Blast from the past

The best thing about ScienceGrrl is that it is often a total blast, great fun with amazing people. Monday 1st of October was one such day.

I legged it out of the office at 11:35am, got stuck in studenty traffic and only just made it onto the 12:15am to London Euston. I flicked between phone calls, reading papers and checking e-mail on the way down, before getting the tube to Wood Green and strolling up the hill to Alexandra Palace in the autumn sunshine, taking in the warm sweet air, turning colours of the leaves, and the stunning view across London on such a clear day.

Having checked myself through security and negotiated the wonderfully retro cage lift, I sneaked into the back of a studio once used for some of the BBC’s first broadcasts in the 1930s. Amongst the old-fashioned TVs, stage lights and TV cameras, photographer Greg Funnell and his assistant Ben were busy directing Gia Milinovich, Fran Scott, and former Tomorrow’s World presenters Kate Bellingham, Gareth Jones (formerly known as Gaz Top), Carmen Nassé (nee Pryce) and Katie Ross (nee Knapman), all resplendent in 1970s dress.

My heart leapt a little when I saw the same faces I remember smiling back at me from science TV programmes when I was younger – these were some of the people who made science cool, fun, and exciting for me and many of my generation. I’m sorry if that makes them feel old, because they are genuinely as young and vibrant as ever.

There began a good hour and a half of good-natured messing about, posing, banter and the kind of tomfoolery that comes easily to those who have not only done this sort of thing a thousand times but are also very much at home in each other’s company. Somehow a Rubiks cube, a conical flask of something very dubious-looking, an oscilloscope and selected items from Fran’s impressive collection of PPE also made an appearance. The joy was palpable, and I laughed out loud several times.

It wasn’t a cheap day out and I worked late twice last week to make up my hours, but you know what?

Some things are worth it.