Cambridge Union Lent Line-Up Released!
Read on to find out which notorious figures will be addressing Cambridge this term..
From Russell Brand to Carl Barât, the Union’s line-up for Lent 2014 promises to feature staples of showbiz and the British arts scene, as well as other influential members of society. Union president Imogen Schon has confidently described the events as “exciting, thought-provoking and, above all, fun,” adding that “we hope to have catered to everybody.”
A highly anticipated speaker of the term is notorious funnyman Russell Brand. Hot on the heels of controversial remarks he made during an interview with Jeremy Paxman, the comedian will be making an appearance in Week 1. With a colourful personal history including struggles with heroin addiction, the Andrew Sachs scandal, and a short-lived marriage to pop princess Katy Perry, a large turn-out is expected for Brand’s speech.
Carl Barât will be at the Union to help ward off Week 5 blues during his appearance later in Lent. Probably best known as a member of garage rock band The Libertines, students will be able to grill Barât on his volatile relationship with co-frontman Pete Doherty prior to the band’s dissolution in the early noughties.
The Lent termcard certainly seems to be heavy on the arts and entertainment front. Tit Hall alum and incumbent National Theatre Director Sir Nicholas Hytner, acclaimed for contributions to film, opera and theatre, and productions including Miss Saigon, The History Boys, and One Man, Two Guvnors will speak on January 20th. Actor John Rhys-Davies, who played Gimli in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and voiced SpongeBob SquarePants baddy Man Ray, is also scheduled to make a Union speech. Former Royal Ballet principal dancer Darcey Bussell, CBE, now a judge on BBC show Strictly Come Dancing will be on hand to round off Week 8.
Lent debates will feature a huge array of topics, with motions focusing on topics as diverse as private education, euthanasia, human rights and the Arab Spring. Laura Bates, founder of the immensely popular Everyday Sexism Project, will be pitted against journalist Tanya Gold, writer for The Guardian, The Independent, and The Daily Mail on the motion “THB that feminism is fighting the wrong battles.” On January 30, ex-BNOC and founder of The Tab Jack Rivlin will square off against Marina Pepper, Lib Dem politician and former Playboy and Page 3 girl, on the effects of tabloid journalism. In an appearance that has been postponed from last term, YouTube celebrities and identical twins Jack and Finn Harries, who have over 3 million subscribers to their channel JacksGap will debate each other on the topic of the video hosting site’s future.
A variety of notable politicians, intellectuals, and public figures will also be at the Union next term. Philosopher A.C. Grayling will be making an appearance, Economics professor Ha Joon-Chang will deliver a speech, and controversial journalists Peter Hitchens and David Aaronovitch will participate in debates. Other notable speakers include the NHS Chief Executive, and former leader of the Tories Michael Howard, scheduled to participate in separate debates over Lent.
Despite clear enthusiasm from the Union, the student body are of a less unanimous opinion, with one John’s first-year noting: ‘I don’t know if it’s because I’m an international student, but I haven’t heard of most of these people.’ Ben Dalton, a fourth year from Fitz, went one further to pronounce Darcey Bussell ‘the worst judge Strictly had ever had’, and as looking ‘ever so slightly similar to Carol Smiley.’
Despite these observations, Lent at the Union looks to be an exciting term, with a line-up featuring perhaps more celebrities than would normally be expected.