do the clouds get in my way?

Berndnaut Smilde artwork of clouds
How about a visit to the Ronchini Gallery in Mayfair, exhibiting some of the uncanny work of Berndnaut Smilde? He makes indoor clouds using fog guns and has them photographed, often by Cassander Schattenkerk. I find them charming and a lot less scary than Dietrich Wegner's Playhouse cloud sculpture

Of course, around London, there's usually a good selection of real outdoor clouds, and they do seem to be a popular current theme.

I'm being approached by plenty of 'cloud offers' from the consumer technology community. I wrote a few days ago about the way that music has become more cloud-based.

A recent addition to the scramble is Microsoft's Office suite which has just announced Office 365 as a subscription model - with added clouds.

What I'm finding is that all the big suppliers are trying to get us on board with their pay-as-you-go offers. I already use the Adobe subscription to get their CS6 products as a bundle. I realised what I was already paying for upgrades to Photoshop, Acrobat et al. and that the subscription would be more economical.

It's a new way of thinking about the cost of ownership of the technology and requires something like Excel to do the sums. For software, instead of buying it, installing it and then eventually upgrading it, the subscriptions provide the supplier with a run-rate revenue model and can subtly rely on the users to remember what they've bought. For example, I can't remember all the things in the CS6 bundle and probably haven't installed all of them.

Accompanying all of these subscriptions to Music, Creativity and Office Things is the offer of space in the cloud. I notice that my Mac applications also offer to park new documents in the cloud as well.

I'm still not sure about this. I use the cloud extensively but am concerned about the trickling of things into a place where I may not be sure of the return access.

My example will remain with music. I could buy music and then not bother to download it, instead playing it on demand - Amazon offers this as part of their mp3 model. I already do that with my video subscriptions nowadays, and regard cumbersome video as more or less a rental library.

For video it's therefore OK if I'm on a network (duh!) but for music what about in the car? Yes, I have internet access from the car. Does it work everywhere? No. Do I want to rely on it for listening to my own music? I think not. For preprogrammed musical selections by others, I already have another car gadget called a radio.

What about listening on the tube? Okay, there's wi-fi now, well sort of. Am I with the right provider? No. So I could buy wifi subscriptions. This is all getting a bit complicated and more expensive.

Of course, what is happening is that everyone is working out how to make their dollar. Everyone in the chain want to get their piece.

So I'm wondering where the cloud concealed slice and dice is actually taking us?

I get it that rich society is moving beyond the anchored PC to mobile tablets and phones. I understand that the business model for these things is subscription based connectivity. I'm wary of how many subscriptions and how many links in the chain we need to make it all work.

And what happens if one o f th e links brea . ..

Bow Belinda

Bow Belinda

Formation: Longways for 5 to 9 couples. Six couples is best. For 10, 12 or 14 couples, divide into two even sets. Step: A light springy running step. Skip only for verse 6. 1. Head boy and foot girl meet, 4 beats, and fall back to place, 4 beats. Foot boy and head girl do the same, 8 beats. 2. Forward: 1 2 3 4 Back: 5 6 7 8 R L R L* R L R ft (feet together) on * you also bring feet together but immediately take weight on the left foot all set to go back with right foot. One foot falls after the other. When you poise on the 4th beat, don't miss a beat as you start back. The "bow" is only a nod of the head. Keep springing until you land back in place on "ft". 2. Head boy and foot girl turn, clockwise, with right hands, 8 beats. Other "corners" (foot boy and head girl) do the same 8 beats. 3. Corners turn, as before, but with left hands, 8 beats each corner. 4. Corners swing with both hands, clockwise. Hands joined straight across. 5. Corners move around each other, passing either right or left, and without turning around fall back (move backwards) to places. 8 beats each corner, as before. 6. All Promenade. Skip around, by couples, on the boys side of the set. Take near hands, or crossed hands, turn sharp left at the head and go straight down, turn sharp left again at the foot and return up the middle to places. 7. All raise arches in home places, and the head couple goes under all the arches to the foot place. Repeat as many times as there are couples. (

Lesson ideas

Play party motions

Downloadable recordings