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The Pequod
Dr Alistair Brown | Associate lecturer in English Literature; researching video games and literature

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Through exploring the psychopathology of Capgras syndrome, in which a patient mistakes a loved one for an imposter, The Echo Maker offers a sustained meditation on the ways in which we project our own problems onto other people. As a reflection on the mysteries of consciousness, the novel offers some interesting if not especially new insights into the fuzzy boundaries between scientific and literary interpretations of the mind. Read more

Latitude Festival

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Just a quick word - I supposed the hip word would be "shout out" - for the Latitude Festival, where I found myself this time last weekend. For a young, alleged intellectual, such as myself, this has to be the best festival on the calendar, with its vast programme of artistic, theatrical and literary events, to complement a really good music line-up. Just to illustrate, I know of no other festival where one can go from eating lunch whilst watching Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake on a beautiful stage suspended above water, to seeing Julie Birchall (who was a little disappointing and inarticulate, a bit like the silly schoolgirl who suddenly finds herself on the debating team), to releasing one's inner child of the '90s by jumping to James.

Other highlights included seeing Tom Jones (just to say I've done it); a brilliant Belle and Sebastian set, in which they played some old favourites and a great cover of Jumping Jack Flash, rather than doing their usual trick of sticking to esoteric tracks that only the most cultish of fans will know; listening to the tremendously entertaining Jane Bussman, a celebrity journalist with a moral heart and wicked sense of humour; realising that poetry is not dead after all as I applauded the hip-hop and poetry act of the Dead Poets; and emerging from Vampire Weekend's great headline act to chill out in the film tent with a haunting documentary about the decline of the Thames docks.

Sadly, Latitude will have grabbed the headlines because of two rapes. Largely, though, this was the friendliest festival I have been to, with none of the rampaging teenagers that blight Leeds/Reading, and more depth to its music acts than the mainstream V festivals. Of course, it is peaceful because it is utterly middle class. In this country park in rural Suffolk, I listened to Swan Lake with a hummus wrap in one hand, whilst the man next to me read The Times beneath his straw hat.

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Posted by Alistair at 7:24 am


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