I’m back from a splendid weekend of talks, music and sunshine in Hay on Wye, and the phenomenon that is the philosophy and music festival How the Light Gets In. Before it was tried, I have no idea how anyone would have thought it would work. I have a fragmented image in my head of a meeting with Dragon’s Den style backers: ‘Right, we’ll get some space just over the Welsh border, yeah, miles from the nearest train station, and schedule talks on ecstasy and Turing and physics and poetry, get some lives bands in, and, um, food and sketch comedy. Everyone will wear wellies. What do you say?’
What would you have said? Who would have thought it could work? Having spent some time there, though, it’s now difficult for me to imagine it not working. It seems run largely by a team of alarmingly competent but fractionally frazzled women, linked up by radio into some sort of collective, hive mind. I went to as many talks as I could, on such topics as God, metaphor, mathematics, happiness, laughter, sex, love and drugs. Every talk was sold out, the music and food and atmosphere were fantastic, and I met some fundamentally excellent human beings. If you ever have anything like a chance to attend next year, take it.