Earning Eternal Respect In 48 Hours The Twitter Way

I had a fun weekend this weekend. Thanks to a number of things.

1. Weekends are good anyway.
2. The weather was pretty nice.
3. I did normal stuff with Sophie like have nice lunches. Laze around. Drink a bit of wine. Get some chores done. Etc.

But in addition this weekend was a bit more exciting because of something that happened on Twitter on Friday night.

I was trying to decide whether to spend the weekend catching up on emails and that kind of thing. Or whether to go the other way and sod it all, so I posted:

Iain Tait (iaintait) on Twitter

To which Jason replied:

Twitter / @iaintait

And Andy provoked me with:

Twitter / @iaintait

Which is pretty much the same as a double-dare, and being the child I am I thought. I’ll show them guys. I’ll go offline and I’ll do them things. Then Andy will have to respect me, and not just for a bit. For the rest of eternity!

And you’ll never guess what. It was fun to do a bunch of freaky things. And it wasn’t just the act of doing the things. It’s was the other stuff around doing them that was interesting. Like having to go and acquire knitting needles and wool. Or spending time in the heavy dairy section of the supermarket.

So here’s what happened…

I started out with a shopping list.

Challenge Shopping List

Task One – Learn to Knit.

Acquire wool and needles first. I went to the Open Market in Brighton which is quite a place. I think it deserves it’s own post so watch out for that.

Here’s the wool stall.

The Wool Stall

And as you might have noticed on my shopping list I also needed knitting instruction. Which I got like this.

Absolutely brilliant! I’d have never had a knitting lesson off a geezer if it hadn’t been for Jason’s challenge. Although, to be honest, I did have to cheat a bit later on and look up a couple of how-to videos on the internet. The bloke’s instructions were too fast for me.

And here’s me with my sorry-raggedy-ass knitting.

My Pathetic Knitting

It’s too tight. There’s dropped stitches and all sorts. But fact is I’d learned how to cast-on and to knit (a bit). So in my book that’s task one passed.

Needles and wool cost about £2.50 and it was quite fun after I’d got past the initial frustration. I reckon I should have got bigger needles and bigger / sturdier wool to make it easier. Would I do it again? Maybe.

Task 2 – Make Your Own Butter

Then I went shopping for some cream so I could make butter. And here’s what happened when I got home and tried to make it.

But you know what, after that minor fuss it tastes pretty good. And it didn’t work out to be stupidly expensive either. I made loads of butter out of 2 medium cartons of double cream. I might even do that again one day. I’m guessing you could do flavours and all sorts :-)

The home made butter turns up again during the Cheese Eating Task.

Task 3 – Make a Weapon

Simple. A throwing device made out of various sized screws and foil.

My Weapon

It may not look much. But during this photo:

My Weapon In My Hand

It rolled off my hand and onto my bare foot. It hurt. Therefore it works as a weapon. Task 3 – complete.

Task 4 – Make a Fort

I quite enjoyed this. I think if I’d been making it with more of a purpose it would have ended up better. To be honest as a 30-something guy making a fort on your own is a bit of a sad and lonely thing so I just wanted to get it out of the way really.

Here it is.

Fort Close Up

The close up perhaps disguises the overall lameness of the fort:

Fort in All Glory

But it’s a fort. And I made it. So Task 4 is technically complete.

Task 5 – Eat Cheese

Both simple and fun.

Here’s the cheese board.

Cheese Feast

Here’s cheese + chutneys + home made butter.

Cheese Feast Plus

Here’s me eating some cheese.

Me Eating Cheese

Task 5. Smashed it!

Task 6 – Paint a self-portrait

Here’s the one task where I may have technically ‘failed’ but I think it would be a tough judge who failed me because of choice of media, especially under the circumstances.

Here’s my excuse. I didn’t want to get out loads of paints and make a mess because we were trying to tidy up the house at the same time. So I decided to do a self-portrait in charcoal.

If you think this is a cop out on my behalf you are very much wrong. Art was my lowest GCSE subject and I’ve never been good at drawing or painting so even trying to do any kind of self-portrait was a big ordeal.

And here it is:

My Self Portrait

Here it is next to me:

Me and My Portrait

So, self-portrait done. The rules didn’t say it had to be good.

UPDATE: Shit, Missed the poem writing thing!

Task 7 – Write a Poem

Arse. When proof reading this post I realised that there was ‘write a poem’ snuck in the middle of the Tweet. Oh well here goes…

Writing poems is never easy,
Specially when I feel this cheesy,
I enjoyed my time making a fort,
A little more than perhaps I ought,
Making butter was a lot of fun,
But my weapon wasn’t quite a gun,
I suprised myself by learning to knit,
And home-made butter didn’t taste that bad,
I’m afraid my portrait weren’t in paint,
But it’s clear an artist, that I ain’t.

It might not scan quite right, but it’s late and it’s an emergency last-minute poem.

Anyway like I said it was fun. I learned a few things and it snapped me out of a few bad / lazy weekend habits. Like spending it doing pseudo-work on the internets.

So next time your not sure what you’re going to do at the weekend why not get some friends to give you a bunch of stupid things for you to do. You might enjoy it. And you might earn their eternal respect. Right Mr Whitlock ;-)

I guess this is kind of connected to the whole Mental Detox thing – which looks like it’s coming around again soon.

The Making of Mr Oizo

Mr Oizo is probably best known for the whole Flat Eric thing. Which apparently as well as soundtracking he also directed, which was new news to me. Since then he’s made lots of banging electronic music. Most of which is just a little too far out for me.

I just came across this mini documentary about the making of his new album – Lamb’s Anger. It confirms that he’s a total nutter. In a good way.


I spotted these two posters on the way to work this morning.

May we reach for the laser?

I just liked the way they’d turned over-used and cliched rave commands / MC chat into polite questions. It makes them sound so very British.

And you know what, the nights are in May too. So the posters are double clever. (They look like 2 very good nights by the way if staying up late is your thing).

Which reminded me that I’d not posted this receipt that I got in NY recently.

PLUR Receipt

In case you don’t know PLUR is / was(?) is a big thing in US rave-speak (at least that’s how it’d seem from the outside). Wikipedia confirms it, so it must be true…

The UK equivalent has to be receipts with “I’m on one matey” or “Aceeeeeeeeeid” on the bottom. Who’s got a programmable till and can furnish me with such a thing ;-)

Scott Wayne Indiana – Nice Web Art


Scott Wayne Indiana sent me a nice email and a couple of links to his sites. The first one is his photo a day project – http://coinop.tumblr.com/. I really like them. That’s one of them above.

He also sent a link to 39 Forks which is a collection of his art projects. There’s some really nice stuff in there including the $200 car project where he bought a car for $200 and drove it till it broke. Here’s the road movie:

And perhaps my favourite thing of all is Web Street

Web Street on 39forks.com

Based on the insight that more street art is seen on the web than on actually on the street, he’s set up a blog of digitally manipulated street art. Things that have never actually existed on the street. But look like they might have done. Check it out.

Things like Banksy for Livesavers.


I’m always impressed by people who just get stuff done. They make me feel inadequate. In a good way. Have a dig around and find some things.

Nice work Scott.

What If Email Was a Low Cost Airline?


I’ve been thinking a lot about how to stay on top of email. My inbox feels like it’s very ‘busy’ all the time. I’ve tried some of the zero-inboxy things and I kind of like some of it. But it’s all a lot of effort on my part. And it shouldn’t be. I want to make it everyone else’s problem.

So I started pondering solutions and I chanced upon a metaphor that I liked. And then I stretched it way beyond it’s natural breaking point.

  • What if email was like air travel?
  • What if our inboxes were like airports?
  • We need email traffic control!

Or alternatively we could start behaving like EasyJet or RyanAir.

If we did…

  1. Different email origins would have different prices. Makes sense doesn’t it? Emails from our friends would be FREE for them to send (excluding taxes), emails from other people may cost them far more.
  2. If you send emails at peak times / or expect last-minute responses that’d definitely cost you top dollar. Whereas if you’re prepared to send an email months in advance (during an email promotional period) you could get it through much more cheaply.
  3. The heavier the email the more you pay. You’d get a ‘standard’ baggage amount (perhaps a few lines) – anything more you’d pay a hefty surcharge.
  4. Excess baggage. If you want to send any attachments that’s going to cost you a handling fee. And if your attachments are too big or can’t be opened properly you may have to pay extra-extra.
  5. Online check in. Please inform the recipient in advance when you’re intending on sending an email so they’ve got a bit of advance warning. If you don’t you’ll have to pay a little bit extra. OK?
  6. Priority check in. Just like with budget air travel you can pay extra to get on board first. For a ‘premium’ fee you can get to the top of the inbox first.
  7. Insurance. Worried about email not getting through? If you don’t get a response you can make a claim in writing. And you’ll be guaranteed to get the response you should have got in the first place. If you don’t require insurance you just have to deselect the box before you send your mail.

In my new world it’d be very reasonable to send emails. A matter of just micro-pence. I know people have talked about paying to send email before. But I think this really is the future.

I guess I’m going to have to take this to Google to get it implemented. I’ll let you know how I get on ;-)

[Update: Stupidly I forgot that tounge-in-cheekness doesn’t always translate well into blog posts. I don’t really think that charging people to receive their emails would be a good idea at all. Just in case you were worried.]

[BTW I have actually got serious ideas for a couple of relatively simple little things that could be added to an email client to make them better, so if anyone who works in that side of things give me a shout]

Fast DJ Setups – Another Reason To Love YouTube

I just love the mini-cults that you find on YouTube sometimes. This is my favourite find for a while. Mobile Disc Jockey’s setting up their rigs time-lapse style…

And (love his YouTube overlay at the start – we should all use that technique – it’s neat).

And (nice ‘work it to the bone’ track).

And (nice use of Daft Punk, ‘Harder, Better, Faster’ – the ‘work it’ vocal continues the work vibe) .




And, see what happens when you use a pre-assembled lighting rig? You get slated in the comments. Keep it real guys…

And perhaps my personal favourite:

Just look at the stills from all the videos above. They look so beautiful when they’re all together as a set. Lovely.

Cap’n Jack Sparrow on The Train

Heading out of London Bridge this evening on the train. A pirate reading The London Paper. It’s not something you see every day.

Honestly this is a genuine photo taken on my iPhone on the way home.