If I’m the fool then what does that make you?

I heard this line in a BBC audio adaptation of King Lear for kids. “If I’m the fool, then what does that make you?” It struck a chord. For me this question captures the power of fooling around as a clown.

Fooling is playful and at the same time powerfully subversive stuff. The clown owns their foolishness, but in doing so raises a mirror the audience. I may be foolish, but in what ways are you unwittingly foolish too?

(The play also included the line ‘I hate living a thousand years ago’ – which I am also noting down here for future reference).

Universal Cycle Flyover

Diagram of Universal Cycle Flyover, an attachment for cars to enable vehicles in traffic jams to connect together to form a continuous cycle path

The daily traffic jam on my local high street has inspired me to think about a way to turn a traffic jam into an opportunity to a way to create safer cycling. This solution is win-win: car drivers get to stay in their cars while facilitating the creation of more traffic-free cycle routes in and out of our cities.

The concept is for all cars to be fitted with a light-weight section of Universal Cycle Flyover, designed to fit most any vehicle. Cars approaching a traffic jam simply park close enough to the next car to to enable a continuous connection for the cycle deck.

(The scheme shows a cyclist on a racing bicycle. Of course other types of bicycle would be encouraged, I just started the sketch too close to the top of the page to fit a more upright riding position.)

Weekend engineering works – near Weston-Super-Mare

Today engineers completed work on a major new irrigation channel to bring drinking water to a major new coastal development on Sand Bay, near Weston-Super-Mare. The 60-metre-long new canal brings water that rises from the coarse sand at the back of the beach across the inter-tidal zone to the new fortified town, which looks north-westwards across the Bristol Channel towards Cardiff.

In a bold vision, the water supply has two functions: potable water supply for the imaginary people living in the turret in the middle of the island; and also to ensure the defensive moat is always full. Anglo-French design and build contractors Eiffelover and Co. have a long track record in delivering civil and environmental projects in coastal settings.

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The left-right game – experiments in navigation, embodiment and control

Yesterday my daughter and I left the house and flipped a coin. Heads for left, tails for right. Right it was, then left, then left again, et cetera. A random journey along the roads, cyclepaths and alleyways of our neighbourhood ensued. It became a fun home-schooling lesson in probability. It revealed to me the habits that stop me from noticing so much of what surrounds me. And it was a fascinating experiment in not having a plan.

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#15 Show-notes – Oliver Broadbent interview by Alexie Sommer – Creativity, climate and clowning

Photograph shows Oliver Broadbent leading a swing dance lesson at Pete the Monkey Festival with the Mudflappers.Image used to create link between teaching swing dancing and creativity training for engineers

I spend most of my time designing creativity training for engineers. In this episode we flip the format. Alexie Sommer, Independent Design and Communication Director and collaborator on many of my projects interviews me about why I set up Eiffel Over and Constructivist Ltd, and what our plans are for designing creativity training for engineers in 2020. We get into:

  • Techniques for teaching creativity
  • Our programme of training support people tackling the climate emergency
  • And what engineers might learn from clowns.

Listen on Apple Podcasts , Sticher or by download here

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