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.


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