Subjectivity is a ‘topical debate night’ with the slogan – Making room for wider conversation. What that translated to in real life was a hugely entertaining and thoughtful night that left me on a high. I had thought it would be more of a topical debate panel show where a select few were chosen to voice their opinions while we nodded or dissented to our neighbour. Instead it was very much the opposite with audience members encouraged (but not obligated) to participate. This was the core feature to the night, in fact moderated with ease and a casual firmness by the guys who founded the event, who weren’t afraid to challenge an opinion, give their own opinion, or needle someone gently about what they’d just said.
I often to go clubnights where chatting to a few randomers and feeling like you’ve made a new friend, if only for a few hours, is not uncommon but I rarely get the same thing at a weeknight event. The expectation for those is often that you chat to the people you came with, and that’s as far as it goes. So I think Subjectivity, apart from the wonderfully intelligent, articulate, diverse crowd that it fosters should be commended for this aspect. It encourages conversation between neighbours on interesting talking points which provoke conversation – ideas that can and do have many facets to them. There was an enclave of us – about 8 perhaps – and by the end we were giving each other hugs and saying we’d see each other at the next event.
I went to their end of the year extravaganza on the subject of marriage. So this wasn’t their typical set up. They’d hired a big hall and it was completely packed, with the place done out to a wedding theme – including a free drink of rose and some cupcakes and popcorn on offer. There were a fair few newbies but also plenty of people who had been to several before. One girl in fact had been to every single one since they started in 2014! The evening was quite structured – they had clearly put a lot of thought and effort into how to approach the topic of marriage, and weddings, that would get people talking as well as providing facts and statistics to back things up or open up a new angle.
There was interactivity – we started the night by going through the various costs involved in a wedding and marking down what we would be prepared to spend – a quick way to see how costs can quickly spiral. They had a cute video about marriage that focused more on the negatives, which segued into a discussion on what the positives might be. There was a mini-play showing how quickly a conversation about a wedding between two people can spiral and how it’s not always clear cut on who is right and who is wrong. They had Paul Cree doing a romantic spoken word piece (one I happen to have heard before) and they even had some special guests flown in from the States – one of which seemed to be a polyamory proponent, which added a twist to the normal attitudes to relationships.
And in between this was talking, lots and lots of talking, and sharing and listening. And listening and sharing respectfully. I’m not really one for ‘putting my hand up in class’ but there was certainly enough people who were happy to do that, and I was perfectly satisfied just sharing my viewpoint between the people I was sitting near. It was all so relaxed, yet fun and vibrant. There was no attitude – we were all there for the same thing; to have an enlightening and interesting conversation, on a big scale. I loved it and will be going back – cannot wait to see the theme of the next one and what it’s like in a cosier environment.
All images credited to Sanaa Reheema AbstraKt