Hack Circus










August 2019
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Alex McLean is a well-known artist, musician, researcher, and coder based in Sheffield. He is the creator of Tidal Cycles, free software for writing music, and is one of founders of live coding and the algorave phenomenon.

Alex actively builds communities in the areas that interest him, and in this episode we talk about some of the events, festivals and groups he's been instrumental in developing, including Algomech and Dorkbot London.

He's also an academic researcher on the Penelope Project, and we discuss his particular interest in the seldom-acknowledged connection between weaving and modern technology. Alex explains the loom punch cards aren't the interesting bit – it's the interference patterns we should be focussing on.

This episode includes a live-coding demo. If you want to download TidalCycles and try it yourself, the code Alex was working with is: d1 $ jux rev $ chunk 4 (hurry 2) $ n "0 .. 7" # sound "cpu1" d2 $ jux rev $ off 0.25 (|+ n 12) $ n (off 0.125 (+ 7) $ "<c7(3,8) e7*2 [f8(3,8) g8*2] e8*2>") # sound "rash"


Alex's website


The Penelope Project

iTunes link

HC on Spotify

HC on PlayerFM

Direct download: alexmclean.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

The world has changed since I last talked about motivation. More than ever, we're addicted to devices, addicted to YouTube, addicted to interrupting and derailing our thoughts – addicted scuppering our plans in favour of a quick hit!

For those in a motivational rut, here I lay out four simple ways to get you back on track.

1) Pretend you've got a boss

2) Childlike rewards, tiny changes

3) Set the scene for the activity

4) Focus on the now, not the future


Direct download: CreativityClinicMotivation.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:36am EDT

I used to think that branding was about coming up with the story we'd like to tell, but now I think it's more about uncovering the story that's already there. In this special extra-long Creativity Clinic, I talk about a practical technique that has helped me to work on the Hack Circus podcast brand in the run-up to the next series of this show, and give some hints of what's in store. 

Direct download: CreativityClinicBranding.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Nathan Geering is a dancer, teacher and innovator known for his work with visually impaired people. He has created dance that's accessible for visually impaired people to both watch and participate in, and has begun to develop a beatbox shorthand system as an alternative form of audio description for movement. Nathan was the Artistic Director for the Special Olympics in 2017, and has a great TEDx talk online which I recommend watching as a follow-up to this podcast.

In this chat, we discuss how Nathan's kung-fu background helped him get up to speed when he started out dancing for the first time in his twenties. We also talk about his projects and achievements, the importance of presentness, how to create your own success, how technology contributes to depression and anxiety, and how an awareness of the body has helped him to overcome fears through developing a physical curiosity about them.

Nathan's website

Nathan's TEDx talk

iTunes link

HC on Spotify

HC on PlayerFM

Direct download: nathangeering.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

The world is a rough place at the moment. One easy way we can improve it for ourselves and those around us is by upping the quality of our interactions with people. If we really listen, if we really read emails, if we really look for the meaning in the messages we receive from the people who communicate with us, we will set ourselves apart from most others. The trend is towards not reading long messages, not clicking links, missing details, not bothering to reply, and imagining we'll just fill in the blanks later if we need to. It creates a global paucity of interactions, with everyone imagining they've got the measure of the next person, and don't need to bother listening anymore. Give quality time and you'll get quality time back.

Direct download: CreativityClinicPayAttention.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

It's the summer... no one's replying to email, everyone's busier – or more on-holiday – than I am. In this episode, I talk about my current situation, which right now is all about waiting. 

If you've had some success in the past, it's not because you kept gambling on high stakes gigs, it's because you kept producing quality stuff. If you find yourself waiting back on a load of promises, I recommend putting the things you can't work on yet out of your mind, and using the time to develop yourself positively. It's the tiny changes you make to yourself and your life that will have huge effects down the line.

Direct download: CreativityClinicGamblingYourLife.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:36pm EDT

Maggie Nolan is a consultant and trainer, bringing techniques from improvisation practice into businesses. She launched her agency Start With A Yes over a year ago, combining years of experience of teaching and performing and applying them in a fresh context – to business.

In this chat we discuss the improv scene in the UK, how long-form improv works, and the range of reactions to 'applied improv' – particularly when it turns up unexpectedly in your office.

We also chat about the differences between teaching children and adults to "yes, and", some of the many problems improv can solve in corporate workspaces, the triumphs and struggles of women in the comedy world, and more. 

Start With A Yes (Facebook)

Start With A Yes (Instagram)

Applied Improvisation (Wikipedia)

iTunes link

HC on Spotify

HC on PlayerFM

Direct download: maggienolan.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am EDT