The Event, by @finalbullet

Leila Johnston organised two afternoons of preparing plebes for the apocalypse that has been widely predicted to happen in 2012. I went along to the second one last weekend, where I sat ensconced in a bunker (OK, basement of a pub) in Fitzrovia with fellow geeks and listened to experts with the necessary knowledge of what to do in the event of – well, the worst.

Author Catherine O’Flynn spoke about the Hack Green secret nuclear bunker in England, originally built to house radar equipment during the Second World War. It still exists, and it looks amazing.

I saw MJ Hibbett perform at a conference last year, and realised a couple of minutes into his performance that was why I thought he looked familiar. Anyway, he performed a song called ‘Dinosaur Planet’ with a friend, and even wore a silver papier mache robot head for a bit, which rocked. Here’s a video of the song, and you really ought to listen to the lyrics carefully because they are so funny.

Of course I’d read about hexayurts ages ago, but I was amazed that I’d forgotten that it was Vinay Gupta behind their creation. He is a disaster management expert who gave us some key tips on what to do in the case of a natural disaster: like stay locked in your house for 30 days because by then whatever it is would have receded.

Author Alex Preston read an excerpt from his latest book The Revelations. I didn’t know whether to be scared or not when he said that most of the people he knew from university all landed up in a cult of some sort.

Suzanne Newcombe and Sarah Hardy research religious sects and cults for a living as part of INFORM, a think tank at the LSE. The best question was from someone at the audience who asked at what point they don’t roll their eyes and say ‘not again’ when they hear of yet another mad person or group to research. I don’t think there was a real answer to that, just that it happens!

What I really liked about The Event was that it wasn’t like the usual talks I go to. It was a refreshing change and most of the speakers were just really cool – I mean nuclear bunkers, disaster management, religious cults – let’s face it, not your everyday conference. Well done Leila for putting it together!


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