Sunday, 23 October 2011

Cheltenham Literature Festival

Firstly, sorry for the big gap between posts! I've had a very busy couple of weeks so I'll split this into two posts!

We spent the week before last attending various events at the Cheltenham Literature Festival. It's the first time I've been to any events over any of the Cheltenham Festivals, which is a shocker really as I've grown up here. Growing up I was pretty much ignorant to anything remotely cultural happening in Cheltenham. It's been so lovely being able to rediscover Cheltenham since moving back here after seven years away... and there is so much going on around here! It's especially great living in the town centre as I'm so much more aware of everything going on.

So, back to the Lit Fest. We wandered around on the first Saturday night and sat in the Idolize tent and watched some Jazz whilst supping wine - a very civilized evening and something we seem to do more and more often. I'm so middle class! We then had a walk around the festival site on the Sunday with the parents, although there's not too much to do unless you've booked tickets to an event. Jack actually wanted to go to a talk every night of the Festival but I managed to bargain him down to three!

On Wednesday 12th we saw Terry Wogan who was brilliant and was there to discuss his book "Wogan's Ireland". As well as discussing his rediscovery of Ireland and his ancestors, he also treated us to tales of his TV and Radio career. Discussing Eurovision was a particular highlight, as were his stories of his time at the BBC and his work with Children In Need. He even talked about his dead dog after a particularly bizarre question from an audience member (something along the lines of, "Lots of celebrities have dogs, like Clare Balding - do you have a dog and if not will you get one?"). He was absolutely hilarious and the whole experience made me love him even more. I think this is the perfect summary of the event - "Chatting as if he were in conversation with a couple of friends, the show was rather like getting a big, comforting bed-time hug from Uncle Terry." - thisisgloucestershire

Thursday night was the turn of Mark Watson who it turns out is a novelist! He's had four books published and treated us to a reading from his as yet unpublished book, Knot, which I'm looking forward to reading when its out next year. His current book, Eleven, which he was there to promote, I'm going to give a miss however. The extracts he choose were a bit dull and I found that his writing style was very over descriptive which I find a bit tedious.Watson studied with the intention of becoming a novelist and did comedy as a side project which has now become his career. He seemed a bit bitter about the fact that he is considered a comedian first and very few people realise he's a writer. And like me, if were to pick up one of his books, would expect them to be funny. But his novels are actually quiet dark and contatin insecure and complex characters, similar to Watson himself. He was endearing, and funny at times, and it made for an interesting and insightful evening.

Finally, Friday treated us to a night with Jonathan Ross, discussing Films to See Before you Die. Highlights included My Neighbour Totoro by Studio Ghilbli, which I already adore, and the best "so bad it's good" film ever made, Room! Watch the trailer, which I've linked to - you won't be disappointed! It was a very entertaining evening overall, although he overran by a fair bit and I think would of stayed answering questions well into the night, but got interupted and the show was wrapped up.

Overall a week well spent being cultural and middle aged. Must do it again next year!

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