It’s our 500th show, let the celebration begin – wait, I have to take this call first.
I was going to organize a big outdoor art festival to mark episode 500, but I got busy and kind of forgot.
Instead, I’ll tell you about an outdoor art festival that is happening, in Leeds, England.
The Compass Festival, rescheduled from last year, features interactive art all over town.
There’s something called Museums in Peoples’ Homes, a portable exhibit featuring items that people in Leeds have collected themselves.
It’s got drums, keepsakes from a bomb disposal technician’s career, and a cat owner’s collection of all her pets’ whiskers.
There’s also Anxiety Arcade, a collection of retro-style video games intended to get people talking about just how prevalent anxiety is.
And, a project called Pick Me Up (& hold me tight), in which many of the pay phones in Leeds will ring at 11am each day of the festival.
People who pick them up will hear “a gentle but thought-provoking audio experience that explores contemporary loneliness.”
After everything we’ve been going through in the last year, it’s a reminder that people need to be heard – and that we can help each other simply by listening.
There’s an effort to get all the pay phones in the UK to ring at once for even more mental health awareness.
But that may come later, so we’ll have to keep listening for more.
Until our show got to Episode 500, you might say the most famous use of that number came each year at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Fun fact: the first race ever held there was not a road race!
It was the National Balloon Championship, won by John Berry and Paul J. McCullough in 1909.
They started at Indianapolis, and landed in Alabama.
This is why every phone box in Leeds will ring in unison on the same day at Compass Festival 2021 (Yorkshire Evening Post)
1909 National Balloon Race (Indianapolis Motor Speedway)
Phone box photo by It’s No Game via Flickr/Creative Commons