I’m slowly coming down from the manic high that was Cheltenham Science Festival. Yup. As I had thought at the outset, I had clearly agreed to do more events than was sensible. That meant that I spent my whole time running from one place to the next and there wasn’t much slack to allow one to see many of the other events.
Two really stand out in my mind. One was Performance Under Pressure, a wonderful simulation of what happens in the operating theatre. Under the direction of Prof Roger Kneebone and his wife Dushka, a group of 14 medical students re-enacted the kind of thing that goes on in an operating theatre, possibly a bit enhanced to increase the tension. It was wonderful with Kneebone’s soft-spoken but authoritative introduction which included simple questions to the audience that quickly drew you in and personalized what was happening. And then the curtain was drawn aside to reveal the team working feverishly to save a dying stab victim. Gruesome, fascinating, terrifying, and very impressive. Shame I could only watch for about 15 minutes.
The other was my friend Alom Shaha‘s “Science vs. Magic”, a wonderful show comparing and contrasting the two. A tremendous tale, wonderful surprises along the way, and an utterly deranged level of energy that had everyone on the edge of their seats. Wow. I’m surprised he could even walk at the end. Fortunately I saved a few of his invisible balls.
And then tucked away in a corner behind the Town Hall where no one was looking were an amazing group of street acrobats, leaping and spinning off railings and balconies. If only I’d had a camera. My son, aged 6, and I were both mesmerized. But the car was waiting and then we were off to the station, the Festival over. Too soon…..
So many friends seen and so little time.