John Griffiths-Colby

Location: Reigate, Surrey
About me...

If you have got this far you must be looking for a public speaker to entertain and inform your chosen audience. I have a wide-ranging background in Journalism, Business Consultancy, Public Speaking and very importantly, Plumbing. I have written extensively for National and Regional magazines, providing satirical and lifestyle columns for the New Statesman and Italian Bike magazines respectively. In my day job as a Business Consultant I deal in business change and I see what works and what doesn’t, in life as well as in business.

About my talks...

All my talks are illustrated, just that; I talk and there are pictures which will illustrate and explain as a background to the subject. I don’t and won’t read from a script or from a Powerpoint slide show. I am reliably informed my talks are funny, a little abstract but ultimately thought-provoking. I will adapt and tailor my talks to your audience as part of the fixed price. I also take commissions for specific material/audiences. My aim is to engage and inform my audience without being too serious. This will be a sideways view of life and the audience will need to think a bit, laugh a bit and take a new thought away with them.

All of my talks are available as remote/virtual presentations (Zoom)


I am based near where the Kent/Surrey/Sussex borders meet and my fee of £100 includes travel expenses within those counties. I am happy to travel further afield but I will need to provide you with a price depending on location. Likewise special commissions will be by arrangement.

My Contact Details:

07890 461 276

Staff Nurse Emily Connell’s Autograph Book

Emily Connell was a remarkable woman; hailing from Bootle and having enrolled in the Territorial Force Nursing Service in 1908, she was appointed as Staff Nurse at 3rd Western General Hospital in Cardiff when war broke out in 1914. As well as serving there throughout the First World War, she kept an autograph book in which her patients drew and wrote messages. This is the story of her own highs and lows and struggles with the system. It is also the story of the remarkable work the TFNS did with Shell Shock sufferers and sheds light on some of the soldiers who left their incredible pictures and anecdotes in her book.

Finding Sapper Clay

With the First World War centenary very much upon us, this is the story of how the chance discovery of a long-lost medal in a garden in Surrey triggered the search for an old soldier’s family. Uncovering a remarkable series of coincidences, the resulting search for a living descendant would span 19th century brickmaking in Warwickshire, the Somme, Gallipoli, a disastrous gas accident, family and estrangement and bizarrely, would reach further back in time to connect with a landmark in women’s literature – George Eliot’s (Mary Anne Evans’) first story collection published in 1857. Just who was Sapper Clement Cecil Clay R.E.?

For this talk I donate £10 of my fee to the Poppy Appeal.

How Far Can Retro Go?

Out of date, outmoded, out of here – fashion is only predictable in as much as it is fickle and perhaps in knowing that what goes around, will come around. Is Retro really a style or just recycling – how much of it can we digest when we remember it from the first time around? Was it even new then? Also has the ascendance of male grooming and eating out replaced the attractiveness of a bloke who looks like he needs a good meal? It worked so well for James Dean, Jim Morrison, Oliver Tobias and Frank Sinatra – what’s going on?

Change and the Wrong Ways

Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr once wrote ‘Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose’ [the more it changes, the more it is the same thing] and this is quoted about as often as people say ‘the only constant is change’. Large and small companies now have teams dedicated to Change and the media sells us stuff by justifying our need for changing the item we already have. Millions of books are sold with the aim of helping us change our lives, families and personalities. Here I explore the subject of Change and present some wry observations as to why we accept that ‘change happens’ and at the same time ‘nothing changes’ and why we spend a lot of our spare headspace trying to work out how to change things and in particular, those closest to us. In the meantime we, of course, don’t really need to change and usually just end up behaving like our parents.

Write to live, Live to Write

I will explore and explain some odd dimensions of motorcycling literature and how it has influenced the quality of our lives more than we know. In addition, time spent as a columnist on a motorcycling magazine and with the New Statesman, helps me highlight how printing and journalistic techniques can influence life, the universe and of course, motorcycle maintenance.

Have you ‘liked’ me yet?

I keep bumping into celebrities without trying at all and most of them turn out to have once been Doctor Who. Their reaction is mixed – some want to be known and some don’t and none of them know me from Adam. So what makes a celebrity? Can it be thrust upon them? Can they shake it off? If everyone can be famous for fifteen minutes, do Social Networks help your chances or make your thoughts and antics even more insignificant? Do today’s children think being a celebrity is a realistic career option any more than Media Studies? If you sense that this talk isn’t at all serious, you may well be right but the psychology and cult of celebrity is as funny as it might be sad.

John Griffiths-Colby Contact Details:

07890 461 276

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