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Ignite Music – The Aftermath

April 22, 2011

Well, that was fantastic.

Ignite Music is over and it couldn’t have been better. The *spirit* of it was exactly what we were after. Lots of people in a room listening to a bunch of erudite, eloquent, witty speakers presenting on a wide variety of music geekery. Affirming what we know -> that music matters, for entertainment, for culture, for our mental well-being, to fall in love with, to alleviate boredom. Just because it does!

We’re already starting to plan the next one. Probably late-August/early-September. Ignite London is going to be in October, I think, so we want to get the Music iteration out of the way so there’s no confusion between the two.

The venue, Concrete, was just the job – beautifully done out, clean, well laid-out with pretty decent visibility, (maybe a little restricted at the sides but if you shuffled one way or the other you could see fine), good sound system and with *great* staff who were glad to help. We’d definitely use it again, if they’ll have us.

Every speaker was wonderful, with an interesting variety of topics and speaking styles. Maybe Rob and I need to make sure that next time the programme is slightly less industry-centric, but that wasn’t the individual speaker’s fault – they each stepped up and did a fine job. We’ve had feedback that our talk at the start of the night set the tone nicely, and hopefully it will trigger a few people in the audience to come up with geeky talks of their own for next time. I know I could fill another Ignite talk with further ideas I have for Ignite talks, so maybe we could make it a regular feature, though perhaps best to see what proposals we get in, first – we might be surplus to requirements.

One of the downsides of compering an event like that is you don’t really get to appreciate the talks – you’re dashing around making sure you know what to say about the next talk, checking on the raffle prize etc. So I’m trying to think now which were the talks which spoke loudest to me, and I’m struggling! It probably wouldn’t be fair to single anyone out, anyway. I listened most intently to the talks from people who I’d personally invited – Leon Neville, Ian King, Sarah Rogers, Matt Sheret and Steve Bowbrick. I was most invested in them – I didn’t want to think I’d co-ersed them into speaking if they found it too stressful, if they perhaps weren’t up to the job, if they somehow missed the brief, if they had no aptitude for it. Obviously, I wouldn’t have asked them if I seriously thought they might be out of their depth – I’m not a sadist! But till I’d seen them there was always going to be the tiny nagging doubt in the back of my head: it’s a big thing to present to a bunch of strangers. To my relief, they were all wonderful. Seriously good. They knew their subjects and delivered with aplomb, charm and assurance. I am beholden to each of them!

The three talks that spoke to grass roots music were Sarah Rogers’ talk about Amateur Musicians, Ian King’s talk about Folk Music and Leon Neville’s talk about Pirate Radio – which backs up something Ian said, that music is about inclusion, about everyone learning and grooving on everyone else, whether they’re walking the hills troubadour-style, in a village hall performing Calamity Jane or blasting on an illegal frequency from a tower block in Lambeth.

There’s a little something that came up in Matt’s talk that I should address. I need to explain why I’ve listened to my own band so many times on iTunes. It’s to do with the iterative music-making process – recording a bit, listening back to it a few times to work out what’s not working, and repeating the cycle until it’s as good as you can get it. It takes a lot of listening to do that. And I refuse to edit my Last.fm stats. (Actually. I’m more embarrassed that there are so many plays for Florence and the Machine – she follows Fleet Foxes, and picks up extra plays because I don’t switch iTunes off in time).

Of course that’s just one explanation why my songs are Scrobbled so frequently from my own playlist – another is I’m my own demographic, and I listen to my own songs so much because no bastard else will!

(Full disclosure: actually, fortunately for me, Matt missed The Scaremongers Labs, Beautiful Angel Birthday Boy, Crawfish, The Scaremongers Acoustic Enclave and The Ephemerals. All me, I’m afraid).

Infinite thanks to: Jase who worked the slides; Richard who recorded the video; Mike who took the photos; Andy and Becky for working the door, doing the sound balance and providing the Ignite banner; the whole audience who took a chance on an unproven event. Each and every speaker for having the guts to step up, and doing so so well. And especially to Rob, who did all the real work for the event, worked incredibly hard, provided everything we needed on the night, came up with the idea in the first place and generally for being a magnificent egg! Thanks, Rob!

So, onto the next one. Get your proposal in!

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