Heaven forfends, and modesty likewise, to promote my two gigs at the Assembly Rooms – Sat, June 2nd, 6pm: Juke Box Fury, where I channel a remix of an old TV show with music writers David Quantick, James Brown, Barney Hoskyns and NME biographer Pat Long playing and discussing the music that inspired their careers; and Sun, June 3rd, 6pm: How Soon Is Now?, an exploration of the relevance or redundancy of the history of the UK independent label scene with Richard King, Neil Taylor, Paul Morley and special guests.
These, sadly, clash with other choices I’d like to make: Abney Public Hall, Sat June 2nd, 6pm, Lindsey Hilsum in discussion with Suzanne Moore about Libya and, Sun June 3rd, 6pm, Special Relationship: Transatlantic Storytelling, Library Gallery.
Those constraints notwithstanding, I’m otherwise spoilt for choice: I want to walk the walks and hear the talks.
Firstly, I really do mean the walks: Sat and Sun, noon, 45’45” of radical ‘hood history, kicking-off at Abney Park Cemetery.
Then, the talks.
I want to struggle to hear Nick Coleman at Clissold House, Sat June 2nd, 4pm, discussing his memoir ‘The Train In The Night’, about the hearing-loss syndrome he and I share, where hearing is painful and hard, but re-learning to hear music can be redemptive. And Elif Shafak, Assembly Rooms, Sat, June 2nd, 4pm, discussing her book ‘Honour’ and more, of course, who – with Tony Grisoni’s screening of his film ‘Kingsland’, Sun June 3rd, 4pm, Library Gallery – bring the Turkish and Kurdish members of our richly diverse community into play and into focus in the Festival’s third year for the first time; while Dennis Morris, George Alagiah, Colin Grant and others discuss and represent the aspects and affects of the Black diaspora we all rightly celebrate where we live.
I want to have beer philosophy with Pete Brown; share London Obsessions with many of the City-based panels (not least Mieville, Sinclair, Oldfield and Worpole analysing the Greek love athletics coming to a traffic-jam near us); and, naturally, as a librarian, challenge the ‘RIP The Book’ debate.
But one can’t do everything, except recommend everything, nor be everywhere at once (however one might want to be). Nor have I met the Festival’s brief to, like, ‘pick a couple of things to recommend to the 65 folk who follow you on Twitter’. That’s a tough call with such a strong programme, innit?
So – take your pick: there’s plenty to choose, for all ages and interests and whatever. And, then, there’re my gigs, too.
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