Over the last five years I have been fascinated by talks. Public discussions, debates or symposiums (whatever the format) have the potential to create audience magic hour with insights and unscripted humour. And can propel many, some or even just one member of the audience to interpret ideas from a new perspective. In Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing, Henry says that if "..we throw up an idea and give it a little knock, it might...travel"(out of context quote as Henry is comparing writing and cricket but still..).
I began a little programme Maptalks with the aim to get friends to go along to a talk as casually as they would go to a gig. I was always asking my old employer if we could 'talk' about all the dance and prance. I kept waiting for Time Out to issue a talks section in the weekly.
Why has there been such a demand for all this talking? Why is Hay at the Alhambras and King's Place talking about the economy?
Amongst all the reading off screens and computers on our laps, do we just want to be in real time occasionally?
(Alice Rawsthorn is speaking at School for Life on 28th June on Good Design)