Here’s my latest video: a short talk about terrorism:

A short talk I wrote and performed for Ignite at 93ft East on Brick Lane, ‘London’s 66,000 guns’ which you can see below, was their second most-shared video ever (losing the top spot to Tom Scott’s excellent ‘Mob‘). Since then I’ve been the keynote speaker at Oxford Geek Night (title: How and Why your TV lies).

A bit of background on Ignite: since I recovered from quite a nasty illness I have been on a bit of a general trend to reclaim bits of life which were previously off limits to me. I’ve done big road trips, sampled some new unusual sports and tried to widen my social circle as much as possible. It was in this vein that, after spotting a tweet while in a silly mood, I applied to do Ignite London. This is an event held every six months or so which involves random people getting up on stage and performing a talk for five minutes about pretty much anything. The ‘call for papers’ goes out a couple of months in advance and the organisers select the topics they think are most interesting. The real stroke of genius in the setup, pioneered in Seattle in 2006 but since evangelised to all the world’s major cities, is that your talk must be accompanied by 20 slides which advance on a timer until your five minutes is up. No going over time, no worries about losing your place, no shifting of feet in the audience.

Anyway, I searched around for a topic, wrote some notes, prepped a few slides and hopped up on stage at 93ft East on November the 8th and delivered this bit of talking. I was pretty nervous, having never attempted anything like this before, but I think it went ok. Watch and see!

21 comments
  1. Peter Bellini said:

    Brilliant Mike. I particuarly liked the line on what we would have done at 14 if journalists had turned up and asked us questions.

  2. VCM said:

    Go widen that social circle. Amazing like a TED talk, almost. Respect.

    • MichaelWStory said:

      Thanks for that, Vicky- It was lovely to work out some professional frustration in front of an audience!

  3. Angela said:

    Well done! Am so proud of you. Totally agree with your key point on the high cost of living in a low-trust society, and the terrible disservice that these hyperbolic docos do by eroding trust and sullying the name of journalism. (Also loved your nonchalant walk-off while the audience was whooping.)

  4. Adam vanLangenberg said:

    Great talk, I’ll be passing that around.

  5. So you’re saying London isn’t full of unemployed racial-minority teenagers shooting at each other?

  6. Bob from Harpenden said:

    Assuming your stats are correct (and I guess they are) then I applaud you. Yet another example of why we should be governed by folk who are a) compelled to government roles as per the jury system, b) emotionally mature, and c) numerically literate. Anyone who expresses a desire for government should be automatically be debarred.

    • Matt said:

      Which comes within 10% of the average of 3 shootings per week mentioned in the talk.

  7. Jenny said:

    Love it! Well said!

  8. I’ve been saying this for years, that murder is not news. It is a sad thing, but so are car crashes and cancer. Murder stories just make us frightened of something that’s not actually very likely. It’s why I read the FT: no murders, no celebrities, no sport, just things that actually matter.

    • David said:

      That’s the beauty of Fortean Times!

    • MichaelWStory said:

      Thanks buddy! Much appreciated

  9. CRB said:

    Found your mini talk deeply interesting; from your reminder of the random use of illustrations to the interviewed young gang ? members. It made perfect sense.

    • MichaelWStory said:

      Thanks, much appreciated!

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