Illustrations by: Coline Robin

Illustrations by: Coline Robin

Marker #32: Ever dip your tongue in your brain?


 by Mark E. Taylor 



“Marker” is a regular column in Coyote ever since issue #0. It may encourage debate, self-reflection or even a certain regard… Who knows?

“Dip your tongue in your brain before you talk” (“πριν μιλήσεις να βουτάς τη γλώσσα στο μυαλό”) is an old Greek saying, meaning basically that “you are not in the habit of thinking before you speak”. Quite an interesting observation to run by friends/colleagues/participants, maybe – I wonder how useful it might be for the recipient, or would most people take it as a killing criticism? One of my dearest colleagues reacted to this observation with “I think you should keep your tongue in your pocket!”


 Where have we been, where might we be going with all this digital stuff?

If you’ve been searching for an experienced practitioner’s overview on how youth work responded to Covid-19, pushing us online and developments since (and even into the future), then it’s difficult to find a concise summary.

Check out MarCus Vrecer’s reflections on a brilliant HOP podcast with host Jan Lai: (also accessible to people who are not registered on Facebook).

Asking yourself questions MarCus poses can change or shake your world view a bit! Example: do all online events always have to be participatory?

Think about it!


 Paul Kloosterman – squeezing out sparks in the training of trainers!

In June 2022, the 20th edition of the Training of Trainers (ToT) course will come to an end – each year around 24 participants go through an intensive training comprising participation in three seminars and running and evaluating their own practice courses in teams formed during the year. Comparable to Iggy Pop in the field of rock music, Paul has been on the trainers team for 19 editions and now he’s taking his first steps into retirement and will leave the ToT. A veritable “end of an era”! So many things he introduced together with his team mates: learning to learn! dealing with ambiguity! When asked what would be one thing from those 20 years of ToT which stood out for him, he replied: “That’s a difficult question! But the first thing that comes to my mind is how amazing the amount of creativity, potential and learning ‘sparks’ in a group at those moments that trainers have the courage to step back and let go.”

Think about it!



 Cancellation sickness

Even before the famous pandemic, it was possible to observe an increase in cancellations from selected participants for international youth activities, often at the last minute. With online activities this tendency became even stronger – and even a lot of those who showed up were not really present (with the camera and microphone turned off after the first few minutes in order to multitask probably?).

At the time of writing the first draft of this article, I was preparing for my first in-person (international) training courses for over 18 months and it was almost unbelievable how difficult it was to estimate how many people would actually show up! For one course, over half the selected and confirmed participants had to be replaced from the waiting list! Of course there are many reasons why people drop out, for example: you or a dear one catches Covid-19; travel regulations are changed, or you fear they might be; you get or lose a job; your employer doesn’t allow you to leave; you get depressed; suddenly the prospect of being with people again seems horrible or frightening; etc. It’s tough for the organisers, it’s tough for the educational team to deal with the ambiguity – and I hope there is sympathy for such a fall in the number of participants from the funders!



As we slowly come out of (or grow to live with) the pandemic, there will be many chances for experimentation with this phenomenon!! Good luck with yours!

Is your muffin buttered? Would you like us to assign someone to worry your mother?
(listen to Wet Leg, below, if you are wondering where these two sentences come from!)

There will probably not be a next time, but if there could be... then we would look at the ‘pataphysics of political dimensions...


 Sounds and influences

Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band (1970), Lick my decals off baby, Straight/Reprise Records

Lee “Scratch” Perry, RIP

John Paul Jones & Paul Gilbert (2018), Going to California

MarchY (2021), I wanna Dip Dip with you, Hot Vibes Records

Wet Leg (2021), Chaise Longue, Domino  


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