EDitorial ± 16-Jul-2018

Latitude 2018

Rare husband and wife outing (cf 2017) to this year's Henhamania on the firm understanding that both parties are free to venture wheresoe'er they wish. Both have the excellent app downloaded and primed, both have a list of wish-to-see acts, and both have feet and know how to use them. Allons-y.

Sunglasses on, say au revoir near the site entrance and I'm off to find the new-to-me Community Centre that's somewhere near the helter-skelter. Around ten of us sit and listen to V&A curator Rory Hyde discuss his Future Starts Here exhibition with talk of cryonics, driverless cars and how the invention of the ship was also the invention of the shipwreck. Adam's single writer's bridge is a-rocking to the sweet sounds of the House Gospel Choir and the obligatory pink sheep are sheltering under the large L-A-T-I-T-U-D-E letters as we rendezvous at the right-on Greenpeace cafe for a worthy flat white, both of us using KeepCups 'cos we love Planet Earth.

Duo stroll dustily to the Sunrise to sample the ambient starlings of Pianofield then yours truly shoots back to The Speakeasy for a live podcast, this one being Table Manners with Jessie Ware, her mum, and special guest Adam Buxton. Mum, aka Lennie, has prepared salmon cured in beetroot and gin only for it to emerge that Dr Buckles has the expansive appetite of a six-year-old child. Cherry tomatoes are thrown. Sadly, the royal cupcakes don't make it beyond the first few rows.

Food at the 'Tude is like the Human League's Love Action is that it requires decisions to be made. Mine's the masala lightly fried wrap with spicy potato which I manhandle into the music & film tent for Space Rocks with a guy from the ESA, planetary scientist and would-be astronaut Dr Suzie Imber plus none other than (hello to) Jason Isaacs. Colonisation of Mars, problems of orbiting junk and a cute demonstration of how Star Trek does warp speed.

Second similarly packed live podcast is called Reasons To Be Cheerful with radio bloke Geoff Lloyd and one Ed Miliband who's preaching to the converted. Geoff confides that he had to watch Ed eat a falafel earlier and that it wasn't pleasant. Out and uphill for final track from Fickle Friends and a successful meet-up at the actual underwhelming obelisk. Suspect that didn't require planning permission. Together, folks, we entered the relative cool of the BBC Music tent for a full set by the supreme Superorganism. Bells, fatigue and some awesome visuals. They're on the way up.

Ten minutes of nervous planet Matt Haig enjoyed by the two of us back in the ever-chocka Speakeasy. Would have stayed longer but I've gotta skedaddle to see the last quart d'heure of the flippin' 2018 World Cup Final. France are already 4-2 up against the Croatian minnows. To my surprise, there's much applause when the final whistle goes.

Promising first two tracks by Meggie Brown over in the Alcove, still with fond memories of Dingus Khan there in 2014, and BBC arena blasting out "Mary Berry has a degree" as the vibrant IDLES drew to a close. Evidently mucho moshing. Watched two band-shirted grown lads walk away, all sweat and grime and smiles.

Ah, here's my wife of many years again to escort me to a rip-roaring half-hour of Bury's very own Gaffa Tape Sandy. "You dusty? I'm dusty." Grabbed the end of a table to work my way through a barnstorming BBQ chicken burrito, another good choice, prep-ing me for too little of Bearcubs at the bijou Solas stage. Kudos to the dancers. Along a bit to the couch-filled BBC Introducing stage in the woods for the curious Robocobra Quartet. Drums, sax and spoken word jazz. Weird combination that works for me, I think.

Sky darkening, everything's illuminated by the brilliant red and white Alt-J lightshow. Into the sublime Something Good and at any other time I'd stay here. Except that over there is ay my good lady wife and bee the techno spanner that is Jon Hopkins. Ten pm, an alien-like stick figure can be seen prodding his laptop and producing brain bothering tunes aided by two anonymous figures wielding programmable light sabres. A solid hour of that changes a person.

Body's crying out for caffeine and a big ol' bag of donuts to digest. Hold up, is that John Cooper Clarke? Naturally it is, and naturally nobody can get near The Speakeasy one more time. Will somebody taser that chimp with the razor?

As we wound our weary way to the nearly deserted day ticket car park, I'll admit that all worked out very well indeed. Hoorah for joint ventures.

...and still missed Sleeper, Mark Kermode and Dylan Moran.