Archive for ‘public speaking’

August 7, 2016


Hello! I’ve been moving house, and WOW has it been tedious. It did speed up when I just started throwing all our stuff away. Forget KonMari’s “Does it spark joy?” edict; my future bestselling tidying handbook will make you ask, “Can I be arsed to make a decision about this object ever again?” The upshot is, if you peruse the charity shops of Crystal Palace, you can recreate 50% of my old home.

But apparently, among all the packing tape and dirt and existential malaise, I did some work! There are a bunch of Allusionist episodes, including one with some Olympics-related etymologies, and a discussion of brand names and how we came up with ‘Allusionist’ for the show, and another about generational terms such as Millennial and Generation X. And a contemplation of small talk, which came out the day after the EU Referendum which, amongst its many other effects, obliterated small talk.

On 24th September at 4.30pm, the first live Allusionist will take place as part of the London Podcast Festival. A handful of tickets remain, get one HERE.

There’s a bit of a backlog of my appearances on other podcasts, too. Eg:

  • Talking about a night bus journey gone bad on Nocturne: ‘A Luminous Bubble‘.
  • Talking about jingles on Between the Liner Notes: ‘Jingle Brains‘.
  • Talking about a couple of my favourite books on Charles Adrian’s Page One, episode 109.
  • Talking Drinking about it on Let’s Drink About It: ‘The Promise of a Premise‘.
  • Making a brief cameo on The Beef and Dairy Network: ‘Rio Special‘.
  • Discussing burnout on Millennial: ‘Systems Check‘.
May 16, 2016

LIVE!!! GIRLS!!!!*

*Actually just one: me**
**And I’m 36, so aged out of being a girl half a lifetime ago.

OK, let’s try again:

LIVE!!!! HUMAN WOMAN!!!!! WHO IS ME!!!!!!!

I’m leaving the house to appear in three live shows this month:

1. One Track Minds, Thursday 19 May, 7.30pm at the beautiful Wilton’s Music Hall in east London. Each performer is talking about a piece of music that changed their life in some way; mine’s the song that begat The AllusionistClick here for tickets.

2. Ex Libris Live, Saturday 21 May, 7pm at Blackwell’s Bookshop in Oxford. Four of us will be playing the extremely fun word game Ex Libris, which I have never won. WILL THIS BE MY TIME? The three others are writers, so… probably not. Click here for info and tickets.

3. Sunday Papers Live, Sunday 29 May, 1pm at Cecil Sharp House in north London. I’ll be hosting this afternoon of talks, music and comedy – in fact, my brother Andy will be there providing the latter. Apparently you can eat a roast dinner while you lounge around watching. Sounds good. Tickets!

January 27, 2015

Ex Libris

Well, this is going to be fun – tickets are here if you want to come along.

Ex Libris Invitation Oxford Lit Festival new

October 5, 2014

Boring IV

Earlier this year, I spoke at the Boring Conference. Amongst the many great talks, which you can watch here and here, I particularly enjoyed Ali Coote on ice cream vans, deputy editor of Mojo mag Andrew Male talking about Eric Clapton’s bookshelves, Rhodri Marsden exposing the monotony of national anthems, and of course my husband Martin Austwick banging on about eggs.

Here’s mine. It’s about my collection of mid-20th century cookery books, and the grimness therein:

February 10, 2014

Spark London, or, Troubles with my Aunt

Although the main podcast I make is a comedy show, my favourite genre of podcasts to listen to involves people telling true stories. The Moth, Love + Radio, Unfictional, This American Life, Strangers, Third Coast International Audio Festival… So imagine my excitement when I was invited to speak at Spark London, London’s premium stand-on-a-stage-and-tell-a-story-from-your-life show!

Then imagine my panic, because much as I enjoy my mostly solitary and undramatic life, it doesn’t generate much True Story material.

Luckily, there are two cracking True Stories in the family. One, I don’t think I can tell in public until all the main protagonists are dead.* So I told the other one:

The Spark London podcast is available on Mixcloud or iTunes.

*Maybe in 30 years I can return to Spark to tell it.

PS In case you don’t believe me about the typo on my grandmother’s gravestone, here’s photographic proof.

PPS Spotted backstage at Spark: a baby on a stick. Wonder if they have one of those at the Moth.

Spark baby

January 14, 2014


I’ve got a handful of live gigs coming up. The first is Stand Up Tragedy this Friday (17th) at the Hackney Attic. Kick-off is 7.30pm and tickets are just £5 if you buy in advance or £7 on the door.

Next: the Best of Spark London, 7.30pm Monday 3rd February at the Canal Cafe. Tickets available here. We Zaltzmen have two Great Family Stories. One involves espionage, international politics, Communism, ships and chicken, and I won’t be able to tell it until all the major players have died; the other, I’ll be telling at Spark.

On 4th March, I’ll be returning to Geek Showoff, for a fundraiser for Arts Emergency. It’s at the Slaughtered Lamb in Clerkenwell, which, if you needed extra incentive to come along, serves homemade fishfinger sandwiches.

September 18, 2013

impending live events

Next week I shall be leaving the house TWICE to participate in live events. Yes! Assuming I can remember where the front door is.

On Wednesday 25th September, I’ll be taking part in a Radio Academy event all about making audio comedy. It’s at the Phoenix on Cavendish Square in central London and will also feature comedy writer-presenters Gareth Gwynn and Jon Holmes, and radio and podcast producers Colin Anderson and Ben Walker. For more information and tickets, CLICK HERE.

Then on Thursday 26th September, I’ll pop up in Brighton at Jo Neary and Friends at the Caroline of Brunswick on Ditchling St, a hop and a step from Brighton railway station. I’ll be presenting a slideshow about my collection of sexist, racist mid-20th century cookbooks. Of course you need to see this, especially as tickets are only £3. CLICK HERE for details of the gig.
[UPDATE: alas I can no longer do the gig. But there’s a terrific line-up so you won’t miss me at all.]

Another event I did in late August, the live recording of Jordan Jesse Go!, is now available as a podcast HERE.