Short answer: Not much.

I’m a sucker for Goodreads’ annual reading challenge. In past years, I’d set myself the goal of reading 26 books a year — one each fortnight — and whether or not I hit the target, I found it a useful way to stay motivated. Reading goals are happy goals, satisfying simultaneously a need for leisure and a need for personal development.

This year, I set myself a big, hairy, audacious goal — 52 books. I boxed time in my calendar for reading most days, made sure I always had 2 or 3 books (a mixture of…


“The play-concept is of a higher order than seriousness. For seriousness seeks to exclude play, whereas play can very well include seriousness.” — Johan Huizinga

Only the Human(s)

I became the Director of the long-form improvisation company in my town — Only the Human — with great reluctance. The reasons I said “yes” to this particular offer will forever remain unknown to me. I inherited a company with no assets and $1,500 in liabilities. …


Note: This is an inchoate, conversational thought-dump. It is not without serious thought, but it is without serious rigour. It is an invitation, mostly to myself, to explore the political potential of improvisation. Thoughts are welcome and a real person is behind this, so e-mail me at aden@adendate.com if you’d like to explore these ideas further.

Me, conceiving of political improv

Let’s begin by defining some terms. When I say improvisation, I refer to long-form improvised theatre. For the unfamiliar, it’s like Whose Line is it Anyway? on Clozapine.

When I talk about long-form improvisation, I’m talking primarily about the tradition instigated by Del Close…


Photo by niklas_hamann on Unsplash

If you’ve done an MBA, you’ve probably seen something like this:


Anton Darius, Unsplash

Governments right now are a little like the X-Men. Having mostly kept their powers hidden, citizens in liberal democracies are discovering that our governments have extraordinary powers to mobilise significant resources in response to a crisis.

Where governments declare an emergency they are capable of extraordinarily quick responses to emergent problems. Political deadlocks vanish, stimulus funding magically appears, and old ideologies are set aside.

All of this means the dithering around climate change is unnecessary. Radical economic and social change is possible. …


Photo by Michael Jasmund on Unsplash

A scrap broke out at a Woolworths in Sydney earlier this week, as reported by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. In response to the Coronavirus, many Australians have begun panic buying toilet paper.

Panic buying reflects a breakdown of trust. People are hoarding toilet paper because they believe a time may come soon when it’s everyone for themselves: A kind of Mad Max style dystopia, except with diarrhoea.

We know this is ridiculous, especially given most toilet paper is produced domestically.

That in mind, we should choose to have empathy for these confused panic buyers. Instead, a media circus has emerged…


Dwight, The Office

“I’ve looked under chairs
I’ve looked under tables
I’ve tried to find the key
To fifty million fables

They call me The Seeker
I’ve been searching low and high
I won’t get to get what I’m after
Till the day I die.”

— The Seeker, by The Who

It is difficult for me to write about jobs. I feel the way about jobs the way some people feel about ex-partners. I‘m like John Cusack in High Fidelity. I want to go back to old jobs and let them know what I really think, and find out what they thought about…


Photo by The Creative Exchange on Unsplash

I had coffee with a few friends shortly after returning from life abroad in East Africa. I missed the agora-like coffee shop while living abroad. Western-style cafes aren’t lacking, but they’re used for planning safari tours or doing business deals. I was looking forward to the clang of cutlery, the whoops of children and earnest dialogue between people of slightly different opinions.

My friends and I were in the midst of a heated discussion when I noticed one of our conversationalists had taken the cadence of a repetitious pop-song, continuing to repeat mantra-like some idea that wasn’t compelling to the…


Field Notes on ‘Progress 2019’

Photo by Henry Diltz/Corbis via Getty

My dad used to take my sister and I out for a Maccas breakfast each Sunday morning. One year, around age eight or nine, my sister was in the outdoor play area while I finished eating honey-soaked pancakes out of a styrofoam box. My dad, sitting opposite, decided this morning would be the morning to let me know Santa wasn’t real. “Duh!” I said, folding a pancake and sticking it in my mouth with a plastic fork.

Yet somehow, Santa continued to bring me presents for many more years.

As Santa was to my dad and I, the idea of…


Photo by Martin Reisch on Unsplash

“This will be the science room. Good equipment, benches, everything,” said Michael, stepping deliberately over a shovel and drawing my attention to it — a kind of cautionary pay-it-forward. He needn’t have, as the stars in northern Tanzania are very bright.

As I stepped over the shovel I looked back at my friend, Ivan Atuyambe. I gestured to the school-in-progress and ventured an impressed shrug, a facial “not bad.” Ivan seemed unimpressed. Ivan was sometimes serious and sometimes funny, rarely was he anything in-between.

Michael was showing us his dream: A school for underprivileged children. The school was still a…

Aden Date

I work at the intersection of arts, media & social impact || W: www.adendate.com

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