Ignite Bristol VII

2 06 2012

You never know what you will leave an Ignite Bristol event having learnt. Last time in the Tobacco Factory Theatre, I learnt that handing out Eccles cakes was a good way to win over the audience. This time, I learnt never to watch a cartoon about My Little Pony, despite it having “hundreds of millions” of fans, and I learnt basic Chinese sign language to I Dreamed a Dream.

For newbies, speakers at Ignite have five minutes to talk about whatever they want, with their choice of 20 slides changing behind them on a big screen every 15 seconds.

Once again held together by Paul Parry, the king of awkward silences, this Ignite didn’t quite hit the hights of previous events. It was summed up by Matt Davenport when he tweeted, “I don’t know what this about, but laughing at geeks… I like it.”

But it still did its job, to enlighten and entertain. James Laverack drew us into a completely unknown world when talking about the My Little Pony cartoon series, aimed at seven-year-old girls, which has taken on a life of its own among 18- to 30-year-old computer programmers. Watch the first episode here. Or not.

Not once, but twice, sixth former Natalie Chan burst into song, while signing, first in English with A Whole New World, and then in Hong Kongish for I Dreamed a Dream. Her admirable aim is to bring the deaf, and deaf and dumb community, into the world of musical theatre. As sign language is different across the globe, her version of A Whole New World was signed in her native Hong King sign language as she sang in English.

Sticking with the Disney theme was Dan Williams, who spoke about just how bonkers the Epcot theme park in Florida is, a model city dreamed up by Walt himself, never realised but still its own local government district and stretching the equivalent of Bristol to Bath.

Another memorable talk was about the the best efforts of Ted Wilkes to hug North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, while Anthony Wood lost me on the word “hello” when talking about coding using the Perl operating system.

My favourite talk of the night was from artist Michelle Ciocolloni, who spoke about her passion for drawing, in particular her weeks this year spent sketching visitors to the David Hockney exhibition in London. She spoke from the heart about why she enjoyed drawing, and it was one of the few talks that really utilised the slide format, with your eye drawn to her artwork rather than her talking from copiously prepared notes.

Visit www.ignitebristol.net to see videos of all the speakers once they are uploaded, and to suggest a talk for the next Ignite. Remember, enlighten us, but make it quick.


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