Little boxes

A61 sign

They say ‘build it and they will come’ however I spend most of my working day convincing folk that’s bunkum. Tell people something is being built, explain why, invite them to be involved; then they might come and even tell others.

It’s been a week since 198 cyclists paraded along my street. I say my street because from my house I can see the place where me and my family stood in the central reservation of the  A61 to watch the Tour de France pass by. It’s the street down which I get the bus most days into Leeds where I work. It’s the street up which I brought my youngest son home after he was born. It’s our street.

The estate is bordered by Scott Hall Road to the east, along which the Tour de France will come.

This is my view every morning as I wait for the bus. There’s usually a fair bit of traffic. Last Saturday however, the road was closed all day in both directions. The Tour de France came by in the outward lane and on the inward lane, children played on their bikes and people walked in the road without worrying about traffic.

20140705_103018

Continue Reading

Will digital love tear us apart?

agenda

‘Love will tear us apart’ is the title of a classic song by Joy Division. Apparently, the last song ever performed by Joy Division was called ‘Digital’. It was the final song of the last gig recorded on 2 May 1980 in Birmingham.

Sort of ironic that I spent Saturday 21 June 2014 in the same city debating most things local government and seemingly sharing the love of digital.

I attended #localgovcamp; an unconference. These are different to traditional conferences in that whilst there’s an overall theme, you don’t have a pre-set programme of speakers or sessions and you certainly don’t get preached at for the whole time.

The day is split into sessions and attendees pitch for what sessions they want to run or topics they might want to find out more about, if they are prepared to lead a session. That’s an important distinction. If it was all the former then it might be more a conference, without attendee input. The important point being if it isn’t the session you thought it was going to be, and your input can’t make a difference; then you can freely up sticks and go find another session that might be more up your street.

Continue Reading

A river runs through it

IMG_20120701_153555

That’s the title of a 1992 film based on a 1976 book by Norman Maclean about family life during the early 20th century in Montana. Their views of life are filtered through their passion for fly fishing. The book and film are presented from the point of view of older brother Norman who goes on one last fishing trip with his rowdy and troubled younger brother Paul in an attempt to help him get his life on track; the river being the focus to engage with a number of profound metaphysical questions.

So why is it relevant?

Continue Reading

#commshero – sometimes ‘different’ is where we need to go

wham

For this post, you need to know I’m a proud Yorkshireman. Apparently there’s a perception we are minded to tell it how we see it. I’m also an honest comms chap and don’t spin things either, ever.

The foundations of my music tastes were laid down in the 1980’s. ‘Club Tropicana’ and ‘Wake me up before you go go’ do not feature in my top 100,000 fave choons or will ever. So if you’d said to me back then, that 30 years later I’d walk down Deansgate in Manchester carrying a red canvas bag with ‘Wham’ splashed all over it, I’d have probably laughed myself silly.

Continue Reading

Hoping for a conversation, but never mind

cropped-20140516_0805132.jpgRecently, I and many others attended Urbanized; the second film in the #cityseriesleeds set of films. The aim of the series, other than showing films in a great little cinema in Hyde Park, Leeds, is to encourage discussion and debate under the #cityseriesleeds tag and on various forums about how Leeds is and how it could be.

Both films so far have touched on the design and development of different cities across the world. The discussion in the cinema following Urbanized focussed on the community engagement processes of the various city design projects shown in the film.

Someone suggested that trying to get everyone’s views in any consultation just won’t help and that some consultation is just seen as ticking the box. A point also made, as shown in the film, was that perhaps smaller and different ways of getting people’s views might better help those tasked with delivering the projects. That it gives planners, architects, designers and those elected and responsible for setting direction get a gut feel, so they can lead the project forward based on their experience and mandate.

A few folk talked about how they thought timely communication at different stages of any engagement is crucial. Someone suggested that consultations/discussions are usually hijacked by the ‘usual suspects’ who shout loudest and are likely to put others and the little voices off contributing.

Time always catches up with things just when they are getting interesting but those present were asked to continue the discussion online. This post is part of that.

Continue Reading

Just a little bit proud

Helligan 2002Me and my boys at Helligan circa 2002.

Today I’m the parent of two teenage sons. Tomorrow the eldest will be 20. I will have a 20 year old and in 9 days an 18 year old. When did that happen?

Happy birthday boys!

When you decide to have kids, let’s face it, you have no real idea what you are about to take on. Helping them to walk and talk, sleepless nights, grazed knees and illnesses, birthday party manicness, the financial implications of increasing the world’s population, sharing their disappointments and achievements and many other things including the good times, days out and holidays. You take on a responsibility for their upbringing and safeguarding until they become an adult.

Continue Reading

Not quite anywhere, but somewhere liveable for #cityseriesleeds

St Matthews

I recently saw the letter sent to people living on the route of the upcoming Tour de France informing what will happen on July 5 and in the run up. A fair few cyclists will make their way from central Leeds, up Scott Hall Road (welcome to Yorkshire!), along Harrogate Road, to the north of Moortown Corner, across the outer Ring Road and on to Harewood.

The letter mentioned the cyclists would visit Chapel Allerton and Moortown. So I checked the route and if anyone sat outside Sunshine Bakery or The Queen’s Arms in Chapel A sees Bradley Wiggins ride by on July 5, then summat will most definitely be up with t’tour. It doesn’t go through what I would call Chapel Allerton. Maybe others would agree.

Continue Reading

No more posts.