Martin Rowson

When?
Wednesday, July 1 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Martin Rowson

What's the talk about?

Martin will talk about offense and cartoons. More details will be confirmed nearer the time.

Martin Rowson is an editorial cartoonist and novelist. His genre is political satire and his style is scathing and graphic. He characterizes his work as "visual journalism.”

Dr Tim Miles

When?
Wednesday, August 5 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Dr Tim Miles

What's the talk about?

The children's author EB White once quipped: 'Analysing humour is like dissecting a live frog. No one is interested and the frog dies.' Studying comedy, at university level, has encouraged a number of criticisms, but two have dominated: that it is too frivolous when more 'serious' matters need to be investigated; and it is somehow beyond investigation because some people are just funny - they have 'funny bones' - and cannot, therefore, be taught. Reflecting this, when politicians, and the various advisory bodies, consider the direction that Higher Education should take, rarely are there worries that comedy is being insufficiently studied or researched. Instead, comedy is seen as something that should be extra-curricular, like the Footlights at Cambridge, and not part of serious academic work. To suggest otherwise leads to accusations of 'dumbing down', wasting public money, and 'soft' subjects on the curriculum.

In this talk I want to suggest that studying comedy offers us fascinating insights and important possibilities. A sense of humour, and a capacity to laugh in response to a cognitive or emotional state, is unique to humans. It is not surprising, therefore, that by looking at laughter we can discover important aspects about what it means to be human. The talk will seamlessly (hopefully) explore a path through evolutionary psychology, neuroscience, health care, pedagogy, cultural anthology, the performing arts, and other academic fields, looking at the work of comedy and humour scholars. Specifically, the areas discussed will include: the benefits of tickling rats to neuroscience; why Jeremy Clarkson is of political significance; and why you can get away with making very close-to-the-knuckle jokes in Japan but only under very specific circumstances. The talk will also briefly look at stand-up comedy, and my own doctoral research in which I argued that laughter rarely has much to do with anything being objectively funny, but is more connected to human relationships. I also want to briefly argue that teaching stand-up to undergraduates has value beyond an academic study of a performing art, in that it works well with widening participation goals, as well as developing vocational and transferable skills. Finally, I shall examine Bright Club, the comedy club where academics present research as comedy.

Tim Miles wrote jokes for BBC radio as an undergraduate, subsequently running his own comedy club booking the then-unknown Al Murray and Graham Norton. Having taught in Higher Education for ten years he was awarded a PhD by the University of Surrey in 2014, his doctoral research examining ways of analysing live stand-up comedy. He has been a member of the editorial board of Comedy Studies since 2010. He has published on a number of areas relating to comedy, including: comic responses to the 'Troubles' in Northern Ireland; humour and the erotic; and emotion in stand-up comedy. In 2015 his book Reading between the Punch-Lines; a Guide to Analysing Stand-up Comedy will be published. In 2015 he will also be editing an edition of Comedy Studies devoted to Japanese comedy. He occasionally performs stand-up at various Bright Clubs, winning the 'worst pun' award in 2013 for a joke about Nietzsche, which he promises not to tell during this talk.

Dr Kevin Felstead

When?
Wednesday, September 2 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Dr Kevin Felstead

What's the talk about?

Hypnotised, sedated and brainwashed, Carol’s childhood memories were eradicated and her mind was reordered through 20 years of protracted psychotherapy. Assigned a new identity, separated from her family, a myth was created around Carol which helped stoke the entire Satanic Abuse panic in the United Kingdom. Out of the blue, in 2005, Carol phoned her brother and said that she wanted to return home. One week later she died in mysterious circumstances. Her family then embarked on a quest to discover the truth about Carol’s life and death. Caught up in a frightening conspiracy of silence, misinformation and institutional cover-ups, they discovered what really happened to her mind, body and soul.

In 2014 Carol’s family were granted permission by the Solicitor General to apply to the High Court to order a new hearing and to quash the findings of the original inquest into her death.

Dr Kevin Felstead completed a doctorate in history at Keele University where he taught undergraduate courses on the history of crime, policing and punishment since 1800. He later taught American history at Liverpool Hope University College; subsequently Kevin was employed by High Peak Borough Council and from 2003 to 2011 by Manchester City Council working in the field of community safety, neighbourhood crime and justice. Kevin is the author (with Richard Felstead) of Justice for Carol – The True Story of Carol Felstead. He is currently employed as Director of Communications for the British False Memory Society.

More information about the Justice for Carol campaign can be found at http://www.justiceforcarol.com.

Ash Pryce

When?
Wednesday, October 7 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Ash Pryce

What's the talk about?

Hydesville. New York. 1848. The young Fox sisters begin communicating with the spirit of a murdered beggar and spiritualism is born. This interactive look at a history of talking to the dead will feature an array of magical treats including levitating tables, ectoplasm manifestation and spirit communication.

Part magic show, part comedy, part rational inquiry this fun show has regularly packed venues at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Ash has performed frequently at Skeptics in the Pub groups to positive responses.

NB: This is a skeptically themed show and not intended as an actual demonstration of mediumship or psychic abilities

Rob Bailey

When?
Wednesday, November 4 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Rob Bailey

What's the talk about?

Rob Bailey is a Chartered Psychologist, a member of the Magic Circle and a veteran of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, where, for 4 years he performed a one-man show as a ‘mind reader’. During that time, he felt increasing unease that although the show was meant to parody psychic powers and encourage critical thinking, he has risked replacing the audience’s beliefs in the paranormal with unwarranted beliefs in impossible psychological powers.

His new show is a response to that: Rob has stripped his routines back to include only genuine psychological principles. He will perform a few routines, followed by explanations (e.g. quirks of bias, memory and perception).

Exclusively for the Skeptics in the Pub audience, he will also discuss his thoughts about the pitfalls of attempting to promote critical thinking by using illusions.

Deborah Hyde

When?
Wednesday, December 2 2015 at 7:30PM

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Where?

60 Old Woolwich Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NY

Who?
Deborah Hyde

What's the talk about?

Krampus, a demon-like creature from Alpine folklore, punishes naughty children at Christmas - in contrast with Jolly St Nicholas who brings presents. Krampusnacht, usually celebrated on December 5th, involves dressing up as the Krampus and roaming the streets frightening children with chains and bells. The Krampus phenomenon has been re-kindled; growing in popularity in the US and increasingly appearing in the UK.

We'll look at where Christmas really comes from. See if you get candies.... or coal and a thrashing!