What is PechaKucha? And why is at the old Pizza Express building?

Tomorrow sees another arty one-off event at the no-longer-squatted 1920s former poly

View from the stage: PechaKucha comes to the iconic 1920s building
View from the stage: the iconic 1920s building was squatted until April this year
The only PechaKucha event I’ve ever been to was in Berlin. It was all in German, of course, so while I couldn’t understand a damn thing, it was still mesmerizing to watch. And now, what is an international phenomenon comes to Kentish Town.

So what on earth is PechaKucha? Dreamed up in Tokyo back in 2003, it’s Japanese for “chit chat”, and consists of a succession of speakers talking the audience through 20 slides shown for 20 seconds each (6 mins and 40 seconds total). And everyone must keep within their allocated time-slots.

The original idea was to keep business powerpoint presentations brief, but it can be interpreted however the performer likes. “You can tell an interesting story,” says Jake Garfield, one of the organisers of tomorrow’s event, “or simply display 20 of your favourite Kanye West lyrics. The performances can be serious, funny or musical.” Nowadays PechaKucha events are held at 700 cities across the world.

Expect topics at the former poly to include fonts, high-school movies and gameshow theme tunes. And to get the crowd in the mood there’ll be “Hampstead Heath pond-themed” cocktails (whatever they may be), as well as beers. It’s the first night of the Camden Crawl CC14, so the street – and room – should be very buzzy.

And for those that didn’t realise, the former Pizza Express building is no longer squatted but occupied by “live-in” property guardians.

Best of all, the night is for a good cause, in aid of Home Start Camden, which supports parents with young children, usually by offering a trained volunteer for a few hours a week.

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PechaKucha in aid of Homestart Camden takes place at 187 Kentish Town Road on Friday June 20. Starts 7pm

  • Show Comments

  • Marie

    I still don’t get what it is?

  • Neil

    It’s like a load of short powerpoint presentations, but better than that sounds. I’ve been to one in Tokyo and it was interesting – luckily mostly in English when I went. Can sound a bit pretentious but it wasn’t and there were some practical presentations as well as more ethereal stuff. Although the one proposed for KT sounds a bit more arty than “thinky”. Kind of depends on who turns up/is chosen for the day, but good luck to them.

  • Jay

    To clarify the usual flaky ‘journalism’ the ‘live in’ guardians are actually a security firm called Guardians of London. They were appointed by the developers, due to pressure from local residents associations, council members and community police officers, to keep out the squatters, who made the lives of so many local residents hell when they were allowed to inhabit and abuse the building.
    Let’s hope they do their job tonight.