Free Thinking


Last week, on my 39th birthday, I probably gave the best talk I’ve ever given.  It was at the Free Thinking Festival and the wonderful Sage Gateshead, it was in front of about 50 people, including the great poet, Ian McMillan, and possibly the controller for BBC Radio 3, and will be going out on Night Waves on Radio 3 on 16 November 2012 at 2245 GMT (not to be too exact about it).  I suppose this was a good time to hit a talk out of the park (or for 6 if you’re reading this in the UK), but, having had a week to mull it all over, what really struck me was how much the audience itself jazzed me up for the talk.  Ian, who was the host for the event, suggested I did a warm-up before hand, so I gave my talk, shaky hands, voice and all, to him, a BBC producer and a technician at the back of the room.  It was okay, but not great.  In front of an audience, however, the adrenaline kicked in and I could really go for it, pausing for the jokes, using dynamics to good effect (I hope, I haven’t actually heard the thing!) and just giving it some gusto.  We’ll see what it sounds like on the radio, but at least it felt good live.

I also participated in something called: Speed Dating with a Thinker, during which you try to sell a whacky idea to rotating groups of people.  My idea: elections should be replaced with greased hog wrestling contests.  It sounds crazy, but up until Obama won the election, I thought it was a pretty good idea.