Science Festival 1

Sunday 17th June 2012

ALAN picks me up, there being no Sunday buses to Cheltenham any more. Of similar ages and inclinations, we chat about festivals, friends, what our daughters are up to. I keep wondering if I’ve forgotten anything.

The box containing racks, pads and pencils awaits my arrival in the green room. Robert Winston is there too, pleased that I’ve replaced Moore’s Law with Metcalfe’s.

“Do you have a copy of the scripts? I seem to have misplaced mine.”

The girls in the office are tired after a week of little sleep. Nobody knows where the repaired score-card is, but they assure me they can quickly make another, as well as print what’s needed from my memory stick.

There are welcome hugs from Kathy Sykes and Quentin Cooper, who’ve done this event many times before: dependable, quick-thinking, hugely intelligent: all too brief, these annual reunions.

In the garden, grinning a greeting, sits Robin Ince. He’s not yet seen what I’ve written for him.

“Sorry, I’ve been on tour. Do you have a copy…?”

Maggie Aderin-Pocock is warm-hearted and a hoot, quick to forgive when we realise I sent her the wrong names to introduce. Marcus Brigstocke has the relaxed air of a man who could busk anything.

Now, where did I put my rucksack? Good thing I also brought a CD of the theme tune: must have left the memory stick at home.

Event manager Annabel agrees to let volunteer helpers Alan and Neil leave their posts by fire exits to turn the score-cards over after each round.

That’s nice: they’ve pulled the curtains across the mirrors behind the bar, which was distracting last year. We run through the slides: Phenakistocope to Keeker.

No rucksack means no hairbrush. No matter: remember Einstein.

The sound check is far from easy for engineer Matt. Everyone talks at once, sharpening wits, preparing to outsmart. Maggie’s toddler daughter clambers on to her lap. Robin teases Robert and Quentin about this year having the seats perilously close to the edge of the stage.

Call My Scientific Bluff is going to be fun.






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