The day dawned grey again, but we didn't let it bother us and after egg and bacon baps with the kids and plenty of tea we perused the programme. Keen to see Lianne de Havas we made an extra effort to get ready quickly, but time takes on a unique dimension at festivals and before we knew it we'd missed her… How is that???
But we made it in for Esperanza Spalding and her Jazz set on the main stage. Beautiful woman, plays the double bass – such a sexy instrument for a woman to play, I always think – and sings like a dream…
After that we wandered around for a while, perhaps we ate some curried goat, or enjoyed coffee and cakes, I'm not sure, but I know we indulged in a little retail therapy. Our favourite jewellery stall was of course there to tempt us, with her beautiful wares. We both bought rings. Couldn't resist. Lovely…
Richard Hawley was gorgeous as usual. I love his voice. And he has the most wonderful selection of guitars ever, especially his red hollow bodied beaut that looks like a Washburn, but what do I know. He was pushed on and off the stage in a wheelchair by the one and only Guy Garvey – apparently he's broken his leg.
Here's Cole's Corner from 2006, one of my favourites and with reference to, on winning the mercury prize of that year that Hawley was also nominated for, the Arctic Monkey's Alex Turner famously quoted – “Call 999 – Richard Hawley's been robbed!”
And then off to the Literary Arena to see Simon Armitage in conversation with Stuart Maconie (who I've also always had a lot of time for). Simon was talking about his new book, Walking Home, which describes his journey along the Pennine Way which he started from the 'wrong' end, ie the top, ending at the bottom – hence walking home… and thus he had to read the map upside down/back to front/inside out. He set off with not much in his rucksack other than a change of underwear, a spare sock, a fine back catalogue of work and he basically sang for his supper, walking a gruelling number of miles by day, giving poetry readings by night at a varied selection of venues from pub back rooms to small theatres, sleeping in volunteers spare bedrooms. At the end of each evening's entertainment a sock would be passed round for people to donate whatever they thought the evening had been worth. During the course of his travels Simon received some interesting monetary alternatives, such as various receipts, a parking ticket and a note which merely stated – I'm Brenda, call me … 0788******* (Phone number withheld for obvious reasons…)
He was funny and charming and lovely and it was excellent and Jo and I are even more in love with him now than we were yesterday.
He'd placed the following announcement on his website several months preceding the walk –
The Penine way – Can You Help?
Hello. In July 2010 I'm walking the Pennine Way. it's usually walked from south to north but I'm attempting to walk it the other way round, because that way it will be downhill all the way, right? I'm doing the walk as a poet. Wherever I stop for the night I'm going to give a reading, for which there will be no charge, but at the end of the evening I'll pass a hat around and people can give me what they think I'm worth. I want to see if I can pay my way from start to finish on the proceeds of my poetry alone. so, basically 256 miles of begging.
If you live on or near one of the recognised stopping points on the Penine Way and would be willing to host or organise a reading for me, be it in a room in a pub, a village hall, a church, a library, a school, a barn, or even in your living room, do get in touch. If you can throw in B&B and a packed lunch, Sherpa my gear along to the next stop, point me in the right direction the next day or even want to walk that leg of the journey with me, so much the better, I'm pretty well house trained and know at least three moderately funny anecdotes.
Here's the schedule…
Blah blah blah read the book… It was a wonderful talk and of course I bought the book and queued to have it signed, ( when he asked who it was for I was so tempted to say, in a husky voice, 'Brenda… ') along with Mr Maconie's Hope and Glory, because I couldn't not and he has rather lovely brown eyes when you meet him, in the flesh as it were, plus he himself has promised in his inscription to me no less, that I won't regret it…
Buy both. I don't think you'll regret either.
The evening ended with Elbow. I have always loved this band and have seen them five times now, the first as the sun went down on Glastonbury 2008 and they've never disappointed since. They ended this year's show with a spectacular fireworks display and the whole gig warmed the cockles. A real feel good moment.
And just before the sun went down it came out…
Finished the day off nicely with Coffee and Cakes…
And on to a fabulous session in The Literary Arena…
Chris Thorpe, a Mancunian performer and writer read a story that blew me away. Called Inventory it's about a seemingly ramdom series of events that led to his house being burned down. It's SO cool. I've tracked him down (not in a stalkerish way of course…) and written to him since and he's sending me a transcript. Wow!
Then Ian Marchant who was completely nuts and bloody hilarious. He told a very funny story about being at a festival (quite) a few years back. Being somewhat the worse for wear after a day of general stimulant abuse, lying semi-comatose in his tent and desperately needing a pee, he couldn't be bothered to negotiate the rain, the muddy terrain and the dark. He considered the merits of various narrow receptacles such as wine bottles, beer cans, plastic carrier bags, weighing up their various dangers/lack of comfort/suitability and in the end chose to relieve himself into his right welly. The next morning he got up, head a little sore, the memory cells that contained info on the proceedings of the night before long destroyed and he nonchalantly slipped his feet into his boots. By the afternoon he'd got used to the strong aroma of stale urine and he admitted to a friend what he'd done. Later, on walking through the festival back stage area he, and everyone else in the crowded vicinity heard a cry ring out – 'Hey, look, it's Piss-in-Boots!
I bought his book on the strength of that story alone – Something of the Night – which If it is anything like his interview will be highly entertaining. He was really funny when I met him too. I was first in the queue because I practically ran to the signing area, not because I was desperate for a copy, although I did want one, but because I was desperate to use my she-wee afterwards, and he wrote – To Lindsay with relieved best wishes… do you think he thought no one would be interested? I thought that was really quite heartwarming.
Robin Ince's Late Night Revolution with guests was a great way to finish off a wonderful day. Grace Petrie and a boy/girl friend on backing vocals whom Jo and I found fascinating in a kind of weird way, Josie Long and Jonny and The Baptists who were delightful and made us smile wildly and widely, especially their song about the bringing new popularity to The Libraries. Hilarious in a very witty, metro-sexual, self-deprecating, English way.
Finally through the long mud trek home (I find mud a little bit scary I've decided and it would be my worst nightmare death) and to bed… Zzzzzzzz
Tagged: Chris Thorpe, Coffee and Cakes, diary, Elbow, Esperanza Spalding, Grace Petrie, Ian Marchant, Jonny and The Baptists, Latitude 2012, Richard Hawley, Robin Ince, Simon Armitage Walking Home, Stuart Maconie Hope and Glory, writing