Alan and the Midnight Diner

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One of the delights of being on a long haul flight is the opportunity to discover new films. Last month I flew from London to Sydney via Tokyo.

Hidden amongst the ‘films by genre’ section was The Midnight Diner film.

The Diner was open from midnight to 7am. The idea for the film came from a Japanese manga publication and a television series.

Why I found the film so fascinating was that it encouraged me to think about convivial learning spaces. A range of stories unfolded during the film. I thought about how we might create small spaces for conversations. The Diner is another example of a boot room for me.

It is an example too of my idea for a shared meeting space at the Australian Institute of Sport back in 2007. I had in mind a cafe setting at that time. The space had glass walls with folding windows and a bar with stools. It was a kind of collabotorium.

A review of The Diner in The Hollywood Reporter observes:

Located in a dank back alley with its decor tarnished by years of cooking fumes and cigarette smoke, the titular eatery has a menu offering just pork stew and drinks. But the owner of the eatery, known as The Master would readily cook anything to order  — a human touch which has made his joint a gathering place for a band of quirky down-and-out regulars.

I think it was the role of the Master in offering a personal service that attracted me to the film. I wondered if I might add the title Master as a synonym for the stewardship and meddler roles in digital communities.

On the same flight, I was reading Andrew Hodges’ biography of Alan Turing. I wondered what Andrew and Alan might talk about in the Diner and how they might share their stories with the other customers. I think Alan might have received a very sensitive hearing and support.

Andrew’s account of Alan’s work is one of the most intellectually challenging books I have read. The granularity of his account has given me remarkable details and ideas to consider.

I did find myself wondering how the Master might facilitate conversations about the book in the Diner.

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Photo Credits

Frame Grabs Midnight Diner Trailer.

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