Showing posts with label Storytelling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Storytelling. Show all posts

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

The Do Book Company and Lectures

Last week I went to a great event held at Bristol's independent record and book store Rise. I've actually been to a few really good in store gigs there - often musicians performing shows in larger music venues around Bristol will do a short set or a couple of acoustic songs to promote the release of a new album or encourage fans to come to a later gig. Personally I much prefer, smaller more intimate venues so sometimes I will prefer to watch the Rise in store performances (especially seeing as they are often free!)

This event was to promote the launch of a new book series released by the 'Do Book Company' - an independent publishing house based in Shoreditch. 'Do Books' are a series of 11 inspirational pocket guide books which aim to create positive changes be it through learning a new skill or craft, a shift in thinking or by giving you the inspiration and encouragement to achieve a goal or dream. Each book is only about 100 pages, making them quick and easy to read and focusing on the practicalities of 'doing' rather than the background theory.

The books are written by speakers from the Do Lectures - which form part of a 3 day festival/conference founded in Cardigan, Wales. Fans of the world famous TED talks will love the Do lectures as they are very similar - the lectures cover a huge range of themes and subjects given by people from all walks of life.

During the promotional launch at rise, the authors of the following four books each gave a 15-20 minute lecture summarizing their book and how they came to write it:

  • Do Breathe - Calm your mind. Find your focus. Get stuff done. - Michael Townsend Williams
  • Do Disrupt - Change the status quo. Or become it. - Mark Shayler 
  • Do Purpose - Why brands with a purpose do better and matter more. - David Hieatt
  • Do Fly - Find your way. Make a living. Be your best self. - Gavin Strange

Each author was so engaging and interesting in different ways and although they only spoke for a short amount of time, I could have happily sat there and listened to them all night! I could have bought the whole series of books there and then but the one that really caught my eye (partly because of the awesome name of the author!) was Do Story - How to tell your story so the world listens. (Written by Bobette Buster)

I'm really into true story telling events at the moment and am pretty addicted to podcasts and blogs like The Moth, Humans of New York etc... Bobettes book offers some great advice on how to tell your own story and how the skills used to do this can be really beneficial to other aspects of your life, be it personal or professional.

The evening was rounded off by a great musical performance by Luke Sital Singh who I had been wanting to see again since watching him perform in the pouring rain two years ago at glastonbury - it was nice to watch him in the warm and dry comfort of the rise record store!

The books are definitely worth reading - as I said they are pretty short so they are accessible for people who are not really into reading and cover a wide range of subjects. I would love to attend the Do Lectures festival and the other events that they are now holding all around the world - however I was slightly dismayed when I went on their website and discovered that tickets for the 3 day event cost over £1200! So I guess for now I will stick with my slightly more affordable paperback book! On a serious note this is something that has been irritating me a lot lately ( - events which are apparently aim to "inspire and encourage discussion and debate between young people from all backgrounds" but are then priced so that only really high earners can possibly afford the tickets) and is something I will write about in an upcoming post.

However I should say that there are a lot of videos on the do lectures website that you can watch for free so do check them out here:

Monday, 7 September 2015


Last week my Mom introduced me to a great new blog called commuteblog which each day features photographs and stories of commuters that the author meets on the tube in London. Each post is just a small snippet into the commuters lives however it is so heartwarming that people are willing to share their stories and offer such an interesting insight to struggles and pleasures of day to day living. This week the author of the blog posted the following quote in reference to the recent refugee crisis.

 It really resonated with me and got me thinking about how so many things in life are so much better shared. With that in mind I started to compile a list of my favourite things to share. What do you love sharing? Think about it and let me know.     

Things that are better shared


Finding a story or book that is so good that you become completely immersed in the world of its characters to the point where you don't want it to end is a rare pleasure... but when you are able to share that with someone equally obsessed with it as you its even better! For me the best personal example I have have of this is the Harry Potter series. My sister and I grew up with the books as they were being released and we absolutely loved them. So many of our games and conversations revolved around the world of Hogwarts - we would dress up in wizard robes, make our own wands, burn paper so it looked like parchment.. all kinds of crazy and imaginative things! One summer we went on holiday to Italy as a family at the exact time when the 6th book was being released (poor organisational/holiday booking skills by my parents ha!) so obviously my sister and I were distraught that we wouldn't be able to get hold of an English copy of the book and may have to wait 2 weeks until we returned to the UK! After traipsing around every book shop in Florence we were able to find just 1 english version of the book and in order to avoid fights we decided we would read it (page by page) at the same time! Whenever one of us wanted to read it the other one would have to as well so that we were always at the same point! 
And actually it wasn't just me and my sister who shared a love for Harry Potter - it involved the whole family! Another summer we went on holiday to New England and spent a lot of time driving from one state to another. Many hours were spent in total silence in the car as we all listened to the recorded version of the Harry Potter books narrated by Stephen Fry. To this day we still love Harry Potter and I love talking to my sister about it and discussing various theories and plot lines within the books!


This is probably quite an obvious and popular choice but sharing music (particularly live music) can be such a wonderful experience. I have been to quite a few music festivals where I have been listening to a favourite band or artist and have then perhaps caught the eye of a stranger in the audience and just without any words or conversation needed have been able to share such a great moment of pure joy and emotion. The same goes for sharing music with friends - sometimes its nice just not to need to speak and just listen to a sound you both love and appreciate.

My top shared music experiences would be:
Bon Iver at Latitude festival
Arcade Fire at Alexandra Palace
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero's again at Latitude festival
First Aid Kit at Glastonbury
and one from my teenage years: Bob Marley and the wailers - listened to throughout the summer of 2016 in friends bedrooms and at house parties!


I guess this follows on from my first choice but not having shared my childhood with my sister is something that is completely unimaginable to me. I don't think you necessarily need to have a sibling to share your childhood with - many children have lots of friends (real or imaginary!) cousins, neighbours or pets who they are able to play and have fun with. But surely there can be nothing worse than being lonely as a child. I have so many happy memories of growing up and playing in the garden with my sister and no matter what happens to us as adults and how different our lives may be from one another we will always have that happy shared experience that bonds as and we can look back on and smile. I know not everyone in the world is fortunate enough to have that (a point which has been painfully highlighted by the refugee crisis) which is really heartbreaking. Every one deserves to have a childhood shared with friends and family that they can continue to treasure as an adult.

Painful experiences

This may seem a bit of an odd one to include but I think its an important one. There is nothing worse than going through a painful experience or traumatic period in your life and feeling completely on your own with it. I don't really subscribe to the whole "everything happens for a reason" theory; in my opinion terrible and unfair things can happen for absolutely no reason at all. However I do firmly believe that there probably is something you can take and learn from everything, and that bad experiences do help you to become stronger and more resilient. When I have been in a particularly low and desperate state of mind having the support and love of my family has absolutely saved me and I know that facing those struggles alone would have been near impossible. So for that reason I add painful experiences to my list of things to share. I mean obviously ideally you wouldn't have any to share at all but if you have to go through bad times it makes it that little bit easier if there is someone by your side!

I feel like I don't want to end on that one as its a little bit melancholy but this post is becoming quite long and I don't want to ramble too much! 
What do you love to share? Let me know as it would be great to do a follow on post with other people's stories and memories of positive sharing experiences.

If you would like to follow the commute blog you can check it out here:

other similar and equally great blogs which document the lives and stories of everyday people that I love are:

Tuesday, 18 August 2015


Is there anything better than a good story? A book that you can't put down, a character who you feel such a connection with that you feel a slight sense of grief when the book ends... I have always been a pretty avid reader and from a young age I would often insist a big pile of books being left on my bed for me to delve into before I dropped off to sleep. 
Growing up I mostly read fiction, finding that these imaginative stories offered me solace and escape - a chance to daydream about fantasy worlds and eccentric characters. However as an adult I am now finding myself drawn to non fiction works the real life stories, accounts and experiences from humans around the world.

I first discovered 'The Moth' in book form - a collection of short real life experiences as told at live story telling events worldwide. Once I had read the book of these fascinating tales I then discovered the podcast which is a live recording of these story telling events. To give you a better idea, here is how 'The Moth' is explained on their website: 

"The Moth is an acclaimed not-for-profit organization dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling. It is a celebration of both the raconteur, who breathes fire into true tales of ordinary life, and the storytelling novice, who has lived through something extraordinary and yearns to share it. At the center of each performance is, of course, the story – and The Moth’s directors work with each storyteller to find, shape and present it.
Since its launch in 1997, The Moth has presented thousands of stories, told live and without notes, to standing-room-only crowds worldwide.

Moth shows are renowned for the great range of human experience they showcase. Each show starts with a theme, and the storytellers explore it, often in unexpected ways. Since each story is true and every voice authentic, the shows dance between documentary and theater, creating a unique, intimate, and often enlightening experience for the audience."

What's great about the stories featured on the Moth is that the performers themselves are so varied and diverse; people from all walks of life participate from street cleaners to world renowned surgeons. It is such an interesting insight into the lives of others and each story is unique - some describe monumental life changing events whilst others are about simple encounters that may have changed a negative pattern of thinking. 

I would definitely recommend anyone to buy the book and download the free weekly podcast, its hard to imagine anyone who wouldn't enjoy it. The stories I have listened to have made me laugh, cry and reflect upon my own experiences.

Most of the live storytelling events are held across America however there are also regular events in London - tickets sell fast though as they are becoming increasingly popular!
I have also found similar events run by different writing and performance groups in Bristol so I am really looking forward to attending a few of those - who knows maybe one day I will get up and perform myself!

Last night I with a friend to a storytelling event which featured authors and writers reading 10 minute short fictional stories. There was such a supportive atmosphere in the room and it was amazing how the whole audience were just transfixed by the narrators. I guess it just shows that you are never too old for a good story!

To find out more about 'The Moth' you can visit their website here which has a ton of information on the book, how to download the podcast or even get involved and submit your own story!