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Free food, free jazz and no free time
Yesterday must have been one of the busiest days I have had in my professional career.
Not only were we having to deal with the sudden explosion of shows and events going into The Guide, but also we had the added fun of catching up from the bank holiday.
In what felt like the longest day ever I was fielding phone calls, following up emails, writing leads, conducting interviews and ended the day with a tour around the new Festival food venues, The Palm Court and The Hub.
It was a very welcome end to the day, helped along by the lashings of wine and good food we were plied with by Michael, Shelley and Carly from the Dome and The Secret Restaurant who have taken over the two new eating venues.
My over-riding memory of The Hub last year was heading over there before a review feeling ravenous, only to find they had just stopped serving food.
This year that has all changed. Food is available from noon to 8pm each day of the festival, and it isn't just light tapas.
We are talking bangers and mash, lamb curries, moules frites, big salad boxes and even a roast on Sunday, all slap bang in the middle of the action, in the Pavilion Theatre bar.
The Palm Court was also a very pleasant experience, I don't think I've ever seen the Dome Concert Hall bar in daylight before, but it is a beautiful space.
Very light, very airy with a big skylight in the roof, and now augmented by palm fronds, leather sofas, and some gorgeous dosas which cost next to nothing.
Sadly it's only open from 11am to 4pm, so that will have to be a weekend treat sometime. Contrary to popular belief we are still having to do our day jobs as well as spend our nights reviewing!
I've got a non-Festival treat tonight, which I actually feel a little guilty about, but there is no way I am going to miss out on Art Brut at the Concorde 2. They were amazing last year, and their third album is already one of my favourites of 2009.
Tonight will be my only real let-up from the Festival and Fringe though, as I start a long run of reviews. As already mentioned I'm at Breaking News tomorrow night, before a real wild card show - In Kharm's Way at the Pavilion Theatre on Friday.
I was talked into this one by Guy Morley, the Festival music programmer, who on hearing that I loved Vivian Stanshall and the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band said I couldn't miss "poet, free-jazz-saxophone-terrorist and part-time puppeteer" Ted Milton, who is joining electronic guru Sam Britton to recreate the life and works of absurdist playwright and poet Daniil Kharms.
Every time I think about this show I get a little nervous. None of the names mean anything to me, and I don't want to start nosing around Youtube or myspace in case I find something I really don't like (sometimes forewarned is forearmed really doesn't apply!) I'm guessing it is going to be an unforgettable performance, and that is really what Brighton Festival and Fringe is all about - trying something new.
It doesn't always pay off (my colleague Ian has been to see a couple of stinkers already this year) but when it does it feels even better than if you were going to see someone you love already. My favourite albums, books and films tend to be the ones I heard, read or saw by accident rather than by design - and I'm sure that's true for many people.
And should it all go wrong at least I have The Haunted Moustache at Fletch to look forward to on Saturday, with the thoroughly nice chap that is David Bramwell.
And I can always wash down my sorrows with a mango lassi at the Palm Court on Saturday.
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