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45 minutes
First broadcast:
Monday 02 November 2009

Andrew Marr discusses memory, secrets, failed states and snobbery with his guests.

Academic Viktor Mayer-Schonberger talks about his new book Delete - the dangers of remembering in the digital age. Director Daniel Kramer talks secrets, psychology and the accessability of opera as his new production of Bluebeard opens at the ENO. Clare Lockhart, Director of the Institute for State Effectiveness, talks about how to fix failed states by building markets, and Quentin Letts gives his thesis on how snobbery will save us.


    Forgetting is part of what makes us human, but in the age of online digital information it is under threat. In Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age, Viktor Mayer-Schönberger argues that our lives and reputations can be harmed by the internet’s infinite capacity to remember. Digital information and capacious online storage mean that a mistake from the distant past can come back to haunt us with one click of the mouse. Viktor discusses the importance of forgetting and suggests some solutions - how can memory loss be artificially created in a digital world?

    Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age is published by Princeton University Press.

    Viktor Mayer-Schönberger

    Two of the most expressionistic works of the 20th century are brought together in a double bill at the London Coliseum this week. Award-winning director Daniel Kramer is directing Bela Bartók’s one-act opera Duke Bluebeard’s Castle for the English National Opera and explores the modern resonances of this chilling fairy tale.

    Duke Bluebeard’s Castle forms the first part of a double bill with the ballet The Rite of Spring and opens at the London Coliseum on 6 November.

    English National Opera

    “Market building” is a phrase that is often used but perhaps little understood. Clare Lockhart, Director of the Institute for State Effectiveness and co-author of Fixing Failed States, examines how economies can be re-built in post conflict states. She explains the problems that arise when NGOs displace the entrepreneurial spirit of a country by flooding it with aid and how market mechanisms can alleviate humanitarian problems. Drawing on her experiences working in Afghanistan, Clare discusses how the market can work with the State to create employment and secure peace.

    Clare will be taking part in a discussion on 5 November, chaired by General David Richards, with Paddy Ashdown and Mark Kimmett on Stabilization and Reconstruction - The Challenges and How to Meet Them.


    Quentin Letts believes that the elite are trying to deny their own existence. In his latest book, Bog-Standard Britain: How Mediocrity Ruined This Great Nation, he argues that in trying to show sympathy for the underdog, the elite, rather than demonstrating recognisably higher manners and ideals, are celebrating the crass, the grotty, the thick and the violent, and vetoing the idea of a British national character for fear of sounding jingoistic. His targets include ladettes, shaven-headed men, middle-class tattoo wearers and Jonathan Ross.

    Bog-Standard Britain: How Mediocrity Ruined This Great Nation is published by Constable.

    Bog-Standard Britain


Arts & Culture selection

Damian Lewis on reading A Delicate Truth

A selection of highlights from our arts and culture programmes.

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