The Louder Than Words Festival, a weekend of discussions and performances about music writing, brought the likes of The Fall, Thunder and Kraftwerk to The Palace Hotel last week. The many panels on the craft of music and writing were filled with critics, journalists and biographers, with a special focus on punk music. The events were wide ranging, with the relationship between music and writing explored in book launches, performances and slam poetry.
The first event I saw was “Punk or Professor”, a panel about music journalism and whether it needs to be taught at universities. There were many interesting points raised about the differences between music journalism and traditional journalism and how writing style has to differ when writing about music.
Music writing was further explored in “Write on, Brother” a discussion between Daniel Rachel (Isle of Noises) and Patrick Humphries (Nick Drake: The Biography). It was full of anecdotes about meetings with the likes of Paul McCartney or Bob Dylan but also went in depth into how to conduct interviews and how to go about writing biographies or music reviews. Talks like these make the Louder Than Words Festival a worthwhile visit for aspiring music writers.
The highlight of the festival, for me, was John Robb’s conversation with the iconic punk/hippy/drummer/artist/poet/ philosopher Penny Rimbaud.
While punk was talked about in depth in “The aesthetic of our Anger” and “Punk @ 40”, here Rimbaud managed to talk of zen buddhism, Donald Trump and world peace in one breath. As the founder of one of Britain’s first communes he had a lot of insightful things to say about religion and politics — needless to say, things got philosophical very quickly.
There was a lot more to see and certainly something for everybody, so I’d definitely recommend going to an event or two the next time the festival comes around if you’re interested in music, writing or journalism.
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