Review: Bettakultcha in Beeston


What’s the link between alopecia, robots and a social club in Beeston? The answer is last night’s Bettakultcha event.

Bettakultcha 2

Describing the mechanics of Bettakultcha makes it sound dull, as compare Ivor Tymchak put it “like a PowerPoint car crash”, but actually it’s a very entertaining and thought-provoking evening. A dozen speakers get five minutes to speak about any subject that they wish with the help of twenty slides.

Some of the highlights of the evening for me? Noel Curry’s defence of the film Starship Troopers (it’s a satire on fascism and war); Alison Pilling’s bedtime story about how the children of Yorkshire were saved by cycling; and Eli Snare’s sewing call to arms, make your own clothes: it’s punk, it’s feminist.

A number of speakers suggested we had our priorities wrong as a society. Economics should be about relationships not about money; we need more jobs, but we can do without the CEO of Nestle, or telesales cold callers.

We had a bit of philosophy – what if we are all living in a computer simulation? How would we know and would the end of the world actually just be a loose SCART lead?

Does it all sound a bit academic and geeky? It really isn’t. There’s no points scoring, there’s no jargon and unlike those management seminars, there are very few words on the slides. Speakers are passionate and get their points over with humour and pictures. If you are interested in new ideas and new perspectives on life, Bettakultcha is a treat.

So finally those robots. Emma Bearman told us the story of her campaign to make Leeds a more playful city and the recent attempt to buy 1950’s robot Cygan at auction. In the break she persuaded members of the audience to make their own robot head and parade on stage.

Bettakultcha leads a nomadic life around Leeds and Yorkshire, but watch out for it coming to a venue near you – it makes for a great night out.