Last night was pretty special. Back on my old blog, Artwork Wednesdays, I wrote once or twice about my love, love, love for The Lost Lectures. They’re passionately curious about anything vaguely interesting (which is kinda everything); so am I. And so are you, I’m guessing.
Here’s the premise: six speakers, loosely themed, gather in an offbeat location. You buy the tickets based on intrigue and a stellar speaker lineup, but you don’t know where you’re going until a week before (or something like that. Maybe it’s two weeks. I don’t know, but you get the idea). The first time I went it was Lost at Sea, and I ended up in an unused lighthouse in a particularly eerie dock in Canada Water. The second time, The Lost Fight, it was a boxing ring in Bethnal Green. But location-wise, last night was by far the best.
Having not been open to the public in 65 years – OH THAT’S RIGHT – this grand old theatre in the North East corner of Ally Pally played host to six speakers, a glorious compere, and 500 pairs of eager ears. No surprises to figure it was charmingly derelict – check it out:
One guy even had a bit of ceiling fall into his drink.
No one likes The Health and Safety Patrol anyway.
But oh my God, oh my GOD, the speakers. I started writing this and, 1,100 words deep, I realised it’s probably best to take it one speaker at a time.
First up was Nick Davies, a journalist involved in the exposure and subsequent downfall of the News of the World.
NICK DAVIES, REAL PROPER JOURNALIST
I went with the beautiful Anni Bould (check out her musings and bloggings on all things foody here), whom I met in my first job in London. We were PR girls on two ends of the spectrum – I was a crying mess, she was a vision of capability, success and all-round fabulousness – and we’ve been two (very grainy) peas in a pod ever since.
Anyway, as we are/were PRs, we loved hearing this journo speak. Right down to the way he constructed his sentences (yeah, language neek right here), you could tell he was of that dying breed: a Real, Proper Journalist (an RPJ, I guess). As an RPJ, he’s probing and inquisitive, and that’s probably why he has such an intriguing insider’s vision of one of the biggest media events in my lifetime.
After narrating the shitfest that was the long-term cover-up of phone hacking, he launched into a vicious and valid attack on Murdoch, first name Rupert, and the culture that allows one man to have such horrifying control over the media, and by proxy, the political agenda of countries all over the world. Which kinda led into a Marxist rant. I love a Marxist rant. Do I agree with everything said? Theoretically, perhaps; but I’m idealistic, a tad fickle and my political stance can be summed up thus:
Anyway, the one article he wrote that didn’t make it into The Guardian was an Eighth Day parable. God’s kicking back, proud of having created the world, yadda yadda. Some angels walk in – grey suits, not white wings; red braces, not golden halos – and ask how he’s going to run the economy in this world he’s created. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need,” says The Big Guy; at which point, the angels man-handle God and throw him off into space, which is why no one has seen him since. Nutshell? If you created the world, you would never want capitalism for it.
Ah, you’re an idealistic, thought-provoking chap, Nick.
Stay tuned for…
BARONESS MARTHA LANE FOX OF SOHO, WONDER WOMAN OF THE WEB
THE CHAPMAN BROTHERS, PLURAL, ARTY BASTARDS