So, there's Paul Merton -- no less -- smoking a cigarette and eating a baked potato. This, gentle reader, is the first thing I see at this year's Latitude -- and, surely, as celeb/food/fag interfaces go this might well take some beating.


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You might wonder what connects the bucolic charm of Latitude, snuggled there in the Suffolk countryside, to Springfield, Matt Goening’s fictional burb in The Simpsons.


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At first glance, it might seem strange to find Shane Meadows shooting a “legacy project” recording Eurostar’s move from Waterloo to St Pancras. Meadows, after all, is best known for a raft of movies that’ve chronicled suburban working class life in and around his native Nottingham. He’s hardly, you’d think, the obvious candidate to shoot a promo film intended to, ah, push the boundaries of brand communications. And for a company whose most memorable contribution to advertising featured Kylie skipping gaily round Paris.


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“If you’re not pissed off,” so says the banner on Mark Thomas’ website, “you’re not paying attention.” You could say, then, that Thomas has been professionally pissed off now for about 20 years.


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Coming to you live from Mars, the sci-fi loving Never Mind The Buzzcocks team captain will be dispensing more of his unique brand of humour in the Comedy Area. Bailey will doubtless be one of Latitude’s highlights – his fantastic sets usually feature surreal, digressive routines covering everything from Star Trek to otters.


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Previously, Radio 4 has hosted its arts magazine show, Loose Ends, from Latitude. Loose Ends returns this year, to the Radio 4 stage, along with satirical comedy The Now Show, Roger McGough's Poetry Please and current affairs programme, Broadcasting House. But surely the most impressive presence on the Radio 4 bill is the legendary panel game, Just A Minute.


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If there’s anyone appearing on the Latitude bill this year who might legitimately be able to claim that poetry is the new rock’n’roll, then step forward Huddersfield’s finest, Simon Armitage.


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THE INCREDIBLE HULK
DIR Louis Leterrier
ST Ed Norton, Tim Roth, Liv Tyler
OPENS JUNE 13, CERT 12A, 112 MINS
HH

Ang Lee’s spectacularly misguided 2003 film version of The Hulk was something of a turning point in the history of comic book adaptations. By trying to bring emotional depth and philosophical musings to the party, he proved irrefutably that such highbrow ideas have no place in the Marvel’s simple four-colour universe. After all, what use are King Lear allegories when all the ticket-buying public want to see is Hulk smash puny humans?


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A FEW years ago, Elvis Costello declared an ongoing fondness for U2. By way of explanation, Costello outlined his admiration for U2’s ability to forge intimacy and emotional connection even in the Enormo-Domes and Mega-Bowls that constitute their tour schedules. At stadium level now, Costello observed, “everything else is bullshit, or a trip to the circus.”


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It’s not immediately clear quite where Sydney Pollack fits into the scheme of things. As one of the generation of film-makers who flourished in the Sixties and Seventies, there’s nothing on his CV as canonical as, say, Taxi Driver or The Godfather, no real sense of him breaking the same kind of ground as his peers. Even the Evening Standard’s film critic Derek Malcolm, interviewed this morning on Radio 4’s Today programme, admitted the movies which most people would associate with Pollack – Out Of Africa and Tootsie – were ultimately rather “bland”.


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Editor's Letter

Reviewed: Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo, August 27, 2014


There is a song on "Aerial", Kate Bush's eighth and possibly best album, called "Bertie". "Here comes the sunshine," it begins, "Here comes that son of mine/Here comes the everything/Here's a song and a song for him." Nine years later, here, perhaps is a show for him: an unexpected comeback; a...