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I’ve been writing web stories for Square Meal’s new microsite The Destination for a few months now. The remit is to cover ‘cool’ cultural events around the country. Here’s a very small selection of them…

Latitude line-up announced


It’s official: Latitude Festival and its candy-coloured sheep are coming back for another year. And they’ve announced one of the strongest line-ups of the summer season.

Falsetto-voiced folk artist Bon Iver, national treasures Elbow and the Modfather, Paul Weller, are all billed to headline the main stage, with indie miserablists White Lies, psychedelic goth rockers The Horrors and delightful eccentrics Wild Beasts topping the second stage.

World music is represented with the evocative Latin beats of Buena Vista Social Club and the joyful Afrobeat-tinged Amadou & Mariam.

And the other musical highlights are many, including – deep breath – The Antlers, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Josh T Pearson, Battles, Apparat, Django Django, Lianne Le Havas and Other Lives.

It’s not all about the music at Latitude, however. The quirky, family-friendly festival that’s based in Suffolk also boasts comedy, spoken word, film, cabaret, theatre and literary bills.

Top draws amongst these vast and varied practices are Jack Dee, Russell Kane, John Pilger, John Cooper Clark, Iain Banks and Sadler’s Wells.

With so much to choose from, it’s a wonder anyone manages to get any sleep when they’re there.


Literary libations

ImageWe all know that there is nothing quite as relaxing as reclining, book in hand, with a decent dram or Martini by your side.

And it seems as if this private comfort is crossing the line into the public domain as events have started popping up, celebrating the connections between drink and the written word.

Islington’s Public House has been quick off the mark, launching a monthly liquid book club that sees attendees dissect a book that has strong links with alcohol – be it in the plot or the author’s penchant for it – whilst supping on specially created cocktails throughout the evening.

Moving further south, the gentile gin brand Hendrick’s is creating a Library of Delightfully Peculiar Writings as part of Brighton Fringe. Their programme will inform and amuse guests in such events as Stuffing Peter Rabbit – where guest taxidermist Lee Paton will get to work with a dead rabbit – and A Dirty Martini with Evelyn Waugh.

Those pesky jellymongers Bompas & Parr have also managed to muscle into the action, presenting a dinner of four literary-themed courses with matching Hendrick’s cocktails, and an exploding dessert for the climax.

Whatever way you approach them, these literary libations will certainly take you on a stroll through wonderland.


Sundance London

ImageIt’s news that will have film buffs jumping with joy – Sundance, the infamous independent film festival whose roots are found in Utah, is heading to London for four days in April.

The UK version of the festival, imaginatively called Sundance London, will see a programme of 14 narrative and documentary feature films come to The O2 – including Chasing Ice, a visually stunning documentary following National Geographic photographer James Balog as he works to produce a visual body of work capturing the effects of climate change.

There’s also a short film programme, which will see eight American and international shorts shown, alongside the premiere screening of the winner of a competition to produce a British film around the theme of ‘Story of Our Time’.

It’s not all about the celluloid, however. There will be panel discussions, live music performances and events, including Tricky and Martina Topley Bird performing the former artist’s classic album Maxinquaye, as well as Rufus and Martha Wainwright singing the songs of their mother, Kate McGarrigle.

Sundance president and founder Robert Redford is set to play a prominent role in the weekend, introducing films and even performing – the bill lists An Evening with Robert Redford and T Bone Burnett.

To view the stories I’ve written for Square Meal’s microsite The Destination, click here.