Saturday, 14 August 2010

Festivals 2010: Oranges may actually be the only fruit


This will be a big one, because I’m trying to catch up with myself.


Day 2 was a day filled with oddments and unexpected shots. It started early because my choir were singing in the Ross Bandstand, after which I was required to take some new photos of us (as there were none less than three years old).



This meant I missed a Storytime event (which I eventually got along to a few days later) and it took me a while to focus on the task at hand. Thankfully there was a need for random shots of the site, so I spent the afternoon split between processing yesterday’s and documenting the punters. This shot was in no way set up . Honest.



Scattered throughout my Book Festival days are the Photo Calls; I don’t attend all of them because I’m often in an event or catching some atmospheric shots of the site, but if I notice some distant flashing behind the Press yurt I pop round to see what’s happening. Here we see Fatima Bhutto posing (and she seemed to be quite happy to pose) for the press photographers.



Hanging around the site are some awesome portrait photographs of authors, from last year and this. They are taken by Chris Close, who works with a terrifying ring flash and manages to get today’s photos processed and printed onto canvas by tomorrow. This is what people mostly think he looks like…



The biggest surprise of the day was the queue for John Green. Clearly the organisers didn’t anticipate his popularity, as he was booked into the Children’s Bookshop tent for his signing… and the queue pretty much filled the tent!



This was followed by an exciting multilingual event in the Corner tent which inexplicably always made me nauseous and woozy - I'm pretty sure it wasn't the event to blame. Here we had five poets from different countries reading their work in their native tongue and having careful and intricate translations performed immediately after.



And then onto the first Unbound! Here we had a group taking it in turns to read us through the history of literary pornography, assisted by burlesque-style flashcards. Although I quite enjoyed some of the works shared from the stage, the high fpoint for me was all the people who walked out within the first ten minutes with looks of disgust on their faces.



There was a handout as well, but since nobody assigned homework I didn't pay it much attention.



Day 3 started me off with another big crowd, although with fewer children than Pullman pulled in.



This time it was for Jeanette Winterson, a woman known for her astonishing ego. The remarkable thing I found was that although she was pretty much just monologuing  about herself, her childhood, her philosophy of life etc. she was nonetheless a captivating and entertaining speaker. I’m almost tempted to read some of her books now…



We also had some quality time with a chair round the back.



This chair was representing, I think, all the writers who couldn't attend the Book Festival due to being imprisoned. Harsh stuff!


Nothing book-related in Edinburgh would be complete without a visit from Ian Rankin, and sure enough he appeared to be interviewed non stop for hours.



Who else? Erm, Louis de Bernieres?



Simon Callow? (I totally spent ALL DAY squeeing about him being there).



Having mentioned queues, this was awaiting the Sir Ian Blair event an hour before it started:



I then had the dubious pleasure of being shoo-ed by Sue Perkins. Having spotted her (and papped her) I dashed over to one of the Press team to squeal in hushed tones "ohmygod it's SUE PERKINS!", to which she replied " I know, isn;t it GREAT and there's Simon Callow being interviewed over there!"... and apparently this was all too much for poor Sue (who I love, btw - this is entertainment, not bitching) and she waved me away and asked me to move behind the camera. It seems she was unable to keep her eyes off my blightly shining hair though, as one of her crew then told me in no uncertain terms to go away because I was too distracting. Tsk.



After a brief visit to Sir Blair I went to see Fay Weldon with Fatima Bhutto being interviewed by Ruth Patel. I've never been a big fan of Fay Weldon but was always aware of her. I didn't realise how old she now is, and it was a little distressing to see her tottering up on stage. Once she got going though, she was totally there, and when she laughed it was like a beam of sunshine! I ended up speaking at cross-purposes with one of the staff because I came out talking about Fay's amazing face and he thought I was saying that Fatima was a bit of alright and it took a while to untangle...



Thanks to not being able to read or think, I missed Iain (M) Banks talking about his latest book, but I made up for it by taking apicture of just about everyone who came to get things signed - and what a mixed bunch they were! It was both heartwarming and demographically satisfying. Also, he looks way better now that all the ginger has gone.



The day ended with some question over whether writing the word BLUE on a pieve of white paper actually assigned a certain blue-ness to the paper, or whether it just meant that bureaucracy will soon end us all.


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