Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I've got a lot to say!

For a while now, I've had trouble thinking of something to blog about, but it's all go at the moment, so here's a midday blogging to keep you all informed about the trivia of my life.

Many thanks to the oodles of people who told me that they might possibly come to the Cambridge Memory Championship, and much more sincere thanks to the people who've said they'll definitely come. There are enough of these that I've gone ahead and booked the venue, so it's definitely going to happen now. The current entry list is:

Yan Minis
Jürgen Petersen
John Burrows
James Ponder
Mattias Ribbing

Florian Dellé
Kranthi Raj
Katie Kermode
Khatnaa Kh
Ytep Ho-Yin
Christian Schäfer
Anton Fagerlund
Corrina Draschl
Johann Randall Abrina
Martyna Syguda
Idriz Zogaj
Boris Konrad
Ed Cooke

Several of those possibles almost certainly won't be there, since that list includes the kind of person who replies 'possibly' to every Facebook invitation for fear of offending people. There's also a mental calculator who I invited by mistake, who said he'd come if I turned it into a mental calculation competition, but I'm not going to do that. The ever-wonderful duo of Phil Chambers and Dai Griffiths will be helping me with the arbiting.

In unrelated news, I really love the BBC! The one bit of this upcoming show I wasn't enthusiastic about was a day of filming a little documentary-type sequence about me to establish who I am. I've done so many of those things in the past that I asked the BBC person if they were going to do it in an interesting way at least, and she replied "Well, it's a comedy show, so it's going to be a comedy sketch, not a documentary-type thing." Which is super-groovy and now I'm looking forward to the whole thing!

Although it will take me away from my studies, because as well as a lot of memory training, I've spent the last two days learning Chinese with the help of the absolutely fabulous website Memrise.com! It's the work of Ed Cooke and friends, and it's really really useful for building Chinese vocabulary! I'm starting to think I might understand a word or two of Mandarin by the time I get to the next World Memory Championship!

And furthermore, last Saturday's Doctor Who was a really really good one. After the downright dreadful pirate story last week, we needed something good, but "The Doctor's Wife" surpassed all my expectations. It was very much in the traditional style, studio-bound albeit with state-of-the-art special effects thrown in, with just four guest stars (and one voice), a role for Rory that was more in the mould of the male companions of the sixties rather than alternate whining and comic relief, a clever and original plotline and some nice acting all round (although David Tennant would still have played it a lot better than Matt Smith...). It was only on watching it for the second time that I noticed it was written by Neil Gaiman, which made me nod and say 'well, that explains it, then.' He's really awesome.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Cambridge Memory Championship 2011!

The traditional friendly memory championship that always takes place on the first Sunday in May in Cambridge, England, will this year take place on Saturday July 30 at Attenborough Nature Reserve near Nottingham. England. See the nature reserve's website here

The competition will only take place if enough people want to come! So please let me know right now if you want to take part!

The entry fee will be £30 (or free of charge for people who have never taken part in any memory competition before) - it might be less than £30 if there are a lot of competitors, because I only want to cover the costs of hosting the competition, not make a profit! This fee includes a hot lunch.

There will be prizes, for a change - no cash (unless someone donates a prize fund), but trophies and medals for the winners.

The venue is quite close to my house - free accommodation is available on my floor, if you bring your own sleeping bag. If you prefer a hotel, there's a nice place just over the road from me: Rockaway Hotel or plenty of guest houses in Beeston or Attenborough.

The competition will start promptly at 9:00am and finish at 5:00pm, and will be a national-standard 10-discipline championship (15 minute numbers, 10 minute cards, etc).

The nearest airport is "Nottingham East Midlands", but it's actually not very near Nottingham and it's difficult to travel from there to here by public transport. Birmingham Airport is better, you can get the train to Beeston (for my house) or Attenborough (for the competition venue) very easily.

Many thanks, and hoping to see you all there

Ben Pridmore

PS Anybody who enjoys my occasional attempts at humorous writing here on this blog would certainly love to read Moonwalking With Horses, the collected edition of all the silly things I've blogged about over the years, plus a few other never-before-published writings for the die-hard Zoomy-fan. This book will not improve your memory.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


You know, people are actually buying my book. Even though the marketing for it consisted of me telling people not to. Perhaps reverse psychology really works, or perhaps people want to read my book but not my blog, I don't know. But anyway, Lulu are sending me four-figure sums of money every month in royalties. That's two figures on one side of the decimal point and two on the other, obviously.

And I periodically get emails saying that someone's following me on Twitter. I set up a Twitter account about a year ago on the offchance that I might want to do something with it one day, and haven't yet wanted to, but people find it every now and then and keep an eye on it in case I choose to share my wisdom. Today's follower is a "Free lance post production specialist based in London and Devon" who possibly thinks I might need post-producing some time. Or maybe he's post-produced me before and I've forgotten about it. At the BBC I met an editor who knew me from Extraordinary Animals, and I spent the conversation subtly trying to establish whether she'd actually met me while working on the show or not. I wish I had a good memory.

Anyway, I was thinking that I should publish another book or two. I could compile all the bits of nonsense I've written on this blog and elsewhere over the years and self-publish it as 'a glimpse into the mind of a world memory champion'. Or get round to what I've been meaning to do for the last ten years and re-write my beloved children's book, get someone to illustrate it and publish that as the latest piece of tat from an F-list celebrity that your children might like to read. And I could tweet incessantly about it and tell everyone to spread the word until it goes viral.

Also, I could accept some invitations to connect with people on LinkedIn. I have no idea what that is, but people keep inviting me.