Waves of blinding camera flashes and unbridled shrieks of worship greet the grand dame as she emerges from behind a curtain, in a scene straight from an old time Hollywood movie premiere. But this is not Rita Hayworth or Lauren Bacall, but national treasure Vivienne Westwood, who has come to Latitude's literary tent to read from her "cultural manifesto".
Janeane Garofalo cut short her Saturday afternoon set in Latitude's comedy tent because of the poor reception she was given by the audience. The American comedienne's rare UK live appearance was expected to be one of the highlights in a strong comic line-up, but she failed to win over the festival crowd.
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…”
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.
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.