Last Friday, Speakers Corner ended the week in style with a group visit to The Lost Lectures’ Lost Chance Saloon, held this year at legendary East-end venue, The Troxy. This fabulously art deco venue was the perfect setting for the overall theme of the evening, and revellers were adorned in an array of roaring twenties garb (Speakers Corner included, although some made more of an effort than others!).
As we entered the theatre, the sound of Champagne corks popping all around the room was unmistakeable, and it wasn’t long before we followed suit and enjoyed a glass of bubbly. There were people drinking cocktails from teacups, gaggles of people at the ‘Magic Potions’ bar and the smell of gangsters’ grub floating through the air. The atmosphere was electric and we indulged in some serious people-watching before our first speaker took to the stage.
The Lost Chance Saloon is a unique concept. On their website, they describe the event as an “intellectual infusion unlike any other” and we were told to “expect an eclectic mix of World Class speakers in a decedent haze of ideas and inspiration, while highbrow high-jinx and devious demos toy with your every sense”. Now, if you are reading this blog post, I hope you’ll agree that it’s fair to say Speakers Corner knows a thing or two about the speaking circuit… and yet, this was a totally new approach that challenged our preconceived ideas about keynote speakers, the audiences they speak to, and the general flow/format of the event.
We heard from a diverse range of speakers and skillsets; some controversial, some entertaining, some all-out terrifying (not one member of the SC team got up and involved in the aerobic session!!)… it was definitely an experience.
Particular highlights for the Speakers Corner team included the terrific Hackney Colliery Band and Dark Web specialist Joseph Cox who talked about the “vast foreboding world beneath the surface of the searchable web”.
Without a doubt, however, standout moment of the night has to be when Speakers Corner Director Tim Gold realised that the eccentric ‘mad professor’ scientists that we were watching blow things up on stage - Andrew Szydlo – was his Chemistry teacher from his school days! Brilliant!!