• Truth and Beauty, or “what in the hell is going on, Vinay?”

    by  • October 18, 2011 • Everything Else • 1 Comment

    Once in a while, life gets complicated. That’s not usually good news, but this time is an exception. I’ll try and keep the near-infinite complexity of the situation down to a few key core facts.

    * I left Ireland for a quick trip to visit the KaosPilots with Dougald (of Dark Mountain) and Barbora (of Magnificent Revolution, the bicycle power lab). It was an incredibly tough mission about challenging people’s core intellectual, personal and cultural assumptions about how the world worked, and I was left wondering about how to do that kind of education before people’s optimism has been tested against the dense stuff of life in the world. Perhaps it is perspective better learned late than early.

    * On the way back to Ireland, I visited one of the launch events at Hub Westminster, a night sure to live in Infamy. Suffice it to say, after several days of intense discssion with the team there, I moved back to London to contribute something to the effort. I am now curating a series of intellectual and cultural events in the evenings at the Hub, which start tomorrow night with the first of the TRUTH AND BEAUTY lecture series.

    This leaves some major personal issues unresolved for me: do I still live in Ireland? Am I less focussed on downside management, and more on creation and preservation of cultural capital? But these questions are subsidiary to the action taken – talking with Ansuman Biswas about what we might do in the space together brought me to a simple conclusion: if I do not do this, these things will not happen.

    The rest is details.

    We are going to start my event cycle at Hub Westminster fairly gently.


    On Tuesday nights, at 6:45PM, there will be dinner. For the first few weeks this will be a “bring Chinese food” type event, but we anticipate having catering very soon. Of course, you will still be able to bring your own food to eat and share, we can’t suit all tastes!

    At 8PM, there will be one hour of rigourous and inspiring intellectual exercise. We have a lot of smart friends, and they demand quality input, so we will try and find challenging and stimulating speakers on pertinent topics. We will keep the talks to one hour including questions, and expect to often have two or three shorter talks on a theme, debates, and other such formats. We are friendly and open to all suggested speakers, and please feel free to recommend yourself, particlarly if you bring an audience.

    At 9PM, we will adjourn for tea and discussions. There may be cocktails at some future point, if we can arrange them. Around 9:30PM there will be general exodus, because those with busy lives, early starts or children need to get home and cannot fully participate in an event which goes on all night. In fairness to them, we end early. This is important for our diversity, inclusivity and sustainability. Next week, we do it all again!

    Now, there is more.


    On Thursdays, we will have a second event. While T&B is of the mind, B&T is of the senses. We will start with music, acoustic and unplugged in all probability, and likely by candle light, health and safety permitting. At first we will try for the “one hour then tea and home!” format, but Thursday is followed by Friday, a day we can face a little worn, so it may be that we will go later by degrees. But we will certainly start with an hour, and go from there.

    I was asked to put something together late Thursday night. Tuesday – today, because this is after midnight! – will be our first event, under-publicised and virgin. But we will be there, with our friends, and hopefully with you.

    I’d like to thank the team at Hub Westminster from the depths of my being for their hard work, to manifest such an awe-inspiring space, and for their ambition to do things of significance in the world at a time when most people’s thoughts run to preservation, rather than audacious creation.

    There are two more notes.

    Firstly, this is just the beginning. TRUTH AND BEAUTY is a place to settle in to the new space, to meet friends, to think and plan. It is designed to be a sustainable anchor, a common ground, a familiar, friendly face. If we enjoy each-other’s company in such space enough to wish to work together to go further, events and conferences and other lecture series and film viewings and workshops and making of things and all manner of other engagement may result. But it all starts with getting the basics right, a cycle of gatherings and friendship, from which all else may grow.

    Secondly, in November, I will be finishing my work on The Future We Deserve with three lectures and three brief Unconferences on the topics raised in my talks. I will post full details tomorrow, but the dates are the first three Tuesdays and Thursdays in November.

    I hope you will be able to attend.

    Thank you so much for your care and support,


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    Vinay Gupta is a consultant on disaster relief and risk management.


    One Response to Truth and Beauty, or “what in the hell is going on, Vinay?”

    1. November 1, 2011 at 5:11 pm

      You were going to publish some details on the “The Future We Deserve” lecture/unconference series. Does that start tonight?

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