What if there was some kind of apocalypse?” a friend fretted over dinner. “What if we had to survive in Stone Age conditions? Do we have any skills any more? What could any of us practically contribute to rebuilding civilisation?” A circuit of the table revealed that, indeed, almost all of us surround ourselves with products that we would not be able to make, repair or even properly explain.
But there is a new movement afoot designed to remedy this technical impotence. Just as the self-build trend is gathering pace, so too is a new wave in do-it-yourself (DIY) projects for the home – embracing everything from plumbing, woodcarving and pottery to robotics, electronics and recycling.