Life Exploring: #WOMAD2016

So thanks to changing my gas/electric to Ecotricity, as recommended by my friend Steve, I ended up with a free ticket to WOMAD Festival last weekend as a welcome offer (or I could have had a £50 voucher for Ecotopia). I hadn’t heard of WOMAD, but asking about it on Facebook, lots of positive reviews, so although no one seemed to be going (and I’m not a big fan of camping), I decided to try it out! Steve was unable to go, but thankfully Ecotricity allowed the ticket to be transferred to a friend who I’d been chatting to on Facebook.

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Plenty going on in Siam tent
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Opportunities to ‘travel the world’ by experiencing acts from different continents .. although we just happened to be sitting nearby for this one. Keeping bluetooth on all weekend didn’t seem a great idea, but looking at the energy it used – was less than Facebook!
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That explains the free wi-fi available (although still patchy!)
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The kids definitely had some interesting costumes
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Hot weekend – definitely appreciated my chilled refills from Frank Water
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This kept making me chuckle…
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Sophie and I found the WOMAD sign
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This looks like my book cover (click photo for link)!
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This didn’t look as high as it felt when we went on it! Old fashioned ‘health & safety’ always more terrifying!
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Stumbled upon the Ecotricity stage in the Arboretum – excellent music!

Think it was this artist.

I wasn’t too sure by the end of the first day if WOMAD was really for me, definitely a variety of music, but I prefer listening to watching music … and the shops were full of ‘knick-knacks’ – and I’ve spent years getting rid of such things!

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Breakfast … with cheese!
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Listening to a ‘human book’ for half-hour – actually more of a conversation
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Channel 4’s Jon Snow and his wife Dr Precious interview an author from Zim
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The ‘happiness’ panel – one of the highlights of WOMAD for me!

Must check out more at The Museum of Happiness, the Happyness Hub, Walking on Sunshine, and already enjoy Psychologies Magazine.

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When one was near certain trees, one was asked questions about them. One did not have to get it correct first time!
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Decided to have a go at Samba = fun!
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Hackney Colliery Band were FABULOUS!
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Ha, not been on dodgems in years!
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… or one of these!

I had a lot of fun on the second day, and referred to the (very good) app for ideas for what to do Sunday

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The Body Mapping workshop, wasn’t sure if would be awake for it, but – you know – camping! Wasn’t sure what to expect, but Beyond Chocolate has encouraged me to keep looking at relationship with the body. Was actually a great way to start the day – with the main exercise being 7 minutes (each-way) working with a stranger – shut your eyes and let them guide you … see how your body/other senses responds, followed by a conversation about why you came to this. Very powerful..

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Ooo – who’s that? The Hairy Bikers!
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Oh, and run into Lemn Sissay again..
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Track by Graeme Miller: face-up and camera-style the viewer is gently pushed by their individual ‘grip’ along 150 metres of dolly track and invited to gaze up. For the participant, the work creates a total shift in relationship with the environment. For the onlooker, that space is transformed by the vanishing tracks and the continuous, hypnotic motion of the viewers and the people pushing them.

Fun with @hairybikers …

A photo posted by Bex Lewis (@drbexl) on

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Decided to have a go at Hip-Hop dancing … was enjoying it til ended up with too many people joining, and kept falling out the back of the tent.
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Checking in for comedy poet from Radio 4
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Worth the queue! Very interesting – and stand out is that he works 9-5, things take as long as the time allowed, and thinks most of his work is nothing to be proud of!

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As a final event before I hit the motorway, I thought this talk looked useful for work… My notes:

Duncan Campbell: Govt laws just covers up what has already been done for year – see with every new technology …

Internet relies on fibre cables (smaller than human hair) … Govt working out how to ‘spy’ on this ASAP inc via mobile phone ..

Snowden – mass surveillance – hoovering up huge amounts of data … ‘Just in case’ – anti human rights/privacy campaigners

RePo – huge datasets esp via movement via smartphones … Pokemon Go = one of easiest to hack into … Access to pretty much on my phone.

Angela Patrick: Online/offline lives integrated in a way couldn’t have imagined in 2000 – last time govt tried to regulate our interaction with info – thought was future proof but v unclear. Now govt saying trying to find law suitable for a digital age – need to start again from scratch – need surveillance but need balance with privacy. Sounds good: comprehensive, comprehensible & world leading … But not much new – just legitimises old activities – on basis of old legislation not intended to deal with that …

Not comprehensive – covers info we generate – so can intercept our Comms – like phone tapping. Then Comms (meta) data/envelope data – but digital has a lot more substantive info than that – gps & sites visited etc. Currently phone companies required to keep 12 months of data & hand over – flawed & now embedded. Hacking = permitted for purposes of seeing inside. Bulk equipment interference – inc entire computer networks .. Doesn’t include human interaction – not being looked at now

Not comprehensible – 299 clauses long, etc waist height .. Can have thematic warrants for group activity rather than individuals. Can be v generic/broad .. Eg all people who have ever been to WOMAD. Snowden made us think about what it’s possible for spies to do … US saying shouldn’t be doing this any more, whilst UK going other direction.  Judicial warrant not required ..

Surveillance = important – done well/targeted = saves lives, but done poorly damages relation with state. Limited time to participate in this discussion as Nov – to law.

Matthew Rice: bulk datasets … Govt collected so much data that they don’t know why/for what purpose … Indication that if more transparent = difficult to do because SO much data … Sleepwalking – need to understand the slope we’re going down. Politics is a numbers game so if speak up MPs have to deal …

What are the connections you have that are suddenly going to become dangerous? What event/petition, etc? Societal/relationship issue much wider than personal. Many thinking ‘this isn’t a problem for me’ .. If a 14 year old can release 6mil names via TalkTalk – can we accept formalised back doors via the govt to our digital data …

Q&A: What would happen if the Internet in the UK went down for 3 weeks – what would the impact on the economy be … Govt should be bound by wider legislative framework .. But via its nature it’s secret ..

Act now rather than thinking about exactly what will happen when already a probs … Quicker to ask mobile cos to say – which phones in these 3 areas rather than full on policing … Very big .. Interaction between different agencies … We live our lives intimately online – we need to care …

Overall, I enjoyed it, would go again, but if either/or, would probably still choose Greenbelt first (though I can’t go this year!