It began at 6am. The alarm beeping, hands wiping sleep from eyes, a childlike excitement building in the pit of my stomach. Today was the day I drove to west Wales for The Do Lectures.
It’s funny, really. Do has a special place in the hearts of those who have attended previously. I’d heard so many things about it, how it would change things for me, how I’d learn and grow and be entertained, shocked, inspired and motivated. Sometimes all at once.
The first job was to grab coffee and meet Barry, whom I’d offered a lift to and from Wales. We’d not met before, and now we were about to spend 5 hours together in a small car. I knew I needn’t worry the moment I met him and he let out a laugh that instantly built bridges. If this was the kind of person I was about to spend a few days in the company of, then it might beat any expectations I’d built up.
Barry and I have agreed that we will be friends forever. I’ll say it now: Do makes things like this happen. A lot.
On arrival, we ate a quick lunch of soup and homemade bread, and then the event kicked off. There wasn’t even time to sort out tents and unpack and settle. It’s headlong into Do. And you know what? That’s exactly how it should be – you’re jumping in with both feet first.
I decided early on that I wasn’t going to take copious notes. Instead, I’d sit, listen properly to each speaker and then capture the single line that I felt summed up their talk for me. These sentences and phrases are an aide memoire, for sure; however, I’m not going to build on them here. I think reading that single line is enough. If not, leave me a comment and I’ll pick up on any threads that appear.
Thursday 6 July.
Arrive at 1.30pm. Lunch. Event starts at 2.30pm.
Don’t let money get in the way of doing what you love.
Be un(der) prepared.
Do not trust the system more than you trust your children.
A childlike simplicity and a very limited toolset.
Friday 7 July
Get to bed around midnight. Sleep badly, wake at 5am and head to breakfast. Massive thanks go to Extract Coffee. Listen to the Rocky theme as part of an experiment.
As an outsider who’s an outsider, art was therapy. Art is democracy, it’s my job to take it into peoples’ lives.
What counts is the energy.
Anyone can hack health.
The pendulum has begun to swing back.
Heritage against recycling – make products that last a long time.
Ella Grace Denton
Listen to yourself – others are mirroring their own insecurities.
Put your super North Star down on paper and map your journey.
Saturday 8 July
Crawl into my tent at 12am as the last notes of James Morton’s saxophone eek out. Hot water bottle in hand. Sleep for 6 hours.
If you can transform a simple line and give it a personality, you can do that with anything.
Attention is an invisible language. Learn to read it.
Listen to what your body is inviting you to do.
How to be friendly: look people in the eye; welcome them.
Don’t fall in love with your idea.
Creation is better than consumption.
Hacking is just a form of art that breaks a medium.
[We’re] not raising awareness, we’re raising compassion.
Sunday 9 July
It’s 2.30am before I get to my bed. Another hour before I sleep. I wake at 5.30am. Coffee by the gallon.
If it’s about change, perhaps stepping back and appreciating what you’re already doing is best..?
A final note
Oh, it’s worth pointing out that Do hold an auction on Saturday evening. The purpose is to raise money for Teen Do, to help create free places for attendees. To share the experience with a younger audience. It’s a way to say thank you, too.
I didn’t want to leave without having successfully bid for something. I hadn’t thought that it might be a person who I ended up with. However, during Kate Robinson’s talk, I wrote this card.
It’s obvious now, that I was meant to find myself a new member of staff. That person is Dewi Uridge. He’s studying at Goldsmiths. Dewi is my new intern. Paid, of course.
If you know me, you’ll undoubtedly get to meet Dewi at some point in the near future. We’ll be working together for at least a month, although I’m hopeful that it’ll be three months as a minimum, even if that’s part-time. I have a project that I want Dewi to work on; more importantly, my first brief to Dewi to decide on what we will do together. I want him to take control of our destiny. It feels like the right thing to do. Or, to Do.