Alan Bennett

Interview by Geraldine Carton

When & how did Headstuff start?

It started in February 2014 and we’ve been taking it seriously from early 2015. I wish I had a more interesting story but I just started it one Saturday night when I was at home alone.

I was writing a novel at the time and had just sent it out to publishers to get some feedback so I decided to set up some sort of site where I could publish my writing in the meantime.

I then got a few friends to send me articles to put up alongside it, and this quickly spiralled into loads of people sending stuff in.

How did you create the site by yourself?

My background is in fine art and creative writing, nothing to do with computers. So I set up Headstuff using one of those “Build Your Own” websites, just dragging and dropping my way around.

 It was like that for a couple of months until a friend came and worked his techy magic, and since then the site has developed with every person who brings their ideas and individual inputs.

Even though we’re still not in a position to pay them for it, people have been so amazing in terms of giving their time, writing articles, doing illustrations, making podcasts, to the point where Headstuff has had over 400 contributors to date. It’s mindblowing.

Have you received any funding?

We haven’t had any government funding but we do have a Patreon account set up which is great for helping creative people support themselves, the trouble is incentivising people to become patrons. On our account we give t-shirts, bags, books, access to a private blog or reserved seats at a gig, depending on the size of a donation.

How did the idea for the Headstuff Lectures come about?

I knew I wanted to do an event that would be the same as how we do the Headstuff content online, but “IRL”. But it was when Louise Bruton made a Britney Spears playlist for Headstuff’s music section one week, and later joked on Twitter that she would create a presentation for anyone who wanted to know more about the formidable Britney Spears, that I figured “we could definitely do that!”. 

The whole idea is that people give a talk about something they are passionate about, often something that the audience might not initially be.

Eventually, people find themselves getting sucked in because a person’s passion can be very infectious. I think anyone who came to our first Lecture event last month would agree to that.

 

How do people get involved in future Headstuff Lectures?

We already have people who want to give lectures up lined up until December, but they haven’t necessarily confirmed which date they’re going to do so every month I’ll put out a call to the public and ask who wants to do the next event. The first people to sign up - as long as the pitch is good - will be the ones to do it.

 

The next Headstuff Lectures night will take place on October 5th 2016, in The Workman's Club, Dublin. You can buy your tickets here.