Latitude, set in the beautiful Suffolk countryside (but which is not quite as beautiful as my beloved Norfolk), starts on Thursday. I am going. Are you? Here are some things I am excited about, that you might get excited about.
1. The BANDS
Though I have heard it say that this year’s line up is ‘a bit Radio 2’ (due, no doubt, to the presence of the accursed Nutini), upon closer inspection – and having made like a proper writer and written a list of bands I want to see - there are heaps of wiCkEd and hAwT nU sOunDz. I am giddy for:
Deerhunter, Caribou, The Walkmen, Lykke Li, Everything Everything, Os Mutantes, Eels, They Might Be Giants, Suede (actual Suede!), Dels, Ghostpoet, Y Niwl, Avi Buffalo, Adam Ant, Villagers, The Leisure Society, Edwyn Collins, Trophy Wife, James Blake AND Hypnotic Brass Ensemble.
I will be doing a Rock Woo in front of all of these people. Full line up here.
2. The DANCE
Having spent a large part of my youth poncing it up on stage doing contemporary dance that dripped with meaning, I am naturally disposed towards Latitude’s lakeside stage. Last year I became convinced: you can be an insufferable tit about dance all you like, but watching The English National Ballet when you are mildly confuddled by cider on a sunny day is proper delightful.
2. The COMEDY
At Christmas I had one of the number one baths of all time, shortly after a hundred deadlines collided and passed; it was the clocking off to end them all. A foot deep and dangerously hot, like all great lady baths it also involved chilled white wine, candles and half a bottle of (dear) bubble bath. Also maybe choclit though I hesitate to mention that. Anyway, what made it perfect – what really made this bath the total BESTIES - was the presence of a portable record player and the Tim Key album. It is marvellous. So I am going to see him at Latitude, as well as Fantasy Husband #1 Adam Buxton, John Shuttleworth and Steve Coogan & Rob Brydon, who will be talking about The Trip.
3. The POETRY
Yeah, I read a lot of poetry. I am most excited about going to see – and may be forced to rugby tackle - Simon Armitage.
Alcholical lager booze at festivals is well annoying, because it is almost impossible to get drunk on. Oh, say what you like about cider, and alright killjoys, you can prolly say quite a bit about its propensity to send you a bit wrong and kill your liver with its acidic evil. But cider, at the very, very least, gets you quite - to use the parlance of Adam Buxton (who I should also like to rugby tackle) - quite tooty.
Though I suspect most DiS readers are not of an age where childcare arrangements trouble their general disposition, this year at Latitude there is a whole arena dedicated to young people called The Inbetweeners Teen Area. I mention this because I am doing a workshop about music writing and you can come and do it if you are between the ages of 13 and 18. It is going to be amazing and you can even come and review a band with me, where I will not even lean over at your notes and say ‘That’s not how you spell transcendent’. I will not! If you are lucky enough to be under 18 there are also workshops on photography, radio journalism which are all FREE.
6. LITERARY THINGS
Usually at festivals and depending on your social circle (maybe your friends are quite civilised) there is pressure to watch ALL THE HOTTEST NEW ‘ACTS’ and not spend any time caressing your synapses in the company of smart people. Which is why I like how, at Latitude, you are almost actively encouraged to bugger off and listen to the likes of Alan Hollinghurst. If it all goes a bit Jools Holland this is where I will be.
7. CABARET &C
DiS’ Albums Editor Andrzej Lukowski is well theatre and probably much better qualified to tell you what is good, which is why I may attach myself to his person at the beginning of the weekend and mine his man-mind for tips. As it stands insufferable, childish me has noticed an act called Lady Garden but let’s be honest here, festivals which present you with things outside of your cultural, resting norm are always good. Someone is creating actual Christmas in the forest! Plus a lot of people in theatre like to take their clothes off.
A few dread grumblers last year were heard to bemoan the presence of ‘beery lads’ at Latitude, coming to Suffolk with their working class pounds like the cheeky bleeders they are. Personally I find it impossible to be troubled at a festival at which there are flipping millions of children - but this may be something to do with having grown up in a new town where ruffnecks and hoodlums were ten a penny. Anyhoo. If anyone has talked to you about Latitude in this manner – and do beware because it may be prefaced with the dread line ‘You know, people who don’t even like music’ - tell them to rack off because the atmoss and vibez of Latitude are just like other festival, except if anything, a bit nicerer. It is not the sort of festival where ratfinked men wee in cups.
Last year my best friend and I managed to locate a stall round the back of the mixing desk for the main stage which sold the cowiest burgers I ever ate. Latitude is the sort of festival where instead of ketchup there is some sort of homemade tomato relish and I happen to think this is a good thing; you don’t return home feeling like you are made of styrofoam and chemikalz (chemikalz are bad).
10. The TREES
Being allergic to hippies I would normally run a mile from any festival which tried to tempt me with insane concepts like ‘nature’ and ‘the woods’. Luckily at Latitude the woods have banging noise in them, ‘Dermot O’Leary’s Indie Mix’ notwithstanding. This is where you will spend the end of every evening, wondering if snogging another festival person is a good idea. There is a disco called Beef Warehouse! How can that not be good.
And that is a just the merest whiff of what I am giddy about. Expect some fulsome squealing when we get back, as per last year.