Clare and I will be taking Lily and Edie to the family-friendly Latitude Festival in Suffolk next week. This will be the first time we’ve taken the kids to a festival, which means – of course – that it’s time for me to clean up my act. My traditional festival-going holding pattern of hedonistic self-indulgence and bifurcated candle-burning has given way to a growing sense of maturity and responsibility. For one thing, I plan to blog directly from the event instead of writing it all up weeks later.
Latitude is known for being quite arty and eclectic – imagine the Hay Literary Festival with a bigger set of speakers – but this doesn’t bother me as I’ve often been accused of the same thing. In terms of musical content, while it doesn’t boast the same kind of headline-grabbing headliners as, say, Glastonbury, it does feature a bewildering array of cool, weird and often very interesting stuff. It really is a wonderful festival and you really should go to it.
Anyway, here’s a preliminary list of some of the things I’d really like to see at Latitude 2009:
- NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS – Sunday night headliners and one of my favourite live acts in the world. Cave’s Grinderman set was one of the highlights of Latitude 2008, and chances are he’ll be one of this year’s highlights, too.
- THOM YORKE – ‘Nuff said.
- JEFFREY LEWIS: WATCHMEN LECTURE AND Q&A. My good pal Pete Ashton introduced me to Jeffrey Lewis ages ago (which reminds me, Pete – I’ve still got your 12 Crass Songs and Professor Louis CDs…), I’ve seen him perform in Brum on several occasions and am eager to see him again. He’ll be doing an accoustic set at Latitude as well as a lecture on my favourite ever comic, Watchmen. I strongly suspect he’ll accomplish more with a flip chart and a felt tip pen than Warner Bros managed with a $100 million budget.
- MAGAZINE – Howard Deveto’s post-punk band will hopefully be as shit-hot as his former Buzzcocks bandmates were at Latitude 2008.
- THE VASELINES – A rare gig from this seminal Glaswegian indie-band that Clare recently introduced me to.
- CAMERA OBSCURA – More Glaswegian goodness.
- JEREMY WARMSLEY with LITTLE WORDS – “Half English, half French solo artist Jeremy Warmsley will be performing the bizarrely beautiful songs of Tom Waits and Daniel Johnston.” Have I mentioned that I’m a Tom Waits junkie?
- SAINT ETIENNE
- ORWELL: A CELEBRATION – “An unprecedented theatrical tribute to the work of George Orwell. Directed by Gene David Kirk, it marks the 60th and 70th anniversaries of the publication of Nineteen Eighty-Four and Coming up for Air.”
- GRACE JONES – It’ll be nuts. Just don’t tell her I said that.
- SQUEEZE – One of Blighty’s most critically underrated bands. A pop combo whose catchy, kitchen-sink vignettes made them the natural successors to The Kinks. Mind you, I’m hardly impartial as the first 7″ single I ever bought was Cool For Cats…
- PETEBOX – I’d normally cross a busy motorway to avoid human beatbox-types, but I heard this guy on Tim Shaw’s old Kerrang breakfast show last year and he was astonishing.
- THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM (In case Bruce makes a surprise appearance like he did at Glastonbury. Which he won’t.)
- COMEDY – funny people I’m hoping to see include Mark Thomas, Janeane Garofalo, Lee Mack, Robin Ince, Sean Hughes, Shappi Khorsandi, Mark Steel, Jeremy Hardy and Marcus Brigstocke.
- BAFTA presents Le Donk screening and Q&A with Shane Meadows and Paddy Considine – “The Scorsese and De Niro of the Midlands”. Gotta love ’em.
Of course, Lennon’s Law of Festivals states that I’ll probably miss at least two out of every three things I’ve listed: most of what I want to see will probably clash with a whole bunch of other things I also want to see. So it goes. In addition to this, I also have to factor in my family’s feelings: my Latitude itinery will be subject to the outcome of various on-the-spot negotiations with Clare, Lily and Edie. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
On the plus side, I’ll probably catch a shedload of cool, weird and often very interesting stuff I haven’t even heard about yet.
Latitude’s good like that.