Latitude 2009

Speed dating, comedy and Being Wild

Michael Bonner

Just got on site for my second year at Latitude. In some ways, not much has changed -- there's the familiar stroll down through the woods, passed the coloured sheep and over the lake -- but the crowd seems a lot younger this year.

I guess this is due to the bigger acts they've attracted -- I'm really looking forward to seeing Wilco, Jarvis Cocker, and The Good, The Bad And The Queen, I've gotta say. There's even, I notice, a Speed Dating tent. Sadly, the next sitting isn't for another hour and I feel the need to wander in the direction of the Film & Music Arena. Maybe I'll try it out tomorrow...

My final memory of the F&M Arena last year was dancing to dub-step at about one in the morning, after a particularly lengthy stint on the pear cider. This year, the arena has a much more genteel vibe. There's tables and chairs arranged to resemble, I assume, an arts theatre bar, with soft lights and table cloths. It kinda resembles a make-shift trattoria, I have to say.

But I settle down and catch Carol Morley, director of the documentary The Alcohol Years, who's talking through some of her favourite films -- including the Maysles Brothers' Grey Gardens.

I then see a bit of Ed Simpson soundtracking Wong Kar Wai's Days Of Being Wild. A great film, but the sight of Ed standing by the screen, occasionally pressing keys on his laptop, somewhat detracts from Kar Wai's majesterial, dreamlike visions.

Off to the comedy tent where I catch excellent Kiwi comic Ben Hurley, who does a fine job of insulting Australians, Americans, South Africans and us Brits. His sharp, deceptively earthy sense of humour is engaging, and he's spot on, too, about music. "I love the Beastie Boys," he muses. "Nothing suits hip hop better than three Jewish guys in the 40s..."

Anyway, John's just got back from seeing the mighty Tinarewen and is frantically battering away at his keyboard over the way, so check in for his blog.

Back later!


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