So it’s only Tuesday lunchtime and the festival still has six days to run…
This afternoon it’s all science with a bit of self-interest thrown in; there’s physicist Professor Khalili, Marcus du Sautoy on maths and, from the self-interest point of view, Sir Muir Gray on how we can face midlife looking younger and better looking (the talk also includes a section on living longer but frankly if you can’t look good, who cares?).
But until then, I just want to take this opportunity to remind everyone just how accessible this festival is.
Usually I can’t stand these kind of bashes - invariably they’re nearly always smug, dull and limp. Having covered this event for almost eight years, I think the only time I have ever felt threatened by either or all of the above is when I had to attend a talk by Boris Johnson’s sister Rachel Johnson on, if I remember correctly, “How to To Be A Lady” and failed to turn up.
That aside this festival ticks every box - it’s fun, genuinely; it’s utterly accessible, whether you’re a follower of University Challenge or Catchphrase; it’s brilliantly priced (most tickets are between £12 to £15 and for that you get to meet people like Jessica Ennis-Hill, Jeremy Paxman and Nigella Lawson) and there’s gallons going on for children (and sometimes I swear these events are more fun for the parents…).
Plus, you get access to some of this country’s most beautiful and jaw-dropping venues. Indeed, I’d pay £15 just to sit and do nothing for an hour in Worcester College’s Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre which is spine-tingling in its beauty.
In short then, this is a festival that very deliberately celebrates everything that is joyous and wondrous about reading, books and life.
There…I’ve said it.