Saturday, 15 October 2011

Mark Thomas

Definition of heaven? A red velvet cupcake from Cheltenham's Swallow Bakery.

Anywhere else in the country, they'd probably call it a 'caf', but Cheltenham oozes affluence and long words. You kinda have to go with it.

Within forty minutes of arriving at the festival, there had been cupcakes, coffee, and free whisky. Life doesn't get much better than that.

Oh, but it does.

Dear readers, today I struck one off my bucket list. Finally got to see Mark Thomas live. Was bloody brilliant.

Check out Cheltenham Literature Festival Part I for the run-down on what makes this guy so great. Like many, I grew up with his antics over Menwith Hill, taking on the arms trade, shaming the MOD over road deaths and aggravating the US Embassy over boundary lines. A wonderful individual.

I'm a bit aglow tonight (may have something to do with the whisky), as I continue to gush unrepentantly about the festival in general. I've said it before, but, really, what could be more wonderful than a festival of books? Books are great.

Just look at all of these people who agree!

Waterstones Book Tent

Almost as great as books are temporary buildings. Wandering around in the dark (at 8pm already!) behind the Waterstones tent, we chanced across the German Beer Tent. Oh yes.

Now, what makes the German Beer Tent so wonderful is that, after the festival, it simply disappears. Look at it. It's like some mystical shop or circus attraction that shimmers into being around the witching hour, then fades like mist with the breaking dawn. Well, not quite. It's sort of still there, but all boarded up. You know what I mean, though. It's kind of magical.

German Beer Tent

So, yes. Had a lovely time tonight. Two down, two to go: Roger McGough and Victoria Hislop. I'd love to hear from anyone who's been at the festival - highlights, lowlights.

My only lowlight has been the sprung floor in the Waterstones tent. It's like an inner ear infection. I've never felt seasick walking on dry land before. I'm terrified of striding purposefully across the room towards a book, and ending up flat on my face.

"My God! You're Roger McGough!"

"Yes. Do you need an ambulance?"

Ho hum.

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