Page 4 - The 15th Percy French Festival: French Awakenings
P. 4

Arti!cial Intelligence and Transhumanism

           What’s that to do with Percy French?                           %

           When introducing the theme to last year’s Percy French Festival, Does the Soul
           have a Future?, the question we most frequently encountered was ‘What has
           this got to do with Percy French?’ It is the standard question raised each year
           when we introduce a new theme, or when a speaker gives a talk on some
           pressing current crises.

           In fairness it a reasonable question for someone whose knowl edge of P.French
           is limited. This being a result of how he has been presented over the years.
           P.French is best known for his comedy songs of yesteryear, but that is only one
           aspect of the man. He had much more to his artillery than comedy songs, he
           was multifa ceted: a social observer, a political commen tator, a successful writer,
           editor, artist, poet, lyricist, playwright, performer, family man, and we would
           add a Court Jester–to which we will come later.

           Throughout his career he showed encyclopedic knowl edge and insight into

           a vast range of topics and issues, which allowed him to address all sorts of situ -
           ations on a broad and colourful canvas. It is on this broad canvas we bring

           P.French to you. Rather than the nostal gic !gure,  we see P.French the inde pen -
           dent, dynamic observ er of society and we aim to breathe new life into his
           legacy through the Festival by presenting original discussion of the touch
           points of our times. He was an entertainer of course, and used his gift to look
           at the salient issues of his time through the prism of comedy where he could
           parody, criticize and ridicule.

           He chose topics pertinent to the time for what they were rather than an amus -
           ing distraction from them; he highlighted what was going on and connected
           with people’s daily di#culties and their coping of them.

           In this approach, we have adopted P.French, the active commen tator, as the
           Festival’s mascot of cultural enquiry into the present day challenges we our -
           selves are faced with. This takes us to all sorts of di$erent places while at the
           same time keeping Percy French alive and also to inform you of what is going
           on and most importantly to foster a worthwhile examination of the real issues
           in our society.

     •!•                                                 FRENCH AWAKENINGS
   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9