I like to think that never tell you what a great coffee I had in the Algarve…

But apparently people do. They call it journalling. It’s a way of inflicting your interesting thoughts about coffee or your new t-shirt.


“If journaling is on your 2021 goals list, then Day One needs to live on your macOS dock. It’s the best tool for journaling on the Appel (sic) platform with built-in sync from Mac to iPhone/iPad. Day One makes it easy to document the funny things your kids say, great school projects, or the best cup of coffee you had on an overseas trip.”

Kill me now.

A solid BOND in your PLAY

In reply to Lady P’s magnificent post lockdown ludoethnographic piece here…


Speaking of the play rebound – scientists can label it, but can’t understand it. And I think you have maybe done a similar incompleteness. ‘Mortality’ isn’t quite right either. On occasions like this, I get etymological on yo ass. Later maybe.

Now what the boffins call a rebound was probably (90%) observed in INDIVIDUAL rats.
Free Sturrockesque term for you – a lubound. It’s as good as any of his clever wordmanglings , like ludiddo, ffs.

But what you watched was a GROUP PHENOMENON.

And as I has said before, we don’t have any tools or concepts to talk about that, yet. All we have is parallel, solo and group play. That is stamp collecting, trainspotting, botany, not biology. I ‘m thinking that Maturana will have the answer to this. Its to do with ENACTING a STRUCTURAL COUPLING. Maturana studies the BIOLOGY of COGNITION. He is also the only scientist I ‘ve met who talks about love. It sounds bathetic (b not p)and possibly a bit rude (lol) to say that ‘Love is structural coupling’. Oh, but it is.

He tells a story of walking through a field full of thistles with his small son, using his walking stick to heroically beat down thistles to clear a scratch-free path for his beloved boy. The boys says ‘Papa, why do you hate the thistles so much?’ And Humberto is mortified. Stopped in his tracks. I imagine that at that point he dropped his mighty warrior’s stick and picked up his son and held him aloft and spun them around wobblingly out of sheer joy as the sun smiled done upon all the lifeforms of the field, plant and animal.

Living systems are about cooperation. Competition and ‘the survival of the fittest’ is a lie told by capitalism. The true story of nature is not red in tooth and claw it is cooperation, symbiosis, commensalism. It is ‘life will find a way’. What persists is the most fitted to its niche not the biggest and baddest. When there is a drought or a poisoning the first to die are the kings at the top of the food chain. The cheetah, the peregrine, not the antelope or the sparrow. Wolves change rivers. And make deer healthier. 

So, yes, a rebound. Or rather a reBOND.

How many times have you seen little kids check out ‘are you my friend’, then carry on, not actually with the affirmed friend? They check that the BOND is still there. Then they can fly.

Behind every succesful man is a successful pair bonding. And behind every successful woman is a pile of washing, LOL. If you are truly bonded, you don’t need to be cuddling all the fecking time.

I give you BOND as a key concept in our work. Bowlby knows it, Winnicott knows it, children need it, and as they grow up they bond in more complex ways. But you can’t fecking BOND over fecking ZOOM. The magnets demand contact. Clack as they come together.

“A solid bond in your heart”.


This beauteous latinic tintinambulationing reminds me that I have never understood American racism. Maybe it’s jealousy; that might make some kind of sense. But I’m not jealous; instead I’m awestruck. Of course it helps if you know the tune: start with Doris Day’s ‘straight’ version (nothing straighter is available!), then check out Cannonball and Mileses version on Somethin’ Else, then this. Jazz is play, bitches: if they aren’t having fun, and crucially, if WE aren’t having fun, then why the fuck would anyone bother? Watch the video closely to see the magnificent fun being had! Btw, Ahmad turned 90 in July. “We don’t stop playing when we get old, we get old when we stop playing…”

Go ahead and jump, poodle!

A musicological socio-sexual gender-fluid analysis of a poodle-rock classic: ‘Jump’ by Van Halen.

If you are not pissing yourself laughing at this video within 45 seconds, you’re missing the point.

First observation: oestrogen or testosterone?

It doesn’t matter. Socioologists and endocrinologists and shagnologists will tell you that human sexual response is incredibly complex and that in part the female sex drive is governed, suprisingly, by male hormones and something complicated about blokes here also, whatever.

Let’s be more blunt – is this video gay? Now, to be clear, I don’t mean this in a homophobic way, I mean “are there aspects of this performative behavioural episode* which might be related to the sorts of performance traditionally embraced by the gay community, characterised by the extremes of anguished emotionality of such divas as Piaf, Mercury or Judy? 

Hell, yes.

Is this video camp?

Does the Pope shit in the woods?

Hegel** memorably said “All opposites shade ineluctably into their opposites”

“Ineluctably”, brilliant word. Very gay word. “early 17th century: from Latin ineluctabilis, from in- ‘not’ + eluctari ‘struggle out’.” As in ‘impossible not to fight its way out’.  How gay is that?

But we’re not here to mince words —LOL, I said mince— we’re here to discuss this song and the video. 

OK I lied. If you want all that arpeggiated B flat minor over the root in G, on F and G which gives it a Lydian feel, then this rather RAWK dude has all the muso-malarkey you desire. Did you know that part of the guitar solo was punched in? No? Well’ you do now. Don’t know what ‘punched in’ means? googlit, biatch. 

Rick Beato explains all here:

What Makes This Song Great? Ep.61 VAN HALEN (#2)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XhKSXeT2OI

We’re actually here to discuss the video. WTF is it? For me it is a bunch of extremely heterosexual white males adopting the performative language of a southern Californian thirteen year old girl posing in her bedroom mirror.  Is that gay? Fucktifiknow.

Is David Lee Roth, sexually threatening? Yes. Is that a good thing? Depends, I’m not answering that.  Is he really sexually threatening? Nah. It’s too much of a parody of a parody to be that. Does he know what he is doing? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe at some level, whatever 

Check out the ‘hair-muss’ and head toss at 0:17.  Compare and contrast with a handy 13 year old girl.  (I haven’t actually done this, officer, so don’t call social services, thank you very much.) 100% the total self absorption of a teen gazing full-on into their bedroom mirror. slightly disconcerting. Meant to be. Gotcha!

At 0:34, the turn away – total teen girl.  The first of many, then at 0:37, MCU, and we see what he is wearing in detail for the first time. Are those leather chaps? I fear so, m’lud. Possibly rubber or vinyl, as if that makes a difference. A black mesh slip over a sleveless orange vest.  An outfit which a mere ten years earlier, if worn on Top of The Pops would cause every dad in the UK to splutter into his cocoa., and, when emulated by a teenage girl (or boy) would inelucatbly elicit the expostulation: “YOU ARE NOT GOING OUT DRESSED LIKE THAT, YOUNG LADY!!!”

Then the hands on the lower rib cage. Need I say more?

On the other hand, here’s the infamous Aztec Camera cover, in which a Devon fudge-toned Roddy Frame, takes the piss right back at the Halen’s for their their ‘twee guitar playing’ comment in the NME. Totally devoid of machismo, it’s a song to brighten any shoe-gazing indie boy’ bedroom.  Lot of ‘Sweet Jane’ in there, and a dash of ’Waiting for a Friend’ by the Glimmer twins.  you have to listen to the full long version with the ‘fuck you, I can rock’ guitar solo… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bzKzbucdnE

Hello! Hey you! Just found this. Boy in a band who looks like a girl ripping the piss out of a bloke in a band that looks like a girl for looking like a girl. Nice one, Rodders – live version: https://youtu.be/RvCYMeY0CEE  At 2:16 is that a bit of Stairway? Or the intro to Layla?

But I digress…

At 0:59, some obligatory puppyish “we’re not gay”  male bonding

At 1:02 a drumkit so huge that it has its own postcode, constructed entirely from the ruins of vanquished T-800 Terminators. This is actually irrelevant, but I don’t care.

There is some debate about the origins of this song “”I heard this song was about some woman who sent David a letter saying “marry me or i jump off a bridge.”  see comments below the video. Is the song a response to her?  Search me guv. 

Others claim that the song has provoked suicide. When we say others, I probably mean Newt Gingrich or Nancy ‘Parental Advisory just say no’ Reagan. Whatever. Nice joke in response to that moral kerfuffle: from SMAXZO, 4 months ago “ “Your call to the Suicide Prevention Hotline is very important to us. Our crisis counselors are busy at the moment, please hold” this song is played while you’re on hold”. Find their comment, and the next one, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bq-potK_7Ts

“There’s so many comments about suicide here, funny this is— most of those commenters may not know that David was inspired by a news coverage of someone jumping off of a building. However, the song is more “jump into love/life” rather than, well, kill yourself.”, opined one Keith Gunshot, probably not the name on his birth certificate.

If you believe official band websites, you can find the ‘fun facts’ here.http://www.vhnd.com/jump/ 

Interestingly, they allegedly knocked ‘Karma Chameleon’   off the Billboard Number#1 position , a track that featured the massively gay but weirdly non-threatening, liked by your nan, cross-dressing, Boy George and Culture Club.  You have to feel for dads watching TOTP back then. Confused.com.

Where was I? Ah yes, ‘pouty stare’. At 1:24, the uber pouty stare. At this exact moment in time, Mick Jagger’s crown and cheekbones were passed to the next generation.

OMG! What’s this? At 1:57, Lap dancer pose! Don’t want to get too David Attenborough narrating mating dingos in the Outback, but this is classic female mating behaviour – the open mouth and all-fours pose, back slightly arched, signalling oestrus to  nearby males. We won’t mention anal glands, mainly because humans don’t have any, thankfully. 

“The estrous cycle or oestrus cycle (derived from Latin oestrus “frenzy”, originally from Greek οἶστρος oîstros “gadfly”) is the set of recurring physiological changes that are induced by reproductive hormones in most mammalian therian females. Estrous cycles start after sexual maturity in females and are interrupted by anestrous phases or by pregnancies. Typically, estrous cycles continue until death. Some animals may display bloody vaginal discharge, often mistaken for menstruation.”  Thanks for that, Wikipedia. 

Moving on, thankfully,  it gets traditionally rockist for the solo. At 2:19, what a nice smiley young man, says your mum. Followed by the Oberheim OB-Xa keyboard solo. Me want. Me wanna OB-Xa.

Followed by a reprise featuring aerobics and silly walks.

“All opposites shade ineluctably into their opposites”, said Hegel. The song has a reprise, so I can too. Whatever. How anyone could think this song encourages suicide is a fucking moron. 

Up, doesn’t begin to describe it. High on life maybe. 

Are we having fun yet?




(like a proper academic tosser)

*I made that up.

** Hegel. Bloody googlit yourself, I’m not doing all the work for you, jeez.

One of my less appealing habits

One of my less appealing habits is the consumption, stood over the sink, of a tin of sardines. Omega 3 n shit. Cause for celebration, I actually enjoyed them, little fishy tomatoey bony little fuckers that they are. Don’t ever get them from Lidl. Scales, yeurgh. Why am I telling you this? Because I actually enjoyed them.
I actually enjoyed them. I actually enjoyed them because…
…my sense of taste has come back! Not because of the covid, avoided so far, don’t touch wood, or plastic or metal, or your face. Well, because of the covid, but indirectly. Instead of dental extraction —don’t forget to brush regularly, unlike me— I’ve had two doses of antibiotics. Yep. Proper antibiotics. Metronizadole. One of the very few Antibiotics Of Last Resort.

Not an ordinary antibiotic. Ordinary antibiotic, being shortchanged from a fiver. Metrofuckazine, having your car stolen and watching them set it on fire. Hallucifuckingnations. Metallic taste in my mouth for 3 months. Every time I take the pill, 4 times a day, precisely two hours later, instant heavy flu symptoms. Ever-present metallic taste, throbbing headache, bunged sinuses, aches, pains. Two hours later, gone. Just in time for another fucking pill. And the ever-lasting metallic taste, like welsh mizzle, dreich of the palate, blehque, bleurgh. Ugh.

Today food tasted like actual food for the first time in months. Yay. Fuck you, covid. Yep, covid, because you don’t deserve a capital letter.

Cake in the rain

A friend is at home wishing she could attend her friend’s father’s funeral but she can’t because of lockdown, immediate family only. She could drive to Barnard Castle though. If she had a car. And knew how to drive.

It’s raining here. Good for the garden and the crops. I like it when it rains, it means I’m not pining to go out.

Not that i like the sun, it’s too hot. My favourite thing was sitting under an umbrella outside a pavement cafe, nursing a coffee or a tiny foreign beer, on a sunny day in Lisbon, watching people.

I like the idea of the sun more than the greasy sun cream, sand and flies, gusts of wind blowing my newspaper about, reality of it.

Rain is British. Once we are out of the EU with no deal it will rain incessantly and all the brown and black people will dissolve; there’ll just be muddy water stains on pavements and a faint smell of curry.

The NHS will dissolve as well, melting in the dark, like a cake in the rain.

Fire all the teachers

 “…fire all the teachers and replace them with cooks and gardeners and artists and woodworkers and scientists, all pursuing their interests in the company of the neighborhood kids who would spend their days pursuing their own.”

Another superb blog from the man in the superhero suit:


Humans are betweeners

Donny knows it’s the inbetween not the things.

The material of playwork is relationships, connections. Between humans and between humans and things. It’s not about things. It’s not about Lou Spartz, it’s about our relationship with them. It’s all just junk if you think it is. That’s what that bloke Gibson is on about: affordances are the possibilities that you can see, observe, grasp.

Who are you when you are alone? Less human. That’s not a judgement, it’s an observation. I nearly wrote ‘just an observation’ as if a judgement is a bigger thing then an observation, which it isn’t. We get bigger, wider, deeper, when we are connected. Which is not to say that alone is less. It’s different.



Sheep turn playground merry-go-round into their treadmill


These sheep are having a field day. A flock of sheep took over an empty playground in Preston, UK, and hopped on the carousel. Watch as the wooly animals run in place as the roundabout spins in this funny video.

© 2020 NYP Holdings, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Some Playwork Resources

Given how rapidly things get lost on the interweb, it might be helpful if I park these here.

The Playwork Primer by Penny Wilson (Alliance for Childhood 2009)

The very best introduction to playwork, and what it isn’t.

makingsense-playwork in practice

A lost classic, a companion piece to Best Play, containing some gorgeous stories that really give you a feel for the playworkers mindset.


What play provision should do for children. If your ‘space’ doesn’t do these, it’s not playwork provision, even if it is lovely.

jackieKilvington onThePlayworkPrinciplesPowerpointPDF2.pdf

An excellent overview for beginners

The Playwork Principles

Here they are, and in the poster below. The key one in these endtimes for playwork is #4:

For playworkers, the play process takes precedence and playworkers act as advocates for play when engaging with adult-led agendas.


And finally, for now, some thoughts from Professor Play himself on what makes Playwork unique:

What Is Unique about Playwork? Fraser Brown

The Unique Elements of Playwork

  • A conceptualisation of the child that actively resists dominant and subordinating narratives and practices
  • A belief that while playing, the ‘being’ child is far more important than the ‘becoming’ child
  • An adherence to the principle that the vital outcomes of playing are derived by children in inverse proportion to the degree of adult involvement in the process
  • A non-judgemental acceptance of the children as they really are, running hand in hand with an attitude, when relating to the children, of ‘unconditional positive regard’
  • An approach to practice that involves a willingness to relinquish adult power, suspend any preconceptions, and work to the children’s agenda
  • The provision of environments that are characterised by flexibility, so that the children are able to create (and possibly destroy and recreate) their own play environments according to their own needs
  • A general acceptance that risky play can be beneficial, and that intervention is not necessary unless a safety or safeguarding issue arises
  • A continuous commitment to deep personal reflection that manages the internal relationship between their present and former child-self, and the effects of that relationship on their current practice

Collaboration not competition is the way of life


it’s survival of the best fitted, not fittest, ya morons.

“Fast forward a century and a half, and “survival of the fittest”—the expression social theorist Herbert Spencer coined to sum up Darwin’s thinking—is as much a cultural cliché as it is a scientific theory. Hell, your worst colleague at the office might even offer it as a justification for his one-upmanship. More than just a cliché, though, the supposed naturalness of competition has played a central role in substantiating the laissez-faire variety of capitalism the majority of the American political spectrum has championed for the past four or so decades. Indeed, any non-market-based solution to social issues usually falls prey to claims of utopianism, of ignoring the fundamental selfishness of the human species. Advocates for welfare programs, for instance, often run up against criticism that their policy proposals fail to understand to importance of “losing,” that they lessen the stakes of the competition innate to human social life. Similarly, collectively owned spaces or institutions (like communal land trusts or co-ops) are often presumed short-lived or inefficient, doomed to suffer the “tragedy of the commons” as the innate self-interest of each member leads to an overuse of collective resources—a thesis that has been debunked again and again since its first articulation by Garrett Hardin in 1968. To put it simply, we have let Darwinism set the horizon of possibility for human behavior. Competition has become a supposed basic feature of all life, something immutable,

“Yet new research from across various fields of study is throwing the putative scientific basis of this consensus into doubt. Mind you, there have always been people, scientists and otherwise, who conceived of life outside a Darwinian paradigm—the idea of evolutionary biology is and has been a conversation among a mostly white and male global elite. Yet, even within centers of institutional power, like universities in North America, competition’s position as the central force driving evolution has been seriously challenged recently. In fact, criticisms have been mounting at least since biologist Lynn Margulis began publishing in the late ’60s.”

blind men and elephants, naah… it’s worse 

blind men and elephants, naah… it’s worse
it’s more like people living at the bottom of their own private mineshaft,
gazing up at the flickers of light far above them,
like victorian families viewing daguerreotypes
projected by candle flame via an epidiascope.
Like this herbert…

​who obviously hasn’t read this ‘product’..​.

The Origins of Order – Stuart A. Kauffman – Oxford University …

https://global.oup.com › product › the-origins-of-order-9780195079517

​or maybe he has, but he certainly hasn’t read …
Systems of Survival: A Dialogue on the Moral Foundations of Commerce and Politics (1992) ISBN 0-679-74816-4

The Nature of Economies (2000) New York: Random House, The Modern Library. ISBN 0-679-60340-9

…or maybe he has, and does not acknowledge it. Aeon should be ashamed to publish essays without references.

Another mineshaft dweller

 in his own little academic bubble, 

lord of his tiny intellectual domain. 

Another seeker of the one system, 

the one theory, 

the one ring, 

the theory of everything. 

There are a hundred theories of everything 

and they all hold fragments of the true cross, 

and they are all right in some ways

 and sooo wrong in others.

What is it useful to believe right now, grasshopper? 

Does that make you happy?

​Still, you gorra larf innit?​

An homage for Lou Spartz, unsung hero of ‘stuff’

Lou Spartz, who passed away recently was an adventure playground pioneer, who introduced Simon  Nicholson to the idea of kids doing stuff with old stuff that was lying around. Simon , being an architecture student, coined a confusing and intellectually reified terminology , based on his good friend’s own moniker. This slight playful moment, has now, courtesy of an academic journal, become a rod (a stick, louspart1, in the jargon) with which to beat children who put garden canes in the fabric tray. Aieee! Back in the day, we just called it stuff. Stuff. Stuff lying around.