(Myself and Peter killing it at Kilkenomics)
Last weekend I was back in Kilkenny for my favourite time of year: Kilkenomics! Some of you may remember last year when I was invited onto a panel with a load of really lovely economists, journalists, and David O'Doherty to talk about the Economics of Sin.
A few months ago I got a message from one of my fellow panelists, Peter Antonioni, to see if I'd like to collaborate on a whole show about the Economics of Sex.
Hmmm....lemme think about that for a minute............YES!!!
My enthusiastic acceptance of Peter's proposal was only due in part to my love of talking to people about sex. The other part is due to the fact that Kilkenomics is actually pure magic. David McWilliams and co. have created something truly special and unlike any other festival I've been too. In the past I've often ignored newspaper articles about local and international economies, because I didn't feel like they were meant for me. They spoke in a language I didn't understand, and that excluded me from the conversation.
Kilkenomics is literally for everyone, and accessibility is the name of the game - everything from it's location to the affordable show prices. Shows are paired with comedians as MC's to translate jargon, ask questions, and moderate debates. The festival is strategic in making everyone feel welcome and encouraging the audience to take part. It's a true testament to the idea that the public will be interested and engaged if you don't talk down to them. I only wish some of our politicians would have been there to see that.
My favourite bit about Kilkenomics though is the evening nibbles reception. You see, we contributors don't get paid to speak. We sing for our supper, which has created an incredibly warm "Eat, Drink, and be Merry"-type atmosphere. Everyone including the punters are invited along, and by the end of the night everyone is chatting with everyone.
I think it speaks to how diverse and inclusive Kilkenomics is that they'd invite back and encourage someone like me, an online sex shop owner, to contribute to the conversation. I really hope they'll let me contribute again next year. Thanks so much to everyone involved, especially David, Naoise, Richard, and Miriam. You lot are amazing!