Predictably, perhaps, the afternoon’s biggest draw – so far, at least – is for Simon Armitage. At 2pm, the Poetry Tent is rammed, with the crowd extending about 20 people deep around the perimeter. One curious passer-by asks my neighbour who’s on.
“Simon Armitage,” says the guy standing next to me.
“Sorry,” says the passer-by, “I don’t know who he is.”
“He’s only the most important poet since Andrew Motion.”
“You’ve lost me. Who’s Andrew Motion?”
“Obviously,” comes the withering reply, “you never studied GSCE English at the start of the Noughties…”


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It’s an early start for everyone today, so not long after what seems like daybreak I am making my way down the leafy trail to the Uncut Arena to see Wildbirds And Peacedrums, about whom a I know as much as I do the internal working of the combustion engine. On my unsteady way, I notice a sign someone’s pinned to a tree that say I LOVE YOU MORE THAN MY RECORD COLLECTION, a declaration of affection so passionate it must be an exaggeration.


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We've been ear-wigging on your behalf again, to bring you sagest, most insightful snippets of overheard conversations. Behold, the latest musings from Latitude's fields of philosophers.


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An early Saturday highlight, for me at any rate, is Band Of Skulls, playing in the Sunrise Arena down in the woods. Such a bucolic setting might seem entirely incongruous for a band who specialize in sinewy, blues rock. And at such an early hour, too, when most people are still digesting their breakfasts. Yet, amazingly, it works.


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Friday’s highlights, then.


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Hey, just a quick one as I’m on a timetable to get to Bat For Lashes in about 25 minutes, but I’ve just got back from seeing Jeremy Hardy in the Literary Arena, and wanted to get something up online sooner rather than later.


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“You’re a good-looking audience,” says Chrissie Hynde, before launching into “Back On The Chain Gang”. “Just what I’d expect. This is for your dad.”
It is perhaps interesting to note that a lot of Hynde’s between song banter this evening is predicated around mostly wry, self-deprecating references to her past. She dedicates “Kid”, for instance, to late band members Pete Farndon and Jimmy Honeyman-Scott, finishing with “Put the kettle on, we’re not far behind you.” It is, you might think, particularly apt then that The Pretenders choose to cover Dylan’s “Forever Young”.


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As you might expect, Latitude is consistently full of surprises. Since arriving here, I’ve met a key-tarist (that’s a chap who plays a keyboard-guitar hybrid, no less), a guy who runs a karaoke circus, and a very friendly lady from something called the School Of Life, who’ll be offering Bibliotherapy over the weekend in the Literary Salon. Bibliotherapy, it seems, is a service whereby you’re recommended a potentially life-changing book after an interview with one of their therapists. Oh, and there was farmer Miles, too.


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I interviewed Michael Mann for the current issue of UNCUT, ahead of the release of Public Enemies. Call it reader service, but I thought those of you who're interested in such things might like a chance to read the full transcript (it's about 3,200 words, of which we only ran 1,000 in the issue). Anyway, here it is. Hope you enjoy.


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When these two Hyde Park shows were announced last December, we ran a piece in UNCUT celebrating the return to active service of Blur, where David Cavanagh quite reasonably asked the question: which Blur are coming back? After all, here was a band who had undergone many creative iterations during their recording lifetime; equally, so much had happened since the four of them last played together, in July 2000, it seemed appropriate to wonder what Blur would do with these shows. Could they really reconnect with the moptops who made the buoyant baggy pop of “There’s No Other Way”? Would they really revisit “Parklife”, a song intrinsically linked to an era and movement they’d subsequently gone to considerable lengths to distance themselves from? And what about the more abstract, edgier material from the later albums – what place would that have in Hyde Park?


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Editor's Letter

White Fence, OOIOO, Ty Segall, other stuff...


One of the many privileges and occasional disorientations of working for a monthly music mag is that we hear some music so far ahead of release that it can be easy to forget when the albums actually come out. So while the world of Ty Segall-related projects might have moved on...