Saturday, 17 July 2010

Porky The Poet missing Tim Wells and Hanif Kureishi watches his kids rock at Latitude Festival

Ok, so the last thing we tweeted last night was embarrassing, as talking about philosophy in the woods at 3AM can only mean one thing - and we don't want to talk about that now. By we, I don't mean the Nutshell representatives at Latitude but more specifically me and what used to be my body and can only assume is now my tent's body as the night spent in there completely reshaped it and made it alien to me. I don't know you anymore body! Go away!! But I digress, and will be doing more of that in this blog, so if you don't 'do' digressing, you're as alien to me as my body is and you should go away together.

Nutshell woke up early today and spent ages queuing for various things before hitting the stages. But hit them we did. And here's what we found:

Reclined like a seal on the pink plastic sofa on the Love Poetry stage you can vaguely make out Mr Porky The Poet. The reason the photo is taken from so far away is that, as you can see, the poetry arena is packed. The reason he resembles a seal is that he is recovering from last night and the 25 balloons of laughing gas that came with it. At least we are all a big happy family, each nursing a great, all-embracing hangover, but, again, I digress. Phill Jupitus starts his set with laughing gas and follows with a Christmas poem, 'Father's Christmas' - just as timely as this month's edition of Vogue, which tells us that it is now time to start buying fur coats again. After revealing to the crowd, 20% kids and 30% parents, that Santa doesn't exist but is in fact a lie of 'I've never had sex with that woman' or 'They have weapons of mass destruction' proportions, Phill Jupitus takes a moment to mention fellow poet Tim Wells 'who is not here, but fucking should be' before moving on to two poems about celebrities. The first one, about Paul McCartney, is preceded by a long anecdote that has the crowd in stitches - man meets celebrity, man makes a fool of himself - and then by the poem itself which is sweet and carried the weight of such an extensive introduction well, the crowd is pleased and makes itself heard. The next poem is about Russell Brand, he introduces it by saying that, when he met him, he was charming, bright, fun, smelt like flowers and ladies, but 'prior to that I thought he was a dick' which, somehow, gets waves of approving cheering and ends the set nicely.

Before him, keeping the tent warm was Tim Cockburn who was sweet in his indie references (Belle and Sebastian and The Working Men's club) and topics, a lot about love and relationships ' No Jennifer, we were never beige,' and a grand finale villanelle about a sticker seen on a microwave at a pub he used to work at which read 'Delayed Erupting Boiling'.

At 2PM it was the turn of Hanif Kureishi reading extracts from The Buddha of Suburbia accompanied by Lola Perrin at the piano - which made it really engaging and atmospheric and in contrast, made the funny moments really stand out. Kureishi has recently re-read The Buddha of Suburbia in preparation to this, and admits that although this is not a biographical novel, he found many biographical and personal references to his family life which weaved themselves into the net of fiction and moved him, unexpectedly. As appropriate to this novel, the questions asked by the crowd were mainly political ones. Of growing up in 60s London he says that it's not like it was a different culture, but that there was no culture whatsoever 'If you went around saying the word 'culture' they'd want to kill you,', and that he became a writer because it was impossible to speak to anyone there. When challenged by someone else in the audience that also came from Bromley, asking why he thought such a cultureless area produced so many talented people through the years, he replied that it has good, quick train access to London. Later, he also ventures in the perilous area of multiculturalism saying 'I used to be interested in multiculturalism, but now I am fed up with it. People are now using it to exclude themselves from what they have in common.' Of Islams he says 'Radical Islam doesn't like books and I write them for a living, so we don't have that much in common.'

Somewhere through the Q&A Kureishi manages to mention his sons' band 'Boycott Mondays', who'll be playing later on. I guess now we know the reason behind his appearance today, thank you guys.

Just after Kureishi, guess who come on stage nursing an evil hangover? Yes, Bret Easton Ellis again. I am not sure I should indulge myself and write more about him here, so I think i'll tweet instead. So long.

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