TEDxBrighton on Friday was a rare delight. I have been a fan of the videos at TED.com for about three years now and it was a joy to have a little flavour of TED in my beloved home town. It was remarkably well put together, professional, and well-catered. It was delightful that it was a free event, and that so much had been achieved through the efforts of the volunteers, and the generosity of sponsors.

Here are the main things I came away with:

  • free banana
  • 2 Twix bars
  • spare tuna mayonnaise sandwich
  • pencil drawing of a naked woman

Okay, I’m being flippant (though these are the physical things).  This is what I learned from my day at TEDxBrighton:

  • mappiness.org.uk can  prove that Christmas Day is by far and away the happiest day of the year. And that Blue Monday is a myth.
  • Teenage boys, given free reign to design their own computer games, don’t design gory shoot-em-ups.  They design heroic save-the-world adventures. Sometimes involving Giant Turtle Things. And spoons.
  • Drawing is a license to stare at people. If you want to stare at people, just pick up a pencil and sketch book and make like you’re sketching. It can be complete rubbish. No-one will challenge you.
  • The first follower turns a lone nut into a leader (see 4 films and a Nude)
  • You don’t have to be a rower to row the Atlantic.  If your rowing partner drops out, you can always ask your Mum.
  • Something (from the rower’s mum, at the start of the race) which can be applied to almost every life challenge:  ”Let’s get over the horizon and then have a cup of tea”.
  • There is only one thing essential to a Utopia, and that is hot tubs.

Thanks to Tom Bailey (the instigator and organiser), and everyone who volunteered, spoke at, or sponsored TEDxBrighton.  Every one of you is making the world (and Brighton) a more joyful place.

Other (more complete) TEDxBrighton blogposts can be found at:

  1. 4 films and a Nude
  2. TEDxBrighton Review
  3. Victoria Richardson: TEDx Brighton

I highly recommend the first of these, for its TED video content. The nude sketch wasn’t bad either!

Written on January 24th, 2011 , learning experiences

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Ros Barber

Novelist, poet, scholar