…and five or six people were stood in front of me, holding hands and going “ommmmmmm ommmmmmm ommmmmm”.
I was talking for the Merseyside Skeptics Society and I had started with a demo to make people understand the things I had experienced in the past that had turned me to skepticism – this time I had chosen to use the chanting séance demo and, to my surprise, people had actually volunteered to be ridiculed to help me make a point.
It was pretty awesome.
It was the fourth talk I have done for a ‘skeptics in the pub’ group and I am happy to tell you that it was the best group I have ever spoken for.
If you run a ‘skeptics in the pub’ group, or if you are thinking of setting one up I think you should go to Liverpool and attend one their talks or social events because what they do is almost magical and unlike any ‘skeptics in the pub’ I have attended or spoken at before.
The organisers had to deal with a huge mess up with the room they normally use, (it was double booked), and it was out of their control, but as I stood at the edge of the room I was going to have to talk in instead and watched them set everything up it was clear to see they were in control of the situation (or at least made it seem that way).
The talk itself was a joy to deliver because the audience were so friendly and chatty and they actually smiled. SMILED. There is nothing worse that looking out into a sea of blank faces.
Not only that but the people there were willing to get involved when I handed pieces of ghost equipment around – normally people seem a bit reluctant to touch the ouija board, but there were the Mersey skeptics, communicating with someone called ‘Treb3′ through the ouija board. It was fab.
They even laughed at my jokes and stuff.
The thing that also stood out for me was the time after the talk had finished. It was brilliant! Normally after a talk for a skeptics group everyone heads off to do their own thing and I’m on my way home by 10pm, but that wasn’t the case this time.
There was lots of good, fun chatter, someone brought out a very faulty wallet, I learnt about AJ’s obsession, I got to see Joe Nickell’s wooden nickel business card WHICH WAS AWESOME! There was also terrible humor (as expected), and lots of people coming up and saying hi. Basically, the evening felt as though my talk was a small part of a bigger social event and that is exactly what I think ‘skeptics in the pub’ events should be like. People felt at home there, that much was clear, and because of that I felt at home too.
There was no awkward ‘I’m the speaker’ feeling that is often obvious at such events. It was great (even learning about AJ’s obsession despite the fact that it got more and more disturbing…)
Basically, I can’t wait until the QED conference because the people who are behind the Merseyside Skeptics Society are also behind QED (as are the Manchester skeptics too) and, if last night was anything to go by, QED is going to be amazing.
Thank you to everyone who came along to my talk last night. Thank you for laughing and for joining in and for asking honest questions – I only hope I gave you the answers that you needed.
Thank you to the person wearing the ghost busters T-shirt. I saw it, I just didn’t get a chance to say so.
Thank you Marsh, Mike, AJ and Colin for making a talk so much fun.
Next year my talk is going to be going nearly bloody everywhere – check out the ‘talks and stuff’ page on this blog for information on where and when I’ll be talking. It could be a pub near you!