Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Idler's Academy in Port Eliot, Cornwall



They’re singing sea shanties. I’m at a festival where the lineup includes Jarvis Cocker, Luella Bartley, and Diana Athill and here is a Cornish men’s vocal group singing a capella sea shanties. The crowd— a mix of people my age, my parents’ age, and children— lap it up. This is either the weirdest or most brilliantly eclectic festival out there. I have fallen down some kind of rabbit hole into an alternate British universe without irony or hipsters. I am so confused.-Lauren Elkin

I've been musing with a friend about a Bath-Wales-Cornwall trip when I'm feeling better & have the wherewithal. When I saw Lauren Elkin's Maîtresse post, You haven't lived until you've seen an English field full of teepees at twilight, I thought, aha Port Eliot. Yep.
You can read Lauren's Letter from Cornwall: the Port Eliot Festival on Bomb . It's pretty inclusive. (I would've loved the Persephone tent arranged as Vanessa Bells's Bloomsbury sitting room. I don't see any photographs but I shall pursue. Here's the Persephone blog.)

Teepees are OK but I'm the Gypsy Bowtop Caravan type. Enough tents in my lifetime, thanks. The kids atop a bovine is not from the festival. I'm looking for decently priced rainboots. (To everyone who will email: Hunters, yes I know. The prices are out of the question presently & for the abstract future. Update--I forgot to say that they're now made in China. So, ugh.) I had wet feet most of last winter. Plus, it's so hot out, that I need to look at something green. My paternal grandparents had a cow* that I don't remember riding but I choose to believe that I did. And if I'm not mistaken, some time ago my father either bought a cow-out-to-pasture for hanging out or he meant to. Anyway, I've done this, yes.


From the website: This year the Idler’s Academy of Philosophy, Husbandry and Merriment opens its doors for the first time. Tom Hodgkinson, editor of cult magazine The Idler, has established the Academy as a resource for these three valuable but generally neglected disciplines. This year’s curriculum includes Latin grammar, scything, woodwork, education theory, poetry and, of course, lashings and lashings of fun...

Bring on the rest of the weirdness.

[photograph of teepees by Bill Bradshaw; Gypsy Caravan via Port Eliot site; *bulls & asst. cattle are still bovine]

9 comments:

maitresse said...

Glad you liked the piece-- thanks for the shout out! And for your comments, as always...
Cheers,
Lauren

Julie@beingRUBY said...

I'll take the caravan.. xxx Julie

Mary-Laure said...

As you know, I adore all things English and this is one more reason to do so. It looks so perfectly eccentric and smart!
I can totally imagine the Mitford sisters, as little girls, hopping onto a cow and going for a ride.

Giulia said...

Lauren--Thank you for your literate & entertaining blog. I feel smarter after I've left. Whether that is the case, well, everyone should allow me my delusions. Cheers back to you in Paris.

Julie--Yes, the caravan. I feel like sewing some gypsy clothing. Let me know what you like & I'll whip it up before we meet in Cornwall next year (well, you never know!)

M-L--Yes, I thought of you & many others. I'm not afflicted so much by Anglophilia. But then, I notice I do have rather a lot of stuff (on both blogs)...hmmm. Probably due to background. Anyway, I was listening to a hilarious Stephen Fry podcasts late last night/early this evening. Couldn't sleep. Long-winded point (to myself) is there's something in there. But one thing that frustrates Brit friends who want to make me do their bidding: unlike so many Americans, I'm utterly unaffected by British accents. Of any sort. I grew up hearing them.

Have read several Mitford sister bios (as well as their stuff): the arguments! the drama! the lunacy!

Diane said...

Wow! Now there's a rabbit hole I would love to fall into!

I imagine sea shanties go hand in hand with drunken revellry, but I could be wrong.

Gorgeous photosQ

Caterina B said...

I just found your blog. That gypsy wagon really caught my eye. And...the cute girls on the cow! Darling photo. Interesting that you mention "Tom Hodgkinson's Academy."
I agree, we all should learn how to be idle! I have been reading his "Idle Parent" page in the Telegraph for a couple of years. Now I find that he wrote his last column for that newspaper a short while ago. I will miss it.

Giulia said...

Diane & Caterina B...


thanks for the comments. I'll be over to blogs this weekend. It's Friday evening & the power just came back on after a few days. I'm beside myself with this nonsense here. But thanks...

Angie Muresan said...

That gypsy caravan is so dreamy... Any room for me?

A Thousand Clapping Hands said...

I wasn't aware of this world. I have a relative who sang sea shanties at festivals. With you about the gypsy carts - I really want to own one someday.

Catherine