Review: Chris Evans talks to Anne Robinson

It’s a change of tempo from Jon Ronson’s interrogation of madness that took place in the same venue immediately before. That said, Chris Evans did write ‘Memoirs of a Fruitcake’ and Anne Robinson ticks a fair few of Robert Hare’s boxes.

In a tour through his autobiography Evans talks about the acquisition for £87 million of Virgin Radio and sale for nearly three times as much. When the audience applauds he raises a hand, smiles and says “nothing to do with me”.

We hear of the inexhaustible supply of cars (twenty two), so many that he couldn’t keep track of tax and MOTs. From buying multiple cars he went to buying houses on a whim. One on Wilton Grove, he bought simply because the street name was easy to pronounce to taxi drivers after a heavy night in the pub.

Despite disappearing to the States and hiring private jets to marry Billie Piper after wooing her with a rose filled Ferrari,

We hear the inside story of Chris Evans’ return to BBC breakfast broadcasting and his desire to do a breakfast show again. Evans is grounded. I’m in service and always have been “I serve people who want to listen to the radio”.

Review: Jon Ronson talks to Sarfraz Manzoor

One percent of the population is a psychopath, 25 percent of the prison population and apparently four percent of CEOs are psychopaths. That means there were perhaps nine or ten psychopaths in the audience “or many more if psychopaths like going to talks about psychopaths” said Ronson.

Ronson interviewed a number of candidates for his book. We heard about Tony who claimed to have blagged his way into Broadmoor claiming madness. It was on the advice of a cell mate in order to get out of a five year prison sentence. When Ronson went to meet him, he had been there for twelve years.

Ronson talks about the 20 point test created by Robert Hare that defines psychopathy. Madness is it seems everywhere “television is now about troubled people being booed”. A television booker told Ronson that she would ask potential guests what medication they were on. If it was Lithium she wouldn’t book them but Prozac would increase their chances of appearing on TV. Debilitating over anxiety, Ronson’s claimed mental malady, is the neurological opposite of psychopathy, which I guess qualifies him to put his interviewees to the test.

Review: Digby Jones and Stuart Rose talk to Kamal Ahmed

The tension between the conduct of big business and the pursuit of ethics is a very “Hay” subject. The panel, the former heads of M&S and the CBI, interviewed by the business editor of the Telegraph, is far less obviously “Hay”. For a decade or so Hay was sponsored by the Guardian and the government was Labour. Now the combination is a Conservative led coalition and the Telegraph. Make of that what you will

Rose brought an extraordinary statistic to the table “63 of the 100 biggest economic entities in the world are companies not countries.” Both Jones and Rose put their trust in business over and above trust in governments to get things done. The corollary must therefore be that the pursuit of ethics is best left in the hands of those businesses.

Ahmed opened up comments and questions to the audience early on and it was clear that the audience at Hay is still concerned about leaving ethics in the hands of free capital. Both speakers argued that one of the major issues is turning a consumer demand for ethics in business into a willingness to pay the cost. Value for money and low prices are still the major drivers of consumer behaviour. Rose did concede at one point that the young and old “get it” and established business leaders might be the “Luddites in the middle”.

Walmart, HSBC, Nike and smaller companies like Patagonia all have sustainable business agendas. The mantra from the stage was that this should be driven by market forces in the form of feared consequences rather than by legislation of any kind.

Review: Ojos de Brujo

Because it happens at night many Hay visitors are largely unaware that this is something of a music festival too, with an international flavour. The Catalan phenomenon that is ‘Ojos de Brujo’ were last night’s foot stomping offering. Give them a listen you won’t be disappointed. As a live act they are even better. Here are some pictures from our near front row seats.

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