Beyond the basement
By Chris Kenworthy
Hello. I'm Chris. I'm a coach. This is my audio blog. A kind of universal receptacle for myriad experimental mind-farts. You'll find adventures and half-arsed philosophical musing here, as I wander, walk and wonder. Occasionally there's wisdom, usually just throwaway rants and whimsy.
Meet the creative/intuitive cycle. The greatest circle of life you've never heard of. I'm very excited about this. It's like when you see a piece of artwork that perfectly expresses how life is for you, but gives you new ways of looking at it too. Credit: Penney Peirce in the Intuitive Way.
May 26, 2022
When you get around to what matters
I CAN'T DO IT ALL. CAN I HAVE SOME FUN PLZ? Productivity is a joke, but that's not to say we can't organise our time better. Here's what my dream told me about taking a joy-first approach and asking the right questions. This one's for anyone feeling overwhelmed with commitments, a mixture of apathy/frustration (on Mondays), and would generally prefer to get around to more of what you enjoy. A handy list of questions to ask yourself when organising your time: https://wp.me/p1L8DU-4Bp
May 09, 2022
Pokes: a day of smashing ideas together on something quite exciting
I'm building a little something for your inner ninja, pirate, robot. It's a fun and playful way to free yourself up for even more fun. Permission to do more of what you enjoy. And what good is a fun product if it isn't created in a fun and playful way? Here's where we're up to, and how things can unexpectedly come together if you give yourself a little breathing space.
April 28, 2022
You're not a factory. Newsflash.
Ever find yourself staring into space instead of being 'productive'? Not getting around to the things you enjoy? Maybe the old ways of brute force and planning just aren't for you. They certainly aren't for me any more.
April 26, 2022
What could have been "one of those days"
Things began so well. An early start. A swim. Good intentions. Then shit happened. A live experiment in how a problem often isn't really the problem. It's the way we relate to it. Maybe.
April 05, 2022
A taste of my own medicine: micro pokes, intuition and joylessness
Here's what happens when we get stuck in our heads and repress our intuitive desire to be playful and do/make things we love. Micro-pokes is a product I'm building for you lot, to help with all the above. Yet it's stalled by the very same struggle.
March 31, 2022
Improv chronicles: the big showcase
It's the last day of a 3 day improvised comedy intensive course. Some reflections on 'who shows up' by default when we're stressed, play as recovery and getting into your body (and out of your head).
March 28, 2022
Overdrawn from the emotional bank account
The dog's being a bastard after a week of taxing tribulations.
March 26, 2022
Live, high-stakes experiment in intuition and discernment
Would you like to make better decisions? Listen along, as I put my head in the lion's jaw of contemporary capitalism. A very middle class story of how house-buying (or any situation riddled with uncertainty) becomes more tolerable, by attuning your head, heart and gut. Not only that, you gain comfort and foresight should things not play out as you'd hoped. You fool.
March 23, 2022
Improv chronicles: day two of intensive for beginners
Resting bitch face, how setting an intention maybe affects EVERYTHING. Reflections from the second day of an afternoon-long improvised comedy course.
March 21, 2022
More improv chronicles: back to basics
I've been running before I can walk, with improvised comedy. Time to slow down and get back to basics. Some ramblings from day one of an intensive course I'm attending. Much to learn. Much to share.
March 14, 2022
When something's missing in life, or doesn't feel quite right.
My hazy attempt at putting words to a feeling that might sound familiar. Life's OK, but you're not quite in control, you've plateaued maybe. There's restlessness in your work, relationships, career and general wellbeing. Yet who are we to complain? Here I'll explore the situation, volunteer some observations, and hopefully connect some dots that'll help.
March 10, 2022
Shit haircut (a story of intuition gone wrong + some accidental racism)
Oh look, a new hairdresser has opened, I wonder what it's like? Let's try it out. How we laughed *together* at what happened next. A counterpoint to the assumption that following your intuition or desire always leads to something good.
March 03, 2022
When you don't trust yourself
Brutal though, perhaps. But what if second-guessing ourselves is a trust thing. I'm wondering what's a healthy amount of thinking before you act? What's a healthy amount of trusting that that desire is enough to act on, giving yourself what you need? I don't know. Join me in not knowing.
March 03, 2022
The ART of being human
A juicy bundle of reflections from last weekend's retreat on relating more deeply to our fellow humans. A stream of consciousness sandwich with a salient, crunchy filling in the middle.
March 01, 2022
The improv-life experiment begins (or continues)
Oops. Today I find myself out of my depth (in a good way), when all I really wanted to do was pay someone a compliment. Or did I?
February 16, 2022
When you don't know what you want
Rough isn't it? The urge to fill the void of not knowing and uncertainty with a definitive answer. Here's why you're not alone, and what might really be going on. Live from the epicentre of high-stakes decision-making in a teen skate park, west Leeds.
January 20, 2022
Physically shitting it, with intelligence
Nerves, excitement, fear get to me before a big day. Then I have the temerity to talk about influencing your body chemistry, thoughts and feelings. Again, the irony is not wasted on me.
January 06, 2022
Season 2 of me other podcast begins today
If you like my shit, check out the pessimist's guide to a hopeful future, a podcast beyond the confines of my head. Here there are other humans, with actual wisdom, and insightful interviews. Here's what season 2 is all about.
November 23, 2021
This allotment has been in my life for about 5 years now. But I've given it up. I walk past it most days and you know what? I feel only relief. That tells me I've made the right decision, I think. I've been wondering if I'm in a kind of mourning - the aftermath of making a significant decision or a change in life. We call it reflection, with regret, relief, sadness, happiness - whatever, but we go through a kind of separation. When the consequences of what we've done linger for a while. I'll miss planting in Spring. And the wildlife. The digging and manuring. I won't miss the veiled Brexity-racism, moaning, and petty politics. It wasn't the leftie utopia I'd hoped for. More like an extension of British gardens where we like to keep ourselves to ourselves. Realisitically, the allotment isn't a priority any more, what with growing my coaching practice, a new dog and planning to move house. Proximity to nature, muddy fingers and the stench of compost is very much who I am, and to give up the allotment feels like a betrayal of that. But it's only temporary. I'm sure my green-fingered urges will resurface, probably when we get our own garden. Good news is I left the plot in a better state then when I got it. I added a greenhouse, shed, raised beds and the soil is incredible, thanks to a veggie rich diet feeding the compost heaps. The new owner has taken it on as a retirement project, and she's lovely. I'm glad it's in good hands. For now, I'm content to indulge the mourning, if that's what it is. The body's way of coming to terms with loss, perhaps. I think it's important to allow time to process thoughts and feelings. Maybe I need a ritual?
November 09, 2021
Love and chaos
In case you haven't noticed, which seems unlikely, we got a puppy. Dog, it turns out are agents of change. Catalysts for personal growth and destruction. I've also become a walking cliché for middle class parenting. Listen to a broken man witter about everything you already knew about family life.
November 02, 2021
The improv come-down (final day on retreat)
The improv retreat comes to an end, and I'm left to process the fall-out on Birmingham New Street station concourse. Alone. Broken. Sleep-deprived. Yet deeply inspired.
October 25, 2021
Peaking on improv (day two of retreat)
It's the second day of this comedy improv retreat my intuition hoodwinked me into attending. This is so much fun, so much to learn, nice people I'm having a nice time are you I can't slow my brain down please can I sleep now this is more than I can handle give me more.
October 24, 2021
That's what we call it in the improv industry, darling
Facing the demons/music on day one of this daft improv retreat my intuition signed me up for.
October 22, 2021
Gammon Scout master and the watch
That time my dead grandad's watch nearly got me nonced by a guy with calves like gammon.
August 16, 2021
The top 3 times I almost died (teenage edition)
More grim recollections from a misspent adolescence in a northern industrial town.
July 30, 2021
Bees on the brain with Gaz
Gaz has a magnificent, racing mind. Here we attempt to unearth wisdom from how he manages thoughts into action, and what it's like living with ADHD. Bit of a departure from my usual audio blog format, but this is such a lovely, insightful interview. Hope I do him justice. I also hope it helps you feel more aware of your own thought processes too, and how you might begin to channel your genius. Yes, genius.
June 24, 2021
SPIBS: split personalities in business syndrome
Have you got a professional self and a personal self? Do colleagues or clients get a different version of you than at play? Sounds tiring...
June 22, 2021
Putting the feelers out for improv-minded folk
Just throwing this one out to the universe. Looking for a collaborator to play with an idea I've got for subverting seriousness. Comedians, performers, stand-up, artists. Is that you? Know anyone?
June 21, 2021
All is well with the world. Or is it? #AudioMo day 18
Everything's in its place. I'm stealing a march on the day. What could go wrong? How do some people find contentment amongst the chaos, even when things aren't going so well?
June 19, 2021
A chance encounter by a skip #AudioMo
I'm not ashamed to say I'm drawn to rubbish. Skips, bins, fly-tipping, fruity dog eggs and obscene graffiti. Our effluent says a lot about humanity. Or perhaps my curiosity says more about me, and my kind of people. Last week, I spotted a fun looking skip in Armley (a run-down, yet proud district of Leeds). So I paused to film a spoof advert for a friend ("What's that? No fires? BURN IT with Beesley's Skips!"). What happened next was the last thing I expected... A hatted, bespectacled man walking a shaggy dog approached me, with a European accent. "Ah, you find this strange too?", he asked, smiling and pointing at the skip - a hideous layer cake of sofa, carpets and mattresses. He looked like someone from a Wes Anderson film. A fat brown rat jumped out the skip, sized us up for a fight, then clearly throught better of it, idly wandering into the overgrown weeds. I paused for a moment, ready to spin some yarn about art, and play down my perverse interest in discarded human treasure. Then I thought, f*ck it. So I told him about the spoof video. He laughed, then we spoke about how odd, wasteful and filthy humans can be. Common ground. It soon transpired he was an economist. And in the space of five minutes we went from bins, to the role of social economics in Keynesian theory, Kate Raworth's doughnut, and the lunacy of austerity Britain. Not your typical fayre, on Armley's notorious town street. I suppose, by being my unashamed, curious, weirdo self, I learned a little more about something that matters to me. Maybe I made a new friend outside my usual circles. And perhaps he'll guest on my 'Pessimist's guide to a hopeful future' podcast, or open my mind to edgier economic thinking. Coaches often drone on about putting yourself out there, authenticity and connection. Maybe this was that: a profound illustration there's no 'right' way to do things, only your way, the way you already do, naturally. Or maybe I'm just a curious weirdo and other curious weirdos are my tribe. We love unusual dog turds. What's the oddest thing you've ever done that led to an unexpected connection?
June 16, 2021
An audience with your inner critic
Reflections on a thing I did with some people. A workshop with improv and role play, getting to know the inner critic. Here's what happened. Photo credit: Andy T https://unsplash.com/photos/EiDWIYspZyc?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditShareLink
June 15, 2021
Friday Fireside with Happy Start School
You know when you say yes to something significant, then pop it in your calendar when it's ages away, then all of a sudden it comes along and turns out it's ACTUALLY happening? We'll, that's the story behind my upcoming live broadcast interview with my friends over at The Happy Startup School. Holy kak. What to do next? Preparation or presence? Laugh or cry? Catch the event at https://www.crowdcast.io/e/subvert-your-serious/register
June 14, 2021
You can't be serious?
That time all the buses went wrong and I thought I could run a better public transport system than a district council. Why so serious? How might humour be a route out? Why is fun, play and compassion often the last place we want to go? What other options are there?
June 10, 2021
What it's like being an Airbnb host
Our experiences so far of hosting two Airbnb lets in our home. Airbnb is a website to rent out rooms or property. How it's going, stories about interesting guests and how to make it work. Our listings: http://www.airbnb.com/h/cosy-vibrant-wortley and http://www.airbnb.com/h/quirky-comfy-wortley
June 08, 2021
Society is antisocial? #AudioMo
Uh oh, Chris has been on his own for to long. #AudioMo day 7.
June 07, 2021
Incestuous terrapins #AudioMo
Fond-ish memories of a childhood pond. Day 4 of the #AudioMo challenge to record an audio blog every day in June. Photo by Benjamin Wong: https://unsplash.com/photos/Z_OmqGohZHc?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditShareLink
June 04, 2021
Always a seagull without wings #AudioMo
Today we play a little game about thoughts and feelings. https://knowyourmeme.com/photos/1618206
June 03, 2021
Stuck on how? #AudioMo
This one's for folk feeling stuck in the impossibility of a perennial problem. Whichever way you turn, is there a roadblock? Live and (partly) unscripted from the allotment. Inspired by June's #AudioMo challenge.
June 02, 2021
Honk hog #AudioMo
Here's how to give your day a lift, completely for free. Or end it with crushing disappointment before it even began. Part of the #AudioMo experiment: https://audiomo.tumblr.com/
June 01, 2021
Lumpy porridge floor
What can a lumpy floor and self-levelling compound teach us about fear, control and change? More than you think, in a brief return to the basement for this episode. If you're a perfectionist or procrastinate from time to time, you'll identify with the cycle of fear, hesitance and imagination that's often the precursor to actually getting on with things. Maybe you'll learn a little bit about self-levelling floor compounds too.
October 08, 2020
Qui est la? (French special in the forest)
Join me for a petit sojourn into a French forest to convene with Sasquatch and our fear of the unknown. Immersed beneath the canopy and with darkness encroaching, I wonder if there's a time and a place for those uncomfortable feelings we get, when we don't know 'what's out there'? Just a theory. Let's find out...
September 16, 2020
Thunderstorms and beheading
I'm scared of thunder and lightening. There, I said it. Now, what next? When we're faced with fear, uncertainty and discomfort - where do we go from there? What's an appropriate response? Join me in the midst of an extreme climatic event for a scary story without a point (well, not one that comes immediately).
September 01, 2020
Down t' pit
After a funny couple of weeks, Chris clambours into a ditch to cheer himself up - in search of a disused mine. No coal to report, but irreverent insight abounds in this episode all about how every challenge is relative, and just as valid as any other. And if anyone who ever tells you to 'pull yourself together' or 'it could be worse', tell them to get lost - ideally down an long dark hole.
August 18, 2020
Ever notice things seem to happen in cycles - moods, motivation, action, rest and rumination? It's almost as if humans are part of some vast, natural, seasonal system where everything is influenced by everything else around it. Or am I talking complete tosh again. And is this just another aimless rant about the time my neighbour slaughtered a wildflower patch to store some bins? Listen to find out. For more about what inspired this episode, read Jen Carrington's excellent article about intentional seasons. And yes, I meant 'herbicidal' when I said 'insecticidal'. Oops.
August 11, 2020
The very serious incident of the subscribe form
Join me, on a voyage into unchartered territory - pushing the boundaries of technology and communication, on a quest to add a text box and a button to my website. Bear witness as this human being, like many others before him, takes the problem way too seriously, overcomplicates things, and loses all perspective on the situation. Time for a bit of space, maybe?
July 29, 2020
The tale of Bob and Decca
Two little urchins at an inner city college are about to tear strips out of each other, until a wise, kindly, yet grossly under-trained classroom assistant steps in and does very little. Crisis averted? Let's find out. Maybe we can squeeze something insightful out of this...
July 20, 2020
Rebuttal from Cabbage Hill
The last thing we need from lockdown is more podcasts by middle-aged white men; said some plonker on the Twitters I've never met, yet whose opinion I decided to heed. Isn't it funny how we let off-hand remarks like this (regardless of who made them) influence the course of our lives? That's the story behind this short public rebuttal. Yes, they're probably correct, but why do we, and should we ever pay attention to naysayers? I didn't, that's why you're listening to another podcast by a middle-aged white man.
July 13, 2020
Let's play the Phil Collins game
An old man speaks on BBC Radio 6Music. He sounds wrought, his cockney tones lacerated with vocal fry and weariness. He sounds familiar yet distant. A voice speaking of and from my past. I recognise it, and all at once, Phil Collins becomes the harbinger of death. This jovial, pinball-headed drummer assumes the form of the human condition — mortality itself, squaring up to me, eyeball-to-eyeball, toe-to-toe, sizing me up for the fight of my life. https://medium.com/@chris_kenworthy/lets-all-play-the-phil-collins-game-51e879872854
July 01, 2020
Walking the Wortley Curve
Welcome to the epicentre of creativity and self-destruction in West Yorkshire. A sheltered spot for private human indlugence, just a stone's throw from civilisation.
June 30, 2020