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5 speakers 15 minutes each

Mon 17th Jan 2011

The Tabernacle

7pm

SoldOut

Tom Hodgkinson

Tom Hodgkinson

A self-confessed idler, Tom Hodgkinson’s philosophy is of a relaxed approach to life. Here he proceeds to share his love for 1970s anarchist punk music, a genre he admires for its attack on the protestant work ethic and its inevitable boredom. What follows is a singalong with a ukulele. Covering anarchist punk anthems and a ballad of hobo heaven where ‘hens lay soft boiled eggs’ and there are ‘cigarette trees’, Hodgkinson urges his audience to join in the chorus of System, System, System and Big Rock Candy Mountain.

Edmund De Waal

Edmund De Waal

Edmund de Waal explains his collection of 264 netsuke. Describing how these tiny 17th century ivory objects are both loseable and forgettable, he goes on to tell of their biographical significance. De Waal initially traces the netsuke’s story to his own childhood, to when he was a 17-year-old travelling through Japan as a pottery apprentice. Then finding his great uncle Iggy in Tokyo, and first seeing the collection of netsuke (hundreds of them) sitting on glass shelves, their story gets revealed and stretched back through Iggy's memory and history. Uncle Iggy was endowed with these netsuke from his parents, overwhelmingly rich Jews who lived in a monstrous pink-gold place in Vienna. Before Vienna they had been in Paris and before Paris, they had undoubtedly been somewhere else. De Waal questions and explores how these tiny Japanese objects can reflect generations of his family's identity, inheritance and diaspora.

Susan Greenfield

Susan Greenfield

In this highly engaging presentation for 5X15, Baroness Susan Greenfield ponders the effects of the screen on ‘mind change’. Stressing the minute-by-minute adaptability of the mind, Greenfield explains the processes in the personalisation of the brain through individual experience. As we get older and experience, feel and think, our brains adapt and evolve becoming ever more individual. Greenfield expresses concern over how young people today are in danger of hindering their brain-development via an unhealthy engagement with modern technology. How does a screen culture give us meaning? Teach us empathy? It might give us a higher IQ and a better short-term memory, but we are losing our sense of identity. Greenfield urges that we need to think of ways of transforming information into knowledge: knowledge, after all, is true understanding, and it does not come at the push of a button.

Tiffany Murray

Tiffany Murray

Tiffany Murray describes her rock 'n' roll childhood, and the unlikely companions she found during it. Making ends meet, her mother hired out her boyfriend’s country house as a rehearsal space for bands. Initially resentful, Tiffany soon found space and time for the music whilst her mother began cooking for the bands and roadies – rock and roll catering, in Herefordshire, in the 70s. The pair hosted Queen, David Bowie, Black Sabbath, Iggy Pop and, most significantly for Tiffany, the Celtic rock band, Horslips. Summers were filled with half naked musicians and prospective fathers. The happy accident of her mother advertising the house as a rehearsal space made a lonely rural child’s upbringing very cool. She claims her first book, Happy Accidents, can only now be recognised as a love letter to all the music Freddie (from the Horslips) introduced her to.

A.C. Grayling

A.C. Grayling

Anthony Grayling is Master of the New College of the Humanities, and a Supernumerary Fellow of St Anne's College, Oxford. He has written and edited over twenty books on philosophy and other subjects. For several years he wrote the "Last Word" column for the Guardian newspaper and now writes a column for the Times. He is a frequent contributor to the Literary Review, Observer, Independent on Sunday, Times Literary Supplement, Index on Censorship and New Statesman, and is an equally frequent broadcaster on BBC Radios 4, 3 and the World Service. He is a past chairman of June Fourth, a human rights group concerned with China, and is a representative to the UN Human Rights Council for the International Humanist and Ethical Union. He is a Vice President of the British Humanist Association, the Patron of the United Kingdom Armed Forces Humanist Association, a patron of Dignity in Dying, and an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.