It took 24 hours and more coffee than is probably healthy, but we have reached the end. This morning conversation moved to the nature of the Universe, and I spent some time reflecting on what just happened.
Brian Cox, the photogenic physicist from Manchester University explained the point of some of his work at the Large Hydrogen Collider (which Microsoft spell checkers everywhere want to suggest should be called something much more naughty), which will help us understand what the Universe looked like just 0.0000000001 seconds into its lifetime.
The conclusion? Nobody really knows much about any of this stuff. I’m certainly not going to try to explain it to you right now, and I suspect that after 24 hours of talks, nobody in the audience is going to be able to either. Sleep deprivation aplenty here.
You might have noticed that in the last 24 hours I’ve produced quite a lot of output here.
Yesterday lunchtime I started coverage of the Tony Wilson Experience with the first conversation focused on observations about life, Manchester and creative failure from Peter Saville and Steve Coogan.
I met Frank Sidebottom who gave us a World premiere of his new composition.
By the evening things had livened up and Richard Leese was found defending his position on development of certain key buildings important to Manchester’s heritage.
Eight hours in and the audience were revolting about the lack of interactivity. This was an issue that they took on themselves over the following 16 hours to some extent, but the rowdy ones were always shut up, despite the organisers’ wishes for it be more chaotic.
As dusk descended meaty and important subjects were considered and debated. For me at least, that one discussion will stick in my mind as being the highlight of the entire 24 hours.
By this morning the gossip about the night before was in full swing, and stories of fights, fire alarms and interesting encounters with Mancunian celebrities were circulating in the press room.
And finally, people started asking about what this really means at a social level. There are some very big questions floating around this morning, including what will happen next year and what should happen in the mean time.
I feel inspired, but not enough to continue blogging at this pace. Many of you will be relieved to hear that.
For those of you overwhelmed by the output of this blog over the last few days – I make this the 16th post in 4 days – you will be pleased to know I’m now taking a break. The last few days have seen some amazing people discuss some great issues here in Manchester, from censorship in China through to the future of research at Manchester University, from the commercialisation of art to how we can all find inspiration to be creative in everything we see and hear around us. The last 24 hours has been a memorial and also a pause for thought about the future.
Thank you for reading, I’ll follow up with posts when videos of talks come online, and if you feel inspired by anything you see or hear as a result of these events, good luck and please get in touch so we can follow your progress.