In Retrospect // Guardian Open Weekend
A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to cover and attend the Guardian’s inaugural Open Weekend festival, as you would have expected it was a transparent affair with ‘Guardianistas’ in their droves from all over the globe.
I and a few other contributors from LIVE Magazine (don’t watch the photo) immersed ourselves in a jovial and kind-natured utopia full of fragrant intellect that was the odour of both days in Kings Place – the Guardian HQ in North London. The high calibre of talks and performances on display in the arts,politics and even a session on how to tweet exemplified the broad capacity to accomodate in the spirit of open journalism.
Each of us had a separate schedule of events to attend and then report back to mentors from the paper who were uploading content onto the Guardian’s sustainability section on their website. Moreover, we were given the task of doing vox-pops with members of the public on their thoughts and opinions on the weekend as a whole for the following Monday morning edition of the newspaper.
You can read my copy on the opening event here which was meant to be with grumpy but funny fella Charlie Brooker (admittedly what would have been my highlight of the weekend) but as he was patiently waiting outside the gates of fatherhood he was unable to attend. Instead it was replaced with Sunday AM with Andrew Marr but with more warranted expletives and a whole load of s*** talk via columnists Gary Younge,Lucy Managan and Tim Dowling.
I think one of the best talks that still lingers in my temple is the early conversation that Peter Bradshaw had with Carol Morley, the slender and splendid director of Dreams of A Life, a recent docudrama which looked at the life of Joyce Vincent whose body was found three years after her death in her home above Wood Green Shopping City in North London.
The juxtaposition of the online persona and the offline is one which often conflicts,creating a profile to keep up appearances and build a facade to mask the reality of loneliness and faux popularity.( Tempted to include some Manuel Castells but I’ll leave it for now) Yet she died before social networking became the norm and alas no recent picture lifted from Facebook was shown of her alongside the news reports.
Morley enthused about Vincent’s aspiration and job success which led to her doing a balancing act between her black and white group of friends. It soon culminated in Joyce ailenating herself from family as well as friends. A sad conclusion,however, it allowed a lot of themes to be tackled and a thorough exploration of modern life or inner city pressure as a Metalheadz head honcho once said.
Have a read of a piece I did on Charlie Alcock and Uffe Elbæk’s How I Did It Talk session here
I look forward to attending this unique event next year in some capacity.
Thanks to Fiona and Hannah from The Guardian for their help throughout the whole weekend, the scholarly sensei’s Emma and Steve and LIVE Magazine as always.