Booking events for Cultural eXchanges proved rather problematic. Each time the website declared it was 'timed out' - an obvious lie. I knew it couldn't take twenty minutes to book four tickets. This caused me to lose the little faith I had in the festival. Spending a week at home, tucked up in my bed, clutching a copy of Bram Stoker's Dracula seemed much more inviting, even if I was reading the novel before beginning the essay I'd already put off for weeks.
Fortunately, my faith was restored after Michael McMillan's The Front Room, a poignant yet humorous presentation, speaking of the lives of immigrants moving to Britain during the 1950's and 1960's. Their expedition to England was 'like going to the moon,' leaving their old lives behind, and creating a new identity amongst the terraced houses which seemed so unusual to the newcomers. McMillan described England as 'the land of milk and honey' which, in all honesty, greatly amused me. I'd much rather be sat on a Caribbean beach, soaking up some of those much needed sun-rays and sipping on some good ol' rum.
Later, Alexei Sayle made an appearance, after being delayed in London traffic during the rush-hour. I was too young to know The Young Ones so my friends took the opportunity to educate me prior to Alexei’s visit. I endured watching the comedy on retro VHS, wondering what on earth the characters were wearing. Sat right at the back of the lecture theatre, all I could see were the tops of two bald heads. Despite this, I laughed on numerous occasions, and left the Clephan Building clutching a signed copy of Alexei Sayle's Mister Roberts - and knowing his mother had never allowed him to watch Bambi.