Tuesday, 27 July 2010


I played in the poetry tent at Latitude last week.

It was the first time I've been camping in about ten years. I think it was Ian and Dyan's first go at camping in a while too.

We all bought the cheapest tents we could possibly find: £20 from Argos (the shop not me). Unfortunately they were all NME endorsed tents. They came with the NME logo on them and a picture of a guitar. Which was fine for Ian but when I tried to swap mine for one that had a picture of a microphone on it they looked at me like I was mad.

I just presumed everybody going would be as cheap as us and have bought the same cheap tent. I even brought some ribbon along to tie too mine so I would be able to identify it from the thousands of other NME tents I imagined would be at the festival.

When we got there it turned out that we were the only people attempting to sleep in what was basically a shit wendy house. No need for the ribbon.

I'd been asked to play the poetry tent by Luke Wright who is a brilliant poet who wrote this blog about embarrassing himself introducing Art Brut a while back.

I'd said yes to playing the poetry tent without really thinking it through. My vanity said yes before I'd had a chance to stop it. I'd been flattered that someone had thought I was capable of playing a poetry tent.

As Latitude got closer though I bottled it and decided to bring a band with me: (p)Art Brut. Ian from Art Brut and Dyan from EWITFR...N and The Blood Arm. We were supposed to have rehearsed all the week before but then I suddenly got sick, so only managed to squeeze two practices in before we got there. We spent the entire day before we played rehearsing behind the Poetry tent, which must have pissed the actual poets off. Wendy Cope seemed especially nonplussed that she hadn't brought her guitarist with her.

Anyhow in the end I think it went quite well. As a concession to it being a poetry tent, I dressed a bit like Phil Juppitus, as that is how I imagine all poets dress. And as I had been sick all week I did the entire set sober, which was a bit strange for me but fun nonetheless. After we played I suddenly felt much better. Perhaps my debilitating sickness had just been a case of stage fright. Serves me right for thinking I was a poet.

Latitude was a brilliant festival. I hope I get to perform in an inappropriate tent again next year. Perhaps I could appear in the literary tent without having written a book or maybe I can do whatever that weird stilt walking thing into the lake was. Or perhaps I'll just buy a ticket.

I think the two best things I saw were Paul Heaton in the Word Tent and Belle And Sebastian on the main stage. Both were incredible. I had to leave early Sunday so unfortunately missed my mate Jim Bob reading from his book in the Literary Arena. I have read it though and it's brilliant. Go and buy it.

I made three postcards for Latitude but have sold them all sorry.

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