A few days ago, I hosted the first (and possibly the last ever) Talk Shmalk. The event consisted of food, drink, copious amounts of tobacco but most importantly, an idea. The premise was to curate a space in which people could bring an object, an image or any other stimuli, discuss its importance and open it up to a group discussion.
The idea came to me as I was completing my final ever essay as an undergraduate. I had that ‘third year existential panic’ where I had to fact the fact all this was soon to be over. Purely as a means of procrastination, I took a break and began to think about my life a student. The goods, the bads, the never-happening-agains; and what I had learnt; both inside the classroom and outside of it.
I reasoned that university had really pushed me into becoming comfortable in my own skin and pursuing my talents and interests; but ironically did not prep me to become an independent thinker. I felt as though I had been pumped up full of information with the expectation to regurgitate. I never really had the chance to process what I was being told and it oddly made me feel hollow. No one wants to spend £27,000 to realise they don’t know how to think for themselves. It’s a harrowing realisation.
Talk Shmalk was a way for me to touch base with some incredibly beautiful people who had so much life bursting inside of them, but were burdened by the mundane or priorities that triumphed over their downtime. I had felt so far removed from people personally and intellectually, that I generally felt unfulfilled as a person. I was so happy that people were eager to share and did so with complete and utter honesty.
We covered so many basis, from polyamory to dead languages, to seeing ourselves in the sixth dimension. Accompanied by great music, good food and general camaraderie, it was a great way to round off all the data that was programmed in our minds. Not once did I feel undervalued, undermined or obsolete. I was adamant it was to be a safe space and low and behold we stayed talking till 3am. I went to bed that evening with a feeling of warmth at my core. It felt good to actually talk to someone, no screen, no wi-fi, no interface. There is something to be said for a good old chit chat.
So, I urge anyone who is feeling a little disgruntled, or maybe just wants to find something different to mentally stimulate them, set up your own Talk Shmalk. Remember it’s a safe, respectful place and ISN’T a party. Your guests should feel welcome and at ease. All the better if people bring food and other tidbits to help set the mood. I certainly enjoyed the evening and look forward to hosting another one soon, somewhere down the line.
(N.B. The photos included are not from the actual Talk Shmalk as I took them all on film, but you get the idea).