Monday, April 10, 2006

What's The Big Idea?

The Box Hill Festival of Ideas was held yesterday, and as the suburb's "most influential man with nothing to do on a Sunday afternoon" (The Age), I was invited to attend in an official capacity.

As you would expect, the ideas flowed thick and fast. Even casual conversation was loaded with brain-starters like "Let's get the hell out of here" and "I think I'll get Nando's takeaway for lunch". But it was the invited speakers who really impressed. Highlights included:

- Bottled lettuce pioneer Richard "Coeur de laitue" Taylor, who spoke eloquently of the possibility of forging world peace through the missionary dissemination of that weird multi-level chess game from Star Trek;

- Gail Cornish of the Clog Institute, who gave a thought-provoking presentation on the prospect of using flashers, streakers and other public nuisances as an alternative fuel source;

- Dr Tessa Ong's engrossing lecture, "'Nomological Danglers' and other cool-sounding terminology I picked up while studying philosophy";

- and linguist Professor Ian Kang, who demonstrated the innovative techniques that will finally allow Esperanto to be translated into armpit farts.

As chair of the event, I greatly enjoyed mixing with such esteemed thinkers. The day's only hitch occured when a specialist in radioactive medicine accidentally stabbed himself with a top-secret serum and mutated into a folding chair. Once he was safely stacked in the corner, however, the ideas were free to flow once more.

All in all it was a very pleasant way to spend a chilly Sunday. If only I'd had the idea to wear pants, I might have enjoyed it even more, as indeed might have the first few rows of the audience. As it was, only two people passed out, and apart from the inevitable law suits, everything will probably turn out fine.

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