Music Monday, March 19th

Lineup Breakdown: What you need to know about How The Light Gets In

Music Monday, March 19th

Lineup Breakdown: What you need to know about How The Light Gets In

How The Light Gets In is the younger, cooler cousin of Hay Festival. Both happen at the same time, in the same tiny border town. But while the Official Festival focusses its programme on literary heavyweights – and, where they’ve written a book on the subject – the thoughts of eminent statesmen and public figures, HTLGI is a more free-wheeling affair that hands its stage time to philosophers and thinkers, also likely to have written a book on the subject, as well as TED talk on it.

There are debates, interviews and in recent years, a strong musical line-up. In one of the biggest weeks of the Literattis calendars, this is where the partying happens.

The line-up has been released, tickets are on sale, and due to the dual nature of the festival we’ve expanded our Lineup Breakdown categories. But, as always, here’s what you need to know:

Headliners in three words

Hot Chip (DJ set) – Noughties nu ravers

Ana Matronic – Definitive disco DJ

Noam Chomsky – 89 and #woke 

Potential defining moment

Rising over the bass-synth intro of Hot Chip’s breakthrough track, the vocals kick in and you remember how much better life was in the 2006. Laaaaiiiid back…

The talk that you will plagiarise down the pub

You’d hope a world-renowned professor of linguistics could string together a decent talk. But John McWhorter is exceedingly funny, charismatic, and accessible in a really-interesting-guy-at-a-dinner-party way. Check out his TED talk ‘Txtng is killing language. JK!!!’ for a flavour of some of his ideas on the ever-changing way we talk to each other.


Set to ease you through your hangover

Nothing too think-y. If you’ve had a few G & T’s the night before, sitting in a warm tent listening to a Yale professor contend that capitalism is not an ideology but an outmoded operating system is not going to go down well. No-one should be forced to contemplate their sense of self on a hangover.

Your best bet is to refuel at one of the posh pop-ups on-site, and ride it out until the Badly Drawn Boy set can ease your troubled mind with a slice of indie-acoustic, check-shirt nostalgia. Or if you’re really struggling, there’s the ambient house from the Orb. You won’t even have to dance.

Show you’re going to want to be down the front for

Ana Matronic. The Scissor Sister’s second act as Radio 2’s resident authority on all things disco is responsible for three hours of the most joyful, foot-stomping beats you’ll ever hear on weekend radio.

She deals in floorfillers. Go shake a leg with Noam Chomsky down the front.

Best throwback name on the bill

On the speaking side, it’s got to be Neil Strauss. About ten years ago he wrote a book called The Game about the world of Pick Up Artists that gave birth to a thousand failed nightclub magic tricks. He’s written biographies on rock stars and porn stars and Kevin Hart, but is still best known for his embedded study of negging and peacocking, and has recently circled back on the subject and how that lifestyle can affect real relationships.

For the musical lineup – are there any Guillemots fans out there? Their brilliantly-named founding member Fyfe Dangerfield is bringing his solo stuff to Hay.

Band/DJ you’ve never heard of but are your new favourite band/DJ

Afriquoi are a London-based Afro supergroup, who pair up their own world rhythms with house beats in real-time. Like if Fela Kuti put out some tracks with Todd Terje.

Drake’s been ripping off African samples for years now – hear how they sound without a sad millionaire riffing over the top of them.

The novelty act that will 100% make your Instagram story

Diane Abbot.

(Just kidding. Although I am a little cynical about ex-frontline politicians on the ‘I Would Have Done It Differently’ PR tour).

Real answer: Sam and the Womp. Festivals are the only place it should be socially-acceptable to admit enjoying Balkan-Ska, but there’s just about the sun and cider that leads to a trombone-fronted Anglo-Dutch electronic group putting a massive grin on your face. SATW hit big in 2012 with their #1 Bom Bom, and look like they’re been having a whole lot of fun ever since.

Talks that saw. this. coming.

Noam Chomsky has been talking about the very real and present danger of American beefing up their nuclear arsenal, and about Russia’s response, since way before there was a jabbering idiot in the Whitehouse.

Similarly, another American, Emma Sulkowicz, has been talking publicly about rape and sexual assault long before #MeToo or #TimesUp. She was the student who carried a mattress around her campus as a piece of controversial performance art meant to pressure the university in to kicking out a student she accused of raping her in her dorm, and has since gone on to create further pieces meant to engender discussion on the issue.

For anyone who likes Tony Stark

Warren Ellis wrote the Marvel series that would later be adapted to become Iron Man 3 (and feature heavily in films 1&2). He also wrote an X-Men series, the comic that would become the Bruce Willis/Helen Mirren/ Morgan Freeman film RED. 

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