With TEDxWandsworth 2017 just over two weeks away, we’re getting into the true TED spirit with some of the most unusual, outrageous TED and TEDx talks of all time. From mushroom suits to hand towels and a kitchen sink symphony, get ready to be amazed.

1. The Call to Learn

What’s this talk about? Well it’s hard to say…there’s a chance speaker Clifford Stoll doesn’t know himself. He jumps around the stage a lot, decides on one-sided objects and Mobius loops (no, we’re not sure either) before moving on to his mother’s photo collection, then teaching 13-year olds how to measure the speed of light…

Hard to follow yet extremely entertaining, Stoll is intensely smart and no student of his is likely to forget him; watch this talk and you won’t either.

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2. Mark Applebaum: The mad scientist of music

This quirky talk is for anyone stuck in a creative rut. Applebaum is a composer who begins his talk by announcing that he is ‘bored with music’ before deconstructing Beethoven, playing a self-constructed instrument (made from doorstops and combs) and showing how he turned his music into visual art.

Funny, engaging and progressive, Applebaum proves that anyone can push beyond the boundaries of creative labels as he seeks to answer the question, ‘But is it music?’

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3. My mushroom burial suit

The concept of ecological burial may be familiar to TED viewers in 2017 but it was considered very strange when artist Jae Rhim Lee gave her TEDGlobal talk in 2011, and her mushroom suit – referred to by Lee as her ‘ninja pyjamas’ – were even stranger.

In just seven minutes, she describes how ‘in trying to preserve our dead bodies, we deny death, poison the living and further harm the environment’. Lee’s ‘mushroom suit’ might just be the ecological answer the world needs.

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4. How to use a paper towel

Think you know how to dry your hands? Think again. In this brief but brilliant talk, speaker Joe Smith demonstrates an innovative way of utilising a paper towel that will not only dry your hands but potentially save 571, 230,000 lbs of paper every year.

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5. Tom Thum: The orchestra in my mouth

Not all TED speakers, well…speak. Tom Thum is a beat boxer who uses the TEDxSydney stage to perform his extraordinary talent.

From a rendition of Michael Jackson’s Billie King to an impersonation of a sitar to a revolutionary ‘TEDx’ remix, this ‘talk’ will make you laugh and leave you in awe.

Watch here


Article by Rosy Edwards