Comedy and humour often serves as a safe space for addressing.

I thought using the Mr Men characters provided a lovely safe space to discuss their characteristics, traits and wellbeing. The characters were a proxy for some of the feelings they might have. You can imagine developing this further with other characters from other stories or films.

The problem is when this cuts too close to the bone, when the medium serves up a mirror too close to the truth. Such a safe space then becomes uncanny.

It recently occurred to me that I had somehow become unsubscribed to Laura Hilliger’s newsletter. Maybe I did it, not sure. Whatever the reason, I subscribed again. It has been great to have her voice coming back into my inbox again. Thinking about the many dots that extend my serendipity surface, I was left wondering what it is about Laura’s ‘moldy trash of a newsletter’ (her words, not mine) that means it is often the first one I open. Maybe it is the humour in her voice? Or the honesty and insight of her reflections? Maybe it is her ability to spark my thinking. This week, it was her discussion of ‘meditation rage’. Whatever it is, I am grateful. Maybe it takes a village to create learning space and such a space includes many voices.
I remember being on after-school homework/detention duty a few years ago. It was on the second story of a building to separate it from the rest of the school. The time had started and the students had spread themselves around and were getting on with their work, when out of the lift came three students, one of whom was riding a scooter. Can I just say, the seriousness and control that was in that space quickly dissipated, turning into chaos. It was interesting to see other students initially laugh, until it stopped being funny.
Ed Droste suggests that it takes five listens to form a judgement about an album. I have been diving into DIANA’s Familiar Touch. As the song structures become more known, new sounds are revealed, subtly hidden within. The album creates a certain fragile space held together by the rhythm and bass.
I remember in my first teaching position looking out the window of a crummy old portable at the picturesque mountain ranges in the distance. I made a comment about this to one of the students. They griped, “try looking at it every day.” Although I was taken aback, it was something that stayed with me. With one road in and out, over time I learnt that with all the beauty and majesty, the mountains were both physically and mentally claustrophobic.
At the end of Anna Krein’s interview with Steve Kolber they break from the discussion of technology to reflect upon the art of writing. Krein uses the analogy of building muscle in explaining long form. This reminded me of Clive Thompson’s reflection on The Non-Fiction Podcast. For Thompson, long form writing involves living with an idea. A process of organising, getting things down and crafting the final piece. A part of all this is finding space and time.
On the You Am I track, Good Morning, Tim Rogers famously sang,

Waking up is easy when you got a voice you know
Rattling up the ratings on the breakfast show
Waking up is easy when you got a voice you love
Telling you what’s out there
Is anyone out there?

The song was inspired by AM radio stations that Rogers would listen to in the morning while writing the album Hourly, Daily.

Often I wake up depressed, as people do, and I found it really comforting. I could see how you could get attached to it, instead of waking up with someone next to you.

Similarly, the weekend mornings have been made easier during Stage 4 restrictions with the familiar voice of Dylan Lewis. It feels like the weekend habits associated with the pandemic and staying at home have replaced what was the morning commute.

I was recently listening to the interview with Jazz/Pop artist, Bruno Major, on the Switched on Pop podcast. He discussed how after being dropped by his record label that he turned to Logic and spent six months creating bad electronic music. This made me think about Austin Kleon’s personal diary as a place where:

I find that my diary is a good place to have bad ideas. I tell my diary everything I shouldn’t tell anybody else, especially everyone on social media. We are in a shitty time in which you can’t really go out on any intellectual limbs publicly, or people β€” even your so-called friends! β€” will throw rocks at you or try to saw off the branch. Harsh, but true.

In regards to music, I wonder if there are projects are out there in storage that have never been released. Sound experiments allowed air to breathe, but not released into the world. Maybe Damian Cowell has secretly recorded a shoe-gazer album? Or Nick Cave is sitting on a swath of political anthems?

I was reading Greg Thompson’s introduction to The Education Assemblage. I was left wondering about space as a component of the assemblage.

Concepts, for Deleuze, are more than ideas – they are novel incursions into creation that exist in combination, a concept is defined by its components.

If an assemblage always ‘exist for purposes’, what does this mean for a concept? Just as Stanley Fish says that ‘a sentence is never not in a context’ I wonder if a space is always understood as a part of an assemblage even if we are not always aware of the various components? For Steve Collis it is about the physical, information and shared social. I wonder how this lens is limited and if such a framework is always itself incomplete?

I have been spending a lot of time lately documenting questions in regards to the reporting and attendance program I help support. The hope is that this will help with support. The problem as I see it is that simply knowing the steps does not automatically build capacity. You also need access to a space to play and time to do so.
It is interesting to reflect upon different social media spaces and think about the features and the limitations. For example, Twitter annoys me the inability to edit posts, while Micro.Blog frustrates me because of the way it responds to headings (I know, real blogging does not have headings). In the end, I think that is why I have taken to posting on my own site and working from there. Maybe that does not always have the same reach and interaction, but we have to compromise somewhere.
Thoughts are with all the Victorian students and teachers as onsite learning resumes today. The world has changed and it will be a different space to be in. I imagine there will be a lot of anxiety, excitement and apprehension in the air, however the balloons being put out at my children’s school this morning were a thoughtful gesture. Reminds me that there are some things we can change and it is useful to start there.
Social media can be a great space to share ideas, however not every space is helpful with connecting the dots. Although you can trace a thread through a series of Tweets, you are not always able to link to points of context and clarification. For me, this is one thing that I like about Micro.Blog’s use of Markdown. Clearly, not as rich as WordPress, but much better than Twitter or Google+(rip).
Responding to John Johnston’s discussion of the value of blogging as a space for sharing, Ian Guest wonders about the various features associated with Twitter.

One thing I wonder about sharing spaces is not what is technically possible – Twitter actually includes quite a few features to help users, such as hashtags, saved searches, bookmarks and moments to name a few – the question is how easy is it to personally mine this information and subsequently build upon it?Β  This was the point that both Cal Newport and Austin Kleon have recently touched upon, sharing the power of a space of one’s own.

Austin Kleon shared a link to John Holt’s newsletter and some thoughts on learning at home. One of the issues I have had is that it is a contested space. Although I have been supporting my daughter while she has been learning at home, creating the space, allowing her to explore, the problem I have had is that I am not her teacher, I have no agency. This is why Kleon argues that the current context is not ‘homeschooling’. I consider it a blend of the worst of both worlds.
In a recent post, Erin Bromage discusses the risks associated with a number of spaces. Interestingly, one space that is not mentioned was schools. This is something that David Truss captures:

Common lunch time, after work socials, β€˜check-in’ meetings, team building activities, common work hours… there are many conventions that bring staff and work communities together that will change, and β€˜undermine’ (?) the social fabric of previously positive work cultures.

There seems to be a lot of discussion about technology as the answer, but Naomi Klein suggests we could also re-imagine the spaces and the way we work within them:

[Eric] Schmidt is right that overcrowded classrooms present a health risk, at least until we have a vaccine. So how about hiring double the number of teachers and cutting class size in half? How about making sure that every school has a nurse?

In an interview discussing life under lockdown, Charli XCX shared:

I’m in my house and I’ve walked around every room and noticed things about my house which I’ve lived in for four years, but I really do feel like this is the first time I’ve lived in my home and made my house a home.

This time has given cause to notice some spaces that have long been overlooked, as well as see others in a new light. After reading Erin Bromage’s breakdown of the different risks associated with the coronavirus, I wonder what work will look like moving forward? Will there be a move against open planned spaces? Will work spaces become smaller to diversify the risk? One thing I am confused about is how a back-up ‘secret’ spaceΒ protects a business when the risk relates to who is actually in the room?

I have been dividing into the music of Oneohtrix Point NeverΒ lately. I remember when I first heard his music I struggled to find an entry point. At the time, it was not for me, I was in a different space. I love electronic music, but what I heard at the time did not gel. Of late, I have returned with new context and new interest. I remember having similar experiences with the art of Vermeer until I appreciated the innovation and Jane Austen until I realised that there was something beyond the BBC adaptations. In part, this is why ratings can be problematic.
Oliver Kemp recently reflected on Pitchfork’s perfect 10 awarded to Fiona Apple’s new album. He questioned the rolls of such ratings. My thoughts are that taste and preference is always caught up in space, time and experience. Maybe what matters is not what we actually choose, but the act of curation itself? This is why I prefer to suggest which other artists I would place a particular record between.