Nov 20 2014

Conflicts, Commemoration and Country Walks at Cumberland Lodge

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cumberland lodgeA few weekends ago, the student and staff of the International History Department replaced the LSE East Building’s linoleum floors with the carved mahogany of Cumberland Lodge for the department’s annual conference, this year entitled “Voices from the Grave: War and the Politics of Commemoration”. The conference boasted speakers from the LSE, the BBC, and the art scene, and was set in the beautiful surroundings of Windsor Great Park. After the frenzy that is the LSE library, the change of scenery was a welcome respite for flossed academic nerves.

speakers at cumberland lodge

Documentary makers Detlev Siebert and Julia Cave

talk at cumberland lodge

The attentive student audience

cumberland lodge talk

Prof. Janet Hartley, Prof. Sönke Neitzel and Prof. Marc Baer

Following an incredibly delicious dinner, an introductory talk by Prof. Heather Jones, and a small imbibe of alcohol in the bar Friday night, Saturday was fully dedicated to academics. The conference began on a somber note with the remarkable documentary “I Was There”, showing interviews from 1960s with surviving WWI soldiers. The two makers of the film were also present: Julia Cave, who had initially conducted the interviews for the BBC, and Detlev Siebert, who had found the interviews in an archive at the Imperial War Museum and decided to give them a documentary of their own. The conversation between them and the audience highlighted the differences in the methodology of journalists and academics, but also showed how history can be used in different but equally valid ways.

The expertise of the LSE International History Department was also present. Prof. Janet Hartley discussed the different political uses that the Napoleon invasion of Russia in 1812 had been through throughout Russia’s tumultuous history, Prof. Marc Baer focused on the Armenian genocide and its (invisible) place within Turkish history-writing and commemoration, and Prof. Sönke Neitzel expanded on Germany and the development of its WWII commemoration tradition. To finish off on an alternative note, renowned artist and former Official British War Artist during the first Gulf war, John Keane, gave a presentation about his life and work. Seeing his paintings was a useful reminder of how historical events can become cultural products in themselves, which hopefully make it possible to grasp the violence and destruction inherent in our histories.

cumberland lodge surroundsBut enough about death and destruction! Cumberland Lodge is, thankfully, far from any of that sort. After having had a full day of discussion about mass atrocities and the politicizing of national commemorations, there was ample time for walks in the Deer Park, tea in the Chesterfield armchairs and dancing in the underground game room. It was a wonderful experience to get to know fellow students at the department, and also to have a chance to talk with professors in a more informal setting. Perhaps, as the night got on, more and more informal (I did mention the dancing in the basement, right?). No more shall be said on this account.cumberland lodge surrounds

Formality returned promptly Sunday morning with a visit to the Royal Chapel where sightings of the Queen herself are frequent! Unfortunately, she had decided to take her religious business elsewhere on this auspicious Sunday, but we were joined by a princess of some kind (so we were told) and a jovial minister who sermonized upon the problematic dichotomy between saints and sinners. Bottom line: It’s never too late to be saved.

cumberland lodge surroundsAnd saved we were, in the end, by the traditional tea and biscuits, which seem to be the main sustenance of the truly British. A few gulps of Darjeeling were had before our re-packed bags were once more stowed unto the bus and the London traffic guided us sluggishly home.

Thank you to the International History Department, and especially the conference coordinator Prof. Joanna Lewis, for an enlightening and refreshing few days. If you, dear reader, should ever have the chance to go with your department to Cumberland Lodge, please grab the chance. It’s truly a place to see new things, have new thoughts, find new friends.

Posted by: Posted on by Emilie Bang-Jensen Tagged with: , ,

Nov 18 2014

Neighborhood Life


This is the street I live on.  More accurately, I suppose, it’s the street next to the street I live on, and it’s called Kentish Town Road.  The cHEMiST doesn’t exist anymore, but I can confirm from recent experience that the kebabbery does.  If, by the way, you’re one of those people that cringed at my use of the newly-coined ‘kebbabery’, consider the fact that Shakespeare introduced over 2,000 new words to the language, and as I am at minimum 0.05% (1 / 2,000) the writer Shakespeare was, I think it’s fair to allow me just this one.

Anyway.  This is not the point.  The point is, for the first time, I’m living in a real London neighborhood.  There are charity shops, grocery stores, kebabberies (the plural, of course, of kebbabery) and coffee shops galore, and they’re all right at my doorstep.  On Saturdays, I’ve enjoyed walking the twenty feet down the road to the ‘ALL DAY BREAKFAST, £4′ place – I assume it has no other name – read the paper, and listen to little old ladies gab on about the neighborhood.  It’s been great.

My flat is directly above a grocery store, and I’m convinced that with a little smooth talking, I can convince the landlord to install a dumbwaiter in my bedroom, into which I can place crisp £5 notes, and out of which I can take copious quantities of hummus and baba ghanoush.

None of these things were possible last time I was here.  I lived in Bloomsbury, in Passfield Hall, which had the two great virtues of being both incredibly cheap (relatively speaking) and a fifteen-minute walk from campus.  It was not, however, much of a neighborhood.  The dozens of hotels in the area were swarming with tourists, and the nearest decent restaurants or pubs were good walks away.  Kentish Town, meanwhile, feels alive.

It’s easy to forget, whilst at the LSE, that you’re not just there to be a student.  You’re there to live a life, and being a student is just one part of that.  The experiences you have in your day-to-day color and give context to the work you do in the classroom, and I can’t recommend enough living in a neighborhood that makes you feel alive as you work to understand your world.



MSc Public Management and Governance '15; General Course '13.

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Nov 17 2014

Unbelievable that November has come

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It is unbelievable that November has come, without warning. A friend posted a picture this morning, showing the first thin layer of snow in Sweden. I feel so jealous; November has always been white in my mind, perfect for the beginning of a fairy tale. It never happened in real life, though.

November2London is still in autumn, as leaves are piling on every street and people starts to put on black coats and warm-colored scarfs. I have finally got used to catching a red bus to school, regardless of the weather. On sunny days, early morning or noon, I enjoy sitting on the upper deck alone and seeing through the window. The city extends like a painting; guys are shaking hands at the bus stops, girls are struggling with their hairstyles in the wind, and couples are kissing by the river. London comes to life in the sunshine.

On rainy days, conversely, the sky looks miserable, rain drops lingering on the window like shards of glass. And if it gets dark, everything outside the bus seems unknowable. It would be better to sit with a friend at this moment, a very good one, someone I care about a lot, because there are always words that I find it hard to speak under normal circumstances, which seem appropriate to tell on this special occasion.

London has changed me a lot, in ways that I never expected. Thanks to the lovely friends I met here, who taught me to tell the people I’m close to that I love and care for them. “Love” is a strong word for me, but I do meet people that I love, deep in my heart, among whom there is someone who shares so many similarities with me, just like another me. Sometimes I feel that I am too lucky. Now I am afraid of the future, which is definitely unpredictable. It would be heart-breaking to say farewell to those amazing people who have been inspiring me a lot. Mais, c’est la vie.

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Nov 17 2014

Geek World, Part 2 – Membership in the Senate House and Institute of Historical Research Library

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Hello folks!

As promised, I am back with Geek World, Part 2. Today I will talk about membership in the Senate House library and the Institute of Historical Research (IHR) Library.

The Senate House is located right in the heart of the University of London. It’s a huge white building, right in front of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. (Those who are a little bad with directions, please don’t refer to your navigator for help, as it will show the Senate House library right behind the British Library, whereas you need to walk for at least 15 minutes from there!)

The Senate House library can be reached by taking bus no. 91 or 59 from LSE. Get down at the British Library, and from there walk to the UCL campus. A Pret A Manger in front of the British Library is your landmark, from where you need to keep walking straight.

The Senate House and IHR library are located in the same building. The IHR library re- opened recently, with a new collection of printed archives. I visited the Senate house library on a tour which my department, International History, organized for its students. (And that’s my source of trivia, if any on the library!)

The Senate house library has beautiful reading rooms located on the fourth and fifth floors, and each reading room is significant for its own set of archives. The first reading room (and the oldest), is the Goldsmith’s reading room, which has an immense collection of music records, and also trade history records and is an excellent resource for anyone pursuing research on these two topics. There are three more reading rooms, and one of them is an informal space with sofas where periodicals from around the world are kept. (the smell of the books really takes you back to the eighteenth century!).

Wi- fi can be accessed in the library, though during rush hour periods it might be a little slow. Now, coming back to the title of my essay – membership is the simplest thing ever. Nothing complicated, nor mundane.

All you need is your LSE ID, and you can get your Senate House library card. :D (And, it’s free!) The Application form can be completed at the desk, where you need to provide just basic data, i.e., your current address, e- mail, etc.

There are more reading rooms located on the fifth floor library, and the expansive history collection of the library is also spread out on the same floor. The building is supported by the weight of the books, post the seventh floor, according to the architectural design! The floors post seventh floor can’t be accessed, as it is the repository of books, and some books are also stored at a warehouse in Surrey. So it might happen that some books may take more than 24 hours to reach after they have been ordered, so do check out the online catalogue once before leaving home.

The library also offers facilities like issuing – 15 books can be issued for up to four weeks. Certain books are only available for two weeks, and some others are just reference books. The library also fills up any void in its collection by referring students to the SOAS library right in front of it, where any student of the University of London (including LSE students), can access the books for reference.

Right below the Senate House library is the Institute of Historical Research, which has its expansive archival library. The library is great if you want to look at print archives, i.e., newspapers. Further details about IHR.

Membership at the IHR is also simple, one needs to provide their Student ID card and a proof of address for registration, which is free. The proof of address can be passport, driving license, recent utility bill, or equivalent (for UK residents). For international/EU students, please provide your University residence letter, or accommodation electricity bill, or its equivalent.

UK is a hub for education and there is no dearth of libraries for those willing to research! For those interested in primary source materials, check out the National Archives at Kew, those researching on the Holocaust should definitely visit the Wiener Library. As an anonymous writer famously said, “If there is a paradise, it is in a library”, I believe that we can all build our own paradise in these beautiful repositories of books!

Signing off,


Posted by: Posted on by mukhopa1 Tagged with: , , ,

Nov 14 2014

London Concerts: One Republic

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I did not know how to capture the amazing experience that was the One Republic concert, so I instead decided to blend together lyrics of their songs to attempt to convey the experience. The italicized words are parts of their lyrics from various songs. I would have used quotations marks, but sometimes punctuation is too constraining.

Hello world
Hope you’re reading 

Woke up in London today
Found myself in the city near Greenwich
Don’t really know how I got here
Transfers on the tube that I didn’t really follow
Address to concert arenas like Peninsula Square

Had a dream in other years
About how I wanted to see
One Republic live.

I get lost in the beauty
Of every song heard
In all three albums
For the last seven years

So I decided
No more counting dollars
I’ll be counting stars
Said no more counting dollars
We’ll be, we’ll be counting stars

Let’s paint the picture of the perfect place
With perfect notes, sparking lights, and crowd of thousands
Between the noise I hear, and the sounds I like
Am I just sinking in an ocean of faces?

All I can think
when the crowd screams out
And sings aloud with every lyrics is..

Oh, This has gotta be the good life
This has gotta be the good life

When this year and night comes to an end
I will definitely say…

I owned every second
That this world could give
I saw so many places
The things that I did
Like splurging on concerts
With every new memory

I swear I lived

Posted by: Posted on by aminu

Nov 13 2014

In Conversation with Dr. David Reynolds: The Commonwealth War Graves Commission and LSE Remembrance Lecture, 29th October, 2014

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Professor David Reynolds, Professor of International History at Cambridge University, gave the inaugural lecture of The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) at the LSE on 29th October, 2014. His lecture is a part of the LSE Remembrance series, which commemorates 100 years since World War 1. The lecture was titled, “Names: The Long Shadow of British War and Remebrance, 1914- 2014″.

picture from David Reynolds talk

Not a person who regularly attends University public lectures (this is only the third one I have attended so far), I was coaxed into visiting the Sheikh Zayed Theatre on a cold Wednesday evening, by my Professor, Dr. Heather Jones, who invited all students in her course to attend the lecture as it fit in very well with all the discussions we were having in class regarding World War 1.

Before entering the theatre, I chanced upon loads of goodies being distributed by the CWGC as part of its initiative to give unheard voices of the war an identity. Entering the theatre weighed down with CDs, pencils, pens, maps and of course, fliers, my expectations were heightened and I was prepared to be mesmerised by one of the most successful historians in the discourse of International History.

And I got much more than I expected. It was, in colloquial terms, a “blast of a lecture”.

Prof. David Reynolds was introduced by Dr. Soenke Neitzel, Associate Professor in the Department of International History at LSE. Dr. Neitzel described Prof. Reynolds as a charismatic, highly energetic and humourous man, and indeed Prof. Reynolds kept the audience laughing throughout the lecture, in spite of its extremely serious topic. His lecture highlighted the commemoration of soldiers of the war and the challenges and policies associated with it.

Prof. Reynolds started his lecture by talking about the “poppy appeal” which has now acquired an important significance in the remembrance of soldiers who fought in the World Wars (Poppy is the flower used on World War soldier’s graves).

World War 1 was a war where death was on an unimaginable scale. This was a fact of military life – soldiers going on war knew they may never come back. In fact, bodies of the dead soldiers after a certain point were not brought back in England, as it was not easy to identify bodies. Uniform gravestones were created – there was no distinction between generals and privates. Graves were named, for those people whose names were available from the public records of enlistment. The memorials as part of the CWGC initiative is located at Somme and Thiepval and Prof. Reynolds encouraged everyone to give it a visit.

In Britain, the impact of the war was huge, “old” men, past the age of enlistment, like Lutyens and Kipling were extremely remorseful about the war, especially Kipling, whose son died in the war. His body was never found and his last sighting was on a field where he was walking with half of his face shot off. Kipling’s famous statement, “A soldier of the Great War- Known unto God”, written for the epitaphs of the soldiers, maybe came through his personal grief and also out of the shared collective memory of the soldiers lost. Kipling’s son has no named gravestone. According to Prof. Reynolds, Kipling’s poem, “Epitaphs of the war”, where he said, “If any question why we died, tell them, because our fathers lied”, maybe came straight from his heart.

Today, these graves are memorials and there is magnetic attraction, as soon as one goes there, to find your family name.

Prof. Reynolds also brought up the intense academic topic of whether the First World War itself should be re-named. If 1914 was a world war, then 1939 – 45 finished that unfinished business, it was the “knockout blow”. It was a continuation, not a break. 1914 – 1918 now needs to be re-defined in language terms, it needs to be refracted through 1939 – 1945. The 1920s and 1930s are therefore no longer the ‘post- war years’, but should be re-defined as the ‘inter-war years’.

The commemoration and remembrance process began more than fifteen years after the war (1964 – 1968), with BBC producing its Great War documentary in 1965. What was surprising was the then ‘photoshopped’ photo of the soldier, from the war trenches. It was a horrific expression, one that defined fear. It was the haunted gaze of the man in the trenches. This was also the time that war poetry and its study assumed significance. These were the poets who brought to life the names in the trenches.

According to 1960 anthologies of scholars like Brian Gardner, there was a learning curve of the poet- soldiers. It started with naive patriotism to naive sarcasm to final acceptance of the pity of war. These were the “quintessential” war poets.

Movies and plays like, “Oh! What a Lovely War” (1963, 69) kept alive these horrific images of war in the minds of people. The again brought to life, the forgotten tragic stories.

A century on, there are now no veterans of the Great War (WW1) in Britain. In the literal sense, it is difficult to remember the war because we don’t have any contact with the dead. But there is also a need to understand the Great War as History. There is a need to get out of the trenches, move away from the poet’s corner.

There is now a need to take a more transnational view of the war, other fronts like China, India, Middle East, Japan and Africa need to be included in these war studies, as this was a global war, not something just confined to Europe.

Prof. Reynolds finished his speech amongst a thundering applause and really left some important questions in the minds of the people. Names really need to be given and thoughtfully so – because each name defines and excludes unconsciously someone or something. There is a need to look beyond the traditional framework given to us about the ‘Great War’.

Boy, I am so glad I went for that lecture. :D

Signing off,


Posted by: Posted on by mukhopa1 Tagged with: ,

Nov 13 2014

Slightly Delayed Saw Swee Hock Opening

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Having opened its doors many months ago, the 24th of October saw the official opening of the Saw Swee Hock student centre. I still haven’t figured out why it took so long to ‘officially’ open the building, but hey, any excuse for a celebration!

The university and students union pulled out all the stops, and even the unpredictable British weather couldn’t dampen the mood. The day’s activities included talks, debates, musical performances and comedy acts. By far the most crucial thing to mention is the free food. When locating free food, the key is to look for the mad eyed swarm of students crowding around a stressed looking food vendor (picture a dystopian Hunger Games-esque scene). Free tacos turn civilized students into savages. Pick and mix had a similar effect, taking us all back to the sugar high of primary school discos (seriously, when was the last time you had flying saucers and rainbow dust?!)

Having battled my way to the pick and mix and popcorn stands, I settled into the comedy performances at The Three Tunns- student bar turned performing area for the day. Now I’ve been to comedy gigs before, and I know well enough to hide at the back in order to avoid the comedian’s attention, I do not wish to be picked on. The comedy performances included that of Jonny Lennard and Pierre Novellie, introduced by the hilarious Ed Gamble. None of them failed to mention the recent Rugby Club scandal- any comedian worth their salt would know to bring that incident up. Having spent the morning in class, by the time the comedy wrapped up I was in need of a nap in readiness for the night ahead.

Saw Swee gets Saucy

The evening of the launch saw the ‘Super Saucy’, a mega version of the weekly student night at the Saw Swee Hock’s Venue. With Pendulum destined for the stage, tickets unsurprisingly sold out, and the night was set to be epic (if not a little messy).

The only downside to the venue is that it is a signal black hole, making it near impossible to find your friends, but if you dance for long enough you’re bound to see someone you know. It wasn’t until 4:30 that we made it back to Bankside, an hour and a half after the lights came on and the music cut off, having taken a detour for kebabs at Café Rossi (incidentally one of the few places we’ve found near Bankside that stay open long into the night).

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Nov 12 2014

Adventure Wednesday

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Never have I been more thankful for an early morning class. Every Wednesday this term, I have one early morning class with the rest of my day free. Normally, I would be complaining about waking up early, but the class forces me to not waste my day. Since the rest of my day is free from the  chains of higher education (I’m joking, I promise), I get to take full advantage of the free day. Last Wednesday, I used it as an opportunity to learn a bit more about London.

I wanted to give you quick rundown of few things I explored in real life and learned about though google and helpful signs for tourists.

1. Leather Lane Market = Amazing street food.
duck sandwich from leather lane streetfood market
The Leather Lane Market may seem a bit scruffy at first but it has some amazing street food. The street is lined with traditional street stalls (half of which were selling some amazing food). I walked up and down the lane almost ten times before deciding to buy steamed buns with roasted duck. Never had duck before, but HANDS DOWN best duck in London. I will be going back to try to the other food places.


2. Holborn Viaduct
Holborn ViaductThank god for modern technology because I had no idea what the bridge was or why this bridge was painted until I googled “red bridge London with dragons”. The bridge was the first Flyover or Overpass Bridge in Central London built in 1860’s and was opened by Queen Victoria. It originally was not painted this ostentatious red, but 150th anniversary it was repainted and gilded with real gold. The Guardian article I found explaining that the city wanted “maximum bling” for the renovation of the bridge. The Holborn Viaduct’s bling definitely caught my attention.

3. Old Bailey:Old Bailey
You cannot read the inscription in the picture, but above the main entrance, it reads, “Defend the Children of the Poor & Punish the Wrongdoer”. Old Bailey is the Central Criminal Court of England and Wales. It also has some great outdoor space around it for picnicking. For Sherlock fans, Old Bailey is featured in the episode “”The Reichenbach Fall”.

4. Greyfrair’s Garden:  London loves its outdoor public space (and so do I). This is one of the more creative creations. After the Christchurch Greyfriars was bombed in the World War II, the ruins were turned into a garden. Sitting inside the garden is absolutely peaceful despite its location. Greyfriar's Garden

5. St. Paul’s Cathedral:St. Paul's cathedral
The iconic dome in the London skyline is St. Paul’s Cathedral, the first church built after Henry VIII’s break from Catholic Church. I didn’t have the opportunity to go inside the building, but it is absolutely beautiful. The open space around the Cathedral was filled with tourists and Londoners on lunch break. Although I attribute this type of architecture to US. Capitol building normally, it is interesting to see the influences of this dome on American architecture. The painting under the US. Capitol dome, “apotheosis of George Washington”, which has religious undertones also makes when you understand the domes were originally used most prominently in religious buildings.

6. Postman Park:
I took a small break to read a few chapters in the Postman’s Park.

7. London Museum:
Denoting the history of London from the city’s inception, the museum was a great way to get to learn more about London. I also saw the ruins of the wall the originally surrounded London as a form of protection during the Roman rule of “Londinium“. The museum is situated directly next to parts of the remaining wall ruins. (Checkout the selfie with the ruins!).

The Museum is also setting up an exhibit of Sherlock Holmes which is why there are pink dancing stick figures outside the London Museum. It references the Sherlock Holmes’ story, “The Adventures of Dancing Men”. I cannot wait to come back to see the exhibit of Sherlock Holmes in completion on another Wednesday adventure.image

Getting back to Passfield Hall from London Museum took an extra hour than necessary as I explored the back alleys of London. To everyone who is asking if I have gotten lost yet, the answer is a resounding no! I am just taking the path the less traveled.

This Wednesday, I will be going to a Kongos and One Republic concert. More to come on London music adventures.

Posted by: Posted on by aminu Tagged with: , ,

Nov 11 2014

Commemorating War, 100 years, 1914-2014

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This is the centenary year of World War 1. While Europe and the rest of the world commemorates and remembers the heroes of the War, gives names to the unspoken identities created/destroyed during the war, I want to use this opportunity to reflect on the story of some other commemorative events lost over the sands of time, partly because they are more closer to ‘contemporary history’, and may receive due adulation 50 years from now.

I have written some lines highlighting the plight of the land which has seen the war, experienced the pain of the people dying on it. This land belongs to nobody, it has no name. Because blood is its only defining identity now.

What have I done?

is it my fault,

that I am a land

in between Your world,

you Hate me, Maime me

you kill your own people and burn their houses.

But you still want my shores, cast your flags

capture my sails.

You Forget.

I am just a piece of land. A No-Man’s land.

No one owns me. Except the sea.

I am not a property, nor a religion,

in fact,

I don’t even have a Name.

Oh fools! Why do you forget?

One day this sea will dissolve us all,

destroy your destruction,

Put to rest the coffins you laid on my shoulders

This is a No-Man’s land.

A land without a name, without a border, without a shore, without air.

Alas, this is not to be.

Posted by: Posted on by mukhopa1 Tagged with: , , ,

Nov 11 2014

The case of the royal kneecap: Classroom lessons in the real world

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“The phone-hacking scandal begins nine years ago, November 2005, with a single kneecap. The kneecap is special, because it is royal.” – Nick Davies

Tuesday evenings have quickly counted themselves among my favourites here at LSE thanks to Polis Media Agenda Talks. With my head spinning as I attempt to digest the theories presented over the course of a packed day, the agenda talks offer a practical perspective as we hear from practitioners in the field. Sponsored by Polis, LSE’s media think-tank, the talks cover a wide-range of topics and outlooks, offering great potential for discussion and debate as real-world events are framed in the context of classroom theories.

Dr. Damian Tambini in conversation with investigative journalist Nick Davies

Dr. Damian Tambini in conversation with investigative journalist Nick Davies

During our week covering media power, freelance journalist Nick Davies came to campus for a conversation about the UK phone-hacking scandals. Davies played a crucial role in exposing the phone-hacking activity of reporters employed by Rupert Murdoch’s media properties and recently published a book on the topic. Davies presented the events as a story about power, specifically the control exercised by Murdoch - “a bully on the playground,” as described by Davies. The tale is a vivid, tangible, somewhat frightening example of the way in which media ownership influences reporting, access to information, and protection of personal privacy. As Davies said, “It is not a remote worry. It really matters.”

Picture from Great Britain showPop culture has leveraged the ubiquity of the story in the public’s mindset for entertainment purposes – a new play on the subject recently began its run in the West End. Great Britain, written by Richard Bean, premiered at the National Theatre this summer before transferring to the Theatre Royal Haymarket at the end of September. Ahead of its premiere, the play was rehearsed in secret to avoid affecting the trial verdicts of Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks, former News of the World editors.

The week after hearing from Davies, I attended a performance of the play with LSE’s Drama Society. The satire employs humour, often crude, to depict the absurd levels of corruption found among reporters, politicians, and the police. Sharp, spirited performances drive the comedy, leaving the audience to enjoy a highly entertaining evening at the theatre.

But its entertainment factor does not overshadow its deeply unsettling content. In her final monologue, the central character Paige Britain, adeptly played by Lucy Punch, questions the audience’s role in the phone hacking scandals, essentially arguing journalists overstep the boundaries of the law to satisfy the public need and desire for the types of stories advanced by these techniques. It’s a question of accountability at once gut-wrenching and thought-provoking. Do we have a press, a political system, and a police force plagued by deceit and criminality because we as a public in some way asked for it?

The themes raised by the play and by Davies’ talk spoke to a core component of my studies inside the classroom – questions of power, ownership, control, and accountability as they relate to the media. The story may have begun with Prince William’s kneecap, but its escalation and exposure provide a case study ripe with points of debate for myself and my classmates, and the chance to think about these issues outside the classroom was certainly quite welcome.

Posted by: Posted on by Kara Dunford