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27-Mar-2020 17:16

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Their subjects are as cutting edge as its speakers.

Last night Anna Ford, who announced this week she is stepping down as a BBC newsreader, chaired a debate on "The rise of China spells the decline of the West".

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The trend has been spotted by a wide range of social commentators and even prompted the heavyweight magazine The Economist to declare: "Seriousness is booming." The appropriately named Sebastian Shakespeare wrote in the Evening Standard: "Debates and poetry readings are fast becoming London's most romantic nights out." One entrepreneur acting on the trend is Ginny Greenwood, whose Futures Squared club aims at cash-rich, time-poor singles.

Its Intelligence Squared debates are at the vanguard of " intellidating" - an emerging trend in London for more cerebral dates.

From debates and poetry readings to art fairs and wine lectures, savvy Londoners are eschewing the tired formula of cocktails and a taxi fumble in favour of an altogether more rarefied seduction.

"It really has quite an important effect on people," said Hart who has offered Bob Geldof reading Yeats, Ralph Fiennes on Auden and Roger Moore reciting Kipling. There is such a dearth of anything that is profound," she said.

"Young people are very hungry for something that has depth and importance." John Gordon and Jeremy O'Grady set up Intelligence Squared because they wanted to make debating more appealing."You are not concentrating on what is happening from the navel to the knee - you are connecting to the grey matter," she said."They have got the income and the intelligence: they just need someone to organise their social diaries." "I think intellidating is a great phrase," she said. If you are an intelligent person in an important position at work, you are not going to hang out in a bar or go speed dating." If music is the food of love, then poetry feeds the soul as novelist Josephine Hart discovered when organising her sell-out Poetry Hour in the hallowed confines of the British Library. "I do hope that intellidating does enter people's consciousness.In 1978, Antonio Colombo, owner of the world-renowned Columbus tubing, assumed presidency of the company, and in 1997 Cinelli became a division of Gruppo S.r.l.