ED2015 News ED2015 Spoken Word

ThreeWeeks co-Editor to take to the Fringe stage with a free speech

By | Published on Thursday 13 August 2015

Chris Cooke

So, OK, a little bit of self promotion from Team ThreeWeeks today. Because tomorrow ThreeWeeks co-founder and co-editor Chris Cooke will take to the Fringe stage for the first time to deliver a free speech about free speech.

It’s a brand new spoken word show inspired by a debate he had in 2014 in his other guise as co-founder and Business Editor of music business news service CMU, in which he argued that British radio should have refused to play the Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams hit ‘Blurred Lines’.

The one hour show ‘Chris Cooke’s Free Speech’ will explore what UK law actually says about freedom of expression and why free speech is so often in the news, identifying and discussing the top five free speech controversies of recent years: privacy, protest, bullying, belief and the right to offend.

Where controversy occurs, Chris – a journalist and publisher for two decades – will usually put free speech first. Yet, when organising a debate at The Great Escape music conference in 2014 he found himself arguing that British radio should have refused to play Thicke and Pharrell’s controversial record. At the conclusion of his ‘Free Speech’ he will explain why.

Says Cooke: “Edinburgh was the first university to ban ‘Blurred ‘Lines’ on campus back in 2013. I know if that had happened when I was a student there in the 1990s, presenting shows on the college radio station and promoting club nights in the union, I’d have led the campaign against such censorship. But twenty years on, I’m not so sure the free speech argument beats other concerns in this regard. I thought it would be interesting to challenge myself as to why that is the case”.

He adds: “This is the twentieth year I’ve been covering the Edinburgh Festival as Co-Editor of ThreeWeeks, so it seemed like the right time to take the plunge and perform myself. The evolution of the Fringe’s spoken word programme in recent years provided the platform, to stage a kind of performance journalism, a free speech about free speech”.

Chris will deliver his free speech about free speech at the exciting new SpaceTriplex venue just off Nicolson Square on Friday 14, Saturday 15 and Sunday 15 Aug at 11.15am, and again next door at theSpace @ Surgeons Hall on 21 an 22 Aug. Admission is free, but tickets can be reserved via the Fringe website or chriscookesfreespeech.com, or collected from the box office on the day.