When you live online for so long, experiencing the world largely in 2D, even with moving pictures, you forget that there’s really no substitute for the real thing.

I get reminded of this every time I’m at a physical event. I’m not talking about office work or a meeting, I’m talking about an organised event, the culture of the physical, or perhaps the physics of the culture. It’s more than just physical, it’s emotional, sensory, visceral in some cases.

The other day I was at an oyster festival and there was a cultural exchange between an Irish region and a French region – known primarily for its wine, an added bonus – going on in the marquis. The Irish as hosts had laid down a dance floor and there was an Irish dancing demonstration by the local youth troupe who happened to have just won some big word championship thing.

Man, it was fantastic! I’ve not experienced the Riverdance phenomenon, but I have seen Irish dancing before. Being there in a marquis of maybe 100 people, up close, I was barely two metres away from the dancers. It was literally spine-tingling, almost Newtownian in the sense that you feel part of the energy they’re expending and creating in the room.

I made a mental note to fill the family’s calendar with as much culture as possible.

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