GIB TALKS… YEAR 6!
It was another successful Gib Talks at John Mackintosh Hall, the sixth edition of an idea born out of the TED Talks in the United States and Canada. Here, we have our own brand: namely Gib Talks with, as to be expected, the `Llanito’ element thrown in for good measure.
Since the 80s the idea has spread to much of North America, Europe, Asia and Africa: TED – TECHNOLOGY ENTERTAINMENT AND DESIGN is how it started and has now been expanded to almost any subject under the sun and in Gib the topics are as varied as the speakers themselves: from politics, business, culture, education, personal experiences of whatever genre and much more. In a small community such as Gib we pretty much tend to know everyone and what they do… or do we? Gib Talks in many cases reveals what’s underneath, or the other side of the persona we have come to know, or simply learn more about their job, family life, or their pastimes, hobbies or other leisure pursuits – in some cases quite revealing. The bottom line is, it’s enlightening to learn more about the person you brush shoulders with on Main Street day-to-day who you think you knew everything about, or the individual you know from being in the spotlight as a politician, television, radio, media or sports personality, musician or head of a top charity or other local business organisation. 15 minutes is the maximum time each speaker has to say as much as they want to say about the topic chosen and, more often than not, provide an interesting insight about themselves whilst you sit comfortably on a Saturday afternoon listening to speaker after speaker on any number of topics. A great way to spend part of your weekend – so far on six occasions enjoying our version of TED Talks namely – the very successful, February Gib Talks!
We’ve listened to about 100 speakers so far and this sixth edition was as eclectic as all the others. At the helm is playwright-lover-of-the-break-a-leg-genre, Julian Felice, who brought the idea home to the Rock and who this time came on stage to a musical intro in the rock vein to which he jokingly quipped, “That was a bit unnecessary no?” As always he gets the ball rolling from the start with a ten minute chat informing us what to expect for the rest of the day and that, `we need to talk,’ and talk we did… or they did!
Kicking off the session were Gib Talk veterans Mark Randall and Stephen Hermida recounting their travels `From the Rock to a High Place.’ Maite Facio-Beanland followed with her experiences as a deaf person assisted by sign language interpreter Richard Weaver sitting in the audience narrating Maite’s words for all of us to appreciate (later he went on stage to sign language for those deaf or hard of hearing members in the audience). Maite told us there was one good thing about being deaf… “My children tell me my husband is a loud snorer so I don’t hear him!” Politician Damon Bossino related to his autistic son’s difficulties and became a little emotional reciting a poem describing his dad who’s suffering from dementia. Young Francesca Makey recounted her experience of womb cancer at the very young age of 17 – very unusual at that age… and so the speakers kept on coming – seventeen of them: most chatting for 15 minutes and a few for 10 as VPs – vox pop invitees – individuals not necessarily in the public domain who express an interest in wanting to say a few words. We learnt about the tough negotiating goings on in the `Beautiful Game’ from Kenneth Asquez – a football agent. Government Minister, Steven Linares got the laughs as he told us about all the jobs he had before arriving at Parliament House. Eloquent, Moroccan Gibraltarian Youssef El-Hana spoke about the hard times had by the Moroccan diaspora arriving on the Rock during the blockade when they were really needed, and then there were more speakers and more interesting chats and anecdotes. We also learnt about aviation on the Rock going back a good many years as told by Bland’s veteran Luis Pereira. Transgender Zyle Peralta revealed his experiences from female to male and how he became happy with himself, not least pursuing his love of body building becoming a qualified personal trainer. “Feel free and become what you want to become” he declared. Luke Stagnetto stood for the European Elections as a UK Liberal Democrat and lamented the ugly texts he received during the campaign. He says, “Yes, speak freely but speak fairly!” Well into the early afternoon we proceeded and more interesting speakers appeared; Jackie Anderson on the Pleasures and Perils of Poetry, motivator Anita Chaperon on `the Business of You’ and Eddie Wood who was funny, telling us about living with his nonagenarian mum who still holds the throne! Young journalist, Adriana Lopez about her time in Barcelona – lessons learned and the importance of dialogue and of course whilst up there… Gibraltar came up! Linda Alvarez, hard working sports enthusiast but not very good at badminton told us all – or nearly all – about the highs and lows of organising the Island Games and not forgetting my colleague at GBC, Kelly-Anne Borge who charted her course to the present, becoming the popular radio and television presenter/journalist she’s deservedly become.
Gib Talks 2020 was another great success, but the sad news is there won’t be another Gib Talks for the next two years due to refurbishment works at the John Mackintosh Hall. Therefore, we look very forward to Gib Talks 2023. Well worth the wait and the visit and it’ll only cost you £5!