The Gathering

The Gathering - Will Williams

A little while ago I spent an evening at the folksy gem that is Cecil Sharp House for the new event series, The Gathering*. Over the course of a few hours I had my mind opened – and relaxed – with music, meditation, and life talks from some industry gurus.

After work I swung through London (with a quick stop at Pure for a wholesome bolognese and smoothie) and arrived in Camden, close to the venue. It was dark already – I really miss summery evenings! – and I was running alongside city foxes to get there on time.

Ethan Johns

The night was held in the largest hall in Cecil Sharp House, reminiscent of a village hall with the addition of a grand piano, velvety drapes, and quite the audience! The night started gently, with a lighthearted and intriguing history of the last 40 years of music by Ethan Johns, an often-hidden legend of the industry. A producer for many years, he recounted working with Laura Marling, Paul McCartney, Kings of Leon, and touring with The Who. His input was a welcome one – no matter how rock and roll his life got, he felt his connection to his music was the greatest importance. He then performed a few songs, a master of guitar and voice – it has been such a long time since I saw live music that I was mesmerised!

Will Williams

Next we went straight into a meditation session with Will Williams, a vedic meditation teacher and founder of Will Williams Meditation. Sadly I’ve not yet had much luck finding a truly quiet place in my head meditating, so I did struggle in the hall, surrounded by so many people and being given soft instructions over the speaker system. However, the silence that befell everyone and the feeling of comfort that came from those minutes of peace, as well as a toasty cup of Pukka Blackcurrant Beauty afterwards was enough to keep me satiated.

Ruby Wax

Finally, Ruby Wax took to the stage. She told us of her hunt to find ways to alleviate the depression she suffers from, describing her drive as similar to that of a Rottweiler! Having swapped the stage for studying at Oxford University, she graduated with a depth of knowledge on the human brain, and she taught us about neuro-plasticity: the scientifically-proven practice of changing your brain cells by believing in your own aspirations. Quite literally, you can will yourself to do anything and your brain will physically build itself in a way that enables you to do just that.

I left Cecil Sharp House with a smile and a head full of thoughts. It was a pleasantly different evening, listening to the chosen cultural storytellers and meditating, and I look forward to the next one (I hear it will be a David Bowie disco)!


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