Paddy joined ISE in 2018. His role involves helping to develop ISE’s content strategy and carrying out editorial work on various ISE publications and newsletters.
Perhaps ‘favourite’ is the wrong word, but ISE 2009 was only my second time as Editor of the ISE Daily (I was also Editor of Installation Europe magazine at the time). In those days the team used to fly from the UK to Amsterdam and set up the Daily office at the RAI on the Monday, ready to start covering the show from opening day on Tuesday. By a lucky chance, I had flown out on the Sunday – an exhibitor had been planning a press event and then cancelled it, but I hadn’t changed my flight. Early on Monday morning I received a call from one of the team to say there were heavy snowstorms in south-east England and it was very unlikely that they would be able to get to the airport that day, let alone fly. But by another lucky chance, none of our reporters were flying from London – they lived in other parts of the UK where the snow hadn’t hit. That meant we had a reporting team on site, but no-one there to lay out the pages or check the proofs. So rather than all the work being carried out in the office in the RAI, we had to construct a new workflow whereby the text and photos were sent to one UK location for layout, then the pages went to another UK location for proofreading and then back to the Daily office in Amsterdam for final checking. Internet speeds then weren’t what they are today, but we got away with it. Not an experience I would want to repeat, though!
Singing. For many years I’ve been a member of Take Twenty, a jazz choir based in Camden (London) and more recently I’ve been singing with Vocal Explosion, a world music choir near my home in Brighton. The two complement each other very well – Take Twenty has over 30 members and sings fairly complicated arrangements, usually accompanied by piano and double bass; Vocal Explosion is a smaller group of around 15, singing mostly a capella – the arrangements tend to be simpler (we don’t use sheet music) but the words are much harder to learn because they’re not in English, and sometimes not even in a real language!
I’ve just finished The Enchanted Places, a memoir by Christopher Milne. He was the real-life Christopher Robin in the Winnie-the-Pooh stories, which made him an early celebrity – and perhaps one of the first to have fame thrust upon him without ever courting it, and with no real control over it. He struggled with this status for some years – and he never took any money from his father’s royalties – but you get the feeling that he made peace with it later in life.
A few months ago we adopted two three-year old cats, Teddy and Percy. They’re large farm cats who seem to be almost constantly hungry – but they’re very affectionate. So far they haven’t seriously interrupted any work-related video calls*, though I have had to mute my audio once or twice when they were meowing for their next meal!
I was part of the world’s largest ‘coconut orchestra’ – certified by Guinness World Records. This took place in Trafalgar Square and was organised by the London production of Spamalot, who wanted to beat the record set the previous year by the New York production. Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam led a rendition of ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’ and we clacked coconut shells where the whistling would go. Our record (5877 people, smashing the American record of 1789) still stands, I believe.
*UPDATE: This is no longer true.