Concept Album Talks

By Jo Phillips

Hamish Thompson and his friend James Ward wanted to come up with something they could do easily in a pub on a weekday evening.  The two are colleagues, and James runs the successful Boring Conference – yes, that is what it is actually called.  It is a single day celebration of topics often considered inconsequential and mundane, but when examined more closely reveal themselves to be utterly fascinating.

After much contemplation, the duo came up with their idea: they were going to try something called The Concept Album Talks.

What is a concept album?  According to the dictionary:

“A concept album is a studio album where all musical or lyrical ideas contribute to a single overall theme or unified story.  In contrast, typical studio albums consist of a number of unconnected songs (lyrically and otherwise) performed by the artist.”

How will this work?  It will be a multi-step process, but overall it is not too complex.

First, a record is chosen.  The name of the album will be the designated name of the event.  Each talk in the Concept Album Talks will be a track on the album.  Speakers are arranged, and each speaker is limited to the running time of the track.

What will these speakers be talking about?  They have been delegated the task of making sense of the track title.  But they are not permitted to talk about the song itself.  And that is it – their plan for a simple but entertaining pub game.

The first album that James and Hamish selected is “Dark Side of the Moon.”  For their game, these are great titles – they leave lots of room for the speaker to use their imagination.

The soundtrack includes these songs:

1. Speak to Me
2. On the Run
3. Time
4. The Great Gig in the Sky
5. Money
6. Us and Them
7. Any Colour You Like
8. Brain Damage
9. Eclipse


What if the song lengths are very different?  The lengths of songs in the album will vary, just like on any soundtrack.  James and Hamish believe that “Speak to Me” will be the hardest song, since it is only 1 minute and 13 seconds long.

How can you do a talk in that little time?  The challenge adds to the fun of the game.

The date and venue for the first Concept Album Talks:  Tuesday, July 21st, 6.30pm in the upstairs room at the Theodore Bullfrog pub in Villiers Street near Charing Cross station.



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