Saturday at Latitude offers films, poetry,theatre, and a few technical hitches

Latitude 2010 review

published: Wed 21st Jul 2010

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Thursday 15th to Sunday 18th July 2010
Henham Park Estate, Beccles, Suffolk, NR34 8AN, England MAP
weekend adult ticket £155, day tickets £65, children aged 12 or under free - SOLD OUT
daily capacity: 25000
last updated: Fri 16th Jul 2010

Saturday starts with queues at the campsite gate to get on to the site. People aren't allowed in until just before 11 am which seems a bit odd. At most festivals, you can wander around and get food and drinks, even if the venues aren't ready to be opened.

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The Poetry tent is a draw this morning. A croaky Luke Wright is hosting and he is also co-programmer of the venue. He recites 'The Ballad of Fat Josh' as well as a long, dark poem about Chris and Ann's fish and chip shop in Norwich and his imagined story behind the part of the sign which said "and Ann's" being missing (broken or removed?). Joe Dunthorne is on next and is very entertaining. He gives us a poem about futuristic speed dating and runs us through poetry-reading clichés – from audience responses like the "poetry cough" (bad sign) to the "poetry gasp" (very good sign, usually heard at slam poetry gigs). Porky the Poet aka Phill Jupitus, Porky being the moniker he used when embarking on his performance career, provides lots of laughs with his anecdotes, poems and impressions (he's particularly good at Jo Brand and Eddie Izzard).

Highlights are a short poem about the excruciating time that he met Paul McCartney, 'On Supporting Madness', a poem about being asked to go on tour with Madness, and a poem about Russell Brand – who he met a year ago but prior to that had an irrational hatred of him. Jupitus says he was "charming, funny and smelt of flowers and ladies". He also reads from his book 'Good Morning Nantwich', which is about local radio DJs, apparently they wouldn't let him read it in the Literary tent!

I try to catch a bit of Ardal O'Hanlon in the Comedy arena but it's absolutely packed out – the main arena as well as the side tents and screen areas. In the Film & Music arena next door, they are showing a short, but sweet, film featuring Adam Buxton called 'Little Face' about an imaginary childhood friend. The next film which I'm very excited about, 'When You're Strange: A Film About The Doors', is introduced by Ian Haydn Smith, editor of the International Film Guide.

Bizarrely, although next year will be the fortieth anniversary of Morrison's death, it's apparently the first documentary ever made about The Doors. The film, narrated by Johnny Depp, sets The Doors in the context of the '60s with the civil rights movement, Vietnam and the youth counter-culture show at the beginning, as well as snippets of electrifying live performances where Morrison always seemed to be surrounded by police officers. Unfortunately, there was a technical hiccup during the screening so we missed a chunk in the middle of the film but nonetheless it's a powerful reminder of what a great band The Doors were.

Brett Easton Ellis, revered American novelist, is being interviewed in the Literary tent but appears to be giving the interviewer a very hard time and being uncooperative to the point of ill-mannered, although he loosened up when the audience started asking questions.

One of my favourite musicians, David Ford, is appearing in the Word venue with his band. It's a blistering but short set incorporating some new songs, a couple of oldies, including his signature tune, the brilliant, looping 'State of the Union' and the emotional 'I Don't Care What You Call Me'. Ford describes one song, 'Surfing Guantanamo Bay', as being about a couple of things – the Geneva Convention on human rights and surfing! He sings "the only love song to Margaret Thatcher that I'm aware of" - 'She's Not The One For Me'.

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Matt Abbott played Latitude last year as Skint & Demoralised and this time is reciting some of his poetry in the Poetry tent. He weaves the poems in amongst stories of his hometown, Wakefield, of beatings and the embarrassing tale of losing his virginity (which is linked to the story of being beaten up). Then there's a surprise appearance by Tim Booth, lead singer of James who played in the Obelisk arena earlier today. He says his manager put his name down for the poetry as a dare. Booth reads a few poems and short stories and looks very happy at his first ever public reading.

A nice little show in the theatre, entitled 'Lovesong' features Omar. It's a one man show with a touching storyline about finding love in an unexpected place interspersed with soulful songs on the keyboard.

The Mummers play in the Film & Music arena as part of Mark Lamarr's 'God's Jukebox' show – transplanted from Radio 2 where he features non-guitar bands that wouldn't normally get radio airplay. The start of their set is delayed for some time, which appears to be sound problems, and the audience start getting angsty. It's worth the wait – the nine piece from Brighton fronted by Raissa Khan-Panni, incorporate strings and brass, keyboards, melodica, xylophone, with childlike lead vocals and other-worldly songs.

Walking past the 'In the Woods' stage, which continues till 3 am, Club De Fromage DJs are entertaining the audience dressed as Father Christmas, and playing cheesy tunes like Dire Straits' 'Money for Nothing' and 'Rockin’ Robin'. Meanwhile Gaymers cider is sponsoring a Lost in the Orchard stage, an open-air venue sited between the main site and camping areas, where there's a queue to get in to rockaoke.

Whilst queuing for the theatre again, I can hear Les Enfants Terribles in the Faraway Forest. They're hosting a masked ball and are singing a song called 'Smiling Makes the Day Go Quicker', sounds like great fun. I should have joined them. The show in the theatre, called 'The Show of the Night' by the Perennial Theatre Company, has a promising concept of a hen party meeting a funeral party in a bar. It turns out to be very disappointing and the theatre which starts off full, rapidly empties out. The play is not helped by technical problems with the mics initially. The acting is good, though there's a bit too much shouting, screaming and swearing, but the writing feels shambolic, improvised and directionless. There's no satisfying conclusion to the story and the depleted audience clap with sheer relief at the end. I'm wishing I'd gone for a comforting bedtime story instead.

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review by: Helen OSullivan

photos by: Gary Stafford

Thursday 15th to Sunday 18th July 2010
Henham Park Estate, Beccles, Suffolk, NR34 8AN, England MAP
weekend adult ticket £155, day tickets £65, children aged 12 or under free - SOLD OUT
daily capacity: 25000
last updated: Fri 16th Jul 2010


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