The one in which I tell you about my holiday, as if you even remotely care.
On Thursday I travelled from Edinburgh to Suffolk (on the train via Peterborough and Norwich, route planning fans) to attend Latitude, a nice middle class festival for nice middle class people. If you think that an unfair assessment, incidentally, witness the food van that had the longest queue of the weekend on the right hand side of this post… Please correct me if I’m being condescending and people lined up for ages to access this van at T in the Park as well, though.
The nice thing about Latitude is that it tries to do something a bit different by not being a straightforward music festival. Whilst there are three music stages, it also has tents dedicated to comedy, poetry, literature, theatre and cabaret which have arguably far better lineups than the music ones do.
For instance, here is what we saw over the weekend:
Thursday: Literary Death Match featuring Jake Wallis Simons, Sophie Cameron, David Whitehouse and Amanda Filipacchi. This was interesting mainly because the judging panel put the (comparatively) boring men through to the final whilst simultaneously giving the impression this was down to the women (who went with being amusing rather than po-faced) mentioning their lady gardens in their readings, which appeared to make the judges uncomfortable. There was also the fact that the only female judge, Miriam Elia, accused performance poet Sophie Cameron of setting back the cause of feminism ten years and of not actually being Northern; criticism prefixed with the words, “I don’t want to be personal, but…”. A clear sign that you are being personal, surely? I found this perplexing because Sophie grew up in Yorkshire and the first of her poems involved a sexual predilection for mash. It had some potent vulva related imagery, so I can sort of see why the male judges went “oh, golly gosh” rather than actually discussing her performance, but I can’t say it particularly offended my feminist sensibilities. And I think they were arses about it. This is it if you wish to judge for yourself.
Friday: this was the only nice day, so it involved drinking alcohol and falling asleep in the sun. We did also manage to see Robin Ince (one of his science bits rather than stand up), Rob Rouse (who was a lot funnier than -) , Josh Widdicombe, Richard Herring (his Fringe show should be worth a look this year), John Shuttleworth (whose act Andrew had to explain to a woman in her late fifties who apparently missed Jilted John entirely and was there for -), Shappi Khorsandi. Then we had a little sleepy before Admiral Fallow (one of the musical highlights of the weekend), Paloma Faith (who had gorgeous over the knee purple suede boots and a fun song about cellulite), and The National.
Saturday: it rained and it rained and it rained. I had to buy wellies because I foolishly left my DMs at home, a mistake I will not make again… Then we tried to see Nevermind the Buzzcocks, but the tent was too full and it didn’t make a lot of sense when you could only hear snatches of what was going on. Instead we went to the poetry tent and saw Karen Fox (who read the papers in the morning and delivered a news bulletin in poetry format, which is how we found out Rebekah Brooks had resigned). Then it was Robin Ince (stand up, very good), Adam Ant (criminally low on the bill and utterly fantastic), They Might Be Giants (who were excellent and did Shoehorn With Teeth by the medium of sock puppets), The Walkmen, Mark Neil (poet who looks like Paul Putner), Tim Clare (poet with an electric ukelele), Elvis McGonagall (utterly scathing performance poet) and Tim Key (mainly because we missed Slutcracker in Edinburgh. He clashed with British Sea Power which was pretty gutting, but I think we did the right thing…). Then we saw a bit of The Cribs (apparently scenesters love Hey Scenesters) and I Am Kloot. We considered Echo and the Bunnymen, but as we only know The Killing Moon and it was still raining we decided to drink red wine till it was time to go to Narnia. That’s not a euphemism by the way – they set up a section of the woods to be like Narnia, where people could dress in vintage clothes from the wardrobe and meet Lucy… But unfortunately the red wine sent us to sleep so we missed it. This may have been just as well, given the shin deep mud. Still, eight year old me would have wet herself with excitement.
Sunday: passed some nuns singing by the lake as we headed to The Early Edition, after which we caught the end of Scala & Kolancy Brothers (Belgian choir who cover pop songs, they sounded gorgeous), Karen Fox again, Mark Watson (who spent most of his set chasing audience members), These Are End Times (good instrumentally, which drew us in, then terrible lyrics), Paul Chowdry, Dylan Moran (on brilliant form), Adam Buxton (discussing Youtube commenters like the ones who left messages on this vide0), Joel Stickley (author of the How to Write Badly Well blog that I’m always banging on about), OMD (who were pretty punk – they got told their time was up and refused to leave the stage till they’d done one more tune), Suede (the highlight there was actually the Sex Pistols song before their intro, during which four small kids nearby rocked out on inflatable guitars – they were doing knee slides in the mud and everything), and finally Eels (who have all grown enormous beards and were very chipper).
During the trip I also read The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, which was very compelling; and felt very middle aged on a shuttle bus full of hip young things in skinny jeans and straw hats. I’m 26 at the end of the month, incidentally… Some of them were making such breath takingly inane comments it made me retrospectively humiliated that I was ever aged 15-17. The girl behind us came out with such gems as:
“Ooh, I like that tree!”
“That’s a big house!”
“Are they cabbages? No? Are they dock leaves?”
and a very excited shriek of,
That’d be an oak, then?
Still, it was a good break, and now I should be able to tackle the next five books with ease.
And maybe next year, a child attending the festival will be reading something of mine whilst lying in a wheelbarrow, rather than one of Jeff Kinney’s.