Nathan Barley is Real: London Tech Event Aims To be "TED Talks Meets WWE"

By James O Malley on at

A few years ago now, before I moved to London I watched the 2005 Channel 4 sitcom "Nathan Barley". Co-written by Charlie Brooker and Chris Morris, the show took aim at London's burgeoning "silicon roundabout" and skewered the new media hipsters, the trust-fund kids and their quasi-bohemian aesthetic.

To be honest, I didn't really get it. Then I made it to London, went to Shoreditch and all of a sudden, the show made perfect sense.

Which is why I could only laugh in bewilderment when I heard about this new event that is going to take place at Cargo - a music venue that people would no doubt prefer to describe as a "space", beneath some railway arches.

The premise of The Tech Off is that it pits "creatives" (ie: people who probably work in advertising) against coders (ie: people who probably work in advertising) - with each competitor giving five minute talks and then there's a vote on the winner. Okay, not particularly remarkable - but the organisers are trying to style it as "the lovechild of TED Talks and WWE", and have attempted to make it appear suitably unbearable to match these aspirations.

In a video of a preview event, we can see that essentially it appears to be marketing people talking about marketing, but in fancy dress:

"Hey mum, those 3 years studying for an English degree at a redbrick university weren't a waste! I've just got my dream job as a junior account manager at a top London advertising agency!".

The host of the events is a man who calls himself "MC Danimal", who refers to himself as "The Beyonce of Tech", whatever that means. Here he is, presumably ironically wearing some Donald Trump paraphernalia, which might have seemed a bit funnier when the last event took place 8 months ago:

There will also be some more normal looking hipsters there too:

If you're tempted to go, and there's no medical intervention that can stop you, the next London event is on the 19th April, and there's even an event in Leeds on the 26th April.