“The game’s afoot” as the Bard once wrote and certainly the game opened last night with much fanfare.
At the launch party, South Bank’s “empressaria” Jude Kelly gave the opening speech, explaining that the South Bank’s remit is to “push back the membrane” to the point that there is “no-one on the outside.” Now that’s a properly inclusive approach to creativity, artistry and expression, a rousing, modern version of ‘Cry “God for Harry, England and Saint George”’ as the Bard went on to say.
Receiving the microphone Rachel Holmes gave thanks to those people who make such a festival happen not least ,in this case, the quiet guru of the London Literature Festival, Martin Colthorpe, who Holmes described as ‘forensic’. If any of you are/were fans of the TV show NCIS then Colthorpe is the Jethro Gibbs character. He’s that good at what he does, but without the head slapping so favoured by his TV avatar. I so like the idea of Holmes describing her Watson as ‘forensic”, it has a marvellous resonance that I just can’t quite place!
Fred D’Aguiar, could be found mingling as, briefly, could Arundhati Roy before being whisked off for her sound check. You’ll have read about her event in Jayga’s excellent post below. Also spotted was Kamila Shamsie, one of this year’s Orange Prize contenders, Time Out’s Paul Burston whose new novel sounds like a hit-in-waiting, Lisa Dwan who is performing Beckett’s “Not I” on Tuesday and Wednesday (you really should treat yourselves to this event, it’s going to be something really rather special) and some of publishing’s ‘golden ones’, those very people who find the people that write the books that we so love reading.
All in all a great start. I’ve got to dash… or as William S. put it, and so much better, “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.”