Monday, 1 September 2008
ELECTRIC PICNIC - LIT EVENTS 1
DAN DEACON AND JOSH RITTER, ELECTRIC PICNIC
We got back, weary, from the Electric Picnic last night, legs and backs stiff from camping and walking, walking, walking. It seemed bigger than ever with more to see and do and experience. Music wise I loved Cathy Davey, Joan As Policewoman and Josh Ritter. Food wise, the Farmer’s Market and the Hurly Burly Veg Café. Apart from music, there were drag queens, sand sculptures, a circus, art exhibitions, comedy, a ferris wheel, pretty iced buns (or cupcakes as we all now very Americanly call them), horrible toilets, an Oxfam shop, thousands of drunk people and beautiful people and friendly people. And literature!
The first literary event I attended was in the Arts Council tent, where various artists were interviewed about their favourite books and literary influences. We saw Dan Deacon – very witty and dry and contrary – and the ever lovely, ever smiling, Josh Ritter. They both lamented the lack of time to read on the road. Josh mentioned, as an aside, he never could get into Jack Kerouac’s On The Road. (A man after my own heart – I thought it was a very postured story.) They also both said being on the road touring is far from glamorous. More exhausting. From the little festival hopping and touring I’ve done, I’d have to agree. Having been on the other end of a silent audience at Q&A time, I almost always feel obliged to ask a question when it’s thrown to the audience. So I asked Josh if he reads poetry and if so, which American poets he likes. He said he would like to read more poets and that he likes Billy Collins. ‘I like my poetry accessible,’ he said. Then he asked me if I was a poet and who I liked. I said Sharon Olds (my current favourite). So there we were, me and Josh Ritter, shooting the breeze about poetry! Swoon.
I don’t even know the name of the group we went to as our next literary event: they were three Irish actors and a singer. They had a wheel of fortune, with writers’ names on it. I was called up to spin the wheel, hoping it would land on Kavanagh, and lo and behold, it did! The four immediately jumped into a revue style performance of recitations from Kavanagh’s poetry; an extract from Tarry Flynn and singing. All very well executed with energy and humour. Sometimes the events you enjoy the most are the ones you just happen upon.