Sunday, 7 June 2009

Strap in, I've got alot to tell you...

So, this is my first blog on this account.

I thought I should first explain the seemingly awful, cheesy name I have given my account so here goes.

My name is Rosie. When I was a child I fell in love with a story book called Rosie's Walk for obvious reasons. It was about a hen called Rosie who lived on a farm and one day, decided to leave the coop and go for a stroll. Little did she know that there was a fox lurking who saw her as a tasty treat and set off following her with the ultimate aim of eating her. He, however, was a fairly incompetant fox who's plan kept being foiled by events such as stepping on the wrong end of a rake and being slammed in the face and falling in the duck pond. It is essentially a story of good versus evil with good winning out in the end as Rosie returns to the coop unscathed and unaware of the potential danger she was in.

So, I don't do much walking in real life. Well, it's not a hobby. I don't go on walking holidays etc so that isn't what this blog is going to be about. I couldn't think of a clever pun or a snappier title so we're stuck with Rosie's Walk (through life).

Now we can begin in earnest.

Yesterday, I went to a conference at Conway Hall titled 'Darwin, Humanism and Science'. Initially I went because Richard Dawkins was one of the speakers. I am a recent convert to him since I went to Robin Ince's '8 Lessons and Carols for the Godless' before Christmas. I have also since found out that he was a good friend of Douglas Adams and is married to a former Dr Who companion. How could I not like him?

Dawkins was the first speaker at 10.15 am and was, as expected, great. I wasn't familiar with any of the other speakers on the programme apart from A C Grayling who was on last at 4.45 pm so I wasn't sure what to expect for most of the day but I loved every minute of it. A lot of it focused on education, specifically the fight to get evolution taught in schools as well as stopping creationism taught as science. As I have been working in primary schools for the past two years in Tower Hamlets where the majority of children come from a Bangladeshi Muslim background, the subject matter appealed to me. In particular, James Williams, who trains people to become science teachers, gave a brilliant but also worrying talk about the teaching of evolution in schools (which doesn't properly take place until the ages 14-16) whereas creationists start influencing children from a very young age with comic books, magazines and appealing websites. He stressed how important it is to address children's misconceptions from a very early age as the older they get the harder it is to turn them around. It all seemed like common sense to me not to teach creationism as science and instead to educate children as to how the world came to be as it is today through the proven theory of evolution by natural selection but the resistance with which these proposals are met is astounding.

The other highlight for me was a talk from Babu Gogineni who highlighted the problems science was facing in India. The most shocking thing he told us was how funding for Physics and Chemisty was cut in order to fund degrees in Astrology.

At one point an audience member commented on how evolution proves that homosexuality isn't natural to which the host dismissed him and moved on to the next question. It reminded me of Robin Ince's quote from Richard Dawkins which was something along the lines of 'The great thing about an opinion like that is that we can completely ignore it' which is what everyone did.

After the conference I returned to my first love, live comedy. I headed straight off to the Union Chapel in Islington for Live at the Chapel. I felt like I was ruining the day slightly by rushing off to comedy. For ages now all I've thought about, talked about, or been to see is comedy and I've started trying to widen my horizons and become a more rounded and interesting person. So I'd spent the day doing just that, then reverted to type but never mind. On the bill were Greg Davies, Milton Jones, Joanna Neary, Reginald D Hunter and Russell Howard. It was a fantastic evening despite having to deal with idiots before the show. You don't get allocated seating at the Union Chapel so if want good seats you have to queue up early. Some people, however, have difficulty with this and decide to hang around the vicinity waiting for a friend, then stand around chatting trying to appear innocuous (not dissimilar to creationists) and then join the queue where they think they deserve to be. Last night that place was directly in front of my group. One of the people I was with took offence to this and told her to get in the queue at the back to which the lady in question argued that she had been waiting around for as long as we had. She was foreign which went someway to explain her lack of understanding of queueing and the importance of it to the British. She got an earful but still didn't move to the back, choosing instead to stand behind us, not quite grasping our point but I think our reasoning was lost on her.

I had an excellent Saturday but have woken up today feeling very rough following a string of late nights of which last night was only one. I also feel like I haven't had a full weekend. My brain had to work so hard to keep up yesterday it was like another day at work only more fun. I will only communicate with people through electronic devices today, I'd hate to inflict my face on anyone.