We might have been working from home for almost a year, but even that couldn’t stop us from hosting our annual Passion Points event – albeit over a Teams call and without the usual open bar.
Nine speakers took to the virtual soapbox, for five minutes each, to talk about their big passion – passion being one of Stickyeyes’ core values.
This year’s range of topics was as eclectic as ever, ranging from a hankering for the musical joys of old (Wurlitzers) to stay-at-home, binge-worthy entertainment (Ru Paul’s Drag Race), and everything in between … and beyond (tarot). Tying it all together was Passion Point’s incomparable compere, Steve Clarkson.
The outright winner was Danny Blackburn, who’ll be spending his £500 winnings to help him take his bike to Canada, where he’ll compete in the ITU World Triathlon (global circumstances permitting). Second went to violinist Lucy Pickard and third to RuPaul expert Jenny Dixon.
Here’s what our plucky passionistas had to say, in order of appearance.
Glen Conybeare, Managing Director
Passion had been in decline since the 1800s, said Glen, with a Google Trends graph to boot. But, in 2000, it started climbing again – and most likely because it’s the year Glen bought his 1957 Wurlitzer jukebox, instead of spending his money on a deposit for a flat in London.
His is one of around 8,000 made, and has the nifty page-turner mechanism.
He also answered some quick FAQs – does it play CD (no, they were invented in 1979 but only commercially available in ’82), does it have the bubbles round the side (no, that’s the 1940s Wurlitzer 1015, which plays only 24, 78rpm records – but they did sell 56,000 in the first 18 months of production).
Heather Healy, Communications Director
Breasts are everywhere, started Heather, saying despite half the population having them, we feel awkward talking about their primary purpose. The UK has the worst breastfeeding rates in the world.
Heather’s a mum to a one- and a four-year-old, and talked about the big benefits of breastfeeding (full of nutrients, antibodies, the whole lot) and the challenges (the public shame and lack of support).
Her message was simple: talk to breastfeeding mums like you would anyone else and help create a culture where people want to breastfeed wherever they are, not hidden under a blanket or in a toilet cubicle.
Michaela Peacock, Senior Content Executive
Michaela loves the Queen. Other royals? No chance. Her adoration is limited to the one and only Queen Elizabeth II.
Michaela’s rapture for royalty started when she was eight after learning about the royal family in school. From there, her life has almost been dedicated to visiting Her Royal Majesty as much as possible.
It even inspired her to become a journalist, because she wanted to report on the royal family. In 2017, it worked out – she received press tickets to a preview of a Buckingham Palance exhibition. Even a broken hand couldn’t stop her.
Danny Blackburn, Content Director
Health and fitness
There wasn’t a PowerPoint in sight for Danny’s presentation. We had a live triathlon demo.
In August, he’ll be flying out to the ITU World Triathlon in Canada, where he’ll represent Team GB in the 40-44 age group.
What will it be like? In full triathlete regalia, he showed us. It starts with a swim – water provided, in this case, by Danny’s enthusiastic children, wielding buckets and hose – and followed by a cycle (even on a turbo trainer, he looked quick), and finishing with a 10km run.
We’ll be rooting for you, Danny!
Owen Radford, SEO Lead
Owen started his talk in Italian, earning instant appraisal from our Italian colleagues, and prayers for a translation from everyone else.
He carried on in English to say we don’t tend to do very well with foreign languages in the UK – and that’s why eight years ago he decided to learn a language. He chose Italian, lured by its romance, art, music and culture.
Now, he can sing along to his favourite Italian artists – Jovanotti, Ligabue, Max Pezzali, Samuele Bersani, Caparezza and Articolo 31 – and is currently on on a 2,365-day streak on the language app, Duolingo.
Lucy Pickard, Biddable Media Executive
Watching the 2003 BBC Proms on TV with her grandad was the start of something special for Lucy. The moment violinist Vikoria Mullova put a bow to a string to perform a Sibelius violin concerto, Lucy wanted to play the violin.
And she has done. A lot. Since her first recital at her local church in the midlands, she’s gone on to tour Europe with the Nottingham Youth Orchestra and has even played alongside Julian Lloyd Webber.
In Leeds, she’s led a handful of orchestras, played for the BBC, and collaborated with musicians for Opera North. And in 2021? Her biggest gig yet: the Stickyeyes Christmas Party (we hope).
Fran Brookes, Account Manager
Fran is self-confessed proper gamer – and a Passion Points veteran. A couple of years ago, she talked about hockey. But what can you do if you can’t play hockey in the middle of a lockdown? You play games.
Fran’s always liked consoles, and her mention of games like Crash Bandicoot sent many of us off into a wistful, reminiscent haze.
And then she immediately snapped us out of it with a clip of her playing Fortnite – the online game with strategy, survival and guns.
Fran’s one of 125 million global players and says she loves it for being free, great for socialising and stress relief, and it’s even good for the brain (decision-making, reaction times and manual dexterity).
Jade Lamb, Writing Team Manager
Jade could – should? – be a global ambassador for witchcraft and tarot reading. Witchcraft isn’t about hexing or casting spells, she said, it’s about being part of something older and grander than you.
For centuries, women have been persecuted for witchcraft – famous cases being the Pendle and Salem witch trials – and judgement still persists today.
But for Jade, it’s something approaching meditation, mindfulness or prayer. It requires thought, process and care – like burning sage to clear the air in her house, or having to grow a plant to mix something at a later date.
When you publish your second book, Jade, you’ll have a new audience.
Jenny Dixon, Video Editor
RuPaul’s Drag Race
“RuPaul’s Drag Race changed my life,” said Jenny. The reality TV show is a global hit – searching for the next drag superstar – with series from the US, UK, Thailand, the Netherlands, Canada and more.
Jenny’s watched every episode she can, racking up 221 hours of RuPaul viewing time – she’s been to loads of drag performances, too. It’s not just entertainment, though. She said she used to associate drag queens with pantomime – but she’s since been “blown away”.
There’s stand-up, breath-taking talent and jaw-dropping costumes, plus being a great education on a part of LGBT history. Jenny’s least favourite part of the show is when they have to send queens home (her favourite queen is Violet).
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