Thursday, July 16, 2009

Welcome to the Occupation

I'm working on a real magnum opus of a blog entry; one that might not even end up getting 'published' because it's really, really, deep and very personal; so until I make a decision regarding that, normal service will continue as it normally does.

Now there was a nothing sentence if ever I saw one! A bit like announcing, "I'm going to go to the toilet if I need to go to the toilet!" ...

Anyhow, this isn't why we're here. This is a previews show and nothing else.

Busy busy busy weeks ahead for the old cripple; tomorrow I'm off to my first music festival for 25 years. Yes, TWENTY FIVE. The last festival I went to was Glastonbury in 1984. For those who remember that particular year, it was really the first bad year for mud and rain and I almost got pneumonia as a result...

There was a bunch of us going down; some of us were actually going to perform and I'd just recovered from a nasty bout of tonsillitis, which necessitated their removal a year later and was raring to go. Me and my old mate Colin were taking our Bastard Brothers/Dick & Bob/Great Excreto & Labia alternative comedy show and we were scheduled to appear in the comedy tent at 4:00pm on the Sunday.

We got there on the Friday morning, pitched our tents and went for a wander, to find some cool music and see what drugs were on sale - this was 1984, it hadn't been swamped by police and commercialism yet. It was during the afternoon that it started to rain and was a constant drizzle by 8:00pm. We had pitched our tent on a slight camber, except it was the wrong way - it should have been vertical - up and down - not across. We hit the sleeping bags in the early hours and we were already damp. I awoke about 6:00am in a puddle. My sleeping bag was saturated and I was lying in ½ an inch of rainwater. The Saturday morning afforded us a few hours of sunshine, so we managed to dry some clothes and my sleeping bag; we re-pitched the tent so that it wasn't going to take on water, but by midday I was beginning to feel very dodgy.

By mid-afternoon, my throat was swollen and I was feeling decidedly crappy. I was starving hungry, but didn't feel like eating (I managed to eat 2 hash cakes which was probably the most stupid thing I'd ever done in my life because it just made me feel even worse) and the wife (who was the girlfriend at the time) was beginning to panic a little. I did very little on the Saturday, and told everyone to fuck off and enjoy themselves, I was going to dose myself up with paracetamol, try to get some sleep and keep warm and dry; I even managed to get the missus to bugger off for a while, while I slept and felt sorry for myself.

I had a bad Saturday night, managed to fall asleep around dawn and the next 24 hours just sort of disappeared; I have vague memories, snippets, but not much else. At around 10 in the morning, I woke up and needed to go to the toilet. The wife and someone else helped me down to the metal sheds that were the toilets and I found a cubicle and tried to go to the loo; but the noise and the smell was just too much; I couldn't go and I could barely stand up. I sorted myself out, went back to my helpers and virtually collapsed into their arms. The comedy tent gig was not going to happen, especially as Colin had done a bunk and hadn't been seen for over a day. Back at our camp, I was trussed up in a dry sleeping bag and sitting in the back of the van we went down in. About 2:00pm I passed out; they thought I'd just fallen asleep, but then soon realised that I wasn't waking up. What follows is what others have told me; my only recollections were being carried, lying in an ambulance and vaguely remembering walking back to the camp with specific instructions from the doctor who had examined me. "Take him home NOW! Or he'll be in Bridgewater General Hospital by the morning."

My wife has been a fan of Echo & The Bunnymen for years and they were one of the headline acts that year and we were just pulling out of Glastonbury as they took to the stage; I still feel bad about it, even if I wasn't really in control. I swore that I'd never do another music festival and have stuck to my guns, despite temptation.

So, why am I doing the 2000Trees festival in Andoversford then?

Good question. To see Amplifier mainly, but also to see what many people claim is close to how Glasto used to be back in the early 80s when I was a regular there. But the be honest, there's no other reason. I spent half the day yesterday on MySpace and Spotify listening to music from the other bands playing on the Friday (I'm only going for the day) and frankly, I don't know why Amplifier are even playing this festival. It appears to be made up of largely shit music from bands I've never heard of or wouldn't give houseroom to. Emphasis on rappy metal, crappy indie and emo, with a jewel thrown in for good measure. With the weather forecast predicting monsoon conditions and arctic winds, it'll certainly feel like I've just jumped into a time machine. I have a feeling that I'm going to be spending most of the day getting completely lashed...

Then the following week I'm going to be spending the day with my photographic friend as he gets close to the completion of his graphic novel and then I'm in for the operation... August is going to be full of me doing nothing much at all, because I won't be able to do much and then I can start to think about getting back on course with work - I expect there's going to have been some changes by the time I finally get back there.

So, after the weekend you'll get a report of the 2000Trees festi - don't hold your breath...

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