The big bully

I’m not the first to say that social media is a bully – making demands, making one feel inadequate, but also creating an atmosphere of dependence.

At the beginning of this project I felt it necessary to set up a variety of social media accounts in order to make the project as accessible as possible. So there’s Facebook, Instagram and a blog. 

I’ve neglected most of them but nevertheless they deliver me so much data. How many people are watching/ reading? How many likes? How many dislikes? What is the most popular time of day? (3 pm on a Friday…)

I’m quite interested in the data for the films. 

Three weeks ago I put up the un-captioned version of the Ashford100buildings film. It got 7,200 3-second views and 2,300 watched for more than 15 seconds. Of these 6% made it to the end which corresponds to about 138 people. 65 likes and 6 loves.

The following week I put up the captioned version. So far it’s had 7,500 3-second views and 2,100 have watched for more than 15 seconds. Of these 11% have made it to the end – that’s 231 people. 87 likes and 9 loves.

I suppose as a film-maker I’ve got to be interested in the audience and it’s amazing the data that social media can deliver.

But now I’m progressing with the next stage of the project which is all about interacting with people and social media will take more of a back seat.

I will be using it occasionally but strictly as a means to keep a record of the project. I’m not audience chasing.

Not until the next film comes around of course…


Ashford100buildingswithcaptions from Funder Films CIC on Vimeo.

The funeral was last Friday so I have spent the week relocating the foundations of Ashford100buildings – and have been heartened to find that most things are in place.

Above is the video that we made of 100 buildings in the Ashford borough which I’m putting on Facebook this afternoon – without captions so that it can be a challenge.. how many places can you identify?

(If you want to set yourself the same challenge, you can find the un-captioned version above under ‘Films’.)

While in town this morning, I popped by WoodnWare and spoke to Louisa who said that they have cut 99 blocks and also drilled holes in 7. So the abacus is well underway.

They didn’t have quite enough wood for the full 100 as the saw takes out 4 mm with every cut. I have a short length here in the office so will cut the final block as a celebration.

I also picked up some printing from Serious Print Group in Ashford – the cards that I’m hoping will be stuck onto the blocks.

Will take a look at them properly on Monday.


Listed buildings in the centre of Wye (From

During the week I was talking to my sister about the project. My brother-in-law had mentioned Pevsner’s history of Kent buildings.

“I can’t read that,” I said, “My project has to be superficial. I don’t have time to go into much depth.”

I explained that this identification of 100 local buildings is really just the first stage of a project which will also involve working in care homes, eliciting memories from some of the older members of the community. I have to crack on.

Listed buildings in the centre of Tenterden (From

To me the most important thing is to get representation from as many areas of the borough as possible. I don’t want to find myself confronted by a 90-year old from Rolvenden, for example, who feels that there’s nothing for him in my project.

If I really stopped to think about any of the communities that I’ve been working on, I would get horribly bogged down. Tenterden alone has nearly 200 listed buildings. Wye and Charing have over 150 each. And there are more listed buildings in the borough of Ashford than any other borough in Kent.

So I’m going with superficial…

I’ve been driving about like a mad thing sometimes accompanied by my wife or son or daughter. Together we’ve now visited most far-flung corners and have taken photographs of about 250 buildings.

Listed buildings in the centre of Charing (From

I am bracing myself for the pushback… ‘why haven’t you included such-and-such? Such-and-such is one of the most vital buildings in Ashford…?’

The answer will be that I was driving too fast.

Anchor Garage

John Childs’ garage in Smeeth. A petrol pump in need of preservation.

I spent the day taking photographs in Brook, Brabourne, Smeeth, Mersham, Park View, Kennardington, Appledore, Reading Road…

The buildings that I took photographs of were often quite random like this great petrol station in Smeeth with an original (or at least very old) pump.

‘It was Anchor Garage to start with,’ said a guy working there, pointing at the sign on the wall, ’30s, 40s.. don’t know.’ He was eyeing up my Hyundai, hoping it would spring a sudden leak and that he’d have something serious to do.

I took a picture and then fretted about how I was going to put a date to such a building. Historic England and British Listed Buildings were unlikely to give me much joy I thought.

And putting Anchor Garage Smeeth into Google isn’t very productive either. I just get hundreds of MOT offers and other garages in the local area. No-one suspects that what I really need is a date for a building.

In the end, Ashford Kent Remembering How It Once Was comes up trumps. Not only with details of owners going back to the 1930s but also people who worked there as pump attendants and pictures of the building on postcards.

So it might make the list of 100… will have to see what other 1930s buildings we come up with.

WoodnWare CIC

Darren’s wing atop the Ella Harling display stand

Today I had a chat with Louisa from WoodnWare CIC – a great social enterprise in Ashford “providing opportunities for vulnerable adults to learn wood work skills, up-cycling, re-purposing and environmental awareness whilst building confidence, social networks, enterprise and a sense of community”.

That’s taken from the facebook page. 

I had dealings with WoodnWare a few years ago when one of their vulnerable adults (Darren) helped me make a wing for a first world war project I was working on. 

Abacus design – not Leonardo

The wing was amazing and became part of a display stand which I carted round the local area.

Now I’m looking for some wooden blocks similar to those that I used in the promo. I’m going to need 100 identical wooden blocks – 96 for a four-sided abacus and then four spares…

I drew the design earlier today. Hopefully it will make sense to WoodnWare. It would be fantastic to work with them again.