Friday, 31 August 2012

The long road back from Reading

I went to the Reading Festival in 1994. It was my first musical festival. I'd decided that I wanted to attend rather late in the day but somehow managed to get a ticket (the luck and harm of youth!). I must confess remembering little about the line up except that the opening bands were The Flaming Lips, The Verve and Pulp. Performances by Cyprus Hill, Primal Scream and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers seem to have left no last impression

Eighteen years later plenty has changed. Aside from no longer being a student with a tendency for last minute festival arrangements I've buckets more festival experience. I've been robbed at Glastonbury. I've had various fluids thrown at me. I've staggered into medical tents for help with contact lenses. I've bought a shewee.

So I felt prepared to face Reading armed with waterproofs, tent, campbed, shorts and long socks. I made what I considered to be a brilliant and mature decision to leave my iPhone at home and take an ancient Nokia with me. While it was great not to have to worry about having my phone nicked or what was happening on twitter it did mean I couldn't take any photos.

As a result this blog post doesn't include images of the 'no crowd surfing' sign. Or the female urinals. Or the multitude of vegan friendly food spots with helpful staff and ingredients lists. Or people wearing crazy costumes. Or an emergency walking boots repair involving chewing gum. Or even me and my partners in crime in army rain ponchos and sparkly cowboy hats.

I can say that it was even better than my faded memories of '94. It's a bigger festival but didn't feel over crowded. The organisation is excellent. The site is well maintained. Litter is cleared up. Bins for recyclables are available. Staff are helpful and available and the toilets get my personal award for best festival toilet. Yeah the ammonia does get a bit strong in the campsite ones after a few days but that's the joy of festival- going in the great outdoors.

My highlight has to be Band of skulls. I was so keen to see them (and ensured that no one forgot this) and the didn't let me down. I found myself whimpering at the end of the set for just one more. I also loved the way the arena looked at night strung with coloured lights. I loved sitting outside my tent with a cup of tea before bed.

In fact the only downside seems to be that it's taken me all week to recover. I've been to work and come home ready to sleep. And this has meant that blogging simply hasn't happened and my lunchbox has been less than inspiring.

Lunch and a book
With a lack of inspiration, exciting ingredients and a disinclination to actually cook I've been eating a mix of microwaved noodles, frozen peas and miso. I'm hopeful that the arrival of September will usher in a few months of sensible living - you know the stuff; not over committing, meal planning, regular sessions with the washing machine. However it's becoming clear to me that whatever I might believe I seem to choose to live my life like an overstuffed cushion - straining at the seams.


Tuesday, 21 August 2012

My weekend - sunshine, music and low flying bottles

Main stage at V festival 2012
With the sun shining and a pretty awesome line up this weekend might just have been my best V festival ever!

My festival highlights were:

  • Tom Jones - he really is just as amazing as everyone says. His version of Tower of song bought tears to my eyes. Plus his entire band looked like they were having a really good time.
  • Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - Essentially Oasis with the focus on the music rather than sibling wars
  • The Charlatons - a delightful last minute substitution for Dappy
  • Snow Patrol - just as good as they were last time the played V. Personally I would have liked to see them as headliners.
  • The Stones Roses - nothing like a band that knows how to jam
  • Keane - a nice tight set
  • The Killers - they were terrible last time I saw them so pleased that they were 100% better.
  • A nice cup of tea after the headline acts
  • An unexpected parachute performance by the Red Devils - that pink smoke in the picture below? It came from their heels as they decended!

Red devils parachute display
  • I also really liked these flags although I've no idea why they there!
However there were a few low points:

    • Bottles being thrown around in the crowd. Leaving aside the health and safety aspect having something heavy knock into the back of your head just ruins the moment.
    • Litter - there are never enough bins but surely that no excuse for just dropping on the ground.
  • Songs that include the name of the band performing them
  • Food on offer seemed more limited than usual. I had planned to take some with me but was sure how appetising it would be after several hours in the heat.
So will I be back next year for another day of crowds, litter, noise and discarded pineapples? It's more than likely....


Monday, 13 August 2012

My weekend - Discovery

A while back I signed up for the Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap. It sounded like fun, a reason to do some textile design and stretch my creative muscles. Having signed up, I made a load of notes, drew a few sketches and then did absolutely nothing about it. Fortunately the organisers are excellent a sending timely reminder emails meaning that with ten days to go I was on the case again. The theme was 'discover' and I planned on including a quotation that would form the central theme of he part.

Stitched postcard
Stitched postcard
Alas it took me ages to find a quote that wasn't too long, too obscure or too dull. Then it was time rummage through my jars of trimmings and drawers of fabric to put together the design. Which brings us nicely to Friday night. We had guests but that didn't matter a bit when there was sewing to be done. I wasn't moving from my sewing machine until I got it finished and all ready to post to my swap partner in Florida on Saturday (so tied up with in a bundle with some tea bags). If you want see how other people interpreted the theme have a look at the group on Flickr.

I did manage some time away from my desk and out in the fresh air. It's always a pleasure to go out walking with visitors and show off the surrounding countryside.

Field of wheat
I also managed to visit a car boot sale and score lots of great stuff for just over a fiver. Of course, I'm now recalling all the stuff I nearly bought but didn't and kicking myself for not getting it. However I an thrilled with my green hoodie, belt, scarf, fan (a spare for burlesque has got to useful), guitar chord book (learn to play a six string is on my 2012 to do list) and straw bag (I've ripped lining out to wash while I repair the straps).

Stuff purchased at car boot sale
Sunday afternoon has got to win the prize for most relaxing social event of the year or maybe it just seemed thy way after frantic cooking and food prep! A load of us meet up in a park to picnic, gossip and read the paper. Alas I failed to take any photographs of either the event (nicely organised by Carla of Ducking Fabulous) or the food I made (although some it is bound to end up in my lunch box).

As ever the week ahead is busy (and the festivals are getting closer) but I've be making progress with some projects. I opened my Etsy shop today and tomorrow night I have a meeting to discuss plans for an exciting new venture.