Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Festival Fortnight – Part One

Sit down, make a cup of tea and be prepared for a couple of long blog posts.  I've been on my holidays and I’m going to tell you all about them...

Hello Pop Pickers!  I’m on the tail end of my ridiculously long summer break from day job and I've been on holiday, which is why I haven’t updated the blog.  I sent Rusty to stay with my parents – the only people I trust to look after a small rodent without accidentally putting her in the microwave/freezer/hoover – and I went to two music festivals.
L K Jay and The Green Man

Earlier in the year, in an attempt to keep up with my younger, cooler and better-looking friend at taekwondo, I bought a ticket to Reading Festival.  The last time I went was in 1991 and I've wanted to again go ever since, but could never persuade anyone to come with me because, in the words of one of my friends (when I suggested that we go to Leeds Festival) he was ‘scared of northern lads and not showering.’  After this year’s trip to Reading, that would be the least of your problems.  I remember seeing The Cure and New Fast Automatic Daffodils and sleeping in my mum’s Fiat 127.  Given the chance, that little car would have taken me to the moon and back.  I wore that NFAD t-shirt for ten years until it fell apart.

Back to the present day.  I managed to persuade my bessie-mate from uni, nicknamed Spa, to come with me, on the understanding that I would go to the Green Man Festival with her.  I agreed, mostly because I didn't want to be the only forty-something-saddo at Reading, but because the website looked quite nifty and my current fav band, Public Service Broadcasting, were playing.  So the trusty Corsa was packed with my new tent, wellies and lots of unnecessary crap and off I went to Wales and Spa’s house.  We got into the festival, smuggled in a bottle of vodka, got the tents up and discovered I’d brought enough baby wipes to survive the apocalypse.  I have to tell you this now, I was a tent virgin.  The first night at The Green Man Festival was when I popped my tent cherry.  Before then, I spent my nights in my own bed, a sofa, the gutter, a hotel or my mum’s car in the nineties, but never in a tent.

What can I say about The Green Man Festival?  It was a weekend of chilled out fun; the setting in the Brecon Beacons was beautiful, the people were friendly and the food and drink outstanding.  The first night I saw Patty Smith perform.  She’s probably about my mum’s age, dresses like my dad but has the voice of a gravelly angel.  The Horrors were good, so was Matt Berry and Julian Cope is madder than a bag of monkeys.  Other festival highlights included getting very drunk on the Saturday night and being silly with my rainbow golfing umbrella, and spending an hour cycling static bikes to recharge Spa’s phone the green way.

To my pleasant surprise, I found out that Caitlin Moran was speaking in the Talking Shop area.  I’m a bit of a fan-girl because she’s a great writer, is much cooler than I am and has the London lifestyle that I can’t afford to have.  So I barged my way to the front of the audience and joined the rest of the oestrogen waiting to hear her golden feminist words.  I wasn't disappointed.  She was witty and the sort of woman you would want to be best friends with – apart from Spa, obviously.  Caitlin Moran makes a pair of denim cut-offs look effortlessly cool, which takes quite a bit of doing.  What wasn't cool was the woman who wanted to make a worthy statement about gay rights in Russia by snogging Ms Moran.  Lady, if you’re going to take your top off and show the audience your bra, at least ensure that you are wearing a smart one and not one that looks like a brown paper bag.

Another pleasant surprise was one of Spa’s suggestions, seeing Owen Sheers speak.  Now, coming from the woman who thinks Julian Cope is sexy – he was wearing gauntlets – I was a little skeptical.  Oh yea of little faith, she had forgotten to mention that he was hot and by that I mean HOT!  He’s a successful writer, really good-looking and spent a year with the Welsh rugby team.  Does anyone know if he’s single because I have a large, husband-sized vacancy that he could quite happily fill?  It’s a good job the ground was absorbent grass because I spent the next hour drooling.  I will definitely be buying one of his novels.

Public Service Broadcasting
The biggest highlight was seeing Public Service Broadcasting play.  I spent several minutes waiting to see them, barged a couple of children to get to the front of the crowd and I wasn't disappointed.  There was a massive wooden television on the stage and the next hour was spent in musical bliss, with the fusion sound of sampled public service broadcasts, synths, banjos and electronica.  They were properly original and genius, with the added wit of the lead, J. Willgoose Esq. only speaking via the samples on his synthesiser.

The Green Man Festival was four days of Welsh fun, where I learnt how to camp, in a tent, and not in the Julian Clary meaning of the word.

Coming soon, Festival Fortnight Part Two – where I go back to Reading Festival after two decades and have my eyebrows raised.


  1. That sounds great fun! I'll have to look it up for next year. Can't wait to hear about Reading...

  2. I love this post. I'd never heard of this event before. It sounds great. I feel so uncool now. I don't know any of these bands you've mentioned, except The Cure.

  3. Reading entry coming shortly :-)