Without Bettakultcha I’d never’ve…..

Bettakultcha is a evening of speakers using opensource slideware.  20 slides, 15 seconds – five minutes in total. But Ivor can explain it better with a mug, string, spoon and washer….  Well, maybe “better” is over exaggerating…. Anyway, back to the title… Without Bettakultcha I’d never’ve….

1) Walked(?) Around My Neighbourhood with No Shoes onEmma walking around in August 2011 in barefeet

Harrison Richards talked about the wonders of walking barefoot.  So I tried it one summer’s morning.  Normally my neighbours nod silently, but somehow walking around barefoot seemed to create an excuse to shout at me as if I was the crazy.  This one short walk (in fact it was less of walk and more of a hobble, those miniscule loose stones in the tarmac are like stepping on thousands of tiny 3-pin plugs), three shouts of derision from people I don’t know and I have to say that I wasn’t exactly sold on the idea.  It hasn’t happened again.

2) Yearned to Buy a Retro Tape Deck and Make Mix Tapes for my Bettakultcha crush (more of that later)

At Magic Loungeabout, Bettakultcha took the place by storm – creating a magical menu of marvelousness.  Wandapop’s talk on the science and art of mix tapes had me enthralled.  It transported me back to the halcyon days of having a tape in the deck, with pause + record pressed down, and a hovering finger waiting for a song during the chart show to record my favourite track.  And woe-betide premature pause-cancellation.  Creating a playlist on itunes is simply not the same.  So TDK D90s (a cut above the C90’s for those not in the know) are back on my Christmas list again!

3) Nearly Missed My Plane as my Ultra-competitive Edge drove me to Compete for the “Lifetime Pass” to Bettakultcha

There was only one submission on the blog and I knew the quote was in the marvellous Kate Fox’s talk.  As the last call came for boarding the plane, I was desperately piggy-backing onto Dublin airport’s WIFI and was frantically wishing for the line to come through my earbuds before the doors were closed.  My heart was beating and I was dicing with missing the plane home.  I listened, punched it in (butter fingers: my name came up as Rmma!) Then I had to wait an agonising weekend whilst the Bettakultcha organisers got on with the rest of their lives, as I bit my nails, hoped and prayed and my competitive nature went slightly bonkers.  Then Woo Hoo.  I won!  Still waiting for a real pass I can wave when I arrive at venues.  (Time to get over myself!)

4) Heard the Amazing Sound of  200 Silent People at the Brundenell

I woke up one morning in 2011 having dreamt of sharing a powerful story from my life.  So I walked along the canal and tried it out.  It took over six months for me to be ready to share it in January 2012.  Not because I didn’t know what to say, I just didn’t know how to get through the story and still be intelligible at the end.  Preparing the talk was a huge part of my own grieving and healing.  I learnt even more about my relationship with Claire by condensing the story into five minutes.

After the event, I shared the video with her parents and their friends, and the response from people I had never met, but who knew Claire was amazing.  It has touched a lot of people, which I am enternally grateful for.  Sometimes sharing from the heart is the most powerful thing in the world.

5) Found a Tribe of Like-minded, Slightly Crazy, Impassioned, Wonderful People (who make my life better!)

There are so many amazing presenters, it seems a shame to not mention them all…. But whilst writing this, some that stick in my mind include Jules (@nicecupotea) and her ire when apostrophe’s creep into place’s they’re not supposed to be (that should get her going) – and her fabulous closing line about knowing your shit; Steve (@shampshire) and his desire to bring gorgeous typography into our lives and hearts (bit of Comic Sans anyone?) And will I ever forget Ivor and his inquiry about whether black M&S ladies knickers were linked to being a lesbian?  Not quickly enough!

I’ve been inspired about places, artists, music, authors, about tantric sex, about egg donation, about the trials of hiring a City Car that’s a Prius, about mountaineering, about fonts, cakes, authors, crisps, biscuits, fridges, northerners, you name it.  It’s eclectic, unpredictable and I love it.

But I think what I love most about Bettakultcha is the incredible people I have met, made friends with, stalking slightly on twitter and had a crush on (that one will remain nameless).   Long may the buzz continue.