Here I am reporting from a field beside a field of sheep in the countryside that surrounds Hay on Wye, with Islington man/ woman attacking from all sides. No casualties so far but it is early days. The festival is in full swing.
I went to hear Seamus Heaney last night – a most edifying experience, where one of ones own articulates and affirms much of what I tried to discard as a teenager in Ireland – and makes it such that the world listens to him.
The festival site is about 200 yards from my house and I wander around there at odd times of the day and evening. There is a large bookshop run by the only new-books shop in town and there they do all the signings – Heaney didn’t do a signing which was just as well, as he had 1200 people at his event.
Occasionally on my visits there, not surprisingly I do not recognise the authors sitting there working hard not to look bored and signing their books – the bookshop owner makes perhaps 5 times more money for each copy sold than the author so Di the owner is prancing about extremely happy. So I have a glance at the books being signed to see who the author is – but I still don’t know who they are as I have never heard of them – and one of them is Irish, who I see another bookseller in front of me having him sign 20 copies, so he is obviously “collectible”. I obviously have a few gaps in my knowledge!!
Al Gore was on last night followed by a 250 quid intimate dinner with him and about 500 others in a big tent- – we had Clinton a few years back – I am going to put a rumour about that GW Bush is coming next year – it is easy to start rumours here in this town.
I had a young Iranian refugee who hitchhiked from Newcastle – about 250 miles across country – camping in my garden since last Thursday – he was quequing up for some event and spotted John Snow, the Channel 4 newsreader – the best news in UK for those who do not know him – walking around – Amir left his queque and went and asked John Snow if he could have a chat with him and John Snow said that he had a bit of free time and asked him to come to coffee – and they had a 45 minute discussion – which was a nice touch by Snow.