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shewhomust

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Book Festival time [Oct. 9th, 2016|10:24 pm]
shewhomust
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It's Durham Book Festival time: Durham Book Festival weekend, as far as I'm concerned, as I've now been to all (both) the events I will be going to. Here's the full programme, in case you want to check up on how much I am missing. We will be in Kendal for the comics festival next weekend, which removes some options. 'Who Runs the North East?' was already sold out when we tried to book (it was scheduled for a very small room) but this may be just as well - I might have heckled, or behaved badly in some other way. Nothing else appealed at all, and the whole programme felt horribly familiar. This may just mean that I have seen an awful lot of Book Festivals pass through Durham, and it's time to take a break.

Yesterday's event was Where Does The Power Lie in The Media?, chaired (and dominated) by Ian Wylie, editor of a magazine called Northern Correspondent about which I knew little (the ticket price included a copy of the magazine, but this wasn't handed to us until we were leaving; it could usefully have been given out while we were waiting for sound checks to be completed so that we could be admitted to the venue). Possibly it was always the intention that he should be the main speaker, as he had been commissioned to write an essay, the bulk of which he proceeded to read out to us. He never really took the opportunity to pitch the Northern Correspondent, so I'll have to read my copy to find out what it's for. Other speakers were Helen Pidd, North of England editor for The Guardian (power in the media lies in London, but The Guardian is better than it was), Rachel Hamada, journalist-director for The Ferret, an in-depth investigative journalism platform for Scotland and beyond, which sounds very interesting, and Peter Barron, previously editor of The Northern Echo (local media have the potential to run important campaigns, but only if we can afford to employ journalists and pay them to investigate; I resigned because I couldn't face continuing to sack people). Any one of these had an hour's worth of material, and it was frustrating that we didn't get to explore it.

Today's session was completely different, a hands-on exploration of some materials which, if they weren't actually 'Trench Newspapers' came pretty close. Original copies of the Wipers Times (as seen on TV) are vanishingly rare, but we got to leaf through two bound volumes of reprints, one of them from 1918. The Wipers Times seems to have been exceptional in actually being printed at the front, but similar material was collected, printed and recirculated more wisely. The Anzac Book was a substantial volume compiled at Gallipoli (and including, as an example of tales told by the Turks in their opposing trenches, a story of Nasreddin Hodja: the Hodja's wife hears a cradhing in the night, and asks him what caused it? - Oh, that was my shirt falling downstairs - A shirt wouldn't make all that noise, surely? - I was wearing it at the time.). P. H. B. Lyon's slim volume Songs of Youth & War was included for local interest, as he served in the Durham Light Infantry (though I'm more interested to learn from Wikipedia that he was Wlinor Lyon's father): it includes a lyrical description of 'Folk Dancing', as practised by the gentry. This time I wouldn't have mided a little more context for what I was seeing: but it was an hour well-spent.
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