A Latitude 2016 Diary

Reporter: David Chadderton

Dateline: 24th July, 2016

Saturday

Saturday also began at Pandora's Playground on Les Enfants Terribles' large and impressive outdoor set for The Fantastical Flying Exploratory Laboratory´╗┐, a show for kids but with a witty script that is also entertaining for adults.

Then it was off to the Poetry Arena for the wonderful Luke Wright, who has curated the poetry programme but is also one of the headliners himself. His verses are technically very accomplished while also being very funny and highly political. He even had a singer joining him for some of his poems which he has turned into songs—after using poetry successfully to take him into the world of stand-up comedy, he is now using it to try to be a rock star.

Back to the Obelisk for the afternoon to see Squeeze, with Glen Tilbrook and Chris Difford sounding the same as they have since I first heard them in the late '70s, with a mix of well-known hits and some I didn't know.

Then John Grant took to the Obelisk stage dressed as though he'd just emerged from his sleeping bag in shorts, tee-shirt and baseball cap but he gave a storming performance. Unfortunately I had to run away towards the end of "GMF" but I could still hear the strains of his final number, "Disappointing", coming in and out on the wind as I made my way to the Theatre Arena along the lake.

It was worth the rush to see the amazing Gob Squad in Super Night Shot, which was filmed in the hour before the performance commenced, for each performance, and then mixed live as it was shown on a big screen. I knew they hadn't cheated as, being part of the press party, I was sat in the auditorium when the actors came past the queue of people waiting to see them and entered the Theatre Arena to film their ending. Impressive and entertaining, if undemanding.

Back in the Literature Arena, I caught the end of Marcus Brigstock's Princefest, where it was standing room only for an unashamed celebration of the work of the Purple One complete with celebrities lip-synching to Prince hits. I was there in time to join in with an emotional chorus of "Purple Rain" as the finale. Brigstock said this was the best thing he had ever done and may do just this from now on.

As the tent emptied a bit and cleared some floor space for us to sit, we settled ourselves down for the rest of the evening in the Literature Arena. Next up was the very funny duo Jonny and the Baptists with their great comic songs and patter, followed by Festival Horror Shambles hosted by Robin Ince and Josie Long. Victorian horror stories seem bizarre rather than scary now so a few people were nodding off as we approached 1AM, but Reece Shearsmith gave a very entertaining finale to the event.

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