Monday, 27 August 2012

Day 16

My discoveries on the penultimate day of this year's Book Festival.

Alistair McIntosh was sharing his views on Radio 4's 'Thought for the Day' recently, and although he was as eloquent as ever, he didn't dare use certain words he was keen to utilise. But as he said today, where better than the Book Festival to use words like “epistemological” and “ontological”? As Alistair says, “at the Book Festival you're not only likely to understand what those words mean; you're likely to buy me a drink for using them”.

Gavin Esler today chaired an event on the value of the environment, and he mentions sitting in an plane the other day (tut tut), musing over how many people deny climate change, when suddenly, as if in answer to the question as to to whether climate change is a real issue, the heavens opened up and flooding at Heathrow delayed his flight for over three hours.

Masha Gessen has written a book on Vladimir Putin ('The Man Without a Face'), uncovering some startling facts – but she has never met or even seen the subject of her book. This is because she is the first Russian journalist to be blacklisted by Russian authorities.

Struan Stevenson has sounded his support for politically-motivated Russian punk band Pussy Riot. In his words, their controversial anti-Putin protest was courageous, and the orthodox church was the ideal place to hold it. It may be easy to turn your nose up at support from the likes of Paul McCartney and Madonna, but Struan praises their participation as similarly brave and worthwhile and encourages others to add their voices.

Have you been enjoying the pre- and post-event music in the Book Festival venues? I discovered today that the selection is thanks to Spanish DJ José Padilla of Café del Mar, who has had a great influence on those who choose the Book Festival music.

Will Self today admitted to fleeting to the States in an attempt to escape the Olympics. His efforts were completely successful; except at one point when he was approached in a gas station by an enthusiastic Olympics fan who said; “isn't Bradley Wiggins fantastic?” To which Will Self replied; “who?”

This evening Nick Papadimitriou shared that he had a fairly troubled childhood, and as a boy would play truant from school for weeks at a time. He would “inhabit wastelands”, lighting a fire to keep himself warm, and sometimes building a little shack to sleep in until it was time to join the other children in their walk home at the end of the school day.

So, tomorrow is the la... the las...

No, I can't say it. I won't say it.

Suffice to say, I'm planning on going to eight Book Festival events tomorrow.

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