What’s your MacGuffin?


A point worth making about MacGuffin that sets it apart from the normal movie review is that its designed for ppl who love movie trivia who spot trivia and want to share that trivia. For eg in the famous action film North by Northwest my MacGuffin spot is that Cary Grant stays in the Ambassador East Hotel in Chicago (now called The Public Chicago Hotel), as I have by sheer luck stayed there myself. Try it with Django. Find the trivial which for you is your MacGuffin;-)

I’ve been unfollowed by you


Hi Stuart G. Hall

6 users unfollowed you today:

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Defenseless is the best choice for those seeking to [really] grow


There’s a great blog post from Seth Godin, The opposite of ‘defenseless’ which concludes with the radical sounding thought: “Defenseless is the best choice for those seeking to grow.” I couldn’t agree more, except for one thing, in reality maybe life doesn’t work like that?

I know what I’m talking about, I’ve used that method to grow. So while in abstract it’s true, in reality if you follow that method you’re going to be assaulted and undermined by people who just want the well-trodden path of life.

Of course maybe that’s just why the method works, it encourages people to attack and criticize you when you are defenseless, and in turn that gives you the fuel for grow. You just have to ‘hang on in there’.

See, there is a happy ending to this blog post:-)


MacGuffin MVP testing proposal


MVP testing is taking place in partnership with De Montfort University, Leicester.

Vision: a mobile app to inspire people to easily and simply create a short video of their experience after watching a movie/film.

Aim: the aim of this project is to discover whether the concept and the MVP created with developer used to test that, will demonstrate there is an app worth progressing from a user perspective.

Background: please see the two brief presentations which laid the groundwork for understanding the value of a social app that creates social ‘buzz’ around a movie from a company viewpoint.

The key to unlocking success lies essentially in elevating positive buzz about a film before it premiers and to sustain this beyond the first weekend opening weekend for as long as possible. And for a social tool which can be rolled out cross-market to further optimise global social media marketing ROI in the form of ticket sales.

Challenge: from a bottom up pov there are a number of well-known movie review sites such as Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB, which originated in Bristol UK. What they lack is a real focus on the individual moviegoer’s personal perspective on the film they have seen, in Vine like style!

MacGuffin app: what the MacGuffin aims to do is give people the opportunity to create a short video straight after watching a film, and share that with their friends and the wider MacGuffin community.

It’s is intentionally both a movie review app and a way to express whatever you felt after watching a film, whether trivial or not, the movie is a powerful means to inspire an emotional response, so why not have the opportunity in the same medium to record your own response?

Testing: to date a prototype or MVP to use the jargon of the lean startup model has been created. This simply allows for more rigorous testing of the concept, the aim of this project.

Currently, clips are created using the Instagram video facility and then imported automatically into the MacGuffin app using the #MacGuffin2013 hashtag, and the individual #moviename hashtag.

We believe this is sufficient to allow people using the Instragram mobile app to record their feelings after seeing a movie, and to tag and share this.


Taking a creative journey through London’s Subculture


There used to be an empty space above Selfridge’s famous Food Hall, a hotel in fact called The Old Selfridges Hotel, which has been invaded by a curious assemblage of art and artifacts. Works and memorabilia from creative people and groups exhbited at the ICA exhibition are a dizzying list of the avant garde and anarcho do-it-yourself-ism from the 1980s post-punk up until the present. Gilbert & George, John Maybury, House of Beauty & Culture, Tom Dixon, Jeffrey Hinton, Bodymap, St John, Alexander McQueen, Martino Gamper, Julie Verhoeven, Giles Deacon, Charlie Porter, Chisenhale Gallery, Lucky PDF, Vogue Fabrics Nightclub, Sibling, J W Anderson, Bethan Laura Wood, Matthew Darbyshire and Louise Gray are amongst the 60 influential figures from London’s creative scene involved in the project.

The ambitious aim of A Journey Through London Subculture: 1980s to Now is no less by presenting a distillation of their output in 60 ‘vitrines’ to allow the viewer to make a whole host of powerful connections: “For example, was early YBA, in fact, an extension of 80s DIY culture? Is there a connection between Gilbert & George through the artist/poet David Robilliard to Trojan and Leigh Bowery and from there to Alexander McQueen? In design terms, does the salvage work of Andy The Furniture Maker connect to Martino Gamper’s reassembled chairs or the designs of Bethan Laura Wood?”.

But what’s as interesting is how the end results have been received, and what that means for today’s creativity. Reading FT fashion blogger Charlie Porter’s piece is a great way to approach it as someone who has a vitrine there himself, and he describes the whole installation as “amazing” I sense largely because he has strong personal creative connections with many of the vitrines on display. And indeed there is something for everyone with a personal or even a professional interest in the pre-internet age culture to take away. But not everyone believes the lofty aims of the project to explore “counterculture today and what emerging artists have in common with their countercultural forebears” have been achieved. The Independent’s Zoe Pilger reckons the show would benefit from a little more ‘creative tension’ from the interplay of the subversive forces of creativity and mainstream commercialism. However, there’s less uncertainty of where the value lies from the exhibition’s driving force ICA Executive Director Gregor Muir who created the vitrine devoted to the very post-punk shark tank embracing Young British Artists, led by Damien Hirst and including a ping pong ball in a glass from Hirst’s first edition for the ICA!

But what does this all mean in 2013? Fortunately there is a generous series of events around the exhibition worth exploring, with inspirational relevance for today. For example a panel discussion with Princess Julia and Charles Porter on the role of fliers in the pre-internet age looks at the 1980s equivalents to today’s social media. And the events conclude with a Selfridges selection of upcoming designers, artists, animators with a presentation aiming to find the creative young people of today. As a overtly individualistic and iconaclastic show, it’s the responsibility of the visitor to take from it what they want, to make connections that make creative sense to them, and to use it to their own highly creative ends.

A Journey Through London Subculture: 1980s to Now is curated by ICA Executive Director Gregor Muir in collaboration with exhibition advisors Emily King (Curator and writer), Libby Sellers (Design Gallerist) and Princess Julia (Writer and DJ).

PS: And as to my own part in London’s subculture in the 1990’s they range from taking part in Reclaim the Streets, to Reclaim the Beach!


Thinslicing joke, otherwise lost to the world


Phew, just found my  joke I contributed to the xs4all Science Jokes site wayback in March 2001. Now it looks like a joke about #thinslicing, in part because it includes concepts borrowed from my travels – heterogeneous organisation of data – comes from talking to a group of computer scientists at a First Tuesday meeting in 2000:

Q: How do you find a needle in a haystack?

Scientist says: One draws up a research and development proposal for a new
and improved device, costing $100m in budget and just under $200m on final
completion. The device can harvest for needles in any given haystack in any
terrain at any time, and operated by remote or even hands-on control.

Chaotician says: Faced with such a heterogeneous organisation of data you
assemble a bunch of friends (say ten or less, or maybe more if there is free
alcohol) and hold a party on the haystack. Someone will be bound to find the
needle by stepping or sitting on it. Or if they don’t something much more
strange + interesting will appear, so that the needle is classified as a
variant hay-straw. And the new discovery classified as the strange attractor.


Do you know the Darwinian connection between Christ’s and Murray Edwards College, Cambridge?


So I hear Grove Lodge, once the home of Charles Darwin’s wife Emma Darwin, could be demolished to make way for a bigger car park. As a visitor to Grove Lodge in the mid 1980’s I’d like to raise an issue, particularly as I also was an undergraduate at Christ’s College, Charles Darwin’s very own college.

Indeed Christ’s in 2009 celebrate the unique experience of Darwin the student with the public opening of his student rooms and an unveiling of a specially commissioned bronze sculpture of “Darwin as a young man contemplating the origin of our existence”. Yep, looks kind of serious doesn’t he?

Anyhow with  ‘Murray Edwards College’ embarking on what appears to be what they regard as ‘environmental improvements’ I wonder if now’s a good time to ask the college authorities to take a closer look at their collection of valuable oil paintings in formal hall. I believe one at least was accidentally decorated during a mid-1980s food fight; but due to the artist’s post-modern choice of colours managed to successfully camouflage the additional textures until now? The organic matter will still be present, and no doubt represents a health hazard after all these years!

PS: Latest news suggests the threat of demolition has been averted while plans for an art gallery are being considered. Finger’s crossed.