Will Adamsdale: interview

Jackson's Way Jackson's Way
Posted: Thu Jan 6 2011

Award-winning comic Adamsdale brings his faux life coach, Chris John Jackson, back to the capital. Time Out gets motivated…

As motivational speakers go, American life coach Chris John Jackson is one of the most influential and yet little-known exponents of this mystical artform. I first became aware of his 'method' or 'theory' or 'methodeory', if you will, of 'Jackson's Way' in 2004, when I caught one of his seminars in a small but packed room at the Edinburgh Festival. Jackson - dismissing nasty rumours that he was really performer Will Adamsdale - gripped his new disciples, enlightening and baffling them in equal measure. I left with more questions than answers. Who was this modern-day guru? Was this comedy? Was it the beginning of a significant paradigm shift? To his surprise he won the Perrier Award for his teachings, and then mysteriously disappeared. Now he's returned for 'The Jacksathon', a self-help marathon where he'll be delivering his message in 26 London venues in 26 days throughout January.

What are your main aims and goals with the Jacksathon?
'Well, obviously just finding the audience will be a priority. And helping them find me. To this end I'll be making myself as visible as possible, driving around in a specially painted van, wearing high-visibility clothes, maybe even using some kind of tracking device so people know where I am… So it's a find/form/talk (FFT) three-point power-plan. As long as I can get them in a room I'm very confident…'

And then what?
'I have two main aims, a two-part power-push! One: infect thoughts across the city. I'll be using a two-prong power-system for releasing my teachings into London's consciousness: a) through seminars -
well, they're half seminar, half talk, half workshop… I call these appearances “talkshopinars” - and b) through subliminal mind work. I'll use conventional social media, but also “thought-waves”, a pioneering new method used by a few coaches. I'll be sending these out daily. It's a little like those mousetraps where they drive mice insane with a soft but extremely high and persistent noise.

'Two: I want at some point to move London a foot to the east. I'll attempt this mainly with enthusiasm and the help of any followers/ workshopees who feel they can help. Keep your eye on www.jacksons-way.com for details. This is very much level-two work! Three: tourism. I'm kind of obsessed with office lobbies, business parks, new builds on the edge of town… the really boring-looking stuff. Part of my work involves finding these places and just standing there, seeing if you can get so bored by your surroundings that you smash through the boredom into something more thrilling.'

That's three points. Is tourism part of the two-part power-push?
'No. It's extra!'

What's the point of your work?
'To set up situations. Power-happenings. That's what the talkshopinars are. Once I've got people there, and excited, then whatever people take from that, that's great… Of course I'd like the attendees to go away and practise but there has been resistance to that in the past. So for people just to come along and shout my catchphrases and show enthusiasm is great! I should make it clear at this point that my work revolves around the search for - and use of - futility and pointlessness. Attempting to actually move a city would be a good example of a pointless act. I don't claim to fully understand my work so there's no shame if you don't.'

Are there any venues you're particularly excited about visiting?
'Oh God! All of 'em. The Invisible Dot in Camden! Above an ice rink at Somerset House! In someone's front room! I'm moving around like Ali! I'm the Pimpernel of coaches! Show me another life coach working at these kind of intensity levels! This is what I'm trying to tell you, Tim! This work is kinetic! High intensity! Croydon! Enfield! Leicester Square! A boat! It doesn't matter if you're not entirely in control of your teachings if you're pulling these kinds of moves!'

How can you make our livesbetter in 2011?
'I can't. I am one of the only guys in the self-help industry who doesn't claim to be able to help anybody. Probably the only one. All I can offer is a short, sharp, intense rush of slightly perverse fun. But that's something, right?'

'The Jacksathon' is at various venues Jan 5-30. For details see www.jacksons-way.com.