I've just arrived back from a few days on the sunny Suffolk coast with Dr B, having attended Latitude Festival for the third time. With music from all sorts of genres and eras, non-stop comedy and arts, and a friendly family atmosphere all about, it continues to be the best festival experience that this green and pleasant land offers.
One lowlight, courtesy of technology: the festival app. if you're going to bother producing an app for your festival, don't make it so it only works with an Internet connection, especially if your festival takes place in a field where there is no Internet connection. And don't make it so that you have to buy the chunky festival guide – the thing that the app is meant to be an alternative to – before you can access the listings on the app. That's just stupid.
But that little moan aside, here are some of the many many highlights:
- Southwold. Yes, we went beyond camping, beyond glamping, we stayed in a bed and breakfast in what can best be described as Trumpton-on-sea. A lovely, peaceful coastal town, home to Adnams brewery and design agency Spring (whose windows I peered in a couple of times). It also has the weirdest pier, featuring a bunch of home-made arcade machines and a thing on the end. Plus we saw – and ever so briefly spoke to – Louise Wener at a bus stop. Although I didn't realise it was Louise Wener, which Dr B thinks is hilarious.
- There was a bit of an eighties vibe about the place, with surprisingly amazing performances from Adam Ant, They Might Be Giants, OMD, Edwyn Collins and Echo and the Bunnymen (who Janine Butcher apparently isn't a fan of).
- … but there were still plenty of your modern beat combos to enjoy. It turned out I knew more Cribs songs than I thought I did, Kele was happier and clappier than expected, and I'm a little ashamed to say Hurts had passed me by completely until now. Their cover of Kylie's Confide In Me was incredible, and quite possibly better than the original.
- Actually, Hurts was made even better thanks to a big ol' pile of bangers and mash. The food at Latitude really is pretty good.
- Preceding the rather dull Coogan/Brydon/Curtis Q&A, Mikey Please's animated short The Eagleman Stag was a lovely little unexpected discovery. Well worth ten minutes of your time.
- The National, still amazing and effortlessly cool. I could do with getting some pictures of Matt Breninger onto The Gray Suit.
- Stepping away from the crowds of kiddy-winks (and their terrifying object-hurling skills) for a minute, it felt particularly liberating and rebellious to have a play on Modern Toss' periodic table of swearing. My personal favourite: "stink like a piss Ceefax".
- Watching Dr B effortlessly display festival fashion whilst I looked like a drowned rat.
- Amelie composer Yann Tiersen being absolutely nothing like what we expected, but still a bit brilliant. A bit like a Radiohead backing track.
- The Grand Marnier tent. Oh the Grand Marnier tent. Orangey alcoholic salvation from the rain, we love you so.
- Bright Eyes and Paloma Faith reminding me that some artists are just too much like annoying teenagers for me to tolerate. Apparently the only reason Connor Oberst was even there was because he didn't want to tidy his bedroom and you don't understand him and YOU'RE NOT HIS REAL DAD ANYWAY.
- At the other end of the scale, Seasick Steve and Wanda Jackson had the right idea of growing old disgracefully. His Royal Seasickness introduced every song by explaining how each instrument was made: one was a can of corn and a string nailed to a plank of wood. Brilliant.
- Magic Cons. A weekend of pouring rain and the subsequent mudfest is no match for a pair of Cons and a brisk stroll through some long damp grass, making them immaculate again.
- Dylan Moran and Adam Buxton. Funny boys. Funny, funny boys.
- Seeing Suede for the fifth time in fifteen years (not a bad average) was a great way to ened the weekend. A shorter set than I would've liked (what, no By The Sea? Stay Together? No?), but they will still stunning. Could've done without a random man passing out on my foot, but that's a risk you have to take when standing near lots of human beings I suppose.