Quite a week for me - a big birthday tomorrow, a first podcast in the bag, a new house imminent and a big event next weekend. So it's something of a more personal email update this time around with a few landmark events seemingly occurring at the same time.
It’s been an exceptionally busy week around the Campfire and we've taken tentative steps as a broadcaster and I've spent the last 24 hours or so putting together my first podcast Firecast 001. In true DIY style (I did put together The Campfire Tapes on a £1 budget!) it has plenty of rough and ready edges but I’ve been having fun putting it together. It features one of the subjects of next weekend's food thinkshop, Richard Garnett, talking about food as a “perfect storm of politics and fashion” from the point of view of an organic farmer and tunes into a few other Campfirers including Brian Eno and Bruce Bickerton. If you’d like to get involved, offer a feature or take part in a Hi 5 for the podcast, drop me a line. We plan to make this a regular release, at least once a month.
I'm busy preparing for next weekend’s Convention 002.UK event, staged at the iconic Union Chapel, where The Big Chill started back in 1994. It’s taking place all day Saturday and will cover a range of speakers and thinkshops, with an evening 'Convivial' at The Hemingford nearby. We’ve just added Labour party member and gaming guru Richard Barbrook to the panel on politics talking about how war gaming strategy can play a part in changing politics.
We have some inspired speakers lined up. Our afternoon keynotes are from Martin Nelson, the inventor of London’s first ever cycle route and has recently designed the C25, a collection of "arcs and spokes” around London making up a series of recreational rides for the adventurous cyclist. EQ uses the spring and autumn equinoxes as annual moments of total equality on the planet for all mankind. In marking these moments, twice a year every year, perhaps we as humans can put aside all divisions of border, race, religion and difference and unite for the good of the planet and mankind.
Michael Solomon Williams initiated a musicians’ response to the result of the Brexit referendum and tragic loss of Jo Cox in 2016 that grew into the Common and Kind charitable single 'Human Kind' and several live concerts at the Union Chapel in 2016/2017. The message of Common and Kind has synergy with Martin’s EQ in its message that "we are far more united and have far more in common with each other than that which divides us”.
There’s a wide range of discussion on offer, from new designs in education to new models of community living and working and how we co-exist with and listen to each other. There’s also a lunch included in the ticket price and a short live music set from Jez Allerton as Planet Zim and poetry from Liv Torc.
We’ve pretty much completed our programme now and I’m very much looking forward to see quite a few of you there. We still have some tickets left both for the full day’s activities and you can download a PDF of the programme and a flyer here.
Having Campfire this week feels like appropriate timing as I celebrate a birthday this weekend too. My reflections on how life feels at 60 are here. And I’ve also added a photo album of my recent travels in Greece.
When I look back on how Campfire has grown and matured over the last year I’m amazed and thankful to all of you who have been active and started to shape a community that feels like it has a real soul and purpose. We’re already talking about a weekend event in early March 2018 in the Milton Keynes area and will be embarking on a spring and summer season of Beacon conversation events too. Bournemouth and Malvern Hills Beacons are both staging their own events over the next few weeks.
As for my imminent house move to Frome, it’s been dragging its heels slightly while we’ve waited for the chain to sort itself out but I’ve just been told by my solicitor that there’s no reason why I should be in there by Christmas so there’s every chance I can keep my winter solstice party tradition going and not have to consider holding it in and around the camper van this year!
My pick of Campfire highlights this week:
Sally Hughes (our keynote speaker next weekend) on Experiments in Creative Space #4
Scilla Elworthy : Without women there can be no peace
Kimm Fearnley : Finding space within yoga blog
Jonathan Leighton : #MeToo : Reflections on abuse, power, gender and species
Ruth Wallsgrove : Sexual harassment and womes’ lives mattering
Please join us for Tuesday evening’s Q&A forum sofa session with the outspoken, Corbyn-supporting Derby North Labour MP Chris Williamson
Onwards and upwards…
Here's to new sparks as we enter darker days..