where charities could post problems or ideas that need a new set of brains to make fantastic. It might need nothing more than a hashtag. It doesn't, and shouldn't be, time-consuming - it just needs to be fun for all concerned.

I guess what I'm suggesting is that we take the energy from MCC and make it something ongoing and real. A place where creative people can make good ideas great and help out good causes in the process. It will probably take a shift in attitude from those orgs who want to join, and it will have to be based on trust (ie we won't steal each others ideas). It may need to be a personal thing - Tops rather than Topsatwarchild.

Anyway, that's what I'm thinking. a little half-baked but hopefully worth a beer or to to discuss. You in?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Hmm, all a bit quiet round here...

I really have been negligent, haven't I? Two posts in June and nothing, NOTHING, in July. Shocking, frankly.

There is really no excuse. It's not like it's been an amazing summer or anything. In fact, it's been the wettest in decades. That should be put in some context however. What that really means is that it's been like an awesome summer in UK terms. Largely sunny, some cloud cover and some rainy days. Not many, but some. Still, really not bad at all.

All manner of things happening in north America. In Canada we've had the most amazing and horrific murder story. A guy getting randomly beheaded by a crazy on a Greyhound bus. Beheaded!! And then the guy started eating the corpse. What the f*ck?? I have no idea why this hasn't made international news.

The American election is interesting. It seems that Europe is pretty convinced that Obama is a slam dunk. America, who actually votes, is not so sure. There's something about 200,000 Europeans loving him that really doesn't work with middle America. That and the hubris that seems to seep out of his every pore. In America, like Europe, no-one likes a guy who can't laugh at himself. Just look at the Boris - Ken election. Despite McCain's laughable campaign, Obama's hogging of the coverage and the nation's repulsion with the Republicans, Obama is just five points ahead. Now all the talk is about why this is. It seems pretty obvious - America hates being told what to believe. They're a stubborn nation and the fact that the New York Times and Washington Post think it's inevitable means nothing in Ohio.

My friend Melissa is back at the moment from Oz. Bless her. I love that girl and am delighted and relieved that her boyfriend is a Northerner from Newcastle. Well done Mark! Oh, and my lovely friends Marty and Sarah (pictured) got married at the best wedding EVER. Drinking at the service - it is the future. Love you two! x


Monday, June 23, 2008

House Hippo

You want one, don't you? But did you really think it looked real? Did you, really? If you actually believed in the House Hippo, is there anything at all you wouldn't fall for?? Be afraid, world, this country is voting for a new President in a few months time...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Magnificent Seven

My good friend Paul over at The Look - great blog, amazing book - has set a challenge. It seems that this all came from UK music journo Simon Reynolds. Here's what he has to say...

"List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they're good or not, but they must be songs you're really enjoying now, shaping your spring. Post these instructions in your blog along with your seven songs. Then tag seven others and find out what they're listening to."

Well I like Simon's writing and Paul is one of my oldest friends, so here goes. Obviously a bit late on this - summer is most definitely here in Toronto - but whatever. Here is my seven song playlist.

1. David Bowie - Sweet Thing/Candidate/Sweet Thing (reprise)

OK, it's two or three songs, really, but this highlight from Diamond Dogs is perfect mid-70s Bowie. It's the point where Ziggy was morphing into the Thin White Duke - part glam, part coked-up Spaceman, part plastic soul boy. "Is it nice in your snowstorm, freezing your brain? Are you sure that your face looks the same?" What could he be talking about?

2. Sally Shapiro - He Keeps Me Alive (Skatebard Mix)

My friend Elliot introduced me to the Europop lovliness of Sally Shapiro. She's Scandinavian and the Scandinavians know a thing or two about pop music. Ms Shapiro has been a constant companion to and from work, pretty much all spring and summer. But this song starts almost every morning for me. To steal a term from Popjustice, Emotronics at its most sublime.

3. Saint Etienne - Hobart Paving

One from back in the day. I always loved this song and found it again the other week when I was making a playlist for the summer. "Rain falls like Elvis tears". We've all been there. This reminds me of rainy days in Kentish Town pubs. There were a lot of those. I think I should have been in work...

4. Talk Talk - Renee

Remember this one? It's all getting a bit 80s, isn't it? I was always a Spirit of Eden type back when I was a pretentious music student. These days though I'm all It's My Life. Not the cheeriest of songs this, I admit,  but come on -  it is awesome.

5. Semi Precious Weapons - Magnetic Baby

A recommendation from The Look. I love this band. I saw them just the other day when they ripped up NXNE (think SXSW but not as good). Bowie and The Ramones having a fist fight in a MAC store. A song to smear dirty glitter over your humdrum day.

6. PIL - Rise

There are days - bad work days, bad vibe days, just a little bit pissy days - when this song, and only this song, will do. Anger is an energy...

7. Dragonette - Take It Like Man

Dragonette momentarily restored my faith in Canadian pop music. Unfortunately, Canada pretty much rejected them. This is fairly typical. They tend to treat Nelly Furtado as a leper since she went disco slut. I don't care though. Dragonette cheer me up every time shuffle chances upon them. So here's to pop in Canadia. It's not all bad.

The people I'm tagging are...

Katie Bates
Sophie Baudrand
Cary Parker

You may know them, you may be them or you may have never heard of them. They have good taste though, all of 'em.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Oooh, it's been ages...

Sorry, got a little distracted by Spring. Sunshine, greenery, beer. Ahhh...nice.

Now, what has been going on. Frankly too much to cover in one entry and so I may just skip over it and move on. Ok, some highlights:

Two amazing concerts. The first was British Sea Power and Yo La Tengo in a tiny converted church with less than a hundred in the audience. The second was Feist at the Hummingbird Centre. If you get a chance to see any of those bands, just go. Particularly British Sea Power - simply amazing.

The double. Both against Chelsea. John Terry in tears. There is nothing more to say...

Watching Gordon lose it from across the pond. It's just hilarious. What a loser, really. How did people miss that he would never be up to it, that to be PM you really do need a personality. I do miss Newsnight at times like this.


The Mars Volta live. Like going into a music shop with no soundproof rooms and everyone showing off at once. A truely, truely horrible experience.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Bed wetters

How bad is this? Seriously. Eno produced it - what happened? No wonder they're giving it away for free..

A great man

I just watched an interview with Sidney Poitier on Larry King. What an amazing man. It's rare to see someone of such intelligence, humility and righteous, yet controlled, anger. He lived through extraordinary times in America, from segregation to Obama, and produced an astonishing body of work. So many brave and important movies. It was a wonderful interview - Larry King is obviously a fan - but it covered everything from acting to family to the civil rights movement. I'm not sure if it's on the internet somewhere, but if it is, search it out. 

I went on the radio again today to flog a cymbal signed by The Cult. Now goth seems to go down well here in North America. Not sure why and they don't do the whole goth look so much - or at least they don't do it the same. Like a lot of fashion it's done in a far less camp way than the UK. Is camp the right word for UK goths? Maybe not but you know what I mean. Goth over here isn't as comfortable with its feminine side. Anyway, we'll see how it goes. I don't actually understand memorabilia - does it really make people feel closer to their heroes? And are rock stars (David Bowie aside, naturally) really heroes?

The weather has been horrid all week, hopefully it's going to get back to being at least spring next week. Typical Canada - they fool you thinking it's all over and then hit you with London in November.

Weirdness in the Us election - Rev Wright decided to go all 'I'm a star' on national TV. The guy is an asshole. Thankfully Obama finally denounced him and cut him off. Hilary continues to get more and more shrill. It's down to North Carolina and Indiana next week - if she loses both, surely to God this thing will be over...