Archive for March, 2016

Basingstoke and its Contribution to World Culture: Read the Book, Hear the Lecture!

March 20th, 2016

Basingstoke and its Contribution to World Culture is a whimsical, yet scholarly attempt to explain the phenomenon that is Basingstoke.

When I gave this as my audition piece for NADFAS, success seemed assured when the mere title was greeted with gales of laughter.

Sadly, Basingstoke is one of the most derided towns in England, famous for its pointless roundabouts, vacuous shopping centres and hostile modernist architecture.

Thanks to demented post-War planners, this has been the fate of towns across Britain. I remember explaining this at a previous ADM to representatives of one of the Norfolk societies. ‘The thing is,’ I said, ‘even the nicest places in England seem to have a Basingstoke on their doorstep. I don’t know Norfolk,’ I added nervously, ‘so am not sure where it would be in your case.’ Quick as a flash they replied: ‘Have you never been to Thetford?’

This is easily my most popular talk for NADFAS, accounting for about seventy per cent of my business. I urge you not to miss out on a talk that is funny, sobering and controversial. Its message is more immediate and relevant than you might suppose.

[The text of my one-minute speech to the NADFAS Annual Directory Meeting at the Central Methodist Hall, Westminster, on Monday 14 March. For reviews of my lecture, please refer to my ‘Lectures’ page and scroll down to the bottom. For further information about the book on which the lecture is based, with reviews, please refer to my ‘Books’ page.]