TED revisited (or ‘My mate Colin’)

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my day at the TEDx Houses of Parliament event. It was an unexpectedly inspiring and memorable day, but at the same time quite overwhelming (24 talks in one day is quite a lot to take in!). So I’ve been waiting impatiently for the videos to be released online so I can go back and listen again to some of the bits I might have forgotten.

There were some obvious highlights, which I already talked about – Jack Andraka, the teenage scientist, Alastair Macartney, who jumps off mountains for charity, and Baroness Patricia Scotland, who convinced us all we could change the world.

But I can’t believe I forgot some of the others, like Lemn Sissay, Jeremy Silver, Colin Salmon, Natascha Engel, Markham Nolan, Monique Villa and Suli Breaks. I could go on. It was a day of constant surprises, emotions and challenges. On top of that, I also learnt one or two things I didn’t know before.

Did you know, for example, that Richard Ashcroft has never made a penny from Bittersweet Symphony, with all the royalties instead going to the Rolling Stones?

Or that Estonia won its independence from the Soviet Union by singing?

Or that in October 2012, thousands of Justin Bieber fans shaved their heads on the strength of one false tweet? (You could argue they got what they deserved.)

I didn’t get much time to process all this new information because we were whisked straight off for a tour of the Houses of Parliament, as often happens on a Friday night. This was followed by a reception, which was attended by most of the speakers. So now I can say that I’ve been to a party with a movie star. Even if I did literally stand next to Colin Salmon for all of 30 seconds (he’s very tall) – it still counts.

Houses of Parliament by night

When I started writing this post, I was going to summarise some more of my favourite talks, but quite a long time and several summaries later, I realised that was going to take a while, and it’s probably best if you check them out for yourself. They’re all available now on the TED website, so you can pretend you were there. Apart from the movie star party bit, obviously – that was just for us VIPs 😉


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