Posts Tagged ‘Rain’

Lovebox 2007

July 23, 2007

Lovebox 

Lovebox then. Not sure how I got hoodwinked into this one, but I was, the missus was keen and so we set off on Saturday afternoon in the unwavering sunshine. I’d not been to anything like this since the Phoenix Festival in 1996, and I can barely remember that because ageing hippies kept putting drugs in my face. All I really remember is sitting on the coach home for half a day, covered in mud and feeling thoroughly miserable. Luckily this mini-festival was pretty much on my doorstep and we only had a one-day ticket, so after a 15 minute wander we were at the gate, a bizarre cattle grid wherein guestlist types had a choice of six heavily staffed entrances and the rest of the hoi polloi (ie me and my better ‘alf) had to crowd round a thin strip with no idea what was in store for us.

Turned out a thorough search was in order, I fully expected to be asked to bend over. I had to sump a bottle of wine before going in because I was obviously going to smash people over the head with it rather than drink it. I had a fucking wrench in my bag which they didn’t notice, but still the bottle had to go. Bastards.

The minute we got in, a tropical rainstorm appeared from nowhere and we got fucking soaked. Braving it rather than allowing ourselves to be washed out, we were immediately seized upon by a Christian Aid git. Our spirits weren’t dampened as yet so rather than tell him where to stick his petition regarding carbon emissions, we signed it, chuckled about the torrential downpour as our toes instantly developed trenchfoot and then bid him farewell. Drenched and past caring, the only solution was to follow the obvious plan. Food. Beer. Smokes.

Always well-prepared, the lady had pre-rolled some beauties so all we had to do was grab some noodles with tempura vegetables, deep fried to a mush but just edible and then queue at the bar. Because everyone was hiding on the dodgems I got served almost instantly. Splendid. Two cans of redstripe – I wagered they’d be charging a good £2.50 for it, pub prices for a can – fair enough. £3.20 though. £3 fucking 20p for a can of red stripe. BASTARDS. That’s the price you pay for a pint in the kinds of pubs I avoid, the way I’d avoid syphilis or gonhorrhea – by not fucking entering. Still. It was a necessity so I purchased and consumed. And in the end I’d spent £32 on ten cans of lager like the alcoholic twat I truly and horribly am.

It was still raining so we decided to wander around and absorb out surroundings. There was the dance tent – apparently done up like an interior in Doctor Strangelove. Peeking through the crowds, I can confirm the walls were white. Beyond that there were so many heaving bodies that it really wasn’t worth investigating. Especially seeing as the music sounded like this: WOOOOP WOOOP WOOOP WARGH WARGH WARGH twat twat twat twat twattwattwattwattwattwattwattwat WOOP WOOOOP WARGH WARGH.

The fairground looked fun, but given the rain we weren’t sure we fancied our chances, slipping off a lubed high speed ferris wheel and landing in a splat of limbs in Walthamstow didn’t seem worth the risk. So what else was there to do? The day was about music, supposedly, so we checked out the other stages. First, the Clash stage was the indiest of the stages, except that these days indie tends to mean electro and middle of the road rock. Looking at the crowd, 16 year olds in trilbys and 39 year old women dressed as Lily the fucking Allen, it wasn’t worth hanging about to see who was on. So over to the main stage we went and en route the sun came out. Hallelujah. In fact, it came out so strongly that we almost went from drowned to burned to a cinder. God bless British Summertime.

En route to the main acts, we noticed the set of a burned out building with a big crowd around the front entrance. Turns out this was some kind of fake New York 70s club, with lots of people in fancy dress having a dance inside. By mid-afternoon the queue for this attraction actually cut the festival site in two. The queue was longer than the one for the female toilets.

Speaking of the female toilets – surely we can develop some new system whereby ladies don’t all need a separate cubicle? it ruins things for everyone. Moody boyfriends waiting for ladies to queue, the bladders of their other halves pushed to breaking point. We either need some kind of technology that can be attached to a wanny discreetly and store their effluents, or they need to stop being prudes and whip out their urethras in a communal manner. I don’t particularly enjoy the urinal experience, but it beats queuing – so come on ladies, grab a slice of the unified urination movement and save us all some time. In the event, the ladies ended up using the boys’ cubicles, which meant after a few beers I found myself pissing into a plastic latrine whilst a hundred women stood around chatting. If I were a damaged man it would have been nothing short of erotic.

And so to the main stage. Groove Armada were running the event and, being easy-listening techno types, they’d selected acts that they felt would rock the field but in a style befitting their tastes. They failed miserably. Despite the beatbox champion who played compere and who was actually really great, the rest was a letdown.

First up, the Junior Boys made me feel I was trapped in an 80s elevator and having my brain fiddled with by a vocoder. Truly awful, po-faced rubbish.

Then followed Patrick Wolf, a young man I’d despised but who turned things around here by actually having decent tunes and making a complete and utter twat of himself. I laughed quite hard.

After this, the Presets arrived to bore the masses. Beyond tedious. It was like being stuck in your car in GTA Vice City with a stuck radio, repeatedly driving into a brick wall. Interminable.

New Young Pony Club in the Clash tent lifted spirits. The tent was packed with the population of Hoxton but all the same this was a good set, we found a spot where you could sneak out to have a slash beside a van and all was well.

Wobbly by now, we made one last jaunt over to the main stage and caught most of Blondie, singing along to Tide Is High as we doddered home. Deborah Harry looked whacked out by the way, poor old cow. Imagine having to jump about on varicose veins in the evening at that age. She should’ve at least been given a comfy chair and a cup of tea.

Not a bad day all in all, but wet and overpopulated by 80s synths – not always a bad thing unless dropped into the hands of the Presets or the Junior Boys.

Highlight of the day, for me, was getting home, drying off and sticking on Lucio Fulci’s House By The Cemetery without a single member of public in sight. I don’t think I’m leaving the house ever again unless absolutely necessary.

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Glastonbury Festival 2007

June 28, 2007

Lovingly pared down from this article on Piqued.co.uk

Glastonburied 

Some people never leave their homes, after my trip to fucking Glastonbury I now understand why.

Thursday 

On the Thursday morning, oh it seems a world away, I met my bro and his missus at some godforsaken hour in the morning at Sainsbury as we had a few more items to pick up in order to facilitate our stay in a environment that would upset the residents of Darfur.

Off we all rolled, our hearts full of joy and anticipation, for the 2.5 hour journey to a large, huge, plot of land near Shepton Mallet in Somerset.

On the Thursday the festival was just starting to find it’s feet, the main stages are closed but the stalls and bars are functioning sufficiently. Despite the heavy rain that has been pervading the region for, well, forever, the going wasn’t too bad, my Doctor Marten boots saw me good and because there were only 2/3rds of the 175,000 expected, getting around wasn’t too much of a trial. I’d arranged to meet a mate, in an area called Lost Vagueness (Christ, doesn’t the name alone annoy you?) an area right on the outskirts of the site.

The walk back the fucking camper van took nearly an hour, the ground was already beginning to show signs of serious deterioration due to a resurgence of rain and the feet from the movement of people from one place to t’other.

Friday

I was woken by the thunderous sound of rain on the roof, sides, and from all I know, the underside of the van. Despite their tent bearing up well, my bro and his missus joined me in the relative security of the vehicle to cook breakfast and make tea. The rain came down so hard we had to delay our trip into the site by an hour; partially due to the cruel realisation that I’d at last have to wear my fucking wellies and my objection to the fundamental fact that if I didn’t, I’d be soaked to the bone.

By now the ground was getting difficult to navigate through and it seemed that the numbers for the previous evening had quadrupled, there were people absolutely bloody everywhere. The first band we saw were The Earlies, I wished I’d been late. Unfortunately I was late for the first 10 minutes of Modest Mouse as I’d wholly underestimated the time it would take me to walk 200 fucking metres through an Amazonian Swamp and nearly one 5th of a million people. Once there I caught one of four of the best acts of the weekend. I stuck around for The Automatic who were accompanied by heavy rainfall, I and the audience held fast, it was worth it despite the little shrieking git who bounces over the stage like Daffy Duck having a fit.

I made it back to the Pyramid for Amy Wino. She’s not bad, certainly has a pair of pipes on her but worth all the hype? I don’t know. Naughty Amy was off her box so I decided to join her and I rolled a big fat joint and got so stoned I got the fear. Food saw it off, a big cardboard plate of peas, beans, carrots, gravy and a single steaming pie, it was rather delicious and I celebrated with a pint of the local, a Somerset ale called Wirrey or something. It was a fucking sensation, so much so that by the following day they ran out of it and I’d forgotten what’s its called. Whirrey? Whir.. who cares.

The day was starting to get complicated, as the crowds began to pour into the Pyramid stage for Bloc Party my brother and his missus were keener to get stuck in the front, being a card carrying claustrophobic I remained in a position behind the giant screen and auxiliary speakers, providing me with a certain degree of comfort whilst not compromising on sound or vision. It was an okay set, a little bit too arrogant for want of a better negative but I know what I mean at least. After it was the turn of the fucking Fratellis. Foolishly I accepted the invitation by text from my bro to place near the front that was apparently ‘spacious and arsehole free’. Why on earth I wanted to even acknowledge their existence let alone get nearer to the cunts is beyond me but the area I found myself in was neither spacious and most certainly not arsehole free. By now the mud had turned parts of the ground to deep puddles of shitty, muddy soup which resulted, predictably I suppose, into swimmingly pools for wankers intent on covering themselves and as many people in fucking mud. What with that and all the ‘do wop tee do’ from the band I was outta there like I was on fire after 15 minutes.

Glastonbury mud is clay based, its deceptively soft but sticky, its cloying, clogging mud from hell. It can rip your wellies off in a second, it slipperier than a British Gas salesman in anal lube and it seems to have a limitless depth. In short it’s like trying to walk through quick drying cement. Throw in hundreds of thousands of people moving in every conceivable direction you may understand why my legs of have gone from those of a 90-year-old invalid to Thierry Henry in the space of a few days.

It took me nearly two hours to get to the cabaret tent. I was back in time to see Jeff Green. This was a, if not the, Glastonbury highlight for me. His act was so funny I spent a full hour honking like a goose, tears down my cheeks, breathing issues, the fucking lot. He’d managed to achieve that rarest of things that only a stand up at the top of his game can do, perpetual laughter from the room that occasionally peaked to hysteria. He was filthy, observant and delivered his jokes with the charm of a gentleman. Outstanding.

Saturday

Saturday was the best day of the lot. Firstly, a splendid set by Biffy Clyro and then CSS a likeable Brazilian punk/electro outfit that forced good weather on the crowd. When the sun did appear the whole of Glastonbury let off a single roar of appreciation that really did feel quite, well, special. So much so it reminded one why one was at the fucking place in the first place. These were salad days, Glastonbury at it’s best, drinking in the sunshine with friends that had arrived by design or spontaneously, to share in the music and the whole atmosphere of the place. Despite my overall negativity of the experience, that’s one thing that I did engage with, largely, the people there are very decent and at times one does genuinely feel part of a celebratory collective, even when alone.

My brother and I had arranged to meet a mate at The Glade for one of my favourite bands of all time, The Ozric Tentacles. Without wishing to go into a history lesson, I’ve seen this band dozens and dozens of times over the years, mainly when they were unsigned and you could by their tapes for £2 and a hash cake for the same amount. This was the best music act of the weekend. The venue was a funky covered stage set up in a copse, the green light radiated off the trees by the flashing lighting rigs and lasers looked magnificent.

The band came on, lifted off the tops of our heads and poured some gorgeousness in, I danced, we danced, everyone fucking danced. Even when the set stopped dead so some crew could help out some poor tripper who’d freaked himself out, we danced. For a nearly an hour it was unsurpassed joy and energy, I was whacked out of my noggin and I didn’t care. At last I’d really found what I had come for.

Sunday

By contrast Sunday was the worst day. Due to the bastard pissing rain we didn’t actually get into the festival til 4pm, I managed to cover the end of The Young Knives set which was magnificent, if I’d been in a better spot and seen the whole gig it would’ve been way up there. The struggle back to the Pyramid stage was almost impossible, by now parts of the site were totally inaccessible, and those that were heralded nasty surprises, I watch a girl fall up to her waist in a chasm of mud, to the left and right of me people were falling arse over tit and the general sense of humour that had pervaded the festival spirit were flagging, this wasn’t fun.

After we went and ate, kebabs, bloody good they we too and I went off to see Ian Cognito in the cabaret tent, I didn’t fancy The Who because the Pyramid stage area was virtually impossible to navigate and The Chemical Brothers on the Other stage don’t push my buttons. I made the right decision by my standards, Ian’s act was blistering, cynical, offensive and hilarious. It seemed a very fitting way to close the festival, though he was a lot funnier than most of the past 3 days. As I slid back to the van I passed a stage were Bill Bailey was performing. I bumped into a couple of likely lads from Derby, nice chaps, we shared a spliff together and I headed off into the fucking rain for the last time. When I got back my bro and his missus were attempting to get out of their wet clothes. I sat in the front, they in the back and we chatted and ate all the snacks we’d bought from Sainsbury, well most of them, I chucked a bag of Cheese Balls all over myself as I attempted to converse with wine.

Monday

Monday morning began early; we thought getting out of Glastonbury would take an age. As it turned out getting out at all was impossible because I’d drained my battery operating the small fridge in the back. Mercifully our neighbour helped us out, we packed up our stuff and attempted to leave.

At last we were headed back for London. I was shattered and the last thing I wanted to do was drive, but drive I must. We hit a fucking huge queue near Andover that took well over and hour to conquer which put my schedule back somewhat. I suffered a creeping trip through South London, which was made considerably worse by the sudden and violent need to take a behemoth shit.

So was it worth it? Spending four days in a raincloud and having to risk your life taking a piss in pissy mud, with other people watching you piss as their piss goes over your welly tops, having to pinch back unholy turds because you can’t face the stinking plastic chod bins again, having to spend so much energy getting a pint it was hardly worth the effort, well maybe that’s going a bit too far. Yes, the music and the company were good when I had it, the people were nice and when the sun was out and you were settled it was as good a place as any in the world to be. But it was all let down by the other factors.

One other thing, Glastonbury makes a big song and dance (literally as it happens) about the environment, all the carbon footprint ‘I count’ stuff is surely turned over and fucked in it’s freckle by the sheer fuel burning mechanical logistics of getting the site prepared, the bands that have to be flown in from around the world, the audience to congregate in one spot from all over the country and beyond. I reckon my carbon footprint is greater just by my having to do over 5 washes just to get the mud off my fucking clothes.

Still, I would consider going next year. Maybe. Maybe? Actually, fuck it. I’m watching it on TV. If at all.