Latitude Festival: So Far

Iain Banks
Originally uploaded by ultrahi.

Yesteryday was the second day of the Latitude festival – and it was another blinder.

After our first day’s confusion from being mis-directed to ticket booths a few times, we now knew the ropes and got to the arena pretty quickly from my sister’s house – of course this still meant we were 20 minutes late to Hanif Kureshi’s wonderful Q&A. Kureshi, author of Buddha of Suburbia amongst others, is a wonderful raconteur – even when hung over. He can make you laugh and think in the most economical number of words, each perfectly chosen.

Next we wandered around avoiding the rain before squeezing in outside the pitifully small comedy tent to listen to Bill Bailey. Some hilarious song spoofs, but somehow not as funny as he is on quiz shows. Ah well. Then it was back down to the even tinier literary tent to avoid the rain and stake a place for Iain Banks’ bit – which meant we caught the excellent Word Theatre, presenting love letters from the ages read by stars of stage and screen, including the gravelly David Soul.

As soon as Iain Banks kicked off the crowds appeared, as did the torrential rain. Banks is a big hero of mine, and it did make me think that you should sometimes never meet your heroes – especially after just hearing Hanif Kureshi.. Iain’s stories run on indefinately in a machine gun fire lilting Scots accent, and funny though they often are it somehow felt less than wonderful. Ah well, his books are still amazing and I’ll treasure the tattered copy of Walking on Glass that he signed afterwards – thanks for that, plus the random sighting of Phil Jupitus wandering around at the same time.

Book stuff over we re-joined my sister and family for some food, with Seasick Dave in the background before checking out Elbow for a bit of their excellent set. Then it was over to the start of Mars Volta – which was a bit too intense for me – and finally back with strong coffees in hand for the amazing sounds and lights of Sigur Ros. Wonderful.

Highlight of the day was definitely Mr Kureshi, CBE – and only today’s final line-up, including Blondie, will tell if that is my festival highlight. More later. And in the meantime here are more photos of Latitude Festival day 2.

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