Loneliness saps the will to live and can be a major cause of depression, as one 80-year-old lady told me "I wake each morning, get dressed, and sit on my bed waiting for death. I have nothing else to look forward to." ChildLine has proved, as Samaritans proved before it, that an anonymous helpline can break through the barriers of shame or fear. So I suggested that The Silver Line might do the same for the older generation, and enable callers to disclose not just their loneliness, but incidents of neglect and abuse they dared not admit to anyone else. And so it has proved.
I'm standing in a paisley tent in Hay-on-Wye at the HowTheLightGetsIn festival and seeing art unfold. A camera is positioned to capture Stella Vine's 12 hour painting marathon on a huge canvas. She is disarmingly open. The kind of dedicated true artist who looks at you directly and makes you feel you are in the presence of a spirit.
I have been invited to take part in HowTheLightGetsIn, the music and philosophy festival, at Hay on Wye on 8 June. At first I said thanks very much but no, as I presumed they meant some kind of talking event, which would have filled me with dread, but they said I had the freedom to think of something creative.
ince my last post, things in the IAI office have been manic. Now in its fifth year, HowTheLightGetsIn has become the largest philosophy and music festival in the world. With 410 events, 6 stages, 165 speakers and 150 bands taking part in the 10 day extravaganza, the team have been furiously calling, emailing, drafting text and getting excited about what we hope will be our best festival yet.
In an era of global revolution, we'll also ask if art has a duty to be primarily engaged in political change whether or not it is at the top of a buyer's wish list. Most importantly, when faced with the realities of an art world slowly piecing itself back together and an economic climate that promises little immediate relief, the transformative power of creativity is worthy of our discussion.
I'd like to pay my respects and say R.I.P to Sir Jimmy Savile, who died on Saturday. I met him only once, weirdly, it was at a dinner at Chequers in October 1999. I was first to arrive that evening (sad but true) and I was standing talking to Tony Blair, who was rocking his Gap casuals. Anyway, who is the next guest to arrive, but Jimmy Savile. At that point I thought life is definitely getting surreal. Rock 'n' roll to the end, he spent the entire night trying with persistence to chat up my wife, Kate. He was a rock 'n' roller even in his 70s, a bit like my Dad. Actually, my Dad just does the rock 'n' roll, not the charity work.
Basically, Hay has been given a choice...the town gets a new school (around 240 pupils) and a "major retailer" who funds the school gets to plonk a "retail development" bang in the middle of Hay. The implications of this affects the future of a small market town filled with individual shops, with no real traffic infrastructure which is bang in the middle of a National Park.
The art world can be a fickle place, but to Hans Ulrich Obrist it remains unfalteringly loyal. Co-director of London's Serpentine Gallery, founder of the Brutally Early Club (for busy people who breakfast at dawn), interviewer, archivist, and one of this year's Crunch festival speakers, he is, indisputably, an art world powerhouse.