Two Men: Two Lectures

Two Men: Two Lectures
Image: Wikimedia

My planned weekend at the Edinburgh Book Festival fell apart at the seams due to unforeseen circumstances. Higher priorities took over that meant everything else had to be cancelled at short notice or rearranged. It was just one of those things that had to happen.

Of the seven events and several hours meeting people, reading and writing that I had planned in Charlotte Square, I only made it to two events, each time arriving immediately prior to it starting then leaving once it was over.

The event I made it to on Saturday was my 4.30 with AC Grayling in the RBS Main Tent. I’ve never read any of Grayling’s work but I had a scan through some of his books in the shop before going in. I was half expecting a stuffy old professor to bore us all to tears. Not so. Grayling was a fascinating and engaging speaker, managing to make the world of philosophy an understandable and interesting one to the outsider.

Other than a final ten minutes at the end for a Q&A, Grayling delivered a 50 minute lecture on, what seemed to me to be many things, but in the end only one point really stuck in my mind—his final one. His point was that if the universe had been brought into existence by a huge bang and spread out into the vacuum with only one tiny, miniscule piece of dust having the consciousness enough to develop, i.e., the human race on earth, then he concluded that if the amount of good we do outweighs the bad it will all have been worth it. And if the reverse were to be as then there will have been no point in us being here.

Obviously, this raises this issue of how you measure all the good and bad in the world and all that kind of thing, but I enjoyed his way of painting a philosophical picture and it made sense to me for he hour.

After the event I handed back my evening tickets to the box office for someone else to use and headed round to the Royal Mile for a quick pint with a friend who is up from England for the Fringe. I’d not seen Simon for 11 years so we had a bit of catching up to do. There wasn’t enough time for it all, but with things the way they were on Saturday a pint and a quick catch-up was all I could manage.

I had the morning off yesterday so I took the chance for a lie in. I felt much better for it, too, managing to shake the sore head and much of the chestiness that has been plaguing me over the past couple of days. I headed back up to Charlotte Square late afternoon for two events, but in the end could only stay for one.

I was in the main tent for 4:30, this time for an hour with The Right Honourable, Roy Hattersley, ex-Labour Party Deputy Leader and Cabinet Minister. His subject matter in a “chairless” event was political biographies, which he claims are mostly dross with the occasional exception. He argued that most are written too quickly and with not enough time having passed, and that their content makes them boring and without point.

Hattersley also argued that private discussions between politicians should remain so, and that temporary privacy is essential if government is to remain objective. Then he turned his attention to the forthcoming Blair biography, A Journey, and that of Peter Mandelson, The Third Man. While he is relishing the thought of reviewing Blair’s book, he said that the fact Mandelson was writing his at the same time as playing his part in the downfall of the last Labour government, was utterly despicable, a sentiment agreed by a large portion of the audience. He added that a biography of this nature merely serves to prove his point that content, friendship and diplomacy means nothing to some, and the call of fame and fortune is everything.

I had to skip the Ken MacLeod and Adam Roberts event, and so headed home to be with the family. An Indian takeaway was ordered and the telly switched on.

Today at the book festival: Gary Trudeau

Peace, out!

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About Colin Galbraith

Thriller author, music fan, St Mirren fan, fluff chucker, rabbit tamer, outstanding fake faller. Loves cannoli.
This entry was posted in Books, Edinburgh, Family, Fiction, Politics, Reading, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Two Men: Two Lectures

  1. Stevie ward says:

    I hope there’s nothing too serious and everything works out mate.

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