Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Funny weather we're having

Have you braved the weather then? You brave things!  What did you see tonight? That's not a hypothetical question - let's get some conversation going here. It's strangely quiet, but I know you're out there in the darkness. Don't let me hog all the limelight. I know there were people left itching for the microphone earlier tonight.

Bronwen Maddox, Ziauddin Sardar and Scott Lucas engaged in a discussion chaired by Helen Taylor - The World Today: America and Britain. In a word? Tantalising. As Scott Lucas pointed out, a discussion like this could take seven or eight hours. Look, I know Nic Bottomley had his heart set on going to this one so I'll do my darndest to say something sensible and meaningful with it. Poor old bean was busy orchestrating book sales for three events simultaneouswise. They're like buses, these things. (I think we all know he wouldn't have it any other way really.)

The panel's clear, informed messages did much to elucidate and explore a topic which is at the fore of our national psyche. Its importance permeates our culture. With the current economic situation linking our two nations as much as our recent joint forays into questionable foreign policy and misadventure, the roles and the responsibilities of America and Britain in a global context took centre stage.

With the hour speeding by, this well-structured discourse did occasionally and inevitably slip into cross-firing pub banter, albeit with professorships for beermats and transcontinental experience for session ale.

And that might have been the most interesting aspect of the conversation. We were graced with three forceful academic minds - one whose background is American-English, one whose is more stoutly American, and one whose is Asian-English. And their world views didn't sit exactly how you might expect - with each revelation the shift in  atmosphere was audible. There were mutters of approval. Sighs and  fidgets as knickers twisted and untwisted. At one point there was an uncontrolled bark of disagreement and later relieved laughter. At the close, two hearty rounds of applause.

This one could've run on into the night. Please do commit finger to keyboard if you'd like to continue here.

Sam 'The Uncommon' Reader


Mr B said...

Well, I scurried down the stairs to the Green Room with extra books for signing after the event to find that Bronwen Maddox was still in debating mood, earnestly chatting away to Chris Patten who was about to make his star turn.

Ziauddin Sardar lingered a while and when I dropped in again 30 minutes later he was on to new and less controversial topics, extolling the virtues of the opera "Monkey" which he urges us all to go and see.

Mr B

Enduring said...

Thank you for such a kind post. It was a great experience for me, swapping ideas with Zia and Bronwen and getting the feedback (and the vibes that you mentioned) from the crowd.

Life rolls on --- at Enduring America, we're trying to track the apparent shift in US policy on the Middle East and Iran and the growing crisis in Afghanistan-Pakistan --- but I'll remember the evening fondly.

Scott Lucas

Mr B's Emporium of Reading Delights said...

The pleasure was all ours, Mr Lucas.