Festival Takeaways

books

Two years ago in ‘Parkus Interruptus’ I wrote about how I had lost all pleasure in reading. Since then, several friends have described how grief has affected them in a similar way. I’ve had many suggestions for what might help me regain my enjoyment but perhaps the most helpful has been to focus on non-fiction. I manage to read quite a lot by doing this, but where I once had a hearty appetite and a mixed diet, I’m picky these days and only occasionally snack on fiction.

This week, though, I’ve been immersed in the world of books at the Hay Festival. This tiny Welsh town with its population of 1,600 and thirty bookshops, has just hosted its thirtieth annual literary festival and its global reputation means that it can attract the biggest names in literature, the arts, politics, broadcasting, and science. Over the course of ten days there were more than six hundred events. I was there for a week and went to twenty-three of them. Mostly they were entertaining, informative and thought-provoking. I’m left with a random collection of snapshot memories, odd facts and the beginnings of a better understanding of topics ranging from Islamic fundamentalism to medical sniffer dogs, time, the early days of London Zoo, and carpe diem. And now that I’m home, I can reflect on what I’ve taken away.

hay bookshop

As with so many things in life, some turn out to be different from what you expect. Continue reading

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Remains of the Hay

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Last week I went shopping with my daughter, Emma, and as always she gave me something new to think about. She works in business development and has recently been exploring wearable technology. One particular growth area is lifelogging when people capture every aspect of their life by continuous video recording using a camera in their clothing, on their glasses or round their neck. One of the issues with lifelogging, though, must surely be in identifying what’s noteworthy in amongst the daily round of cleaning the loo, munching toast and snoring.

hay 2

As it happens this week has had less loo cleaning than normal as I’ve been at Continue reading