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BSP announce Tan Hill Festival
The Quietus , July 1st, 2008 00:00

2008 has seen British Sea Power emphatically stake their claim to be one of Britain's most free-thinking and ambitious of Britain's guitar-weilding bands, be that in the clear-headed sounds of their excellent third album Do You Like Rock Music?, inviting the London Bulgarian Choir to share the stage with them at Glastonbury, or the astounding performance they put in at the Natural History Museum a few weeks back - an event to be commemorated in a fothcoming documentary on The Quietus.

British Sea Power at the Natural History Museum - Quietus trailer

Now British Sea Power have gone one further by announcing details of their first festival, to be held at the Tan Hill Inn, the highest hostelry in all England. Sing Ye From The Hillsides!, as the event will be known, will be held at the lofty pophouse on the weekend of August 29 to 31, 2008.

Said British Sea Power guitarist Noble of the event, "Where else in the world can you get to play to a few ducks and a sheep? The last time we played Tan Hill it was unforgettable. This time we're there for three days. God knows what will happen.”

As well as no less than three performances from British Sea Power, there'll be a full supporting bill, along with events including husky racing, duck herding, a pub quiz and an attempt to record the loudest ever human voice. British Sea Power will also be launching their own brand of nut brown ale at the festival, which will be especially brewed at the local Dent Brewery, already known for such beverages as Aviator, Ramsbottom, and T'Owd Tup. BSP fans will be able to drink with a clear conscience, as all profits from sale of the ale will be donated to charity.

Tickets are a very reasonable £50, and are available from Ticketline.

Meanwhile, British Sea Power are following in the traditions of the broadsheet press by offering up a selection of recommended reading, to be enjoyed atop a beach towel in the blazing sun of Magaluf. We thought we'd pass them on to you: Hawker Of Morwenstow by Piers Brendon (Pimlico)

An extraordinary biography documenting an obscure Cornish parson -written by the excellent writer-historian Piers Brendon, a man better known for books such as his recent The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire. In the 19th Century, Hawker resided on a cliff-top in a primitive hut made of ship’s timbers. As related in this book, he “talked to birds, invited his nine cats into church and excommunicated one of them when it caught a mouse on Sunday... “ Will one day a similar biography be written about Hamilton of BSP? In later life, Hawker suffered “prolonged fits of melancholy, brought on by opium-eating and burying the often horribly mutilated bodies of drowned sailors". Sounds like fun don’t it? Just the thing to set off the sunshine and all-you-can-drink sangria. Of Hawker’s Arthurian work The Quest Of The Sangraal, Tennyson said, "Hawker has beaten me on my own ground."

As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie Lee (Penguin).

Lee’s heroically poetic account of his sun-kissed, violin-playing trek through the Spain of 1934 has lately been compulsory re-reading on the BSP jamwagon: “The dancehall was a broken-down warehouse... When you stepped on the floorboards they went off like fireworks, raising little puffballs of dust, and there were holes in the roof through which you could see the stars whenever the dust allowed it. Around the walls hung pictures of half-naked women clenching roses in desperate teeth, and wearing loose cardboard flaps around their ample loins which the curious could raise to reveal slogans for beer.” Somehow, Lee’s walk through Zamora and Madrid reminds us of an equally ambitious mission once undertaken by Eamon ’The Gypsy’ Hamilton, formerly on BSP and now back with his reawakened Brakes. We speak, of course, about Eamon’s legendary 2004 trip to the off-licence on Dyke Road in Brighton - an assignment he bravely and erroneously declared he would return from unaided.

Night And The City by Gerald Kersh (London Books Classics)

A recently republished 1938 novel of noir-ish London, written by charismatic cinema-manager, pugilist and tramp. Outrageous prose fires from the page. It suggests our man has the view to some strange alternative Eden, but must jot down his observations in eldritch half-light armed only with a bookie’s pen: “This woman had something about her that was indescribably terrifying. Imagine the death-mask of Julius Caesar, plastered with rouge and stuck with a pair of eyes as small, as flat and as bright as newly cut cross-sections of .38 calibre bullets... a million diabolical black hairs sprang in a nightmarish cascade up out of her skull, like a dark fountain of accumulated wickedness squeezed out by the pressure of her corsets.... She was supposed to be Russian. Her name? Scarcely credible: Anna Siberia.”

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