Hay Festival Tweets of the Day – Thursday 30 May

@MarpleLeaf  Today the challenge at @hayfestival is for our kids to ask a question at each session and discover posh kids’ names.

@MartinRowson I see Etonian hyperwonk David Goodhart’s still trying to breathe life into his @hayfestival non-appearance as greatest attack on freedom…

@RetiringViolet  What happened to the whole “Hay Festival isn’t a political festival” schpiel
@MichaelVaughan Hay Festival was lovely today if a little Muddy… Nice to have a break from Fishing….
@nfshort  @MichaelVaughan Actually you were fantastic. Perfect mix of humour and expert insight. Wish it had lasted all day.
@ElisWilliams2  Next year, as I don’t think anyone will come with me, I am going to the hay festival on my own. I just have to.

Part 2: Michael Vaughan on the Ashes

imageMichael reflected firstly on the two recent series against New Zealand. saying that England were poor in NZ, and were possibly a little overconfident. The 2-0 home series win was due to the bowling being much more threatening in more helpful conditions, and to the return of Grahame Swann to full fitness after his elbow operation.

The question was asked about the return of Kevin Pietersen to the team, and Michael thought that if he was not fit then there would be no change. But he would pick KP if he were fit,  saying that KP is the best player he ever played with for England, bringing the “x factor” to the team. Fitting KP into the line up means that one batsman would have to go, and Michael thought that would have to be Nick Compton. He would promote Ian Bell to open, maybe even Joe Root.

He thinks that England has the bowling lineup to take 20 wickets and thus win matches, and thinks that if the batters can total 325-350, we will win the series comfortably, 4-0. As always, a good start is important, and the conditions on the morning of the 10 July and the toss will be key to the series.

Bring it on!

Simon Schama and Teachers

The University Professor of History and Art History at Columbia University and host of the BBC documentary series A History of Britain promised to set a bomb under the Education Secretary’s plans for teaching history in our schools and he did just that.

The Telegraph’s Martin Chilton foreshadowed the the proceeding but asking the multitude entering the tent if “this was the queue for hating Michael Gove”.   It was described by Benedict Brogan live blogging for the Telegraph as “a blistering call to arms to Britain’s history teachers”.

Schama believes that there is simply too much in the Gove curriculum to allow for inquisitive young minds to become stimulated and ask the questions that teaching should inspire.   The fundamental problems with infrastucture the hours required and the lack of specialist teachers are not being addressed.  The new national curriculum for history is he says “‘1066 and All That without the jokes”.   In a sound-bite laden discourse he describe Gove’s vision for learning as “Gradgrindian” and “pedantic and utopian with a garnishing of tokenism”.  Schama invoked Heroditus, the father of history, who believed that at its core lies a fascination with other cultures not a desire for self-congratulation.

Some say that Gove has a eye on the top job as the whispering grows around the solidity of Cameron’s tenure but he may do well to look his current one and his relationship with the teaching profession.  History as Schama says should be “honest, tough-minded and should keep the powerful awake at night”.

Michael Vaughan talks to Tom Holland


Today’s blog from my other half, who went to see cricketing hero Michael Vaughan:

I was fortunate to watch the Ashes tests at the MCG and the SCG in 2003, and saw two wonderful innings by Michael Vaughan of 145 and 183, so it was a pleasure to see him speak so eloquently about that series and the forthcoming back to back Ashes test series which start at Trent Bridge, Nottingham on 10 July.

He spoke about meeting up with the team at the hotel near Heathrow the night before they flew out to Australia in October 2002, and talking to the senior team members, asking them about how to play Warne and McGrath. They told him all about Warnie’s 15 deliveries, his doosra and his wrong’un, and McGrath’s ability to pitch the ball on a sixpence and make it move either way. When asked how he would play them, he said that if was up there to be hit, he would hit it.  Hit it he did, scoring a total of 633 runs and being awarded player of the series.

He also said that he learnt a valuable lesson from that tour which helped him, as captain, to plan the winning of the Ashes in 2005. That lesson was that the old pros had to go, as they had too much negative baggage from previous beatings by the Aussies, and brought in players who has a fearless approach.

I was also at Edgbaston in 2005 at what he considers to be the best game he has played in. He paid heed to the luck that plays a part in any sport, recalling that McGrath trod on a cricket ball on the outfield whilst warming up and was carried off, not able to take any part in the match. Ricky Ponting won the toss and bowled, and England rattled up 407 in under 80 overs to take control of the match. On the evening of the fourth day, Australia required 107 to win with only 2 wickets left, it looked like a forgone conclusion (I stayed in my hotel room to watch) but Warne, Lee and Kasprowicz had other ideas, getting closer and closer to their target. Asked how he felt, Michael Vaughan said “I was shitting myself”. England finally won by 2 runs, and that proved to be the turning point of the series, with England going on to win the Ashes for the first time since 1987.

He spoke about the day he decided to retire, whilst playing at Worcester and laying on the treatment table whilst Yorkshire were fielding. A phone call came through saying that Joe Root and Johnny Bairstow had both scored 150 for Yorkshire II, and Michael turned to the physio and told him that he had made the decision.

Part 2 to follow on Michael Vaughan’s thoughts on the forthcoming back to back Ashes series.

Car parking today

It might have been raining all night (again) but our trusty car park organisers have things down to a fine art now.

There is additional car parking available at Baskerville Hall, otherwise known as Clyro Court (HR3 5LE) with regular free shuttle buses to the site (please leave plenty of time for this). The Macmillan car park at HR3 5PJ is open. All events start 15 minutes late today (Apart from event 291, R3’s live broadcast In Tune) Please listen to staff park the car parks however, they will direct you to the best place to park.

Follow @CarParkatHayFestival on twitter for the latest situation!

Lee Mack and meeting Johnny Vegas

This review comes curtesy of my other half who kindly stepped in as i was poorly:

Some days at the festival are better than others. It might be due to (an all too rare) summers day, or being inspired by a great author or poet.

Yesterday was neither of those. Whilst my wife was suffering from what appears to be a much more virulent version of the manflu that I’ve had in the past, I gave away her ticket to see Lee Mack to a grateful stranger (it was a sell out. I did ask him to make a donation to charity, I hope that his conscience made him do so).
Rather than the expected standup routine, Lee was being interviewed about his autobiography, Mack the Life. I always find the inevitable question about how you became a comedian to scratch the psyche a little too deep and provide some uncomfortable answers, and it was the same here.
But once that was out of the way, the funny anecdotes flowed. Lee was very self deprecating on the quality of his work in his early days as a bluecoat at Pontins, and tells a very funny story about his first routine which was planned along the lines of asking where someone in the audience was from. The likelihood was that the response would be Kent (due to the location of the holiday camp) and Lee would then say “What did you call me?”. The joke went wrong, Lee called the audience member an extremely rude word (you can guess which) and he was sacked the next morning.
The Q&A was ended by a rather tall Irish gentleman asking a question about who his favourite comedian was. I didn’t go to Dara Ó Briain’s show later to see if Lee Mack reciprocated.

Prior to the show, I’d gone to the Bulls Head in Craswall for some lunch. It is on the way into Hay from where we are staying, and I can highly recommend it. It is small, and it is advisable to book ahead. Rob, Max and I were playing “Would I Lie To You” to pass the time (Max guessed wrongly that I’ve been kissed by Kylie) when Johnny Vegas walked in. After eating, we spent an hour chatting about The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Ricky Tomlinson, Hay and cheese & jam sandwiches. A really chatty & funny man, charming all of us.