24 August 2011

Einstein's Garden: storified

11 August 2011

See you in Einstein's Garden!

In a week's time I will be somewhere in South Wales, probably standing under an umbrella, trying to work out how to get a juggling chemist, some robotic crows, a social physicist wielding a guitar and a cult musician accompanied by a saw player (sawist?) onto a solar-powered stage with minimum fuss. And if it all becomes too complicated, at least I'll have a stand-up mathematician and a Blue Peter presenter to call on...

Sitting snug between the main stage and the comedy tent, the Solar Stage is at the heart of a well-loved music and arts festival - Green Man Festival - and yet its theme is science. It's the focal point of Einstein's Garden. Not Einstein's actual Garden, you understand, but certainly the sort of Garden the great man would have enjoyed tending to if he hadn't been too busy coming up with the theory of relativity. But it's not just for scientists. I mean, who wouldn't want to see a trio of poets get their tongues around Brian Cox... Okay, that last phrase was ill-advised. But sticking and colouring in are universal joys so get your butts to the Scientists' Crafternoon Tea Party for tea and cake, craftiness and, er, chromosomes. What else?

Everything happening in said Garden will be powered by the Sun, the ferocious pedalling of visitors to Electric Pedals' bicycle installation and a hydrogen fuel cell. And Love. Because every performance, exhibit, workshop and stage construction is the result of many months of hard work by an extremely dedicated and creative team, pouring Love in immeasurable quantities into this project. (Well done all!)

We've persuaded hipster musicians to come camping in Crickhowell and navigated our way through health and safety policy to put live, just-hatched chickens alongside a hydrogen-fuelled 'Omni-Tent'. In the last few weeks, an unexpected outbreak of busted knees, collar bones and hands among crew and artists has plagued my final preparations. Thankfully everyone concerned is expecting a full recovery and all but one will be heading for Wales, and the Garden, come next Thursday.

The programme has been printed, the tickets have been posted and the technical team is poised to wring every last drop of sunshine out of the sky to keep that solar-powered stage chugging over all weekend. Meanwhile, all that's left between me and Einstein's Garden is a frighteningly large number of words - despite my best efforts to finish various articles well ahead of time (who was I kidding?) I'll undoubtedly find myself working till the early hours over the coming week.

But if all those words do somehow magically arrange themselves on the page in the next couple of days, I'll be spending my Saturday afternoon playing an oxygen atom in a theatrical interpretation of the workings of the aforementioned hydrogen fuel cell. So if anyone happens to be in the vicinity of St Andrew's Park on Saturday, do come along and join in the madness - it's for a short film that will feature in the Omni-Tent over the festival weekend.

I'm preparing to spend large parts of next week out of the range of any kind of network - especially considering the pretty much redundant nature of my non-smart mobile phone - so I'll leave you with a Twitter list of all the crew working in Einstein's Garden this year. Some of them are equipped with much snazzier mobile devices than me. Also, my Geek Pop co-host @JimothyBell will be returning to the Green Man FM radio hut for the second year in a row to play science-inspired music, in similar fashion to the Geek Pop Podcast, but with less sitting on the floor of my lounge. I'm informed his show will be streamed live online, but where, I don't know - maybe on the Green Man website? Try that.

Anyway, toodlepip. I'll see you all in a lovely big field of mud.