Channel: Poetry | The Guardian
Mark channel Not-Safe-For-Work? cancel confirm NSFW Votes: (0 votes)
Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel.

Fair Field: Piers Plowman's Truth - books podcast


In the last of three original podcasts based on William Langland’s poem, our hero goes in search of an ideal Truth. But what does that mean?

Subscribe and review: iTunes, Soundcloud, Audioboom, Mixcloud& Acast and join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter

In the last of three original podcasts produced for the Guardian, neurotic dreamer Piers Plowman sets off to find essential Truth. But what can that mean in a society driven by division and competing viewpoints?

Continue reading...

Glastonbury 2017: Friday evening with Radiohead, Lorde and the xx – as it happened


Sleaford Mods and Dizzee Rascal sent out the rhymes, Lorde graced the Other stage and Radiohead were the Pyramid stage headliners for the first big night of Glastonbury 2017

And there Wayne goes, over the front of the stage and across the Park Stage crowd. And with that I’m off to bed – my colleagues in the field will take over. See you tomorrow, same time and place.

It’s battle of the balls! Wayne Coyne is fronting Flaming Lips in a huge plastic sphere, as he has done for years, and performing David Bowie’s Space Oddity. It’s art rock karaoke, but at this time of night that’s probably what’s required.

Now Nadia Rose is playing her anti-fascist anthem Skwod on the BBC, and it’s the perfect palate cleanser after Radiohead.

By way of a total contrast, the live TV broadcast has switched to Major Lazer, who are playing to an enormous crowd and bolstered by four female dancers in that most challenging of garment – chaps. There was also some kind of plastic ball action ...

And there they go, Thom waving manically and the crowd singing the chorus of Karma Police. Alexis’s verdict will be up soon. It was a challenging set for non-believers, but Radiohead finally brought it home.

Now they’re doing Karma Police, another song from their rock era. It’s been a choppy journey at times, a few people fell out with one another, but we made it to the other side together, singing “This is what you’ll get when you mess with us.”

Clearly, this is one of those times:

Watching Radiohead I feel the same as when I catch Eastenders. Just ocassionally I recognise something I know. #glastonbury17

Never gets old:

Always good to revisit Noel Gallagher's opinion on #Radiohead every now and then... #Glastonburypic.twitter.com/7brsiFHUrb

After a crackling Lotus Flower, Radiohead give the crowd the anthem they want and do Creep.

I tell you one thing, I would definitely be ready for some disco dancing in the NYC Downlow tent right about now if I were watching this on site.

I’m not sure we even noticed, Rob:

One year I put the aerial shot of the site on the page back to front. Scanned the wrong side of the transparenc didn't I. Oops. #glasto#nme

My colleague Rob Davies, like many fans, is getting fed up with the Radiohead shade:

Next time your favourite band's doing a live set, I won't bang on about how bad they are because i probably hate them so won't be watching.

“Here’s another cheery fucker,” Thom announces before Fake Plastic Trees, another singalong moment.

My former NME colleague Rob Biddulph, now a top children’s author, offers some reminiscence of our yesteryears:

When I was art director of NME, Glasto meant early weekend mornings in the office chasing hungover photographers for pics of Thom in focus

After a furious 2+2=5 it’s another signature tune – Paranoid Android. As Alexis Petridis wrote in his review of the reissue of OK Computer:

While Radiohead were apparently irked by being described as prog rock, when confronted by, say, Paranoid Android – six and a half minutes long, in four episodic parts with a section in 7/8 time and a title inspired by a sci-fi novel, which began life clocking in at more than 14 minutes, replete with a lengthy Pink-Floyd-esque organ solo – the desire to call a spade a spade becomes overwhelming.

Reader Woolie Maddie emails to say:

Hi Alex. Not sure where this ‘Why aren’t they playing Creep or High and Dry?!’ with Radiohead still comes from. Their last “rock” album was released 20 years ago. While their more electronic/experimental sound, ushered in by Kid A, was controversial back in 2001, it’s not like people haven’t had time to get used to it, or to come to terms with the fact that they actually aren’t really that keen on Radiohead. I know it’s Glastonbury and you are expected to play the hits, to an extent, but at this point in their career most of their back catalogue isn’t rock music. Are people really surprised that they aren’t filling their set with songs from their first two albums (of nine)?

“See you later Theresa, just shut the door on your way out,” spits Yorke, by way of introduction to Nude.

But on the other hand, some are being reduced to tears:

This song truly makes me lament my youth. Just going for a cry. #Radiohead

Another hit! It’s No Surprises after a stretch of songs which certainly challenged non-die-hards.

Radiohead peaked with The Bends, which was awesome. After that, they descended into prog without the fun. Dismal gits. Don't @ me.

It’s a hit! Street Spirit (Fade Out) sounding exemplary and – for the first time in a while – inspiring backing vocals from the crowd.

Radiohead are getting a mixed reponse in the comments. Some think it’s genius, others say “Imagine trying to get your freak on to this.” Pre-1997 songs have been pretty thinly sprinkled, but that’s not unusual for this band. As Morris Mitchener puts it:

This set, so far, proves that Radiohead are not a rock band that dabble in a bit of experimental avant garde stuff but an experimental avant garde band that dabbled, for a couple of years early on, with rock music.

Guardian Money editor has a Thom Yorke anecdote of sorts:

I once walked down Oxford high street behind Thom Yorke #underwhelmingbuttopicalanecdotes

The “Ooh, Jeremy Corbyn” chant breaks out and Thom Yorke joins in in a descant.

They’re playing Idioteque, and some tweeters, like the Guardian’s TV critic, are tugging at their followers’ sleeves to watch Dizzee Rascal instead:

if you've had enough of Thom's wailing, Dizzee's brilliant #Glastonbury

Reports from the field that there are a lot of Palestinian flags being flown in the crowd at Radiohead, given out by activists beforehand – and in fact one is visible, close to the stage, on the BBC’s broadcast. They’re protesting against Radiohead’s decision to play Tel Aviv in Israel next month. Forty-seven public figures including Desmond Tutu and Ken Loach wrote an open letter to the band, imploring them not to play “where a system of apartheid has been imposed on the Palestinian people”.

Yorke responded in Rolling Stone: “The person who knows most about these things is Jonny [Greenwood]. He has both Palestinian and Israeli friends and a wife who’s an Arab Jew. All these people to stand there at a distance throwing stuff at us, waving flags, saying, ‘You don’t know anything about it!’ Imagine how offensive that is for Jonny.”

A message for #Radiohead from fans at #Glastonbury2017: Don't play apartheid Israel. pic.twitter.com/ComPEJ1oEz

However, they’ve got the stars onside:

Matt Smith, Sienna Miller and friends totally losing their shit to Radiohead in front of us. Quite sweet! #glasto2017

Radiohead fans are getting militant, as the band slide into Let Down from OK Computer, currently enjoying its 20th anniversary.

I'm seeing the odd bit of negativity toward Radiohead on my timeline. I'm trying to rise above it but any more and I may have to take action

Not everyone’s into Radiohead’s Glastonbury vibes.

Thom Yorke is a legend but I wish he's stop talking toss about lay lines #Glastonbury2017

We’ve had Myxomatosis (hey, you can pick up all sorts at Glastonbury), Exit Music (For A Film) and now Radiohead are performing an intense Pyramid Song. Now Thom Yorke is talking to the audience saying: “Someone told me that this is on a ley line, but I find it quite significant, being a hippy.” So there you go, it’s on the record: Thom Yorke is a hippy. The frosty but undeniably great Everything in its Right Place, the opening song of their “difficult” album Kid A, follows and is welcomed by the crowd like a stroppy old friend.

Pitt? Pfft. Depp? Do one. The real star attraction at day one proper of the festival is a giant intergalactic space despot with a cylinder on his bonce. Yes, Lord Buckethead has landed at Glastonbury, where he’s introducing Sleaford Mods. “Why should the Pyramid Stage alone have a guest appearance from a influential political leader,” he booms, prompting the crowd to chant his name to the tune of Seven Nation Army.

At just 20, Lorde has already morphed from precocious teen icon to prestige pop star, releasing Melodrama, her rich and, erm, melodramatic second album earlier this month. “I think when you’re a strange magical person - and I’m a witch - you know what it’s like. You know that you’re not too much for everyone. You’re just kind of magical,” she says softly before piano weepy Liability, still very much advocating herself as a champion of the underdog (if you were in any doubt, her secret onion ring review blog was recently unearthed).

Radiohead are playing 15 Step, Thom Yorke going for the Glastonbury double with both maracas and a man bun. On TV it sounds totally assured and the crowd look ecstatic, though a friend in the field is texting me to say that there’s plenty of room at the back: “zero energy even halfway back ... it’s an uphill battle getting my mates to stay.”

15 Step is the best #Radiohead song, pass it on.

.@thomyorke is just a damn God.

He stood for election in Maidenhead, Theresa May’s constituency, on a mandate of “strong, not entirely stable, leadership”, and received 249 votes.

But it’s not the first time Lord Buckethead has been propelled into the spotlight, with a namesake having stood against Margaret Thatcher as well as John Major in previous general elections.

The first song is Daydreaming, the warped piano ballad from A Moon Shaped Pool, concluding with the ambivalent lyrics “We are just happy to serve you” as white light cascades behind them. There’s a hungry roar from a crowd which seems to stretch right up the hill. It’s followed up with Lucky, a signature tune which wouldn’t usually come so early in their set.

The BBC have asked the many pop stars who passed through their doors, “What does Glastonbury smell of?” Liam wins again, with his answer “Beautiful people ... covered in shit.” Now it’s time for BBC2’s slightly delayed broadcast of Radiohead’s setlist. This is their third headlining set. I was physically on site in 2003, but my memories of it are frankly scanty. I didn’t see them in 2011, when they did a secret gig on the Park Stage. And they’re on!

And here’s another memory of 1997, the year the stage sank, from Kenickie’s Emma Jackson, now a sociologist:

Twenty years since the great sinking stage debacle. Put me off Glastonbury forever. https://t.co/lStxuwy6pd

Not everyone’s into Sleaford Mods:

is there a more *deeply* embarrassing band than sleaford mods, literally the guardian comment is free section set to bon tempi

And there they go with Jobseeker. I enjoyed that – sweaty, passionate, angry but celebratory too. And with a picture of the crowd, they’re concluding. “It’s been all right innit, by heart has felt some connection with you ... things are fucking shit, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stop listening to the Sleaford Mods ... fuck England.” Time for Radiohead.

Here’s video of the moment Lord Buckethead introduced Sleaford Mods.

B.H.S. BucketHead's Speech. Here's @LordBuckethead bringing @sleafordmods on at #Glastonbury2017. Watch live: https://t.co/6ZP3l62D9Wpic.twitter.com/qffuJ5r22v

OK, maybe a bit of Sleaford Mods first. The song I just saw concludes with the improvised line, “Fat posh cunts think we’re fake twats”, which is very them.

https://t.co/Oer9f0eIdS GlastoLive: Sleaford Mods kicking off on The Park stage KG pic.twitter.com/hCHZKCmIJ2

Back to Lorde, doing Team and still great. She’s about to conclude with Green Light before I switch over to Radiohead.

Channel-hopping now, and it’s the great, if annoyingly punctuated, Anderson .Paak, a one-man party sweating buckets in a migrane-inducing romper suit and welding old soul and hip-hop together like he was born to do it.

Bounce Bounce Bounce! It's the Remix to the Remix to Ignition with @AndersonPaak

Watch #Glastonbury2017https://t.co/b6eQKskrVVpic.twitter.com/1yxQIhxlVc

It’s five minutes to Radiohead in the field. We’ll have to wait for another half-hour for it to be on the TV. Lorde, meanwhile, just announced that she was a witch – “a good witch” – before tackling the scarf-waver Liability.

This is a bit gulp-inducing for those of us of advancing years ...

Hey, how's your self-worth this evening? When Lorde was born, Say You'll Be There was UK number 1.

That Lorde glass box, as captured on Twitter by the BBC:

@lorde has got us trapped in a glass case of emotion
Watch her dazzling set here  https://t.co/fjqvLMEAKnpic.twitter.com/FECB6lmLsH

Lorde’s performance is containing a lot of interpretive dancing. Everyone has emerged from a perspex case and they’re now lying all over the floor. It’s reminding me of Freddie Mercury in the video to I Want to Break Free, except Lorde’s bodystocking is a bit more modest than Fred’s.

Lord Buckethead, nemesis of Theresa May, introduced Sleaford Mods onstage earlier.

Swampaldo has a query in the comments:

Why don't rock stars look like rock stars any more? I expect half of them are tucked up in bed with a cinnamon latte by midnight after a gig. Lol.

OK, Gwilym Mumford (no relation) reviewed Elbow and says that they were really good. Sorry Elbow!

The identity of the band playing the Park stage’s mystery TBA slot has been one of the biggest talking points of this Friday at Glasto. Even minutes before the unknown act are due to perform plenty of festival punters are still in the dark about who will appear before them. Will it be, as many have predicted, the Killers? Gorillaz? Former Cameroon striker Roger Milla? The possibilities are endless.

So when Guy Garvey saunters onstage you do wonder whether there might be a slight hint of deflation among the crowd. Elbow have, perhaps unfairly, become characterised as safe, solid, predictable. (Their surprise Mercury win over dubstep critical darling Burial a few years back has arguably done more than anything else to cement their reputation.) You can set your watch to them, but they’re probably not the band you’d turn to for a jaw-dropping surprise festival set. Might everyone turn on their heels and head to the Pyramid to nail down a plum slot for Radiohead instead?

That was the end of BBC2’s whistlestop tour of Glastonbury, which concluded with Little Dragon’s singer Yukimi Nagano performing in a veil and extravagant hat, which was a lot more memorable than the music. I haven’t got it in me to last through an hour of Elbow, on BB4, so Lorde it is over on the iPlayer.

Kate Hutchinson has been partaking of some of the grime sprinkled across the festival. Here’s what she made of Dave.

Sonic’s UK underground showcase is by now half full, to the athletic monologues of Streatham rapper and Drake favourite who goes simply by the most unGoogleable artist name ever: Dave. But this is a musician who doesn’t do gimmicks - his lyrics speak for themselves. And like his artist name, they are just as direct. Blackbox Freestyle is an emotional sprint that breathlessly documents his desperation at knife crime, which he dedicates it to his incarcerated sibling.

“One of the reasons I wanted to perform that track so much today ... my older brother got sentenced to life in prison when he was 16 years old,” he says. “I can’t share it with him in flesh but we share it with him in spirit”.

The busy Rachel Aroesti has been to see them, and this is what she reckoned:

If the highly emotional middle-aged man I befriend in the crowd is anything to go by, Future Islands have fanbase as zealous as their frontman’s infamous dancing. And judging by the audience’s rapturous reaction to opener Ran - a new song which is as swollen with emotion as the rest of the Baltimore band’s back catalogue - he probably is.

It’s the way the group’s motorik drums and swooning synths coalesce into something that’s both raw and transcendental that makes them such a seductive outfit. They also boast a welcome air of unpredictability: frontman Samuel T Herring indulges in sudden bizarre vocal outbursts (sometimes screamo-esque, sometimes high and creepy) to match his surprising dance moves - teasing the audience with the prospect of a full routine with brief shimmies and even a spot of cossack dancing.

Elbow are on now – they were playing the Park Stage earlier, a ‘secret’ performance. Guy Garvey’s got a Manchester bee tattoo on his right arm, the sign of civic pride and strength Mancunians adapted after the Manchester Arena attack.

Harriet’s been watching the marginally-less-diffident-than-they-used-to- be trio. She writes:

While the muted, nocturnal tones of London trio the xx were formerly resigned to the darkness of the big tents here at Glastonbury, tonight they’re exposed to the masses on the Pyramid stage. Their stage presence is marginally less subdued than it used to be: Jamie xx’s high-energy jumping has accrued over years of DJing on his own. There’s something quite 80s drivetime about Romy Madley Croft’s breathy solo song Performance. Oliver Sim meanwhile, dressed in satin with his 50s quiff, even addresses his overwhelming emotions with a fleeting bit of banter.

“Every time I get nervous I look back at my mum,” he says. “I don’t think you need me to tell you this but this is the best festival. In 2011 I came with a broken foot and danced to Beyoncé. In 2013 I fell off stage. The moral of the story is,” he concludes, “enjoy yourself.”

It’s Future Islands doing Ran on the John Peel stage about (I think) 45 minutes ago. They’re hectic, fidgety and fabulous.

Meanwhile Jo Whiley is telling us (for the third time) that she watched Kris Kristofferson with Brad Pitt. To add to the Hollywood love-in vibes, Johnny Depp also played guitar.

The BBC’s highlights of the past 20 years was a hectic montage including Beyonce, Jay Z, the Dalai Lama and Coldplay and Barry Gibb doing Staying Alive. Now here’s 1Extra’s Yasser in the Green Fields saying everything smells “very clean”. Glastonbury must have changed more than I thought.

John Mulvey, then at NME, remembers it well.

On its 20th anniversary, am fondly recalling the #Glasto fax we received at NME that basically read: "2nd stage is sinking; don't come..."

More brass for George Ezra, doing Don’t Matter Now on the Other Stage in a stripy T-shirt. Now it’s Jo Wiley herself in 1997 with Kenickie, who couldn’t play because the Other Stage had, as the teenage Lauren Laverne puts it, “sunk into the actual ground”.

It’s the first of several “bespoke acoustic” (according to the BBC) performances in the Beeb’s area which seems to be slightly up the hill from the Park Stage. It’s the Hot Eight Brass Band from New Orleans. They’re effortlessly tight and a lot of fun.

OK, I’ve turned over to see the indefatigable Jo Wiley and comparative Glastonbury newbie Huw Stephens kicking off BBC2’s coverage. It began with a montage of bands talking about the bands they wanted to see, the most startling of which was Liam Gallagher saying he was interested in checking out “some of that grime stuff.” Now we’re kicking off with Royal Blood doing Lights Out on the Pyramid stage earlier. It rocks.

Flag-wavers, here is the one to beat:

And the winner of the best flag at #Glastonbury2017 goes to... pic.twitter.com/4rjKpvUb8Q

Props to our first commenter inasock, who points out about the tweet embedded in the first entry of this blog:

'manplanning' rather than 'mansplaining' apparently.
I guess pointing that out would form some form of mansplaining.

Rachel Aroesti has been checking out Block 9, Glastonbury’s temple of polysexual hedonism, which this year has gone for a New York meatpacking district circa 1977 vibe.

Glastonbury’s late-night extravaganza Block9 began life as a “pipe dream” for founders Gideon Berger and Stephen Gallagher. Keen to carve out a queer space in a hetero-centric festival teeming with “dreadlocks and sarongs”, their fantasy finally got off the ground in the mid-00s, when a two grand blag allowed them to create the NYC Downlow stage, a celebration of gay counterculture which turns 10 this year. Having started life as an apocalyptic take on a Lower East Side tenement, it now more closely resembles a “gay meatpackers abattoir meets gay sauna meets gay disco” according to the pair - or, more succinctly, a “sweaty box of testosterone” where everyone is required to don a £2 moustache upon entry (a venture that has raised over £60k for charity).

Over the years, Block9 has expanded from a single stage - first with London Underground, a grimy block of flats with a tube train poking out the middle, which is described as the “older straighter ASBO big brother” of the area, and reportedly not a favourite of Michael Eavis thanks to its injection of grubby urbanity.

Going to the other end of the political spectrum, Hannah Ellis-Petersen has written about Glastonbury’s real headliner – Jeremy Corbyn. She reports:

Heather Cuss, 33, from south London, said: “There’s always a community atmosphere at Glastonbury but this year it’s definitely all about Jezza. We’ve seen musicians playing with Corbyn necklaces and everywhere you walk you hear people break out into Jeremy Corbyn chants. Even bands from abroad have been giving him a shout out as they’ve clearly heard everyone going, ‘Jeremy Corbyn, Jeremy Corbyn,’ and they’re joining in.”

In the dance area Shangri-La on Thursday, the New York brass band were leading the crowds in the ‘Oh, Jeremy Corbyn’ chant and the giant sand sculpture near the park stage was of Corbyn riding on the back of a fox and chasing Theresa May through fields of wheat.

Just wintessed a silent disco crowd chant 'Oh Jeremy Corbyn' to Seven Nation Army and it was a beautiful thing. #Glastonburypic.twitter.com/J8KJPZ5aw9

The White House have responded to Johnny Depp’s joke about assassinating Donald Trump, because that’s the kind of guys they are.

JUST IN: White House official calls Johnny Depp's joke about assassinating a president "sad" pic.twitter.com/cqKdu9ZQiT

My colleague Harriet Gibsone saw the rapper/ranter/performance poet play a trilling set earlier this evening. She writes:

Before the novelist, poet and MC takes to the stage, a girl races past assuring her friend that Tempest is worth barging to the front for as she ‘proper pumps you up’. The compere who comes on stage gives her a lofty introduction, branding her ‘the voice of a generation’. Within seconds of her performance she’s affirmed both: an exhausting, non stop tirade of ‘state of the nation’ poetry spews from the artist, cheeks red with passion, her blue eyes blazing, both furious and focussed.

Anyone who’s bought a Glastonbury ticket hoping to escape the gnarly reality of Britain in 2017 was given a sober slap across the face during her set: before Tempest’s typically wry stories woven through various down-and out-characters, she begins with a more direct narrative.

The Pretenders are on BBC4, playing Message of Love to a sizeable crowd on the Other Stage, despite the fact this was filmed at 11am. Chrissie Hynde is wearing a Motörhead T-shirt and looks effortlessly confident. She’s been doing this for four decades; she’s got this. Now it’s Don’t Get Me Wrong.

Good evening – it’s Friday night and you’re not at Glastonbury. You’re watching it in front of the TV instead. In which case, this is the liveblog for you. Over the next five – five! – hours or so, this blog will be coming at you not from Glastonbury, but from a living room in north London, where I’ll be following all the action on BBC2 and BBC4. There’ll be some input from my colleagues in the field, from social media, and – I hope – from you. Leave a comment, tweet me @alexneedham74 or email me on alex.needham@theguardian.com.

I’m not a Glastonbury hater or refusenik (though if you are, pull up a chair anyway). Between 2000 (headliners: Bowie, the Chemical Brothers and, er, Travis) and 2013 (the Rolling Stones, Arctic Monkeys and Mumford & Sons) I went to every single one – 11 times in all. In that time, the festival evolved from a wildly entertaining but near-lawless place in which literally tens of thousands of people came in over or under the fence and the night-time entertainment was mainly confined to the Rizla tent and the “wine” bars, to the incredibly well-run cultural institution it is today. These days, Glastonbury goers can pick from a smorgasboard of delights ranging from the all-night revelry of Lost Vagueness to a workshop on misogyny and mansplaining.

Is it the new @Manics album track list or simply the lineup for the Glastonbury Left Field? pic.twitter.com/1WdH0qDWg8

Continue reading...

Glastonbury 2017: Jeremy Corbyn says 'another world is possible' – live updates


Liam Gallagher, Thundercat – and a certain Labour party leader as warm-up man for Run the Jewels. Share the action with us from Saturday daytime at the festival

Our photographer David Levene was on stage with Corbyn as he addressed the masses. Check out that crowd!

Before Corbyn came on, a video played to the crowds featuring socialist and peace campaigner EP Thompson, himself addressing the Glastonbury crowds in the 1980s. Left-wing Twitter went into kissy-eye emoji mode:

Shout for the great EP Thompson by Corbyn - love it. #Glastonbury2017

EP Thompson getting namechecked at Glasto, what a time to be alive

Thank you #Glastonbury for inviting me to speak on the Pyramid Stage about how, together, we can build a country #ForTheMany, not the few. pic.twitter.com/vutOyFsFSo

There have been some pretty mega Pyramid stage crowds in the past – the Rolling Stones in 2013 often thought of as the daddy of them all – and by all accounts Corbyn was up there with them.

Major congestion following @jeremycorbyn's #Glastonbury speech. This is 20min after the speech ended; crowd is still clearing pic.twitter.com/BTeOeIoPt9

Currently at #Glastonbury. This was the view from the back of the crowd that turned out for Jeremy Corbyn. pic.twitter.com/fuqdG2rNoa

The biggest crowd I think I've ever seen at #Glastonbury is for Jeremy Corbyn. Easily rivals Rolling Stones, Oasis and Dolly Parton pic.twitter.com/3UWFzF99EI

Tens of thousands gathered to watch Corbyn in the mid afternoon, a crowd of the size typically reserved for Glastonbury headliners. Almost all watching were fans; many wore T-shirts bearing his face or name, and there were banners of appreciation in the crowds.

Our reporter Lisa O’Carroll was canvassing opinion from Corbyn fans after his rousing speech:

Martin Worsnip, 25: "I was more excited about Corbyn than any else this weekend. He was inspiring,I joined the Labour Party because of him" pic.twitter.com/Tx6aghF1c1

Cameron Quinn, 24, "he's the only politician who actually tells truth. I drove hour and half to Tory stronghold just to give hm 1 more vote" pic.twitter.com/dTjeH0RXnR

He makes a final appeal to equality, and an end to the division in wealth and poverty. “We’re doing things differently, we’re doing things better!” He says he finds the “unlocking of potential” is inspirational.

Rise like lions after slumber

In unvanquishable number,

“In every child there is a poem, a painting, music,” he says. “I want all our children to be inspired, to have the write to write music, and poetry and paint in the way they want. This festival gives that chance and opportunity... I’m proud to be here for that.”

“We’re demanding something very different in our society and our lives. Is it right that so many people in our country have no home to live in and only a street to sleep on? ... Is it right that so many people live in povery in a society surrounded by such riches?” He touches on Grenfell tragedy, and argues that EU citizens should be “part of our world”

“The elites got it wrong!” he says of the election result. “Politics is about the lives of all of us, and the wonderful campaign that I was involved in... brought a lot of people back into politics because they believed there was something on offer for them. But what was even more inspiring was the number of young people who got involved for the very first time... they are fed up with being denigrated... and being told that their generation was going to pay more to get less.”

Corbyn’s here! He says Michael Eavis brought the “spirit of love” to Glastonbury – and makes a dig at Donald Trump, highlighting a poster that says Build Bridges, Not Walls.

When Craig David performs The Rise And Fall – a sombre, Sting-assisted meditation on the vacillations of fame from his second album Slicker Than Your Average – he prefaces it with a heartfelt speech about the ups and downs of his own career. But it seems unlikely that, even at his most optimistic, he would have imagined that his comeback would pan out like this: the crowd gathered for him at the Pyramid Stage is enormous – considerably larger than the one assembled for Radiohead last night.

Corbs is getting ready for his big Pyramid stage appearance by getting on the lash:

At the Solstice Bar at #Glastonbury. Looking forward to my 4pm speech at the Pyramid Stage. pic.twitter.com/DPnvPvLYrp

Jeremy Corbyn pulling a pint at Glastonbury is the best thing ever pic.twitter.com/26VQ2DVyzu

We’ve overheard Ed Balls saying how much he loved Clean Bandit last night! Here they are on site, looking a bit like sex cultists from the future:

look who we bumped into at @glastofest @marinadiamandis

Shaggy’s hit It Wasn’t Me remains weirdly inspirational for its none-so-brazen attitude towards lying about infidelity.

No mucking about with cosmic bass lord Thundercat: the set begins with a 20 minute two song segment dedicated to his cat Turbo Tron and largely consists of tangential wonky bass solos and ‘meow’ choruses.

Corbyn is such an attraction that the Kaiser Chiefs are going to be screening his talk during their own set:

We'll be showing @jeremy_corbynmp's chat on our screens just before we play the Other Stage @glastofest on Saturday. Don't miss out. #JCandKCs

James Coke has been asking more of the disabled festivalgoers about their experiences here. Next up is Margaret Heyes from Abergele in north Wales.

I’ve got sciatic rheumatoid arthritis, which is very painful, and I’ve also got spondylosis of the spine and can’t bend. The guys here, you can rent a scooter from, and the people are very helpful. If you get stuck or anything they will come and help you.

I have to have a high bed as I can’t get on the floor but I like camping here. I come to Glastonbury every year and have been seven times now. The campsite here this year is an awful lot better than it was; the showers and pathways have improved a lot although they could do with a few less tents so you can get in between them a bit, but I suppose that’s how they like it. It’s a bit overcrowded but I enjoy it. My best ever Glastonbury moment was Dolly Parton in 2014 – she was amazing.

Charli XCX has been making friends after her tip top set yesterday:

I feel like we're gonna be causing a lot of trouble together in the v near future..... uhoh ❤️ ps u crushed glasto by @iamhalsey

Adopted sister @charli_xcxpic.twitter.com/UZWbiREfGz

She’s cute as buttons but her words will CUT YOU: it’s our eight-year-old child music reviewer Z. Here’s what she made of Lorde’s set yesterday:

10/10. My mum and I really like Lorde because she’s a New Zealander like my mum - there were lots of Kiwi flags and Lorde said thanks for bringing them. I liked Liability the best when she was sitting on the edge of the stage. Her dancing was really unusual. The only thing was that Daddy made us leave early to see Radiohead - boo!

6/10. It was loud and funky but they’re not as good as Katy Perry, Little Mix or Justin Timberlake. They had one guitarist too many. I actually fell asleep in the middle but the song at the end [Vapour Trail] made me dance with my dad so that made me happy.

We live in a corrupted era of not knowing what’s real, what’s leaked, and what’s a mere smokescreen from our lizard overlords. We’re also at Glastonbury, where rumours fly around like wildfire – people rumoured to be playing include Lady Gaga, Diana Ross and Harry Styles, hopefully together in some deranged Supremes redux.

So in the spirit of the age, Gwilym Mumford has been going round asking people what they’ve been hearing on the fake news grapevine.

Phoenix are cooler than you and are closing out the Other stage today. A message from them:

See you soon @GlastoFest! #TiAmopic.twitter.com/Hpt5n0KIRX

Oh what a beautiful morning oh what a beautiful day I got a beautiful feeling Glastonbury I'm on my way as you were LG x

The absolute boy has arrived:

Just arrived at #Glastonbury. Met with staff who help make this brilliant festival happen. Looking forward to speaking on Pyramid Stage @ 4 pic.twitter.com/z3xgnlwxM6

Great meeting emergency service staff at #Glastonbury. At festivals, sporting events and in our communities they are there when we need them pic.twitter.com/N6tIW8OtQB

Jeremy Corbyn getting the train up to Glastonbury like a normal guy... when the fuck can we get this man to be our Prime Minister!? pic.twitter.com/GDtzdk2U8h

While you were moaning about the walk to Shangri-La, our mobility-impaired reporter James Coke was bossing it all over the place in his all-terrain wheelchair. Here’s his roundup of yesterday’s action:

What a first day – you are so spoiled for choice from the 100 stages dotted all over the site. Checked out Nothing But Thieves on the Other stage, and later watched Royal Blood from one of the disabled viewing platforms where you are packed in tight but have a perfect vista. The drum and bass combo had to be my highlight of the day – awesome stuff!

Getting around is proving to be a strain even on the mountain trike, so to iron out the bumps and give my carer Grant a break pushing me up those hills, I might hire a mobility scooter on Saturday, which are available for hire in the disabled field where we are camping. The hire charge is a bit steep, just like some of the hills here, though it should be a sound investment.

In case you missed it last night, we bagged an exclusive interview with laser salesman and intergalactic antagonist Lord Buckethead, who famously ran against Theresa May in her constituency in the general election. He introduced Sleaford Mods on stage yesterday, and Nadia Khomami had a sit down with him afterwards.

Related: Lord Buckethead: 'A pain au chocolat could negotiate Brexit better than Theresa May'

Related: Rock bottom: Glastonbury makes it the year of the bumbag

Two more in our People of Glastonbury portrait series here, where we show off the wonderful cross-section of humanity at the festival. Next up: Gill Pitch and David Esson.

“How’s it going Miami?!” grins Whitney’s vocalist and drummer Julien Ehrlich at the damp crowd congregated around the Other stage. The real question, however, is if the irreverent Chicagoan indie lads can lift the rain-drizzled audience’s sodden spirits.

My own highlight of last night was queer US rapper Mykki Blanco performing Hey Big Spender in full drag in gay nightclub NYC Downlow, segueing into deep house from Harry Romero – fabulousness levels were off the charts.

Check out our Facebook Live video with Mykki from yesterday afternoon, interviewed by Kate Hutchinson:

Liam Gallagher is playing later on today, but bad news for anyone hoping for an Oasis reunion – when I interviewed Noel Gallagher on stage last night he gave me an emphatic “no comment”. But he was very forthcoming on lots of other things:

With shiny ribbons hanging off her jumpsuit and long hippie chick locks, Maryland folk-popster Maggie Rogers is perfectly aligned with the many glitter-covered Glasto revellers who’ve packed into the John Peel tent to see her (albeit maybe slightly with a bit less dirt on her). Her story so far – being spotted by Pharrell and garnering millions of YouTube views before bagging a major label deal – is far from uncommon, but what is unusual is her genuine modesty at the buzz that surrounds her.

Sad news ahead of Run the Jewels’ set today – Killer Mike’s mother has died. He posted this message on Instagram:

I'm doing this show today for U girl. "You gotta grind Michael. Don't let no nigga front u shit. Be a man". Your voice and those words Never ever leave me. I am haunted in the best way by your drive to not be a sucker for anyone. I love u girl. I miss u. I adore u. #MadonnaAndChild #NiecysBoy #MamaNiecy

Gwilym Mumford meanwhile was over on the Park stage watching the Flaming Lips:

Zorbing. A giant inflatable rainbow. Confetti. Absolutely tons of confetti. Whoever has to sort the Flaming Lips’ props deserves a raise. As you might expect their Park stage headline set was a migraine-inducing circus of colour and light, marshalled by gonzo ringmaster Wayne Coyne.

While Radiohead were dividing fans on the Pyramid with a setlist stocked with deep cuts, the Lips delivered a set that delivered hit after hit, from Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 1 to She Don’t Use Jelly. Recognising Glasto’s longstanding relationship with David Bowie, the band even covered Space Oddity, featuring, of course, Coyne in his customary inflatable orb. “I hope this festival is here in 1,000 years,” Coyne said during a rousing closing sermon. As the confetti rained down and the wistful opening chords of Do You Realise burst forth, it was tempting to wish they would be there with it.

While Radiohead were helping 100,000-odd people mope as one over on the Pyramid stage, Hannah J Davies was having her frown turned emphatically upside down by Major Lazer, headlining the Other stage:

So popular is the sound of Major Lazer’s dancehall, house, R&B and reggae-flecked pop, and its many copycats, they feel like an easy target for snark. And their reliance on starry features meant that last night’s Bieber-less Cold Water or 2015 smash Lean On – also delivered without Danish singer Mø – did feel a little like someone’s summer Spotify playlist was playing over the Other Stage speakers.

And yet, Diplo, Jillionaire and Walshy Fire are magnetic on stage, commanding the crowd to throw their hands up so many times it does start to feel a little bit like an extreme workout vid. Dua Lipa joins them for slick collab My Love, while everything from Future to the Spice Girls to Usher is weaved into a set that jolts from their latest bangers right back to Get Free and Pon De Floor. Plus: flares, obscene amounts of purple smoke and Diplo rolling around in an inflatable ball. Major indeed.

First up, a few reviews from after the liveblog went to bed last night, starting with Dizzee Rascal. Kate Hutchinson was there:

As Radiohead gently wail over at the Pyramid stage, a rapper from Bow called Dizzee Rascal is drawing a humongous crowd with his all-strobing show at West Holts, his flow still as on fire as it was in the days when his debut album Boy In Da Corner won a Mercury music prize and put grime in the spotlight in 2003. He is wearing a T-shirt bearing the artwork for new album Raskit; it’s “delayed but it’s coming”, he says, and it gets an airing in the form of tracks that echo his grime roots while keeping his role as chart courting pop artist firmly in mind. “I ain’t never gonna lie, I want a piece of the pie,” he raps on one new track, as if to underline that.

One of the anthems that established him as grime’s greatest hope, I Luv U, gets an airing, next to the major drum breaks of Sirens, the zipping electro whomp of Bonkers and Fix Up Look Sharp, still perhaps his greatest tune to date; its pummelling bass could hype even the most weary of crowds.

Welcome back to our Glastonbury coverage! We’ll be liveblogging throughout a day where big pop hitters like Katy Perry and Craig David will attempt to kickstart a rather grey site, where grime heavyweights Wiley and Stormzy will go toe to toe, and where Liam Gallagher will probably say something unpleasant about his brother. There’ll also be some bloke called Jeremy Corbyn. Keep it, as they say, locked.

Continue reading...

Nowhere: a response to the housing crisis by poet Tony Walsh – audio


The poet, writer and performer who grew up in social housing in Manchester performs a specially composed poem in response to issues raised in the documentary Dispossession: The Great Housing Swindle

Continue reading...

Poem of the week: In No Strange Land by Francis Thompson


A Victorian mystic’s appeal to the eternal in the everyday includes some gritty details from a troubled life

In No Strange Land

O world invisible, we view thee,
O world intangible, we touch thee,
O world unknowable, we know thee,
Inapprehensible, we clutch thee!

Continue reading...

'Your Lifelong Prisoner' – Liu Xiaobo's poem from prison

It's time to bring Branwell, the dark Brontë, into the light


Though his life was dense with literary and other failures, he was a decisive influence on their work and his own story is worth hearing

We are currently in the middle of Brontë bicentenary mania. This year, on the 200th anniversary of his birth, we are diverting attention away from the famous sisters and focusing on the often-overlooked Brontë brother, Branwell.

We remember him as the failure of the family. Despite being a passionate poet, writer and artist, he failed to hold down conventional jobs, and repeatedly succumbed to vice. Finally, his world fell apart after the end of an affair with a married woman, Lydia Gisborne, which accelerated his dependence on opiates and alcohol. He died at the young age of 31 from the long-term effects of substance abuse.

Related: The secret history of Jane Eyre: Charlotte Brontë's private fantasy stories

Continue reading...

Brooke Boney: Nora Ephron's book is almost like a bible for me


In our series Beauty and the books, we chat to those who love both books and beauty products. Here the broadcaster talks about coconut oil and why anyone who doubts intergenerational trauma should read The God of Small Things

From the Canberra press gallery to Triple J’s Breakfast show, Brooke Boney has had a varied media career. She finds inspiration in Beyoncé, poets who reflect on the experience of women of colour and her great-grandmother – who is still alive.

Related: Amal Awad: 'Arab women have traditionally been written about in a very patronising way'

Related: Yassmin Abdel-Magied: 'Most people doing my makeup would make me look white'

The History House. With cool stone floors and dim walls and billowing ship-shaped shadows. Plump, translucent lizards lived behind old pictures, and waxy, crumbling ancestors with tough toe-nails and breath that smelled of yellow maps gossiped in sibilant, papery whispers. ‘But we can’t go in,’ Chacko explained, ‘because we’ve been locked out. And when we look in through the windows, all we see are shadows. And when we try and listen, all we hear is a whispering. And we cannot understand the whispering, because our minds have been invaded by a war. A war that we have won and lost. The very worst sort of war. A war that captures dreams and re-dreams them. A war that has made us adore our conquerors and despise ourselves.’ ‘Marry our conquerors, is more like it,’ Ammu said drily, referring to Margaret Kochamma.”

Continue reading...

Taking Ingmar Bergman’s Monika across Roger McGough’s Mersey


Fifty years ago a poster of Bergman’s film Summer with Monika inspired McGough to write a sequence of love poems, now illustrated by Chris Riddell

Dear Monika,

I know it’s unlikely, but did you hear that Summer with Monika has recently been republished? If I had an address I would send you a copy, as I’m sure you would love the new illustrations. Can it really be more than 50 years since I last saw you?

Five decades later, I hold a little book of poems and I think about you and wonder whether you will ever read it

Continue reading...

As Kingfishers Catch Fire: Books & Birds – review

Alex Preston’s literary compendium of birds, illustrated by Neil Gower, is a sumptuous labour of love

“It’s not quite the book I meant to write, but then, as Iris Murdoch said, ‘Every book is the wreck of a perfect idea.’” Alex Preston is either being very hard on himself or disingenuous if he is suggesting that As Kingfishers Catch Fire is a “wreck”. The award-winning novelist, author of This Bleeding City, The Revelations and In Love and War has sheared away from fiction to collaborate with the deservedly acclaimed artist Neil Gower in making an object of thrilling beauty. In the words of its editor, James Gurbutt of Corsair, “We want to make this the most beautiful book of 2017.”

As Kingfishers Catch Fire was inspired, in part, by a “bird memoir” written in the late 1920s by Edward Grey, who in addition to being Preston’s great-great-uncle was Britain’s longest serving foreign secretary in the years leading up to, and into, the first world war. “The Charm of Birds was a record of his life, smuggled into a bird book,” writes Preston. In this respect, As Kingfishers Catch Fire shares a familial relationship with Dan Richards’s energetic Climbing Days and James Macdonald Lockhart’s elegant Raptor in revisiting the work [and in the cases of Richards and Macdonald Lockhart, the footsteps] of illustrious and impressive forebears.

Continue reading...

Will You Walk a Little Faster? by Penelope Shuttle review – an ode to London

On the occasion of her 70th birthday, Shuttle reflects on the city, contemplates her place in it and leads us to see it with fresh eyes

Penelope Shuttle need not walk any faster – as this, her 14th collection, demonstrates. It is the gentle pace that captivates in her poems. And what a phenomenal poet she is (she has recently celebrated her 70th birthday). She has an unbossy, contemplative, unmistakable voice. She leads you quietly and helps you see things – London especially – afresh. There is nothing stale about the way she writes, although she is thinking about what it means to be older. She reflects on the city, its present moment and history – its bones. The past is there, almost palpable, and the dead, too – only just beyond touch and sight. She salutes London while resisting its metropolitan speed. Once part of a celebrated working duo with her late husband, the poet Peter Redgrove, his absence is strong enough to be a presence here. This is a volume that combines sorrow with an oddball wryness – an unusual mix. Shuttle implausibly casts herself as a relic, and in a comically sympathetic poem set in Waitrose, Balham, measures her time against the nonstop pace of the supermarket. There is scarcely time to complete a sentence:

“In Waitrose Balham
I’m sure I’m bust
and broke
past my sell-by”

Continue reading...

Heathcote Williams, radical poet, playwright and actor, dies aged 75


His poems blasted the arms trade, consumerism and the tabloids, and he was also an accomplished painter and sculptor

Heathcote Williams, the radical poet, playwright, actor and polymathic English genius, has died at the age of 75. He had been ill for some time and died on Saturday in Oxford.

He was the author of many polemical poems, written over four decades in a unique documentary style. They included works about the devastation being wrought on the natural environment – Sacred Elephant, Whale Nation and Falling For a Dolphin – and Autogeddon, a grim and majestic attack on the car.

Continue reading...

Heathcote Williams obituary

Poet, dramatist, visionary and pamphleteer whose muse was fuelled by a witty and beautiful anger

Heathcote Williams, who has died aged 75, was a unique and brilliant writer – poet, dramatist, visionary and pamphleteer. He restored and renovated a sense of intellectual anarchy in our public discourse in the great traditions of Jonathan Swift, Will- iam Blake and Percy Bysshe Shelley, all of whom were among his heroes.

Williams himself, an erudite and perpetually incensed Old Etonian non-joiner, was admired early on by William Burroughs, Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter. He flitted in and out of public acclamation but had lately come into focus, with a fringe theatre revival of his first play, The Local Stigmatic (1966), giving the prophetic and chilling lowdown on today’s celebrity culture; with a devastating poetic broadside entitled Boris Johnson: The Blond Beast of Brexit– A Study in Depravity; and with, at this year’s Brighton festival, The Big Song, a learned treatise of a narrative, complete with a 100-strong choir, on the history of mass music-making with special reference to birdsong, protest song and baby song.

Continue reading...

Poem of the week: The Walking Father Blues by Miriam Nash


An unusual form, the pantun, brings a subtle, nuanced swing to the depiction of a man who is able to walk out from one marriage and into another

The Walking Father Blues

How does a father leave his life?
Easy, a pair of walking shoes
And who can hear them but his wife
walking the walking father blues?

Continue reading...

James Berry obituary

Poet who brought the speech patterns of Jamaica to Britain, where his anthologies of black verse were widely read

James Berry, who has died aged 92, was one of the best loved and most taught poets in Britain, a great champion of Caribbean culture, an influential anthologist and a determined though unsentimental advocate of friendship between races. His poems ranged from the lyrical to the caustic, but almost all of them intimately caught the speech patterns of his native Jamaica.

Berry helped to enrich and diversify the capacities of the English language, making conversational modes of West Indian expression, which a previous generation would have considered exotic or barely literate, normal and easily understood. In doing so he gave literary respectability to forms of language increasingly heard in the streets and playgrounds of multicultural Britain.

Continue reading...

Philip Larkin exhibition in Hull offers fresh insights into poet's life


Hundreds of personal items gathered for City of Culture show that does not shy away from darker sides of his personality

Philip Larkin is many things to many people; to some a bleakly beautiful poet with a razor-sharp wit, to others a womanising misogynist whose casual racism is unforgivable.

It is into this morally complex minefield that a new exhibition, held in Hull’s Brynmor Jones library where he was famously the librarian, has waded, offering a new perspective on Larkin, one of the city’s most treasured cultural figures.

Continue reading...

How smart cities can create their own poetry – tech podcast


Artist Naho Matsuda has harnessed real-time smart city data in Manchester to create live poetry displays reflecting on what’s happening in real time

Artist and designer Naho Matsuda has been working with FutureEverything to create poetry from the live smart city data being generated by the city of Manchester. The resultant text-based works appear around the city at bus stops, outside libraries and shopping centres, and you can read them in real-time here. Matsuda and curator Natalie Kane discuss the possibilities of live data in creating new art with Leigh Alexander.

Continue reading...

Philip Larkin wasn’t as bad as all that | Letters

David Cairns thinks the poet has been unfairly portrayed

Anna Farthing, curator of Hull University’s Philip Larkin exhibition, retrospectively diagnoses the poet as “clearly a narcissist with a borderline personality disorder” (Philip Larkin exhibition in Hull offers fresh insights into poet’s life, 6 July). Even Jake Balokowsky, the fictional biographer conjured up by Larkin’s remorseless self-loathing, was kinder than that. And, while some of Larkin’s critics may well see him as a misogynist, to call him a womaniser with “many lovers” is unfair: he is only known to have had six lovers in his lifetime, none of them casual. Finally, you say Larkin’s lost diaries are “commonly thought to have contained mostly pornography”. If so, it has escaped his three biographers.
David Cairns

• Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

Continue reading...

Best holiday reads 2017, picked by writers – part two


What to pack along with the aftersun and flipflops? From novels about gay footballers and updated Greek classics to biographies and poetry, our guest critics offer their holiday must-reads

Part one: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Julian Barnes and more pick their summer reads

Colm Tóibín’s exhilarating House of Names (Viking £14.99) is a retelling of Aeschylus’s drama on the sacrificing by Agamemnon of his daughter Cassandra and its tragic consequences, including the murder of Agamemnon by his wife, Clytemnestra. The book has a controlled, hushed quality, like that of a Morandi still life, which only serves to heighten the terror and pity of the tale. Michael Longley’s latest collection, Angel Hill (Jonathan Cape £10) – what a genius he has for titles – is at once lush and elegiac, delicate and muscular, melancholy and thrilling. I shall not be going anywhere – hate holidays – but will stay happily at home, rereading Evelyn Waugh’s second world war Sword of Honour trilogy (Penguin £14.99). Pure bliss.

Continue reading...

Irina Ratushinskaya obituary


Soviet poet and dissident sentenced to seven years in a labour camp who found refuge in the UK in the 1980s

Early on the morning of 10 October 1986, Igor Gerashchenko, the husband of the dissident Soviet poet Irina Ratushinskaya, phoned Keston College, the centre for the study of religion in communist countries then based at Keston, in Kent. “Irina is free,” he told us: relayed to the BBC and thence to the world, this news upstaged the event for which the media had been waiting – the opening of the Reykjavik summit between the US president Ronald Reagan and the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

The timing was no coincidence. There was a hiatus in the news while Reagan and Gorbachev were airborne on their way to Iceland. The latter was anxious to prove to world opinion that he was serious about wanting to improve relations, not only internationally, but on the home front as well, through recognition of the improved human rights situation brought about by his programme of perestroika (reconstruction).

Continue reading...