Thursday, 27 July 2017

The Mole's Curious Arts Festival - 2017

Murray Lachlan Young
The last event of Friday was Murray Lachlan Young.

Simon Evans (R4 fame)
Saturday and Sunday, for me, both started with Breakfast Club in Drift, and a grand way to start the day it is. It does surprise me each time with how close to my own political views the panels (some the same, some changed) are each day and the inclusion of Simon Evans to truly lighten the mood this year was extremely good. I will forgive the chairman his gaffs on Le Tour De France and Chris Froome - not everyone follows cycling and reads biographies like The Climb. In fact the only downside this year was not being able to watch the last two days of TDF live.

Saturday continued with Robert McCrum and Every Third Thought. After suffering a stroke he found himself starting to reflect on mortality and death more than he ever had before and in this book he explores, through research with experts in their fields, what death is and what, if anything, comes next.

I was then fortunate to catch the last few minutes of the Edward Goldsmith Discussion which had a panel of Bron Taylor, Helen Scales, Valentine Waner, and Tony Juniper. The audience had been large - and not because of the weather I believe - and had many questions hinged around reconnecting with nature. This was an important theme that many would be considering over the course of the weekend.

I then enjoyed Eimar McBride's event in which Georgina Godwin talked to her about her latest book The Lesser Bohemians - Maryom plans on discussing this event further so keep an eye out for it.

Dylan and I managed to catch some of comedy, particularly Ed Byrne who completely failed to disappoint, as ever!

Junius Meyvant in the Gorse tent
Music in Gorse followed and Junius Meyvant - a band from Iceland - were extremely good. This was to be followed by Whoredogs with John Illsley of Dire Straits. At this point the tent (huge though it was) became too crowded to be safe for Dylan so we went for a walk but could still enjoy the music from the adjacent field. Later Tom Odell took to the stage to delight the crowd - and the rest of us around the site.

Southern Companion
After Breakfast Club on Sunday morning I caught the excellent Dave Eggers before moving on to catch Pete Brown and his event about beer. Well you would wouldn't you? More on this from me later.

I later caught Jack Cooke - a man of quality who immediately recognised in Dylan one fabulous dog - in his event about tree climbing and left me wishing I'd climbed more trees in the past. Once again, more on this event later. This event was part of a few that made up Niddfest Comes South and the synergy between the two festivals is very distinctive.

The last event of the festival, sadly, for me was to be catching Southern Companion in the acoustic tent, a place I'd dipped into a few times over the weekend. But with over 200 miles to get home and it threatening to take up to 5 hours to drive - we had to miss the comedy (which again was headlined by Ed Byrne) and The Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra playing the music of Bond. Perhaps another year we will be able to stay Sunday night.

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