26 things we learned at Wordstock 2014

wordstockFrom an angry badger and a chicken called Janet, to the story of a lost song and life on Mars in the Utah desert… here are 26 things we learned at Wordstock last Saturday. To those of you who were there too, enjoy; for those of you who weren’t, this is what you missed. See you next year.

  1. Nick Drake was 26 when he died.
  2. Alex Garland believes that if Tennessee Williams were alive today he would be writing for TV.
  3. Alex Garland wrote the screenplay for Never Let Me Go in three and a half days.
  4. The South Korean government is trying to identify the voiceprints of 15 million people.
  5. Daisy the bad-tempered badger is afraid of going underground.
  6. Life is dull without biscuits. (So true, Andy Hayes.)
  7. In the future, Mimic Scripts will stop us from getting bored in conference calls.
  8. One of the points from The Ministry of Stories’ manifesto is, ‘We believe in clouds.’
  9. Alex Garland was inspired to write 28 Days Later after a trip to Southern Sudan. ‘I was pissed off with people’s whining, so I thought I’d put a war on this country and then it was a zombie film.’
  10. ‘It doesn’t matter what you’re writing, the principles and the problems are the same,’ Alex Garland on writing novels, screenplays and games.
  11. ‘The poem is less concerned with memory than remaking,’ Toni Stuart.
  12. ‘A poem carries a city in its belly,’ Jacob Sam-La Rose.
  13. Nick Drake only wrote 33 songs.
  14. There were 132 markers all over Andy Serkis’s face during filming to help create King Kong’s face.
  15. Andy Serkis, who played Gollum in Lord of the Rings was given one of the rings as a gift from Peter Jackson.
  16. Hiraeth a Welsh noun for ‘homesickness for a home you cannot return to or that never was; a nostalgia tinged with grief.’ (Free Word postcard)
  17. When he was 18-years-old, Adrian Hon won a competition and spent two weeks in the Utah desert to experience simulated life on Mars. In the same year he made a TED talk.
  18. It’s been scientifically proven that those who love books are better looking people. (So true, Andy Hayes.)
  19. Alex Garland thought he would be a foreign correspondent but then discovered that while he only reads non-fiction, he dislikes writing it.
  20. In the film adaptation of Animal Farm there’ll be two chickens called Janet and Morag who finish each other’s sentences. All thanks to performance capture technology.
  21. ‘Writing pack copy is like jumping into a ball pool of words.’ Fraser Southey
  22. An unexpectedly good sentence: Nick Drake, like Jeremy Clarkson, is unique and therefore beyond criticism.
  23. Callipygian means ‘having shapely buttocks.'(Free Word postcard)
  24. You can buy Adrian Hon’s book about the future, here
  25. You can buy Michael Burdett’s book about Nick Drake here
  26. If you’re interested in putting together next year’s Wordstock as a curator, email Sarah hello@sarahfarley.co.uk



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