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The Beatles, Robots… and a Giant Spider:
OUP UK’s Kate FT heads to the BA Festival of Science

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As I mentioned in my post last week, this time of year is always busy for us publicists thanks to the number of festivals that take place up and down the country. In another dispatch from the front line of PR, OUP UK’s Head of Publicity, Kate Farquhar-Thomson, regails us with her tale of giant-spider-avoidance in Liverpool during the British Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual Festival.


It was with great excitement that I booked my trip to Liverpool for the BA Festival of Science. An annual event, the BA (British Association for the Advancement of Science) moves their festival to a new town each year. Last year we were in York and next year I believe it is moving down to the south of England. It runs for one week and offers ‘the biggest celebration of science, engineering, and technology in Europe’ and I was looking forward to it – that was until I read my paper one morning over a latte – ‘gigantic spider goes for crawl across Liverpool’. There is only really one thing I dislike above all else and that is the spider, in all its shapes and forms – real or not real – it’s all the same to me.

So it was with trepidation that I set off last Friday morning, 5th September, with the express aim not to spot it!

Well the weather was dreadful, floods in Wales, and torrential rain in Liverpool but my spirits were lifted by the first event I attended with Professor Mark Hanson who gave a highly informative and well attended talk at Blackwell Bookshop on Saturday morning about lifestyle diseases. Mark Hanson is British Heart Foundation Professor of Cardiovascular Science at the University of Southampton, and joint author of our book Mismatch: The Timebomb of Lifestyle Disease.

After I had seen Mark off on his train I set off during a rain respite to pound the streets of Liverpool. We all know it as home to The Beatles and the Cavern Club and inspiration to Gerry and the Pacemakers but this weekend it was home to a bug of an all too different type: La Machine (pictured above)! To be honest I spent all day trying to avoid this beast, really I tried my utmost. I sauntered past the fading glory that is the Adelphi Hotel and headed for the docks in pursuit of the Liver Building. The streets were alive with Liverpudlians, simply crawling… why? You guessed it: they were after that spider! No really, they were mad for it. It was due to take a walkabout and they wanted to be there, and lo and behold just when I was approaching the sanctuary of the docks so was I! Yikes, there it was crouched ready to make its move. I was out of there pronto! Off to The Beatles Story for me!

Rested and recovered, Sunday took me back to Blackwell to see David McFarland, author of Guilty Robots, Happy Dogs, and his robot, Bookbot (pictured above). A lively family event with the all action robot ensued before I made my way back down to Oxford and the sanctuary of home. I never did see the Liver Building!

The BA Festival runs until Thursday 11th September. More details can be found on their website.

Recent Comments

  1. Giselle Leeb

    I’ve just posted a giant spider of Liverpool video on youtube. It’s got great footage including the spider speeded up as it ascends a building and is beautifully edited:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxajilZcgTo

  2. [...] sail and heading to the high seas! Head of Publicity for OUP UK, Kate Farquhar-Thomson, has been galivanting once again and this time sends word from the Queen Mary 2. Jealous? Moi? Well, yes, [...]

  3. Billigflüge

    I’ m a researcher in the field of autonomous robots , I found the giant spider of liverpool amazing.
    keep up ur hard work.
    i will be a regular reader of your blog

  4. Templates

    woow this giant spider is absolute amazing, I have seen someting like this on my last Tokio trip. Cool article.

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