Thursday, 22 July 2010

Latitude part 2

It's taken me a few days to start writing up the last 2 days of Latitude but I've finally gotten round to it.

I'll start off by talking about the Mystery Fax Machine Orchestra which we saw on the Friday night but I only very briefly mentioned in the previous post.
It was in a very packed tiny tent and we ended up as close as possible without being amongst them. I can't remember all of the songs names but the ones I do remember are: Squeeze Me, The Taste of Hair (which I think was my favourite out of their set), Maybe and they finished with 2 songs from the Flea musical, finishing with the Flea National Anthem. There were other songs but I can't recall the names of them. Jim Bob also played one of his songs and by reading Simone's blog ( I can say that it was Angelstrike, also a youtube clip was found if you hadn't seen it posted on twitter:

So that was my first MFMO show and I did really enjoy it, I wish I made it to their second show at Latitude later on in the weekend but damn clashes!

I was being pretty lazy on Saturday morning. I attempted to wake up but kept falling asleep as soon as I moved and I was in desperate need of feeling clean so I went and explored the showers. Lovely experience.
My first show of the day was The Al Pitcher Picture Show. I'm glad that he made it over (passport incident from what I gather from twitter... I suppose twitter does have some uses). I had only seen Al before when he did the stand up spot at the Russell Howard good News recording I went to and I really enjoyed it so was very much looking forward to see the Picture Show and it didn't disappoint at all. I'll quickly describe the Cabaret Tent; two stages so they can set up one whilst the other is in use. Therefore, the stage in use is off to the side and there are curtains in the way blocking views. This became an issue when the big screen was in use. However, it led to some brilliant crowd banter and Al re-arranging the stage when someone politely pipped up with "erm I can't see". This added to the already fun show and made it one of my highlights of the festival.

I stayed in the cabaret tent most of the day and next billed was Jonny Sweet but unfortunately he couldn't make it and was replaced by Cardinal Burns. I had missed their set the previous day and they are someone I've been hoping to see for a long while. They had some brilliant sketches with my favourites probably being the cat and the Turkish taxi drivers.
Afterwards was Frisky and Mannish, and yet again, I have been wanting to see them for a little while after hearing many good things about them. I enjoyed their set but it's where my musical knowledge does sort of lack. Many of the songs and artists they were playing went over my head which meant I enjoyed those parts but not overly laugh out loud. Nonetheless, the songs and artists I did know I did really enjoy, so maybe I should scrub up on my musical knowledge for when I next see them
Between each of the 'main' acts there were people performing, these included Dusty Limits, Des O'connor and Fancy chance. They did have some amazing voices and good stage acts.

I wondered over to the comedy tent and caught Micky Flanagan before going back to the cabaret tent where I saw the end of Golden Lizard. I'm not sure if it's because I missed the start of their set but I wasn't entirely sure what they were doing so didn't overly enjoy it. We perched ourselves on a table at the back of the tent (so much comfier than the dusty floor) and Fergus Craig opened up the next section of the evening. Some hip-hop dudes interrupted him during his set to promote their show because he mentioned his enjoyment of hip-hop music. He then introduced Idiots of Ants and the crowd were definitely in there for them. Another fun set to watch but yet again they suffered with the big screen. They had moved it and it was now positioned in the corner of the stage so half of the tent could now not see it and it became very obvious when they were doing the German translating sketch where half the room was actually split. Again, they re-arranged the curtains so a few more people could see the screen for the later on sketches.
And then the tent got weird. Towards the end of their set a large number of young girls with flowers in their hair started to arrive and make their way to the front part of the tent. Whilst this was happening all I kept thinking was "hmm they don't seem like Idiots of Ants fans..." and as soon as 'goodbye' left the guys mouths all the girls ran to the front of the side stage I very much feel sorry for the innocent people who were just sat around that part as I'm pretty sure they got stood on. The Midnight Beast came on stage then, according the programme they are a youtube sensation who young people seem to very much enjoy. They weren't terrible just that annoying pop music, it made me feel old even though if they were around a few years earlier it would have been what me and my friends were watching. It was entertaining just watching the strange dancing by some and Jim Bob watching it all from the back of the tent munching ice cream.
Once they went off stage it was time for Karaoke Circus. WOO. As Martin said "sorry we're late on stage we were waiting for the smell of teenage girls to disappear". I can just about remember who was performing but can't quite recall all the songs. Robin Ince (Love will tear us apart), Josie Long, Kevin Eldon, Robyn Hitchcock (a Day in the life), Ben Miller with David Cross (under pressure - it was brilliant), Phil Jupitus, Pappy's (Common People - I am very much surprised that the set was not destroyed, they had also discovered gaffer tape...). I'm trying to remember if there was anyone. One of the open mic spots was rather tone deaf and struggling with his song so Phil Jupitus and Rufus Hound ran on to help him by singing backing vocals.
I love Karaoke Circus, why has it taken me so long to discover it? I'm glad I finally have though.

We then walked over to the main arena to catch Belle and Sebastian. The only main music act I saw. And I'm pretty sure I choose well. I thought they were brilliant and played a very nice long set. They are very funny people aswell which is always lovely.

Last day, BOOO. But, man, I was feeling the tiredness that day. We headed to the Film and Music Arena as we wanted to see somethings later on in the day and knew it'd be near impossible to get any good view if we didn't head that way first.
The opening act was Amiina who played live music along to Lotte Reiniger's short films. The films which were shown were Cinderella, Aladin and Sleeping Beauty. She made short films using silhouettes and looked like this, however, there wasn't any talking in the clips we saw, it was purely the live music.:
And then for the Inbetweeners Q&A. I was looking forward to this and it was hosted by Rick Edwards. I do love hearing about stories from the set and how they wind each other up, James Buckley certainly had some fun stories about him annoying Joe Thomas. They also had to battle with the noise of Tom Jones over on the main stage.
Afterwards was Adam Buxton's Bug. It started with some technical difficulties as the projector was cutting off parts of the clips. Whilst it was getting set up it did lead to some fun banter with Adam which ended in him singing the festival song. As much as I enjoyed seeing the video clips I think there needed to be more of Adam talking to us, when he was talking about the clips and youtube comments it was brilliant, I think the technical delays meant he had to rush through as much as possible quickly.
We then headed towards comedy tent for Mark Watson. We caught the end of Marlon Davis, who wasn't entirely my type of comedy. However, Mark came on and did a great set. There were some kids sat down at the front who Mark interacted greatly with. One of them had a stick/cane (some arguments over which it was) which led Mark to do his set holding this stick. When he gave it back to the boys a stick fight occurred where Mark teased him and kept snatching it away when he nearly grabbed it. Mumford and Sons overlapped with the end of Mark's set but the crowd stayed with him and than all ran away once he'd left the stage.
Abandoman were the next act on. They rapped songs using the crowds input. I don't know how they did it, it all rhymed but they had only just been given the information. I'm jealous of that sort of talent. I liked it very much.
Rufus Hound was on next. He had had his face painted like a Hound and came on stage saying it had been a bus day. I quite like him but didn't quite click with his stand up stuff, I just found it all too sexual which I'm not a fan of.
Richard Herring was accompanied by a signer for the BSL. I was expecting him to "abuse" this power and just make her sign silly things, which he didn't do. Nonetheless with his type of material I did learn the signs for some lovely things such as titwank and whore.

I then took a walk around again before heading back to the the comedy to see the end of Simon Evans who has been at my uni before and again didn't click with his set. I found a nice patch of sun and laid down whilst listening/watching Emo Phillips, with the odd waft of toilet smell. I'm never keen on one liners as I'm quite a slow person and by the time I've worked out the joke I've missed a couple more in turn. Even so the ones I did hear I really did enjoy, he is also a fun person to watch just due to his manner and what he's doing on stage. He did seem to want to leave the stage a few times, I think he was looking for a big laugh to end on but he didn't quite get it a few times so just carried on. This wasn't a bad thing.

Once I finally left my patch of sun (it was so warm and comfy) we headed to the literary tent and managed to grab a wonderful cuchions which we laid down on and oh my was it comfy. Robyn Hitchcock played a few songs and had some great words between the songs such as "sorry if I get out of breathe but it's my fault".
The compere for the evening was Joel Dommett who I hadn't heard of but really enjoyed. He was filling the time waiting for Mark to appear (turns out he was stood in the tent watching the acts and forgot to say he was there). Mark's book reading was beyond fun and shambolic. I hurt after watching it all. He started by saying he was embarrassed to be reading his words and wasn't sure what to read/how much to read or if he should just do a Q&A. After going on like this for about 15 minutes he announced that he was drunk and probably should have mentioned this at the start. He then managed to read about a page of it altogether but at the start he couldn't get through a sentence without disecting it. "This is set in winter in the UK, I wrote this in a warm Australia, how did I manage to write it? By using my imagination, it's what writers do". He managed to go through a paragraph before saying "ah I did a paragraph without interrupting myself". He then went on to do a Q&A where someone asked for a drunk audiobook. Yes, I'd pay for that. Thanks Mark for another great highlight of the festival!
He's book reading led to a massive queue for the book signing and I missed out on getting a copy of Eleven due to the demand, atleast it's not long until it's in the shops. But it also meant that when it came to my turn to talk to him I just walked away as I didn't have anything for him to sign and my mind wasn't quite forming any sentences to say to him. Stupid Rachel.
We headed back to our cushions to watch Jim Bob read from his book "storage Stories". He entered with a bubble machine and had a screen projecting images which related to what he was saying. Another fun book reading on a beyond comfy cushion.

we then headed out for the last Kitson and Osborn story time. I loved all of the stories but still think the 1st one is my favourite altogether.

We then walked back to the campsite and enjoyed a nice chat under the amazingly starry skies. It is then that I'm sure I saw my first ever shooting star, there were many Chinese Lanterns going off but this one just lit up brightly, went really quickly across the sky and then disappeared. I'm counting it!

That was my latitude experience and now I'll be able to remember it with this blog. It was a brilliant weekend and I think I may look to go again if others are. Some great images will stick in my mind for a very long time and I got to see some great acts who I'd been waiting to see for a while. Definitely money well spent.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Latitude part 1

I'm going to attempt to do some form of write-up for Latitude. I'm 100% sure that other people's write-ups will be more detailed/structured/etc than mine but I'm writing this in hope that i can remember some bits.
I think in the 3 and a bit days I saw around 43 different things whether it be comedy, book readings or just short films. And out of these I had only seen 10 of them before so it was a weekend of a lot of new, amazing things. I'll point this fact out now instead of constantly saying "and then I went to see X, I had not seen them before" over and over again.
Another quick note: I don't criticise/review very well as I don't like being rude.

By the time we had battled with the wind (worst weather for setting up tent, many turned into kites) it was getting pretty late so we headed into the main arena area to catch Robin Ince's book club. I was surprised at how small the site was and it took no time at all to walk from one side to the other.
My mind has merged into one for the book club so can't recall everything that happened, so two of my favourite things from the show. First of: Men and Their Secret Ways. porn it was basically just porn. Robin got Martin White and Steve Pretty to go head to head and play music which they thought went along with the photo. All of their reactions to the photos were priceless and at one point Robin put the book right into Martin's face which caused pure terror for him.
An example of some of the mood they were asked to re-create: Penis caught in the wicker chair.
Another thing I loved during this show was Steve Pretty's football chant. He split us into groups of 6 and gave us a line we all had to chant along with someone up on stage. I can't remember everyone who was on the stage but some of the chants were: "the referee's a wanker" and "you're going home in the back of an ambulance" and so on. It worked and we somehow managed to all chant our different sentences in unison. The book club was a great way to start a weekend of fun at Latitude.

Not much sleep happened as it poured and poured and the wind picked up. I also kept having rather strange dreams, in one of them I woke up at 4pm and realised I had missed the festival. I won't go into the second dream, it was way too odd. So anyway I was pretty tired out when I got up.
But we headed for comedy tent at 11am and it was packed out to see Phil Jupitus. We decided to skip this show and look for some breakfast and head back to the tent in a little while. In the end I sat in the tent most of the day and saw (get ready for a list): Craig Campbell, Doc Brown, Stephen K. Amos, Seann Walsh, Miles Jupp, Russell Kane, Sara Pascoe, Daniel Sloss and finally David O'Doherty.
In amongst that lot there were people I was really excited to see and others I was intrigued about. Doc Brown and Do'D did not disappoint at all, I thought they did great sets mixing in some new stuff and the crowd loved them.
I was most intrigued to see Russell Kane and Daniel Sloss. I've never really clicked with Russell Kane on the telly and he does tend to grate me, but I was pleasantly surprised by him. I didn't love everything he said but there were some pretty good bits. I see Daniel Sloss everywhere in Edinburgh but very rarely for the rest of the year. Again, some of his material was enjoyable but other bits were a bit predictable such as the typical "I have a girlfriend, can you believe I have a girlfriend" and other similar things. Too many times that line is used I think.
Unfortunately Sara Pascoe didn't get the best reaction from the crowd. I'm not sure what it was that wasn't clicking but something was missing. I hadn't seen her before so can't tell you if she was having an off day or if it was just the wrong crowd for her.

Afterwards, I headed towards the Theatre Arena for Duke Special. I've been waiting to see him for so long, I was pretty damn excitable. He played songs from The Stage, A Book and the Silver Screen. It includes songs about Hector Mann, Huckleberry Finn (unfinished musical by Kurt Weill) and then some Mother Courage songs. I loved each of them and the performance and energy was also brilliant. Afterwards he played his version of "Love will tear us apart" again this was pretty awesome.
I then got lazy and instead of going to watch any bands I just sat on some benches and listened to them instead...
We ended the evening with Mystery Fax Machine Orchestra (in a tiny little tent that was packed out - more about them in the post above) and the first installment of Daniel Kitson and Gavin Osborn.
I'll include all of the Kitson and Osborn stories at this moment in time. There were 3 stories across the 3 nights of the festival. They were playing on the water front stage which everyone who was in the arena had to walk past. This lead to a few interesting things. A drunk appeared on stage at some point during the first two nights. The second time, he actually made it on half way through the show and went up to them asking what they were doing. He then quickly realised that he was not on the bridge which he thought he was on and quickly ran off. Harmless drunk but erm... security?
They started their shows at around midnight and I will admit that even though I loved the stories my tiredness made my concentration slip every so often so I did loose track. When I did keep up I really enjoyed them so I would be interested in hearing them again in a less tired state and distracting stage. It was rather distracting as it was cold, there was a light show next to us and a bar behind. But thankfully the rain did not appear during these hours.

I think that's all I'm going to write up at the moment. I'm pretty exhausted.