Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Test your intellect and endurance

Previous gap in transmission due to our - by now - mandatory attendance at the twenty-first Hay-on-Wye Festival, described by an earlier speaker, Bill Clinton, as "the Woodstock of the Mind". No technology but plenty of adult grist. Professor Steve Jones on how the theory of evolution will apply in the future, Gore Vidal being silkily provocative (Q: Mr Vidal, what message have you for today's youth? A: Grow up! (long pause) It's inevitable), Christopher Hitchens continuing his jousts with God, and Professor Richard Holmes showing how history should be taught with a masterly address on Marlborough.

I'd urge everyone to attend Hay at least once but, alas, this recommendation comes with a monstrous caveat. Hay, just over the border in Wales, is in the lee of the Black Mountains and enjoys its own micro-climate. Perhaps "enjoys" is not the right word. Last year's Hay was run at the same time as a Test Match (that's cricket for our foreign readers) which experienced the dubious distinction of the coldest day in the history of Test Matches. This year I have only seen rain heavier at RAF Changi on the island of Singapore. Also, Hay is a tented festival and when you're not being frozen and/or drowned you're straining to hear what's being said against the uproar from hurricane-blasted canvas. It can also be warm.

But as Michelin says: Il vaut le voyage.

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