Beyond boring

8 July 2013 by Alex Brown, posted in speaking science

Here's the recording of my appearance at the Story Collider event a couple of weeks ago:


All I can hear is the myriad "uhm" and "basically", especially at the start. Of course, some of the story would be improved if you could see me, especially my hands. This wasn't the first time I had spoken in public, nor the first time I had ever told this story. But it was the first time I told this story in public, to strangers. I got quite upset (understandably, I think) and I was shaking by the end of it, but I enjoyed performing overall.

You can read more about my experience with meningitis here. It's a big part of what motivates me to keep as busy as I do, and to try to be as switched-on to the world as possible. I've also done a bit of fundraising for the Meningitis Research Foundation, which you can read about here.

alex Brown speaking at the Story Collider

I talk with my hands Credit: Marianne Baker

I owe a lot to Brian Wecht, who organised the event and helped me refine the story.

Hat-tip also to Laura Wheeler, who first mentioned the event to me.

Finally, thanks to everyone who showed up, especially those of you who came to talk to me afterwards. It can be hard to tell how well a serious performance is going while you're on stage. Whereas a joke can be judged by how much laughter there is, it can be difficult to distinguish between bored silence and highly attentive silence. I think I got through to at least a few people, so it wasn't a total waste of time.

Barts Pathology Museum

Barts Pathology Museum, a great venue for reflecting on the human value of science. Picture by Kelly Oakes via Instagram.

Over to you:

  • What do you think of my story?
  • Were you at the Story Collider event? Did you enjoy it? What were your highlights?
  • Have you ever been through something similar? How did you deal with it?


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