Friday, 5 March 2010

A Quite Interesting Evening

It's March, which means that the Bath Literature Festival is back in town. This year, there were fewer events which I wanted to see - at least, fewer which were on evenings or weekends and which I was able to get to, so although the festival has been running for a week, the first event I went to was on Thursday evening.
Billed as "QI: Book of the Dead" it featured John Lloyd and john Mitchinson, who are the co-creators of the TV programme "QI" (nd who have written several books together, including the most recent one, The Book of the Dead, (which is a book of potted biographies).
John Lloyd was also involved as producer of 'Blackadder', created 'the News Quiz', co-wrote 2 episodes of the original 'Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy'
John Mitchinson is a former publisher, and head researcher for QI.
The evening was highly entertaining - both Johns talking about various interesting facts - John M talking about Florence Nightingale, including her invention of the PieChart, and all of the different things which people have speculated may have caused her to spend the last 50 years of her life in bed. John L spoke a lot about teaching, and in particuar the fact that he believes that we remember things we find interesting, so teaching ought to focus more on fnding the kind of interesting, counter-intuative facts we get on QI, so as to stimulate interest, and encourage children to ask more quesrtions, and more challenging questions, rather than focussing solely on learning and remembering facts.
He had a rather nice quote (unfortunately I failed to make a note of whom he was quoting) that we "spend the first 12 months of out children's lives teaching them to walk and talk and the next 12 years telling them to sit down and shut up" with the comment that as a result children learn to stop asking the difficult questions...
although there were serious points being made, the event as a whole was very funny. (and I learned that there are no such thing as fish...)
After the talk, I was able to briefly meet both Johns and thank them for the evening, and also swap a few lawyer jokes with John Lloyd, (who was a lwyer in early life...)
All in all, well worth going. On my way back to my car, I went past the Abbey, and took a few photos, as it in unusual to see it without dozens of people around, and it was looking rather dramatic!

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