EDitorial ± 17-Jul-2017

Latitude 2017

Worried about the glaciers, I offered a lift to/from Latitude on the official Liftshare site. Leaving Ipswich around 9:30am on Sunday, I said, then leaving the festival at 11:45pm. Any takers?

Chap got in touch early Saturday morning to say yes, that he and a friend would like a ride back to the 'Swich. We exchanged a couple of messages and agreed to meet outside the poetry tent, now renamed The Speakeasy. End of the day, approaching midnight on Saturday and cleaning my teeth, my phone beeped:

Hi, we are at the entrance of The Speakeasy. I have yellow trousers.

You're 24 hours early, I told him. I'm still at home.

Back on my Edward de Bono after wearing out friend Adam last year and I'm in the main arena by 10:45am, possibly a personal best. A rare daylight foray into the cabaret tent for the fantastically titled All We Ever Wanted Was Everything by Middle Child Theatre. Can't take your eyes off MC Marc Graham as he leads us through ten year jumps in the lives of Leah and Chris. An angelic asteroid, Build-A-Bear bathos and mention of Phil Brown.

Slingshot around the helter-skelter and around the back of the huge Katherine Jenkins crowd to the sunny Sunrise for pianist Lubomyr Melnyk, elderly master of continuous music and owner of some tremendous facial hair. Could have heard a pin drop in there. Able to catch ten minutes of local boys done good Rad Pitt at The Lake stage proclaiming "We're from Colchester slash Ipswich!" and giving it the full Stooges, then once more over the bridge for the awkwardly named Yorkston/Thorne/Khan. What we have here is a classic line-up of Scottish guitarist, Isle of Wight double bassist and a New Delhi sarangi player. It works, plus a welcome Ivor Cutler cover.

Heard promising opening track from Lisa Hannigan before taking my burrito to The Speakeasy (assume that yellow-trousered gents made it back, bless 'em) for a panel conversation with Women's Prize for Fiction winner Naomi Alderman, Turkish novelist Elif Shafak and women's equality party co-founder Catherine Mayer. Bombed out before the end for uphill slog past Simon Armitage to Obelisk and the phenomenon that is Public Service Broadcasting. National Coal Board imagery, a kicking horn section and a rain shower. New stuff noted, they did Spitfire to lure out the sun, helped also by Yuri the astronaut.

Tiny bit of classy classical guitarist Valerie Hartzell by the sofas surrounding the new BBC Music Introducing stage then hey, I really need a marshmallow-dipped Mr Whippy. Weird moment standing there: girl to my right reminded me of someone. Very similar face to that woman from Broadchurch and Attack The Block. Two minutes later, got an alert on my phone to inform me that Jodie Whittaker had been chosen. Most odd.

Very much looking forward to Otzeki and first couple of mins sounded excellent but chose to abandon them in favour of the music & film arena. Here be Kurupt FM from People Just Do Nothing. Grinder, Beats, Decoy and hero Steves are all up there leading the sweaty crowd to a frenzy over some choice drum 'n' bass, an exhilarating experience. Stayed there, sipping warm Pepsi, for DJ Yoda and his 90 minute immersive mix through videogame history, from Pong to GTA, morphing into clips and tunes from Stranger Things.

Glimpsed Loyle Carner going down a storm while en route, with five falafel wrap, to my choice of headliners, the retro yet modern Temples. They look great, they sound great, and lead singer James Bagshaw just seems really nice. Legs giving way, time to partake of the traditional bag o' doughnuts in the quieter confines of the speakeasy. Impressed by last few poems of Hollie McNish before the surprise of the night, the BAC Beatboxers. How do they make those noises? Finished with some beatbox battles won by the gawky frame of human dynamo ABH.

Left Trevor Nelson and Gareth Potter to their decks to traipse back up the slope and, wonder of wonders, find the car first time. Ain't it lovely to sit down?

...and still missed Fleet Foxes, Mount Kimbie and The Divine Comedy

EDitorial ± 16-Jul-2017

130Story: Fees / Injury / Brings / Windows / Failure

The rules of 130Story are simple: given a random seed word, write a story in 130 characters.

Fees

Injury

Brings

Windows

Failure

More to follow.

EDitorial ± 12-Jul-2017

Ipswich Lunches: Cafe Central

He may now be a man of leisure keeping busy on the crown green or at the local heavy horse centre but The Boy Andy remains determined to hit each and every cafe. Nearing 4pm on (what for some of us remains) a working Wednesday and a message arrives proposing a possible meet-up in the west Ipswich locale.

Calls are made, cycles are ridden and we're strolling along past the Towers of Cumberland along the multicultural Norwich Road. More or less opposite what was previously O Portugues but is now the thriving Bicafe stands, waddya know, a similarly wide Portuguese coffee shop called Cafe Central.

With memories of long-gone Frangipani, there appears to be more than one door. Like Donna Noble, we turn left. Not entirely sure what's on offer, we like the look of Ucal "leite com chocolate" in a glass bottle. May as well partake of that cake there and that cake there too, please, senhor. Table by the window to watch the sweet folk of the town pass by. Big telly's showing athletics, noisy kids are running around and there's a bunch of fellas drinking beer. We're so at home.

Cake the first, a sugary delight. Cake the second, more savoury than sweet, truth be told. Choccy milkshake consumed -- ah! -- back goes Andy for a pair of tiny coffees. Zing! Now the hairs on my chest have their very own hairs. Screen on the wall switches to cycling, we're bouncing off the walls and time to leave the vibrant Iberian community behind.

If it was a car -- PORTARO.
If they were passing by -- Nelly Furtado.

EDitorial ± 9-Jul-2017

130Story: Reviewing / Nice / Trees / Moving

The rules of 130Story are simple: given a random seed word, write a story in 130 characters.

Reviewing

Nice

Trees

Moving

More to follow.

EDitorial ± 2-Jul-2017

130Story: Houses / Rich / Crashed / Deposits

The rules of 130Story are simple: given a random seed word, write a story in 130 characters.

Houses

Rich

Crashed

Deposits

More to follow.

EDitorial ± 30-Jun-2017

Light Lunches: Darsham Nurseries Cafe

Well, we've been pondering this hugely significant day for a goodly while and now it's finally here. After exactly 73 years of continuous service, the lad Andy has landed a deserved medical retirement from the GPO. No more holes and poles for the boy from Sheffield, no sirree. What's more, he's offered to buy a posh lunch for me and Kev at somewhere upmarket. We're all winners today.

Zoe takes us past Yoxford and we turn off way before and Darsham Hamper and just before Lily's Pantry into the Darsham Nurseries Cafe. Nurseries, yes, since there's plenty of fancy plants. But cafe? Like Prince Charming himself, I've been adamant for a while that this doesn't quality as a cafe. It's open for the odd evening do serving a special menu and there's zero sign of a humble bacon bap. Mind you, there's seating, they serve tea and they mostly do business during daylight hours.

Quibble aside, it's a flippin' delight if you've got the time and the money. Surrounded by some of the finest folk in these parts, some of whom had travelled from as far afield as Bungay, we had:

  • to start — chickpea salad, muhammara, whipped feta and pistachio, spiced pilaf, olives, pickle
  • main — sumac-cured salmon, radishes and buttermilk
  • main — alde valley lamb stew, broad beans, mint and aioli
  • main — chicken thighs, spoon salad and labneh
  • extra — herb farinata

That's right. We were very happily chowing down on foodstuffs that we couldn't even pronounce and it was wonderful. Man, those flavours. Did we stop there? No, we did not, continuing on to:

  • sweet — lemon and bay posset, strawberries, almond biscuit
  • sweet — salted chocolate and olive oil mousse, creme fraiche, cacao
  • sweet — feta and honey cheesecake, crushed pistachio, gooseberries

Wowzers. Very decent cafetiere, too. Andy very kindly dusted off his platinum card to make that big bill go away and I didn't quite make it back for my 3pm conference call, but hey, it was so worth it. Absolute best of luck to Andy, the original Eco Warrior, and we'll all do our utmost to keep up the light lunch trips. Cheers, Andy!

If it was a car -- LaFerrari Aperta.
If they were passing by -- Richard Curtis.

EDitorial ± 25-Jun-2017

130Story: Visited / Dragged / Teenage / Payments / Threw

The rules of 130Story are simple: given a random seed word, write a story in 130 characters.

Visited

Dragged

Teenage

Payments

Threw

More to follow.