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13 May 2008

1968 - We weren't there, but we should remember

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We had a crackingly good day at Conway Hall, in London on Saturday. The '1968 and all that' conference was a hot pot of revolutionary thinkers, revolutionary doers, revolutionary speakers, revolutionary listeners, peacemakers, pacifists, agitators, activists, children with bagels, books, badges and even a board game besides ours. Outrageous. Everyone appeared to be jolly friendly which was probably due to the excellent real ale, or the excellent bagels.

We entered the main hall to find our good friends Housmans Booksellers were to be our stall neighbours - Their backdrop was a fine collection of artworks from 1968, some of which can be found on the '1968 and all that' site. They were so friendly they gave us a set of posters. The bunker that we hide away in by day has never looked so good, sexy, sixties, revolutionary. Needless to say we got to work and did our best to match these design classics with our own tried and tested stall classics - quality quotes, unexploded bomb signs, camo netting and a rubber vulture, naturally.

We met many good people including Dr Richard Barbrook, who is a senior lecturer in the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Languages at the University of Westminster and a founding member of Class Wargames. Class Wargames are great advocates of Guy Debord's board game (a life long project no less), 'The Game of War', which was demonstrated on the day.

We have a little something scheduled in with Class Wargames in July which is most likely to be a visit to The Flea Pit for a talk/Q&A/gaming session so watch this space. He happens to be a very nice chap too with a good story about his sister and the Sex Pistols which, we discovered, he will divulge if you ply him with enough red wine.

The range of talks throughout the day was impressive and the crowning glory was the rally that packed the main hall at the close of play. We caught Adrian Mitchell on film reciting an interesting variation of his classic poem 'To whom it may concern'. The Rally was topped off by the activist and journalist Eamonn McCann, who pulled a corking cry for action out of his left tilting hat. Eamonn gave a rousing speech, urging us not to forget '68 and apply learnt lessons now, as well as adapting our approaches as we face new problems, because lets face it, the need for change is greater than ever before.

Eamonn's oratorial skills were so inspiring that we awarded him the much coveted 'Rousing speech' gong - to you and me that's a copy of our game.

In summary, it was a beautiful day, not just for the sunshine but the general air of camaraderie (which started early with a cry of 'Traffic Wardens outside!'). But for all the nostalgia and hope and excellent speeches - and maybe we're just part of a new, cancerous and cynical generation - we wondered how to apply it all in the face of today's wide-ranging and complex, interwoven problems. Is revolution - especially Marxist revolution - really a realistic or relevant goal? While a shift in mindset would certainly be welcome, shouldn't we be working towards sustainability, regardless of the political/economic model used to achieve this? In other words, is a dramatic, traumatic revolution the best vehicle for progression? Then again, maybe we won't even have the luxury of choice since it looks like (climate) change will be thrust upon us regardless. How we adapt and respond to that change will be the true test of our generation.


Posted by TerrorBull Games on 13 May 2008 - 0 comments

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