Festival quotes: A selection of short, sharp sentences

Festival scene
All go at the festival

It can be hard to capture all of the ground that is covered in the festival sessions. More than wide-ranging discussion, conversations here can be free-range, become free-base, and then end up anywhere in the literary galaxy.

So From my outpost 2403 on the metropolis planet Libhoo, here are some of the insightful and inspiring lines, phrases and sentences  from the festival so far:

  • Te Radar introduced us to the SINBAD – single income, no boyfriend and desperate.
  • “Stuff the general public”. Ben Naparstek shared this quote from an academic that ended his romantic idea of the public intellectual and helped him decide to end his studying days. Why bother studying and becoming an expert if you don’t want to communicate it, he asked.
  • The Ghost of Eion Scarrow. Te Radar’s response to Steve Braunias’s assertion Radar was the thinking man’s Eion Scarrow – which was followed by a power cut to the set.
  • “A cluster of squabbling sub-cultures” – Sarah Thornton describes the art world.
  • “Abysmal specimens of humanity” John Carey on artists. He said he was brought up to believe that the arts made you a better person, but the more he studied artists, the more he found that wasn’t true. Chekhov was an exception.
  • “Makes Glastonbury look like a Rotary dinner”. William Dalrymple on the Baul minstrels of Bengal.
  • The rest of her life would be a struggle with the unfamiliar. Colm Toibin reading from Brooklyn.
  • Gomez, Morticia and Uncle Fester – Emily Perkin’s description of Gordon McLauchlan, Jennifer Ward-Lealand and Finlay Macdonald.
  • The book is dead, but the story goes on. Te Radar summing up The Good Word debate.
  • Luke’s CD $20. Handwritten sign on Luke Hurley’s busking set-up on Queen Street.

Best First Lines

I’ve got a nomination for the best first line of 2008. It’s from a short story; Bad Things by Libba Bray in The Restless Dead edited by Deborah Noyes.

It was Brian’s idea to go devil worshipping


Another one I’ve read this year, though it was published in 2006, is from On The Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta.

My father took one hundred and thirty-two minutes to die. I counted. It happened on the Jellicoe Road.

I listened to this on CD and it was great.