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Having a good rant ...

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Ian McMillan Ian McMillan | 15:06 UK Time, Saturday, 6 November 2010

 

Ian McMillan

Ian McMillan blogging from Radio 3's Free Thinking Festival

I'm fresh from the ranters event here at Freethinking which was, as they say, an excellent example of cross-generational thinking . Four young people and two older members of the public stood up in front of an audience and ranted for two minutes (guided by my trusty Radio 3 horn) on the broad themes around the central Free Thinking idea of Happiness guided by me and the excellent Alfie Joey.

The subjects of the rants (although 'rants' is an odd term for some of the polite, witty, well-constructed essays that we heard) ranged widely from exasperation at the amount of change you get in your pockets, via a plea for us all to step out of our comfort zones, to a passionate plea for us all to value our friends more;  everyone was moved and stimulated by the sight and sound of people standing and delivering in such a lively way.

 

And then we made a song up! Last year we'd made a kind of flat-cap rap about the rants and this year I foolishly said I'd help to make a song on the theme of happiness; we wrote lines on a flipchart and then someone referred to the phrase 'happy as Larry' and wondered who Larry was and we were away!

 

The song built and built and there was a great deal of community singing about Larry and the pursuit of happiness… but here's a funny thing about the function of memory. I can't remember any of the lines. I know that at the time it was a magical occasion; somebody called it a 'miracle' but maybe the idea of a miracle is that it's for the moment, and then the ripples spread out over history. Just like Free Thinking, in fact. And you'll be able to hear the song on a future edition of Radio 3's Night Waves memorably…

 

The Free Thinking Festival at The Sage Gateshead continues on Radio 3 until Sunday 7 November; recordings from the Festival will be broadcast in the coming weeks on Radio 3.

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