Episode 11 of >11%

170x170bbReally delighted and thankful for being invited to be part of Greater Than 11% –  a weekly podcast that interviews women about their creative lives and experiences. It’s a project by the fabulous Renee Vaughan Sutherland and her team.

We talk about a creative path forged from a series of leaps, and the importance of play for finding solutions and bringing about that “change” stuff.

A Brexit Boardgame?

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“No matter the shape of the exit, an eventual agreement will need to be reached, which means significant negotiations, for reorganisation of preferential relationship terms and conditions.” — Lynette Nusbacher

I have been part of a project and process that offers a politically agnostic solution, to the historic situation identified as Brexit.

Everyone who does business in the UK, or who wants to do business with British companies, needs to understand two components missing from mainstream media: simulation & interactivity.

To find out more about the  urgent requirement for strategic wargaming, please read the latest Imperica article: Brexit as a path to strategy

Stupid breakup music & angsty chords that is all trauma

[R] Rina and [L] Lynette work together as Nusbacher & Associates— offering Devil’s Advocacy, sound horizon scanning and structured methods of making futures/strategy. They are prepared to tell you that you’re not the fairest one of all; gently holding up a mirror to show you what is and what will be, not what you imagine.

Rina & Lynette are particularly fond of lessons from history. During an oral discussion of contemporary ‘worst case scenarios’, an aural memory from the past was triggered, and brought to mind a matter of social relevance.

So, brace yourself for a freewheeling and allusive exploration of how The Ideal Crash might be an accidental soundtrack of the Brexit times. Ideas inspired by lyrics is presented in two tangential threads [R] & [L] — since we feel choice of meaning should remain with the individual, even as we leave signposts for suggested interpretation.

We invite you to relinquish your preference for a neat and tidy master narrative. The disorientation reflects the actual experience of a breakup process. We hope to encourage you, dear reader, to engage in deep listening first, prior to formulating your own conclusion.

Finally, perhaps songs resonate best by ending or beginning with a riddle. Besides, we’ve had enough of political opinions, and you’re here for something more mercurial, right?

The Ideal Crash is the third studio album by Belgian rock band dEUS,
released in March 1999 by Island Records

R: Twenty years ago, I wasn’t a British citizen yet, but my green foreign passport was stamped with a resident visa granting me status of ‘given leave to remain in the UK for an indefinite period’ — thanks to a half-English mother and a Londoner grandfather. I was a fresher living on campus at Warwick, and students spend their nights going to gigs.

I fell in love at first sound with dEUS when they played in a little pub in Leicester called The Princess Charlotte. I bought The Ideal Crash album album in nearby Leamington Spa, from Fopp — a very British retailer that began as a one-man stall in Glasgow. The shop built a reputation for reasonable prices on new releases, stocking non-mainstream catalogue CDs, DVDs and books. The company also had a policy called “suck it and see”: any purchase could be returned within 28 days as long as it was as new.

L: I’m guessing that dEUS wasn’t thinking about anyone leaving Europe in 1999 when they recorded their album. They were being Belgian in Spain, the Euro was a stack of spanking new banknotes and coins. The United Kingdom was being very principled about letting Eastern Europeans into our union. It was a fertile moment of absorption: a slick, slippery orgy of coming together and connecting bodies. Like an eccentric jazz-blues infused art-rock combo of a band?

A think tank determined that Britain’s identity was in flux, so it was burnished in a make it modern, young and diverse. Oh, Cool Britannia! Daily outrage was about an overpriced architectural dome that looked like a giant colander, and certainly not about the way we were rocketing the bejayzus out of Serbia.

Stay by my side, it’s over
The ride isn’t what I told you
The painkiller-side of this life
Is to not look behind it’s over

RWhat do you call a self-contradictory or logically unacceptable situation? Someone is wishing for it to be over. Well is it over yet? Can we just get over it? Nostalgia is seductive though, especially when you flashback to the highlights.

The Olympics were spectacular, and Team GB spattered us all with aspirational feelings. I broke away from the full-time 9-to-5 contract job situation in 2013, and have been free-range since. It’s been a constant journey of finding the right connections, and discovering it’s truly about knowing the right kind of people. Oh, admittedly the never-ending list of pipeline applications, rejections, having to endure the necessary hustles, repackaging what I do and how I work best. With grit, a bit of luck and some serendipity, I have developed several solid and open professional relationships. The polycurious don’t have convenient access to all the benefits readily available in large companies. It’s challenging being independent; Still, lessons learned and non, je ne regrette rien.

L: I stayed by your side, and it was sweet. I changed who I was to be with you, and you changed who you were to be with me. We both became someone new. There was no cutting ourselves apart. Cutting part-way through makes wounds that bleed, but cannot close. There isn’t enough blood in the world to keep us alive and held together by ragged shreds of flesh and twisted heartstrings.

Whatever the reasons for being in the messy here and now, constantly rewinding to what was is not really going to change the amount of therapy we will require to get through this.

A dEUS album title ‘Keep You Close’ is written with post it notes above the shop.

I have been told about longing
A feeling so old, it’s dead
I must have been misled
So stay by my side, I’m sorry

Stay by my side, I want you
Continue the theme that’s us
Even though it’s only lust
The painkiller-side of this life

RArgh, the long in longing is really drawn out isn’t it? This piece of string just keeps unravelling the more people yarn on about it. Literature has become that too, a litter of status quo sentences, except propaganda has replaced poetry. Have we forgotten the rhythm of rhymes? So much noise about our discordant times.

Of course we sigh away about what was, and ponder about what ifs; if only this or if only that. People can’t be satisfied with the present. We complain as we breathe. It could be better. It could also be worse. We all want to have the freedom of the player, but then we crave company and partners in crime. We want to connect and belong, be seen, heard, feel worthy, valued. A friend told me the only way to be over some X, is to be under a new Y. As the poet said —  happiness is regular sex and potatoes. Though maybe we also need to stockpile on paracetamol.

Can we just kiss and make up? Yet tweeps can’t seem to forgive and forget.

L: Historians know that discontinuous events are predictably unpredictable, that surprise us, but it’s not really that surprising if we look at the causality of it all. Fed up with the best and worst of times, we fight or flee.

Impact was the only way to take you from my side. Blunt trauma could wrench you away so fast and so hard that there was no twisting; but the blood still flows from impact. It just doesn’t intermingle quite so much. Unavoidable heartache with heartburn at digesting the unpalatable reality, and headaches to add insult to injury. A sorrowful story of being Sorry, Yes Sorry?


How can a man kill gently
How long before it’s all done
How can he leave someone
How can he do it softly?

Your life’s gone sucking cause you wanna mess around,
can anybody down you with a Crash!
Another way of saying that you like to make it up as you move along…

RSo many questions, much of it questionable and ridicule-us. Regulatory lawyers are even asking if a Dutch crab can ever be British. It’s like we are stuck in some temporal paradox, and the only way to really jolt us out of the looping inertia is a massive spanner in the works. Now, I work as a social engineer, and real mechanics are tasked to purposely fix things that are broken. If only all the king’s horses and men know what their jobs are.

I can’t stand this indecision, married with a lack of vision, everybody wants to rule the world. I know, it’s a different song that, but who decides whose preferences make for good choices? Most of us know how we want our coffee and what our cup of tea is. Surely we can apply this simplicity to life in general?

The comedians believe life is improv, creativity through “Yes And”… I seem to have made it this far in life, in part by stumbling into things. Personally, I’m an all or nothing kind of woman comfortable in their own skin. I am open to courting, and prepared for commitment. Yet there is no time to waste on someone lacking courage who cannot make up their mind. The biblical book of Revelation (3:16) advises: So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Are we being taught moral lessons? Since impatience is no virtue, and we clearly need more prudent consideration about our needs and wants.

L: Does no one know how to how anymore beyond ‘how now mad cow’? I think about the train wreck that is the United Kingdom’s attempt to cut itself away. A kingdom has turned into a bored middle-aged lump seeking life through infidelity. A sweaty afternoon on dating sites has convinced someone that there are greener pastures over there somewhere. Words to live by when smashing ourselves apart from a lover we have been joined to at the lip and the hip for thirty years. It’s an unlikely #Brexit anthem, but then that’s the only kind we could possibly have. And never mind crying about spilled milk, so long as we have wine and cheese.

You’re gonna go to hell
with a certain inclination,
Try and make it sell
and then you Crash!

You’re gonna have to take yourself out of circulation
If it’s a lot…show them what you got
Right now I need my hands, to cover this shit up
I need my eyes to see were I’m going,
and I need someone…

RThey say hell is other people right? Everyone could do with a schooling refresher and perhaps brush up on Kant’s unsocial sociability of man.

I also remember the Orwellian formula: “He who controls the past, controls the future; and he who controls the present, controls the past.”

Are we considering how qualified we really are as human operators? Vehicles need licensed drivers who pass practical lessons. When on a journey, you can’t just look back in the rear view mirror and yak about where you’ve been. Not much point in asking “are we there yet” since a destination is inevitable. Did we plan a route? Are we using a satellite nagivation, or are you good at orientation with an atlas map? Maybe learn to walk before you run, or take public transport instead. Perhaps we should have been more prepared for the journey we really wanted to experience.

Someone with more awareness would consider: What is the consequence, before I start a sequence? 

L: Kein Operationsplan reicht mit einiger Sicherheit über das erste Zusammentreffen mit der feindlichen Hauptmacht hinaus*. Of course that’s in some foreign language. When we imagine ourselves with someone else, the thought is the deed. That someone else might be our next ex? No, that thought cannot penetrate our sense of self. In the mind’s eye, the alternative is always fresh, fun and willing. Amputating the current enumbrance will be quick and easy: finished by Christmas.

Stay by my side, it’s sexy
The way that we talk about stuff
The way that we laugh with love
The way that we’re falling off

RHmmm. Every exit is an entrance to somewhere. In any case, a bad day in London is still better than a good day anywhere else, and my maroon red passport does have a unicorn on it. Ciao! Ciao!**

Romance is dead, long live Romance! What about the ideal crush? Wouldn’t it be more practical discussing what a desirable relationship could start as? Que será, será. Whatever will be, let’s see. The future has plans B, C and D… but love ends with E sharp.

And we’ve saved the expletives for the end. We’re all fucked unless we know how to be better at managing healthy relationships. First with oneself, and then with others. The sages told us plainly, that what we have control of is the now. How can we have more awareness to consciously decide today, with a view about a preferred tomorrow?

*‘No plan ever survives with any certainty after first contact with the enemy main force’
** Hello. Goodbye / Goodbye. Hello.

Coincidentally, dEUS are on tour for the 20th anniversary of The Ideal Crash album. I will most likely travel to Berlin or some other European city I have yet to visit, to watch one of my favourite bands and have a long sightseeing weekend.

Other albums are: Worst Case Scenario (1994), In a Bar, Under the Sea (1996), Pocket Revolution (2005), Vantage Point (2008), Keep You Close (2011), Following Sea (2012)

If I cannot fly, let me sing!

Spring has sprung!

Colossal we come these renegades in the ring
where the lost get found in the crown of the circus king.

Watch Some Voices choir perform and do buy your tickets for gigs scheduled from 23rd to 27th April!

Hollywood Hits celebrates some of the most loved soundtracks and iconic moments in film, performed live by a 300 strong choir and band.

Mr Bingo in Manila

JAN 10:
There’s mail I hate receiving in the Philippines – the postcards notifying you have parcels to pick up at the local depot. PHL Post officially denies reports of ‘bartering’ and ‘haggling’ of monetary taxation dues, but the overall experience remains rather shitty.

Here’s the third-world post office booth:

The smug customs official inside is po-faced with a demeanour resembling Jabba-the-hut. His confused reaction was quite priceless when he chose to inspect the biggest item, a bonanza box of Star Trek nerd supplies. Luckily this put him off bothering to open a smaller package, which happened to be a legit taser in pink that my Streetwars assassin friend sent.

To anticipate any hassle, my dad offered to accompany me, looking Mafioso killer in semi- formal wear and Raybans. In any case, I was relieved to collect late Christmas gifts without hassle.

JAN 11:
I get tagged on Twitter by Web Curios sentinel Matt Muir, that the notorious Mr Bingo will be speaking at some major annual design event in Manila.

Mr Muir didn’t know I was already a recipient of hate mail, nor that a designer friend of mine, Mr Smith, was responsible for sending Mr Bingo that ‘fucker’ Swiss roll. It’s a small world.

JAN 12:
The social web is amazing; who needs tinder when you can link up thanks to twittering right? After checking out each other’s relatively interesting SEO, Mr Bingo and I agree to meet IRL.

Instant replies are hilariously predictive.

Mr Bingo claims he’s up for anything weird and admits gravitating towards the seedier side of cities. I reassure him that the thrilla capital caters well towards his requirements, and shared a Guardian review summarising Manila as an “intense, roiling, underrated fever dream.”

JAN 20:
Mr Bingo is staying at the Conrad Hotel near to the Seaside Boulevard, and coincidentally so are all Miss Universe contestants. We meet and greet at the lobby, him in a t-shirt saying No Thank You arranged like a smiley with matching pastel pink shorts, me in kimono dress with Converse. We are a distinct duo of tall white man and tiny asian woman.

Mr Bingo & I UberPool to the first weird checkpoint I specifically chose because I despise it. Our driver Leonardo navigates through the spaghetti roads of a Friday afternoon with some frustration, despite using satnav app Waze. Taking advantage of the squiggly route, I point out interesting urban curiosities: typically artful jeepneys with religious slogans, outrageously colossal bad-vertising billboards, street basketball games and a peculiar poster about an officially-titled Brown Race marathon sponsored by AffiniTea.

Our Mitsubishi Mirage squirmed through the sea of vehicular traffic, and we eventually arrived in Venice. That’s right, fucking Venice. Not the real one in Italy obviously, but the Venice Grand Canal Mall, a 50-hectare retail centre developed by Megaworld Corporation, touted as “a great place to take a selfie for tourists and even locals.” Ugh.

Property developers and customers grossly value fashionably ersatz buildings packaged into novelty commercial attractions. Meanwhile, Manila’s heritage architecture remains tragically neglected and under threat of being demolished. The art historian in me therefore finds replicated landscapes loathsome.

A candle-lit table for two at the stereotypically romantic Ponte Rialto, Mr Bingo and I compared notes about the stupid life. Observing the costumed gondoliers and camera happy strollers, hate wasn’t quite on the agenda as we agreed that there’s always room for any oddity that brings people joy.

Suitably acquainted after breaking the ice over negronis, we moved to the artsy red light district neighbourhood of Poblacion to visit Kapwa, a modern barbershop salon + creative studio, and means ‘fellow human being’ in Tagalog. One of the owners is my friend Deejae Paeste, known as the ‘Starving Artist’ whose prolific street art feature women inspired by tribal lore of sirens, spiritual figures and goddesses. Activities at his shop was a bit pic’n’mix, with people getting haircuts, some doing a photo-shoot, graffiti paint session and lively chit chats with bottled beers. Inevitably tipsy not having had dinner, we then ducked into the seedy Gangnam Style Korean restaurant next door; miserable waitresses but decent food.

Mr Bingo’s Twitter followers were clueless about the fact that he was actually meeting an ‘eevilmidget’, so it made sense for ironic laughs to check out Ringside Bar, infamous for its lady boxing, midget oil wrestling and bikini clad ‘guest relation officers’. Like a Tarantino movie, music is diabolically loud, blasting bad thang tunes like Amine’s Caroline.

Randomly, we bump into another foreign illustrator and his doll Toby. In possession of a sharpie, my souvenir for the night was an appropriate drawing on my arm.

JAN 21:
Raucous entertainment was curbed around 3am because of an early 8.30am craft workshop I’d already committed to with my cousins. Impossible things before breakfast? No problem. Still drunk with a few hours sleep, somehow I managed to cut and paste pictures with inspirational words onto an A3-sized panel.

Armed with my coffee-fuelled aspirations, I head for late lunch with Mr Bingo, who kindly secured me a complementary pass for Graphika. We catch the talk by Gary Baseman, where I fully discovered the full extent and fame of his work. Totally love his fascination with folklore, and I wonder whether he’ll consider doing something inspired by the overlooked macabre myths of the Philippines. Throughout the day, I was of course still carrying my delightfully dorky vision board. Gary noticed and teased me about it, then decided that made me a strange character. Yeah, says the man who is always accompanied by a doll.

JAN 20:
Mr Bingo, Gary and Toby get to hang out with beauty queens. Wearing a Great Britain sash, Mr Bingo ends the conference with all the rude drawings, humorous swearing and an overall brilliant performance. As if designed on purpose, the stage is conveniently decorated with those light box alphabets spelling the event, and he knocks over the letters to spell one of his his favourite pastime and word: RAP.

At some point past midnight, we close the C-lounge bar shooting whisky with a drunk Irishman, gin tonics and English breakfast tea for me. By Monday morning I resume my day job as a social engineer for Trainstation, whereas my traveller friends sail for sunset and tan on the white sands of Boracay beach.

They say it’s more fun in the Philippines. If you know where to look, you’re guaranteed an abundance of WTFuckery and magic realism. With regards to Mr Bingo & I, there’s a venn diagram of badass potential scheming…

Original article published in March Issue of Imperica #1
>> Other articles include:
Huel, and Silicon Valley’s craze for food replacements
Millennial founders – myth versus reality
The Snooper’s Charter
How to solve the problem of fake news
The psychological effects of the selfie
Copyright: necessary, evil, or necessary evil
Art, science, and climate change

Imperica Magazine, Issue #1

I wrote an article for  online magazine, that you can buy for £2.00
My segment is called ‘Postcards from the Philippines’ – except, electronic obviously. Features artist provocateur Mr Bingo.

“Combining insight with intelligence, humour with hard analysis and comment with candour, Imperica Magazine is simply what we want it to be: a great monthly read.”

Imperica magazine will be online-only, available as a PDF or EPUB (from the website), and a Kindle publication (from Amazon).

Help support art and writers :) x

Artwork by Shardcore