28 June 2010


Jacob Strand has given up his home and his job. On Wednesday 2nd June, he began living in and working from a small custom-made caravan that he cycled round London. This new gypsy life was planed for the duration of the summer.
Following the failure of the Lehman Brothers, Jacob established ‘Lehman B’ (‘B’ as in ‘Plan B’) to continue where the Lehman brothers had left off… The platform was established in March 2010 for facilitating ‘under-the-radar’ campaigns that take a more fluid approach to societal changes for the future. Promoting a more pioneering, brave and risk-friendly mindset to navigate the unpredictability and turbulence of the decade to come, Lehman B is based on the belief that the best way to explore and embrace what the future holds is by living it and doing it.
Jacob says, “We need to be better at welcoming change and the opportunities that this turbulence gives us as a society - using it to rethink and reshape the urban habitat as well as our existing social and economic organisational systems (the rituals, structures, socio-systems that have developed as part of our society to create some sort of stability and order - pensions, insurance, banks, economic models - supply and demand and social hierarchy.) The interesting thing is that these otherwise 'guarded / believed' systems are now in transition and we might very well have to take new strategies, in order to sustain both ourselves and the planet.”

Jacob explains, “Supertramp is communal – anyone can rock up for a chat. It is a watering hole. A vehicle as a platform where people can discuss the potential for a different new habitat or world. Supertramp is just one of many many more 'Campaigns' to come from Lehman B.”

When I met with Jacob, next to his caravan, in the park at Queen Square (London WC1N 3AR), a couple of hours prior to his first ‘Casual Conversation’, we wondered what impact Jacob’s new life was having on his own wellbeing?

In 1943, the psychologist Abraham Maslow created a list of fundamental human needs. He arranged this list into a pyramid, with physical needs at the bottom and psychological needs at the top.

I showed the diagram to Jacob and he checked if his needs were being met, both for his new life as an urban nomad and for his old life as an employee who lived in a flat.

Very broadly, we observed that in his old life the physical needs were generally met, but the psychological needs were less met. This was reversed in the new life.

In the caravan, drunks, cars and taxis disturbed sleep. Jacob was concerned for his safety, mainly from the lorries that drove past very close as he lay on the floor of the caravan, with only the fabric sheet of his caravan to separate him from the vehicle. One evening a group of tourists who were taking photographs interrupted his sleep because of the camera’s flash, lighting the canvas.

Starbucks had been providing ‘excretion’ and washing facilities. Talking of which I asked Jacob if I could use his toilet. I am directed to 'The Swan'. Feeling conscious I am using the pub’s facility without being a customer, I pick up a pint glass that someone had left on the grass. Although the pub would intend that I swap my money for beer, the exchange of glass for facility use, is not such a bad deal. This sort of non-monetary exchange is one of the topics that Jacob is broaching. http://www.lehmanb.com/supertramp/supertramp.html

Jacob’s new ‘employment’ has caused his financial security to go from a steady income, to no income (something Jacob is looking into...) In the caravan, 'Property' was no longer secure. Jacob simply did not keep things in the caravan that would not be replaceable. Tragically, on 17th June, when Jacob arrived in the morning to the caravan’s parking space, it was missing. Jacob had stopped sleeping there, because of the problems and a thief had taken the opportunity. Jacob had been looking into the theft with the police, but they have now dropped the case, because of ‘lack of evidence’.

Jacob was also running his design consultancy from the caravan. Once he is back on track, it will certainly be a pleasant space for clients to meet over the coming summer months.

This first prototype did not work. Time for ‘Plan C’? Watch this space…

1 comment:

  1. Normally you need a solid base to arrive at the top of the pyramid. I think the reason why Jacob got there is because of the preparation period in which the base wás there. Too bad his caravan got missing, it would have been interesting to see the evolution of his priorities in the long run.

    Regarding non-monetary exchange:
    ‘You can’t run out of money any more than you can run out of inches. Only humans need money. We don’t need it to be a physical success.’ - Buckminster Fuller
    Although I agree that we don’t NEED money, I do think it makes things easier. Imagine what would have happened if you didn’t find that glass, or if the barman didn’t need a glass or any of your other possessions. By the time you would have found a third (or fourth, fifth, ...) person to act as an intermediate, you could have just paid the barman. In this case money would have been the intermediate, one that is always at hand.

    Overall it’s a nice project and review, I’m looking forward to some of the upcoming talks!