Friday, 18 February 2011

the story

Once a year, the lovely Matt Locke warms the hearts of a few hundred people or so at Conway Hall in London with an event he calls The Story.

Matt asks a select and varied pool of story lovers, practitioners and tellers to share their thoughts on how and why what they do. The slots are 20 minute long. The money raised goes to the bizarre and brilliant Ministry of Stories And anyone can come along. It sells out. It's a once a year thing. And I'd never heard of it until last Autumn when Matt invited me to be one of the speakers.

The line-up was a truly tasty one. My slot fell between Adam Curtis (you scared me Adam - thank you) and Cornelia Parker (who stole my power supply - I'm after you Cornelia, but happy to settle for a piece of your beautiful artwork as recompense.)

One of Matt's brilliant (or terrible) ideas is not to video the day. Brilliant because it's a live event and the sense of commitment people had made to be there is part of its uniqueness; terrible because the content was of such great quality and richness that I need to see everyone's session again.

Anyway - last night as a way of rehearsing it really - to make sure I was close enough to hitting the 20 minute mark - I recorded an audio only version.

So here it is; for anyone who couldn't be there today and for anyone who was but who wants to hear it again or share it with someone else.

And if you want to see the slides in gorgeous HD along with the sound, here they are.

The short clips of conversation I use in the podcast might be familiar to the small band of people who've occasionally followed The Dialogue Project's work at the real and beautiful Latitude Festival or in the less real (and less beautiful?) worlds of Twitter, Facebook or anywhere else virtual.

But I've framed up the clips in this podcast a bit differently - as examples of my work as a story listener, rather than a story teller.

I loved being part of @thestory2011.

Thanks for asking me Matt. Thanks for hosting it Margaret. And thank you to Richard, Rebecca, Holly and everyone else who went out of their way to make today such a pleasure for me to be part of.

And thanks to all 400 of you in the audience today for giving such an incredible sense of attention for (what was apparently slightly longer than) 20 minutes.

I'm glowing a little bit with the responses so far. I hope the session was as stimulating to listen to as it was to do.

While it's fresh: things I want to remember about how I prepared.

1) I'm glad I rehearsed - it meant I could relax, enjoy it and tune in a bit to the audience.

2) I'm glad I had my standby Mac in my bag - having a Plan B doesn't make Plan A any less exciting.

3) I'm glad I had two cups of coffee on the go: one stage left, one stage right. It meant I didn't have to walk across the stage holding a cup of coffee.

Thank you to Billy, Stephen, Chris, Jane and Dan for letting me share your voices with some new people.

And thanks too to the young people whose voices I also used but can't name.

You were heard today.



  1. Hi Karl, I have been raving about your talk ever since I landed back in Melbourne last week. Beautiful work which really shows the power of simple stories to connect and create meaning. I also really liked your gentle pace and ethos of less is more. A real stand out for me. Well done. I would love to talk more about your work so I will ferret out a email address from your site or from my colleague Victoria Ward.

  2. Shawn - delighted that the session touched you. Less is more. Goodness me yes. Isn't it just? And harder to write the postcard than the letter always. Thrilled that you're spreading the word all the way over there in Melbourne. And happy to talk more.

    Here's to listening more. Or less!

  3. Hi Karl, I really loved your talk at The Story. It was really interesting and inspiring.

    I actually wrote about it a bit in the blog of my podcast series:

    I really engaged with what you have to say, it chimes with many of the things I've been thinking about in my own experiments with audio. It fits nicely into a movement I can see happening in independent audio, things like The Moth and Story Corps in America or Spark London in the UK where people tell their own stories.

    I'm hoping to promote your work in a curation for the the podcast searching site, although I don't know if yousendit links will work for them to stream or not (I do curations for them I don't know anything about the coding side!)

    Anyway I hope more people listening to your listening. It's really great what you're doing.


  4. Dave - your comments are a joy to read. It's really been fantastic to get responses from so many people I've never heard from before. And your passion for audio - and independent audio at that - is just a great thing to discover. As is the series of links that I'll happily explore in the next few days. In fact I'll download some stuff to listen to on a plane flight I have coming up. And doubtless I'll be in touch afterwards. For now - thanks for listening. Thanks for your thoughts and do feel free to promote anything you can. I'm trying to discover the best way to stream and share the audio. Downloading is awkward in some ways but at least for those who can be bothered they get to enjoy the mix (pretty hard panned left and right!) and the attention to detail that for me is half the joy. Let's keep talking. And listening.


  5. I'm using LibSyn ( which is pretty cheap and does everything for you, including putting it on iTunes. It also also provides you with a nice steaming player that you can embed on your blog. The ones on my podcast site are an example of what it looks like, although I change the dimensions from the standard one.

    Getting on iTunes is good cos people can subscribe to your feed. But libsyn also gives you an RSS feed for none iTunes users.