TAM London, Sunday


I forgot to mention the variety show on Saturday night. It was headlined by comedian Robin Ince (you may have seen his MAGIC MAN DUNNIT clip) and offered a lot of funny and musical and skeptical and cynical acts of high standard. I was particularly impressed by high-brow rapper Baba Brinkman. Not only is he witty and knowledgeable, he also made me feel that hmm, rapping really can involve a lot of technical mastery. When I told him I like him not rapping about bitches and bling, he replied, “But I do, in other bits of my Darwin rhymes. I say that bling is peacock feathers evolved by sexual selection.”

Yesterday began with an ace performance by the talented and friendly George Hrab. Then we had an incisive talk by Glenn Hill who is the son of Elsie Wright, the woman who at 16 painted and photographed the 1916 Cottingley Fairies and inadvertently helped Arthur Conan Doyle make himself look silly. Hill spoke about that, but more about this recent anti-religion book Religion Explained in an Hour where he argues among other things that the founders of all the Abrahamitic religions were psychotics, and that it’s no wonder that they’re all so intolerant. I would add that Abraham was probably not only psychotic, but also a fictional character, and a really strange choice for an ideal mythical ancestor.

Adam Savage spoke entertainingly about Mythbusters, Tim Minchin the awesome singer & piano-player performed excellent songs and the “Storm” poem, and Phil Plait talked about asteroid and comet impacts with reference to Armageddon and Deep Impact. And a great time was had by all. I then spent the evening in excellent company: VoF forum regular Anders, Aard regular Jon Jarrett of A Corner of Tenth-Century Europe, T’anta Wawa of T’anta Wawa Talks (above) and later Bendik & Marit of Hugs & Science and a whole bunch of other Norwegian skeptics. In fact, Norwegians were the biggest non-UK element at TAM London. I promised them that when the Oslo skeptics put on a conference, then at least 200 Swedes will attend.

The Amazing Meeting London 1 was a top-quality event. The only way it could have been even better is if they’d included a few more interactive bits, workshops & stuff. But my hat’s off to the organisers! Many thanks!

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  1. #1 Mo
    October 5, 2009

    So you came to London without looking me up? I’m disappointed, Martin.

  2. #2 Martin R
    October 6, 2009

    It’s worse than that, I thought Ed Yong was the only UK Scibling! I apologise!

  3. #3 Luna_the_cat
    October 7, 2009

    If you are at all interested, there’s the 4th “Experimental Archaeology” Conference in Aberdeen in November:


    …If you do decide to show up in Aberdeen and want to, I’ll stand you a beer or two at Archie’s (the best local pub).

  4. #4 Martin R
    October 7, 2009

    Sounds like fun! Thanks for the offer! I really need to learn to knap flint & quartz. Give me a speaking gig and I’ll pop over.

  5. #5 Jonathan Jarrett
    October 8, 2009

    That photo’s come out much better than I expected!

  6. #6 Björn S
    October 8, 2009

    Sounds like it was a really cool event. I missed both of the 15-minute periods when tickets were available, so spent the weekend at home instead. Hopefully, it’ll come back next year.

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