Spring must be coming: the Brighton Festival has launched. Most years, we pick up the programme and think “hmmn. Full of unlikely stuff we’ve never heard of. Not much in this year’s Festival.” Then we buy a bunch of tickets, take some chances, end up having a great time and remember that the Festival is one of the reasons for living here. Last year, the Festival’s new Chief Executive Andrew Comben scored a coup with Anish Kapoor as Artistic Director. Thousands of us followed the Kapoor trail, taking in Sky Mirror in the Pavilion Gardens, the Dismemberment of Jeanne d’Arc in the old municipal market, and a stomp over the windy Downs to the C Curve. This year’s Artistic Director is everyone’s favourite polymath, Brian Eno. The Festival programme includes live shows by Philip Glass and many other delights. Buying a tranche of tickets at the box office last night, the Helpful Box Office Man (HBOM) asked me, “Do you need any discounted parking vouchers?” Me, taken aback, replying to HBOM, “Oh. Right. Er, I don’t think we should be encouraging people to drive into the centre of town during the Festival.” Which prompted the punter standing next to me, also buying a shedload of tickets, to affirm “too right.” Another reason to warm the cockles, on a cold and rainy night.
*unsubtle adaptation of a line from Roxy Music’s “Virginia Plain.” During the launch, Eno said that because there was so much happening, and because he liked it here, he’d be staying in Brighton for the duration of the Festival.