Category Archives: Talks and Playshops

Vinay Gupta

Vinay Gupta (or ‘The Man Whose Job It Is to Constantly Imagine the Total Collapse of Humanity in Order to Save it’ according to  Vice) is a technologist and policy analyst with a particular interest in how specific technologies can create or close off avenues for decision makers. This interest has taken him through cryptography, energy policy, defence, security, resilience and disaster management arenas.  Vinay is currently engaged as a strategic architect for Consensus Systems, a New York based technology hub focussed on the ethereum blockchain and its applications.

Matt Smart

Matt Smart is an artist and sculptor experienced at producing high quality, large scale outside works. Shows include a solo show at The Turrill Sculpture Garden, and he has previously exhibited at Supernormal Festival. Through his work he explores notions on sustainability, and social treatment of tribes, diasporas and gender. He established and ran a South London gallery, exhibiting group and solo shows of artists with clinically diagnosed psychiatric conditions.

Not only will Matt be bringing his installation work to Festival 23, he will also be giving a talk in the 3rd Eye space callled “Dig up a lost princess to make sculptures with molehills”!

Ben Graham

Ben Graham is a poet, writer, performer, counter-culture historian and music journalist, whose work has appeared in the Quietus, the Stool Pigeon and Shindig magazine, among other publications. He is the author of ‘A Gathering of Promises: The Battle for Texas’s Psychedelic Music, from the 13th Floor Elevators to the Black Angels and Beyond’ (Zero Books, 2015). He has also self-published two novels and several collections of poetry. His work has been compared at various times to that of Lester Bangs, Julian Cope, John Sinclair, Hunter S Thompson, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Tom Wolfe and Colin Wilson. He grew up in West Yorkshire but is now firmly ensconced in Brighton.

Ben Graham

Jamie Kelsey Fry

Jamie Kelsey Fry is a contributing editor for New Internationalist, part of the Icelandic group the International Modern Media Institute, author of radical school textbook the Rax Toolkit and a renowned artivist. He has been called a “mob leader” by the Daily Mail, an “anarchist ring leader” by the Telegraph and a “professional trouble maker” by the Sun. He helped fight to save the Stonehenge festival in the 80s, ran around with Reclaim The Streets in the 90s, was very loud in Occupy London, helped Reclaim The Power win in Balcombe against fracking and is currently working with ten two meter square inflatable barricades to support youth voice coming into the #democracyspring.

He’s a regular radical voice on mainstream and independent media, provides guest vocals for several bands and has been in the background of the growing Psychedelic Society of the UK. He has worked with a diverse range of influential characters from Russel Brand and Jarvis Cocker to Vivienne Westwood and Bruce Reynolds, the Great Train Robber. His feet will forever be in the pond of the great Cardiacs gigs, his soul soars at the breaking of paradigms and the revolution of the mind and his heart belongs to a dog called Scrappy.

Tales From The Resistance:

Stories from the front lines of the growing global movement against disaster capitalism, the tyranny of the 1% and the fact that capitalism as we know it is fucking boring. From Barbie Liberation Organisation to the Yes Men, the mysterious Green Arrow of Kingsnorth to the glorious rampage of Josephine Witt and the genius upsurge of brandalism and direct democracy, Jamie will provide updates on what is happening and where, how you can take part and why revolution will not come from where it is expected to come from. “If I can’t dance then it ain’t my revolution” Emma Goldman.

Dido Fisher and Jonathan Goldsmith

With a firm friendship forged over 20 years ago over a mutual love of music, dancing, random acts of silliness and play, Jonathan and Dido met through their involvement with the Brighton Free Party scene. Dido was part of Slack, seminal Brighton sound-system & purveyors of serious-nonsense, while Jonathan ran Café Expose.

As is the way of the world, friendships were made and collaborations ensued and the rest is a convoluted pathway of interconnected neural networks, or to put in another way.. the rest is history….

For Festival 23, Jonathan and Dido have created a unique experiential playshop called: ‘Embodying your Inner Eris; The Erisian Principle in Play.’ Eris Discordia (HAIL ERIS!) exists in all things, that is the very nature of the sacred Chao. So that means she exists in you and you and you…

Dido and Jonathan are inviting you to join in and take a bite out of a new reality tunnel and build a greater connection to the Eris within, exploring what form she takes for each of you. You will experience for yourself how you too can walk in Eris’ shoes, seeing the world trough Eris’ eyes and find out for yourself what becomes possible when you let your own personal Goddess out to play.

They promise that by the end of this experience you will have an answer to the question that has been asked by sages/cabbages through the ages:

What would Eris do?

“Reality is the original Rorschach”

Oh, and for those of you that will be coming on the Thursday night and need to shake loose your Fnords… Just follow the white rabbit.

See you in your dreams!

Dr Bramwell

Dr. Bramwell is a man who likes to keep busy. A magpie by nature, he is a Sony-award winning presenter for BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4, host of Brighton’s Catalyst Club, author of the No9 Bus to Utopia, creator of the successful Cheeky Guide series and singer-songwriter in the band Oddfellow’s Casino.

As a performer he has toured several solo shows, won awards for ‘Best Comedy’ and Outstanding Theatre’ at Brighton Fringe Festival and, together with fellow musician Eliza Skelton, entertained festival and cinema audiences with “Sing-along-a-Wickerman”. He also co-hosts a popular fortnightly podcast, The Odditorium, with fellow performer, Dave Mounfield which has run as a spoken word tent at Wilderness, Secret Garden Party and Brighton Fringe Festival.

More recently Dr Bramwell has become known for his entertaining lectures and has spoken on such themes as ghost villages, the trickster, utopia, the community of Damanhur and postal pranks at TEDx, The School of Life, 5X15, Idler Academy, Hay Literary Festival, Wilderness, Sunday Assembly and the Lowry Theatre. He is however, just as happy performing in the back room of a pub.

It is worth noting that David is a medical man by rumour only; approach with extreme caution, particularly if he offers to whip out your tonsils in exchange for a packet of biscuits.

John Higgs: Ziggy Blackstar and the Art of Becoming

No Discordian event could possibly be complete without the presence of the wonderful John Higgs, author of The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band who Burned A Million Pounds, the best introduction to Discordianism for the uninitiated out there, in our opinion, and a prolific speaker, talker and thinker. John will be bringing his Ziggy Blackstar and the Art of Becoming talk, his unique perspective on David Bowie’s death and why it affected people as deeply as it did.

John is a writer who specialises in finding previously unsuspected narratives, hidden in obscure corners of our history and culture, which can change the way we see the world. The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band who Burned a Million Pounds, was described as “Adam Curtis brainstorming with Thomas Pynchon” by The Guardian. Ben Goldacre (Bad Science, Bad Pharma) called it “By far the best book this year, brilliant, discursive and wise.” The leading music website The Quietus said it “Might well be the best music book of the 2010s” and it was named as one of the top ten music books of 2013 by The Guardian, The Independent and Mojo.

Alan Moore describes his most recent book Stranger Than We Can Imagine: Making Sense of the Twentieth Century as “A breathtakingly lucid and coherent map of the tectonic shifts which drastically reshaped the human psyche, and the human world, within a hundred thrilling, terrifying years [and which] leaves us asking ourselves how we could have missed so much about the wider implications of a time we lived through. An illuminating work of massive insight, I cannot recommend this magnificent work too highly.” Together with his first book I Have America Surrounded: The Life of Timothy Leary, which features a foreword by Winona Ryder, his work is currently being translated into seven different languages.

A prolific public speaker, Higgs has spoken at events and festivals including Wilderness, The Secret Garden Party, the Brighton Festival, the Port Eliot Literary Festival and LonCon3 (the World Science Fiction Convention). He has written for publications including The Guardian, The Independent and Mojo, and his fiction appears under the name JMR Higgs.

Before turning to full-time writing he directed over 100 episodes of animated pre-school television, created the long-running BBC Radio 4 quiz series X Marks the Spot, and worked as producer on a number of videogames for the Xbox, PlayStation2 and Nintendo Gamecube. He lives in Brighton, England, with his partner and their two children.

DADA 101: An introduction to Defence Against the Dark Arts

Not everything in the Cosmic Trigger blast radius is necessarily good or helpful.

It gets Weird out in the Wyrd: sometimes it can seem as though you are not just wandering in Chapel Perilous, but being pursued. At times like that, it’s helpful to know the basics of how to protect yourself.

This is not about turning you into an occult badass: it’s more like a anti-mugging course for those who want to be safer in their travels.

DADA 101: An introduction to Defence Against the Dark Arts.

In this introductory workshop Cat Vincent, a long-time expert on magical protection and curse-breaking, will take you through some useful underlying concepts, such as grounding, shielding and counter-spelling. Providing an underlying model for combat magic, Cat will demonstrate how to use these principles to protect yourself and even to disperse unwanted forces.

All you need is to be comfortable and ready for some mild stretching (in all senses of the word).

About Cat Vincent…

Ian ‘Cat’ Vincent is a lifelong student of the occult, and a former paranormal protection consultant.

In recent years he has turned his attention to Fortean journalism, with a focus on examining the rise of ‘hyper-real’ (fiction-inspired) belief systems and other pop-culture manifestations of the occult. He was one of the earliest journalists to write in depth on the Slenderman phenomenon. His writing has appeared in Fortean Times, the American college text Apocalyptic Imaginary, a monthly column at Spiral Nature and the Darklore anthologies, and he is a a contributing editor at The Daily Grail.

He has lectured on subjects including Slenderman, the life and works of Robert Anton Wilson, the fictional roots of modern paganism and the Westernisation of Eastern beliefs at a range of venues including the Senate House Library, the University of Leicester and the Royal College of Art.

Lisa Lovebucket

Lisa Lovebucket

Lisa Lovebucket is Chair of the Teesside Literary Society, Gatekeeper of Chapel Perilous, Editor of Teesside University’s Creative Writing Blog and Founder of the Church United in the Name of Thinking.

Her short play ‘Sister of Mercy’ was performed at the Crossing the Tees Literary Festival in June this year, her first dalliance with scripting skills since she adapted part of Philip K Dick’s Divine Invasion for the stage (performed at the Horse Hospital, 2006). She quizmastered her interactive Game of Fnords ‘23’ at Frightened, Glastonbury and Passing Clouds (for the Cosmic Trigger crowdfunding appeal).

She used to suspect you could change the world by surreptitiously beaming KLF videos out from Alexandra Palace; these days she thinks that the Tees Transporter Bridge may be the focal point. She has been writing, designing and producing unnerving, bizarre and confounding publications since she was 23.

She has played a cybernetic alien in a Doctor Who play (with Ken Campbell from beyond the grave); a ‘hippie with nothing to contribute to society’ in MI23; and a born mystic with clairvoyant abilities in The Warp. She co-founded Subliminal Revolutions in London 23 years ago, spending months of her life helping to organise their infamous allnighter ‘All Hail Discordia’ in 1995, before getting too whacked on the night and missing the entire event. (She may still have DJed.)

Nick Margerrison

Who is Nick Margerrison? In short he’s a TV presenter, writer and an award winning radio presenter. In long, he’s worked on LBC, Kerrang Radio, Hallam FM and The Bay. And other places, for a bit. The TV show he presented was called “Esoteria” and ran for two series on Controversial TV (Sky channel 200).

Nick currently writes for the Disinformation website and presents the fantastical Cult Of Nick podcasts. The Cult Of Nick is more than just a podcast … it’s a podcast with a silly name. Highlights include astronaut Edgar Mitchell, uber conspiracy theorist David Icke, and former MI5 spook David Shayler – all in the archive – along with interviews from many of our co-conspirators including Daisy Campbell, John Higgs, CJ Stone and The Buddhist Punk. New uploads every Tuesday. You can join “the internet’s least sinister cult” by listening to all of them.