In the cold, dark mornings of February, talking of summer can be about as welcomed as resting a hot iron on your face. The organisers of the Brighton Festival seemed to know this, thankfully, and so greeted the world’s press with Danish pastries, coffee and a surprisingly varied selection of fruits.
Yes it’s that time of year again, when we find out exactly who it is who’ll be lighting up the month of May in our fair, coastal sanctuary. This year Anish Kapoor has been asked to curate the collection of events and his stamp runs, not just through the brochure, but through plans to enliven the city-scape of Brighton.
This year’s festival (to use a worn-out old cliché) has ‘something for everyone’. In terms of music, performances stretch from the obligatory anniversary celebration of Handel, through to the sultry sublimity of Anthony and the Johnsons and the Bulgarian superstar Ivo Papsov. So, maybe it doesn’t have something for absolutely everyone, but for those of you who can’t find interest in the extensive list of events on offer, I guess you are still crying into your ‘5ive’ tea-towel after Freshers’ Ball and really have no need to leave the house anyway.
This is not just a festival of arts however. For those of you, like myself, graduating this year with a sense of disappointment that there will be no Dickie on stage to hand us our degrees (even if Sanjeev will be brilliant), then be calmed by the news that David Attenborough is coming anyway to talk about animals and Darwin and what it feels like to have the respect of every single person on the planet… Even paranoid stoners love watching Blue Planet, it makes it seem like it’s all really ‘out there’ or something.
Anyway, I urge everybody to pick up a copy of the new festival leaflet-book thing, and spend a bit of time soaking up the detail of all the things that are going on. It will be a needed stimulus to get your essays in on time so the summer can begin. The one thing that lacks here, perhaps, is comedy, and although there will be a large number of light-hearted performances, none quite throw themselves from the page and say ‘buy a ticket for me, I will make you laugh a lot’. Having said that, the funniest performance a few years ago was ‘Dublin by Lamplight’ which managed to outshine a host of bigger names, so maybe I should be quiet. Also, don’t we have one of the country’s best comedy festivals? That’s right. We do.
In short: start booking now.