The RSA or royal society for the encouragement of Arts, lies one road back from the Strand and slap bang opposite the gleaming entrance to the Adelphi. Most Tuesdays or Thursdays they hold lunchtime lectures on a vast array of subjects driven by this ethos.
The RSA is a charity which encourages the development of a principled, prosperous society and the release of human potential.
Recent talks have included Fiscal Fallout: The challenge ahead for public spending and public services; How to build a mass movement now; and How Maths Illuminates Our Lives
Visit the site and you can sign up to a newsletter which tells you how to apply for the free tickets. If you don’t manage to get in, however, you can stream it live or watch it in the comfy chairs downstairs in the lobby. They also post all the talks up as podcasts, which is nice.
P and I legged it down there last Thursday to catch John Lloyd’s talk – General Ignorance: It’s all about what you don’t know. There is quite a magnificent marble stairway which takes you to the main room and past some lovely looking cakes and biscuits. These are not free, trust me, we asked.
The hall must hold around 300 people and every seat was taken before the prompt start of 1pm. I won’t sum up the talk but will urge you to try and listen to it on the podcast or watch the video when it’s up. Considering John Lloyd produces QI, and also has Blackadder and Spitting Image on his CV, it was unsurprising that the talk was Quite Interesting, peppered with facts and anecdotes – including a very enlightening one about the profitability of the mines in the 1980s and a surprising tale of someone who tried to sue Ian Hislop.
Just so you know, even if you ask really nicely about having a biscuit, they still won’t let you have one for free as you leave.