I have been away at Hay-on-Wye for Hay Festival, the Hay Poetry Jamboree, Elysium's Bus Stop Cinema International Film Festival and the bigger and better How The Light Gets In. As always with Hay it was partly business, partly pleasure with much overlap. Apart from chairing Event 276 at the Elmley Foundation Theatre with Niall Griffiths, Cynan Jones and Christien Gholson, and sitting in pubs, tents and cafes I spent my 8 days of Hay doing a fair bit of research on the book... which meant going to things like this:
1. Once Upon a Time the End: Jesse Norman, Lars Iyer, Kabir Chibber.
Event  | Wednesday 1 June 2011 12:00pm
Venue: Globe Hall | http://www.howthelightgetsin.org
From rolling news to Twitter, attention spans are shrinking, and substantive messages are sharpening into slogans. Will postmodernity see a distillation of literary meaning into fewer (better?) words, or will our ability to tell big, expansive stories be destroyed by glib brevity, leaving us at the mercy of blurbs, stings, tweets and zingers? Politician and philosopher Jesse Norman talks fast and loose with philosopher-blogger Lars Iyer and PORT editor and New York Times writer Kabir Chibber.
2. Philosophy Session: Visions of Disaster and Perfection with John Carey, Paul Kingsnorth, Kevin Warwick. (Andrew Copson chairs).
Event  Friday 3 June 2011 6:00pm
Venue: Globe Hall
From Atlantis to 1984, visions of utopia once shaped the political landscape. What new visions, from technological golden age to environmental apocalypse, do today's thinkers foresee for the 21st century? Oxford scholar and broadcaster John Carey, environmental journalist Paul Kingsnorth, and cyborg and scientist Kevin Warwick consider new visions of disaster and perfection. In association with the British Humanist Association.
3. Live Session: HotDocs: Peep Culture
Event  | Saturday 4 June 2011 10:00pm
Venue: The Stage @HTLGI
Peep Culture plunges the lonely and ornery pop culture writer Hal Niedzviecki into reality TV and the internet in an effort to understand how human communication, friendship and social connection are changing.
4. Philosophy Session Caught in the Net? Ben Hammersley, Brett Kahr, Daniel Miller.
Gabriel Gbadamosi chairs.
Event  Sunday 5 June 2011 10:30am
Venue: Globe Hall
From Facebook to Twitterati, Second Life to the blogosphere, the internet has transformed the way we socialise, learn, and experience the world. But has it also diminished meaningful interaction and traded real life for fantasy and trivia? Wired editor and creator of podcasting Ben Hammersley, psychoanalyst Brett Kahr and anthropologist Daniel Miller explore the pleasures and perils of the internet.
I also really enjoyed seeing Gary Shteyngart and Hanif Kureishi at Hay Festival. See Gary's award winning book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EfzuOu4UIOU I have his book next in my reading pile.
Also, in tech reading, these: