Wednesday, 21 July 2010

The last day of Latitude, Heather Phillipson, Blake Morrison & Sebastian Faulks.

On the last day of Latitude everybody was exhausted, the sun still hitting down hard on various levels of sunburnt and freckled skin, the memory of rainy British summers gone. In the morning, the poetry and literary tents offered shade and quiet to people wishing to use the cushions scattered around the floor for a nap, the memory of the comfort of mattresses and pillows still quite vivid in everyone's minds and crooked spines. Regardless of their efforts, the spoken word kids couldn't wake up the audience, let alone get them to join in, although, to be fair, the ginger guy with guitar (it you're reading, come forth with your name, i didn't catch it and you're not on the program - but i am posting a video of you below) did get a few feet waving unconsciously to his pieces, and got Joshua Idehen and Alex Gwyther (He's a poet - and you know it', pictured above) on their knees in adoration as a result.

Then it was the turn of Heather Phillipson, whose poems lie peacefully between philosophy and the mundane. It seemed that her reverie on stripping between Marlborough road and Archway, and 'say nothing of what I know except what my body announces' were shared by many a listener who wished to do just that. The poem on mashed potatoes, however, didn't quite make it past the music coming from the stages, and many drifted away while I got quite hungry.

In the literature arena, in the meantime, Sebastian Faulks was being introduced. We pop round to have a look and find Faulks exclaiming 'God, I'm prolific!' after mentioning a couple of new books coming out soon. He follows with a few excerpts from Pistache, one of said releases, and then proceeds to answer a couple of questions from the audience: Did he always want to be an author? Yes. Does he work on one project at the time? Yes. Does he ever struggle to write? No, he doesn't believe in writers' block - déjà vu? It seems that he and Bret Easton Ellis agree on this one - 'Respect the bad day,' he says, 'it's God's way of telling you you've got nothing to say.' Faulks has his followers, of course, but they're not many and not very dedicated, however much people parade Latitude as a tame family and old people do, everything points to the opposite, it's a festival for people (young, older and, yeah, with children too) interested in poetry and literature as well as music, but they want it edgy and provocative. Ellis might have been too hung-over to speak or answer any questions, but he packed the tent with stalkers and groupies.

But let's go back to the Poetry Tent, here it was the turn of old Nutshell friend Blake Morrison, introduced as 'the best and most influential poet of the past 30 years', who reads a few favourites as well as some new material, and works the crowd well, picking from a very well stocked bag of tricks a poem made entirely of monosyllables, a poem composed by only 7 rhyming words, and an intense, violent poem about serial killer Peter Sutcliffe. Morrison explains all poems prior to reading and reads them out clearly, passionately, and changing voices and accents, he leaves without Q&A but the crowd loves him anyway.

No comments:

Post a Comment