PORT ELLIOT FESTIVAL//A TALE OF BRITISHNESS

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During this weekend, I am sure everyone in attendance was introduced to the weird and wonderful in our society in one way or another. We all greeted it with smiling faces and acceptance, because at Port Eliot we were all combined in a community of absurdity. This is the beauty of the festival, that a comedian can be combined in the same place as a talk on the British coast and the eccentric all mix together and create an atmosphere like no other.

 

author. Bethan Taylor

 

What Happens When Londoners Come Down to Little Ol' Cornwall...

Festivals like Port Eliot and the Hay Festival are renowned for being for those who enjoy the finer things in life. Although I do not begrudge those from London and other similar areas for this, having always lived in smaller cities does allow me to have a bit of a giggle to myself at some of the things I overhear. So here it is, my carefully thought out list of the five most quintessentially 'London' things I have seen and heard over the course of the Port Eliot weekend...

We'll start small, with children's names. You couldn't move for want of tripping over a young Harold or Violet. It is possible that one Jasper wasn't being well-behaved, and so their parents had to try and discretely scream after him, but I believe firmly that they were simply everywhere. And so I have compiled a sub-category here, fondly entitled  "top five posh names at Port Eliot fest".

5 - Clementine. Little poetic, this one.
4 - Virginia. Both well-travelled and pure, maybe? 
3 - Jasper. No further comment.
2 -  George. Since the royal birth, it seems as if the name is on the lips of all the wild-eyed parents of toddlers. I'm sure there were also a brilliant amount of Charlottes present, but they were too young to be called after.
1 - Monty. Also potentially my new favourite name, the name Monty was almost as commonly heard rolling across the hills as the sound of applause and cheering.

I also have a nice little wild card name to add to this list, which I only heard once, so I believe it deserves the title of 'honorary mention', and I hope you're ready... for Aristotle. It is nice to know that even the young Aristotles of the world have temper tantrums, and a fact I am sure my mum will revel in if and when she reads this.

Sticking with the theme of children, I bring ye excited readers a contraption I had not witnessed before this festival but now have seen in excess, the noise cancelling headphones for tykes. These bad boys allow your kids to enjoy all the fun of the festival without that pesky loud music giving them tinnitus in later life. 

I personally found this most shocking, but whilst at a talk about Notting Hill I heard people discuss their whereabouts in the area, WITH EXACT ADDRESSES. "Ah yes, I live in 347 Oxford Place" with no glimmer of fear about being robbed or anything. A world where one can hand out the address of their empty home in London whilst in Cornwall with complete confidence is one in which I would like to live. But alas. It also changed the way people spoke to them immediately, allowing one another into their social circles. I'm not sure if this is specific to Notting Hill or London in general but if anyone finds out, let me know!

Whilst waiting in line for some crumpets one morning- which is British enough on it's own- I overheard the statement "Do you know what I really fancy?? A mug of earl grey with a slice of lemon"... Rolled off the tongue as casual as day, not a hint of irony in their voice. Can we all please take a moment to embrace the quintessential element of the lemon. I think it is the simplicity of this statement which I adore the most, the combination of Britishness and quality. Despite all of the admiration I hold for this statement, it still does not reach the top of my list.

Here it is, are you ready? Whilst finding out that Under Milk Wood had filled up half an hour before the doors had even opened and so we could not enter- hands down worst moment of my entire life- we were speaking to a group of slightly tipsy women. And the one woman made the beautiful and completely unedited statement "It's just like the sales in Harrods!!" I don't think I need to add anything else to that statement, it is perfect just as it is. If I ever go into stand-up, this will be the most over-told of all of my bad jokes. It probably will be anyway.

During this weekend, I am sure everyone in attendance was introduced to the weird and wonderful in our society in one way or another. We all greeted it with smiling faces and acceptance, because at Port Eliot we were all combined in a community of absurdity. This is the beauty of the festival, that a comedian can be combined in the same place as a talk on the British coast and the eccentric all mix together and create an atmosphere like no other.