In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act

Fundraising gig tonight

We (Bluesky Pie) have a big gig tonight at the Quarterhouse in Folkestone where 100% of the profits raised will be split equally between Oxfam and the Folkestone Winter Shelter. We are very grateful to all the bands who are playing for free, it is an amazing display of community spirit.

The rise of the music scene in Folkestone over the last few years has been amazing to see and with the increased visibility of our live music scene and the increased competition between the bands who are vying for gigs has seen the standard of the bands rising steeply too. This is in evidence tonight with six bands playing and many of them are easily as good of some of the household name bands on the scene at the moment.

If you love live music come along and check it out for your self, it starts at 7:30 tickets £5.00 on the door.

Homelessness is something we feel very strongly about. Some of them have serious issues in their lives and there is a huge variety of reasons why people become homeless. Sometimes as we studiously avoid the eye contact of the big issue sellers we can easily forget that they are human beings like us, they are someone’s sons and daughters and regardless of the issues in their lives they deserve to be helped and be given to opportunity to get back on their feet.

Obviously our government says it has no more money to help the homeless (the current cost of our involvement in Libya is £300 million and Afghanistan many times that) so it seems the only option we have is to eradicate it in our own towns and cities to make sure everyone has a roof over their heads.

Check out this short film I made about our attitudes to the homeless here and if you possibly can….. Get involved.


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Public Speaking – Pt. 1

In a recent Gallup poll asking 7,000 people what they feared most the results were as follows:

1. Public speaking (41%)
2. Your own/loved ones death (32%)
3. Insects and bugs (22%)
4. Financial problems (22%)
5. Relationship breakdowns (22%)
6. Fear of long nasal hair (20%) – (I made that one up)

Why is the fear of public speaking so high on the list? The fear of public speaking even has it’s own word glossophobia (from the Greek meaning ‘tongue’ and ‘fear or dread’) I have seen people literally be sick with nerves before they were about to speak, to shake uncontrollably or even walk off the stage mid way through their speech saying ‘I can’t do this’, but why?

I mean, we can all talk and we do so all day every day with little thought or planning so why does it alter when you merely have to stand up and talk in front of your peers? What is it about the seemingly innocuous task of talking to others while standing up that turns so many people to mush?

The answer to this lays in our brain and in the concept of fear its self. Most of our fears are hardwired in our brain in our amygdala or primitive brain, the same area of our brain that triggers our ‘fight or flight’ response to danger. Many of the fears we have are rightly there to protect us and our lives like the fear of ‘walking across a tight rope stretched from the BT Tower, with our trousers round our ankles carrying a bag of ferrets and no safety net’ for example which is clearly a prudent fear to have.

Some of our other fears are subtler and certainly more limiting in our lives and tend to be based around our place in society. We are talking especially about the fear of failure and the fear of rejection. These two fears do more to hold us back in our lives than most of the other fears put together, they prevent us from starting our own business, committing to learning something new, moving to a different place or meeting new people.

When these two fears come together at the same time, they become even more powerful and that is exactly what happens with public speaking. When we think about ourselves making a public speech we may visualize ourselves making a mess of our talk (failure) and imagine the poor opinion our audience will have of us (rejection) afterwards and bingo, we turn to jelly!

It doesn’t have to be this way though; public speaking is a skill that can be learnt. It will take some effort on your part, some planning and some commitment to learning new skills but you too could be a skilled public speaker and dare I say one day you may even enjoy it. You don’t believe me? Watch out for part 2 of my blog to find out how.

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October 4th 2011 – Does Neuromarketing work?

I attended this hugely entertaining debate at the Royal Institute of Great Britain full of questions of my own.

I stumbled upon neuroscience well over a decade ago at the same time as having a eureka moment realizing that the way most companies sell is outdated, heavy-handed and massively unsuccessful. I started to research what advances had been made by science in the field of selling and found neuroscience, it was love at first sight. So to say I was looking forward to this evening of neuroscience would have been an understatement.

Neuroscience basically measures the electro waves in our brains as we respond to stimuli and identifies which areas of our brains this electro energy travels to. Each area of the brain supposedly correlates to our feelings and emotions.

The first speaker was the fabulous Dr AK Pradeep who looked more like a rock star than a scientist and played his part on the evening not dissimilar to the Jeff Goldblum character in Jurassic Park.

He spoke with considerable authority, charm and fluidity using no discernable notes and he was not over reliant on the ubiquitous god-awful power point presentation either. He easily subjugated the audience as he paced the stage making his points and backed up his arguments with real sales data from his work and humor, I could have listened to him for hours.

Dr Pradeep’s basic theme was neuroscience does work although in its infancy and he can prove, that using it brings in more sales for companies.

Next up was Graham Lawton (deputy editor of new scientist) who explained what happened when the New Scientist used neuroscience to decide which of the three proposed covers of the magazine would bring them more sales. Mr Lawton came across as hugely likeable but the presentation seemed a little flat possibly due to it being heavily reliant on the evil power point.

Finally it was the turn of the skeptic on the night, Dr Mike Page who played Ian Hislop to Dr Pradeep’s Jeff Goldblum. Initially I thought Dr page was going to be dreadful as he spoke so regressively but I was wrong, he was brilliant. His basic argument was that neuroscience was the new emperor’s clothes and there was no scientific data to back up any of its claims.

He did not use the power point (hurray!) but instead relied on old school notes written on cards. Dr Page’s counter reasoning’s were razor sharp, solid and hilarious. He didn’t hold back at all and was cutting in his criticism of Dr Pradeep’s arguments, which made for excellent questions later as the 2 stood toe to toe.

The night was entertaining and informative but as I shuffled out of the opulent Royal Institute, I had some unanswered questions.

Is it ethical to use such technology to identify our buying motives so transparently?.

In an age of so much consumer debt do we really need some cutting edge black art that enables companies to sell us more stuff we don’t need?

I don’t know, do you?

Check out this totally brilliant sketchbook of the night done by the rather fabulous yahnyinlondon.

Does Neuromarketing Work?

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