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Last week I enjoyed two events that brought together the arts and sciences. On Monday I spoke for the London Salon beneath awe inspiring Rubens paintings in a vast and lofty room at The Banqueting House in London's Whitehall. The other speakers and I had to pretend it was 1649 and indeed Oliver Cromwell was in attendance (courtesy of Past Pleasures Ltd). The paintings, commissioned by Charles I to deify his father James I, were explained to us by Brett Dolman from the Historic Royal Palaces; we listened to music from the era, described by cellist and historical DJ Jane Cockcroft and Oliver Cromwell told us how Charles I's stubborn nature had brought about his own execution and why we must all return to more sober and responsible ways.



Here's a podcast made during the evening





Then on Sunday I'd been invited to SundayWise at The Ivy. The other speakers included artists Peter Kennard, who took us through some of his montage work published by The Tate in @earth, Josef Valentino (#AVERAGEJOE) who related his adventure on Damien Hirst's spot challenge, and film-maker Leah Borromeo reminded us of the dreadful societal effects on the sources of some of our cheap clothing. The chairman of Sotherby's Lord Dalmeny explained why auction items reach the prices they do, and Master Distiller Nik Fordham told us all about the new self-sustaining gin distillery at Laverstoke Mill. It will soon be producing our favourite brand and the company generously provided us all with an eminently refreshing glassful, so Nikki and I were delighted. The talks were interspersed by offerings from poet Greta Bellamancia.

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