1 minute too late for the fast train to KX so we bought coffee and beer and took the slow train instead. And sat and looked colourful and out of place amongst all the commuters. Mike's shorts are indeed scarily bright. They kind of suit him though in a bloody silly sort of way.
Bought crisps, bscuits, breakfast bars, apples (Mike) and GIN (me) at Paddington. And by the time we got to Reading station we were already feeling quite merry. a pint while waiting for Rick/Craig left us merrier, especially when it was joined by a whisky chaser (halfway though, um) when they arrived. They we were dragged into a little dingy downstairs bar opposite for a band they wanted to see, and another two pints somehow got tipped down, followed by the last can of lager on the way over to the campsite. By this time (having kind of forgotten to eat) I was runk enough to be ill. But pink-haried Karen rescued me from the smoke of the fire and fed me water until I was feeling a bit better. Cake was lit, consumed, dropped etc. Blokes stood around half-dresed being blokey. A good time was had despite being sick as a dog. And we finally got to bed pretty later in a thankfully spare tent provided for us. (A little small, and a bit damp round the door since it wouldn't quite zip up, but perfectly adequate for the purpose).
Finfally emerged rather hungover around 11:30 more or less ready to face the world, but not quite compos mentis enough to manage to arrange lunch with David. It was a nice thought on his part, but just not practical given I've not a clue where I am.
Collected rather fetching punk wristbands, bought programme, met up with the guys and headed into the Arena. Not very taken by Taking Back Sunday we went walkabout before Reel Big Fish. Who seem like a great band, nice brass, even if I don't know them. (Actually I recognise the current trak "she has a girlfriend now" since Mike played it at me the other day, and the cover of Enter Sandman was also familiar, funnily enough). Rob, Mike, Craig and Rick have headed down the mosh pit at the front. I'm still feeling fragile so have wimped out and found somewhere to sit down on my waterproof jacket and listen and scribble. Have been left guarding Mike's jacket, two mobiles and a bottle of water. At least if I'm breaking the no girlfriends rule I can still be useful. Also seem to be general purveyor of bog roll.
It seems to be doing its best to rival Glasto for the mud, but it's not unbearable. And the sun is being felt weakly through the clouds at the moment. So despite being a bit out of it I'm having a pretty good time. And OK I admit spending this much time with Mike is great fun. Looks like I'll be on my own for The Darkness headlining tonight. Other than that there's not anyone I desperately want to see tonight, but The Hives, Ash and The Offspring (previous 3 acts on main stage) should all be enjoyable.
Having fun crowd watching, even if it does leave me feeling like an unattractive lump. Didn't really plan wardrobe for looking cute purposes. Especially not with added mud, but what the hell. Can't have everything.
Lads back briefly looking very hot, and Mike sat and talked for a bit. Then they headed back into the crowd for 100 Reasons: who seem reasonably good at what they do. Metally sort of stuff (hey, I'm not an expert). Still bopping along from my seat in the wings. Can't quite believe just how close you can be and still be this relaxed and uncrowded, but not going to complain.
Entertaining to read back through Dublin, Glasto 03 and Glasto 04 (in paper diary). Really brings it home how much happier I am now than I was in June 03. Especially now the hangover has receded.
Mmm bacon baguette for breakfast. Well, second breakfast after a couple of nutrigrain bars back at the tent anyway. Sitting down left of stage again with Saturday's second band playing. They're Young Heart Attack, they're from Texas, their female singer has a C21st mullet and a tambourine. And well the music is washing over me nicely for something so loud. Not sure who, if anyone, they remind me of.
After 100 reasons the next band yesterday were Jurassic 5, and from what I heard just not my cup of tea at all so M and I wandered off and found me some much needed food, and a spot on the damp ground at the back of the comedy tent. Saw one guy's act just ending with a political rant about Bush and democracy - depicting American voters by belming and saying it was OK so long as you didn't do the amrs. Made me smile and think of Jan, but that sort of thing does make me feel a bit bad for finding it funny. Followed by a chap from Canada who swore a lot, alking a lot about sex, and kept going on about his age (41). (Aha, large sheet of black plastic to sit on - dryer arse good). They were moderately amusing, but mostly it was nice just to sit somewhere fairly quiet and not muddy for a while.
After that we headed back for The Distillers - Mike said their main appeal was a lead singer considered by some to be the fittest woman in rock at the moment. The music was pretty good as well though. (Actually Young Heart Attack must be OK. I keep gettign distracted from writing. And she looks like she's having fun, so I can even almost forgive the hair). The Hives were next and I enjoyed them too - they're barking. It's great fun being in the middle of the crowd at a gig, and it's nice being there with Mike especially, even if he doesn't know stuff he still seems to get into the music and have a good time. (The way I do - which is just as well - since I don't know much).
Mike disappeared into the middle of the crowd for Ash but most of the others were around and it was quite sociable despite Alex being sick. Amazingly unconcerned about it. This was followd not long afterwards by some (clothed) mud-wrestling between Karen and Bailey - I think she had the advantage of being less completely fucked, but every time she tried to stop throwing mud he'd attack her again and get trounced some more until she was sitting on top of him in the mud with a big crowd around of strangers shouting and taking pictures. Looked fun.
The Offspring were fun too. With Rick and Mike being their own little circle pit (thankfully each time they knocked someone over it was only Bailey again) A noodle fight happened at some point too, and some impressive sausage eating. And I nearly went flying a couple fo times due to trying to dance with my feet stuck in the mud. Don't know much of their stuff really but they were good at it, looked like they were enjoying it, and the crowd loved it, which was good enough for me.
Afterwards the rest of them wandered off for 2manyDJs in the dance tent while I stayed for The Darkness, not having seen them before. My feet were aching, I was a bit cold, and on my own, but I still had a great time. And the firework display at the end was spectacular.
Back to the tent afterwards to hear of Mike's exploits with a drunk girl and his niples, and Rick going on about having met a girl called Misty. Oh and Jaffa Cakes. always good. Mike finally got some firewood (a running joke) but only 1/2 a bag, and damp at that. Class. And as is par for the course we went to bed in a tent that was a little too cold and woke up far too hot. Not that we let that worry us too much.
Anyway discovered that being sweaty at least made the mud come off easily. Discovered that I really am willing to piss in a cup if I'm desperate enough. And was amused to watch Karen, in yesterday's muddy trousers, applying eyeliner and curling her eyelashes. Rather amusing really - the blokes are all still in yesterdays mud in places and the files are still doing makeup. Doesn't half seem silly.
Band on now called Thursday. Never heard of them (again) though Craig said he was looking forward to them. Mike, Rick and Karen have gone into town, dunno when they'll be back. In the meantime I shall just make myself at home here. Bit cols now the sun's gone in.
After the fact
Didn't make any detailed notes on the rest of the weekend. Musical highlights on Saturday included Flogging Molly in the concrete jungle tent. Being able to say I've seen Dillinger Escape Plan. Franz Ferdinand being brilliant again, and The White Stripes - who I thought were excellent, though Mike was flagging at that point from having worn himself out watching Sick of it All while I watched the end of Morrisey's set. Plus DJ Yoda heard from outside the Orange tent, while Rick played bouncer, and even briefly swapped tshirts with the (rather slimmer) official door chap. The large quantities of lager might have had something to do with it but it was all very funny. And Karen got me to go and try the p-mate girls urinals. Which while a nice idea I have to say it's not much quicker in itself than just going in a loo, and at the time we went the queues were nearly as long for the urinals anyway. At some point Rick bumped into Misty again and got her phone number. The boy is obsessed.
Sunday Mike and I spent more time together during the day than with the others, although we did join them for a few drinks on and off. Missed seeing both The Rasmus and 50 Cent failing to finish their sets. Seems kind of odd to me, but I guess if I wasn't there there's no way to tell how hostile it actually was. Enjoyed getting right down the front and leaping about with the sweaty punks for the DropKick Murphys. Great stuff. And the crowd clearly loved the cover of Fairytale of New York - well who wouldn't. I really do like that sort of stuff. Even if Saturday's dose of irish folk-punk and been giving me weird Folk Festival flashbacks. It might be a little heavier than they usually get, but I don't see why it wouldn't work.
The Streets were quite pleasant too - mostly I enjoyed watching the rapper chappy interacting with the bits of the audience - he was having fun pointing out posters and flags and so on. Was nice. [Update: somehow forgot to mention Lost Prophets (who aren't really my thing so fair enough) but also Placebo, who were excellent. But what has Brian Molko done to his hair? No! It shouldn't be allowed]. Spent the end of the evening over in the radio 1 tent, for the end of Auf Der Maur, The Von Bondies and then Supergrass. Got right up at the front for that too, but it was far scarier being in a tight-crowd just trying to bounce up and down and then falling over than it was being among a load of big blokes deliberately throwing themselves at each other. Wimped out partway through and headed up to the tent - where you could hear the rest of the set quite well. Apparently Green Day had been really good, and I'm a bit sad I missed them. You can't do everything though.
Was a really pleasant night to just sit around the campfire though. We thought we had more wood than we could possibly use, so it was obviously sensible to just put loads of it on the fire at once and have a huge toasty warm blaze. Less smoky that way too. A fair bit of excitement around the place from explosions around the campsite as people burnt gas cannisters. A little one from ours as we destroyed the alien invasion too, nothing worrying though, even if it did make people jump. Mike, Rick, Karen, Steve, Al and I sat up until around 6 playing word games. And then went to bed and carried on through the walls of the tent, with occasional collapses into giggles. Great way to spend the evening, lovely company and just fun.
Up again at 10:30 in the morning we left Beth and Sarah to guard the tents and went to find some breakfast in town, and a nice cup of tea, which was just what I needed. And then we had an entertaining time trying to get two vans back across from the car park to the tents so we could load them up. The carnage around the site was even more impressive than the previous night, and I was glad of the various stewards/fire engines around the place. Was also glad to see just what a good choice of campsite we had - other bits of the site were literally swimming in mud. Packed everything up and then drove off through Reading - to drop Craig at his mum's - and then Rob kindly drove me and Mike back as far as Harlow. Nice trip - loud music on the stereo, good driving not impeded by a bit of occasional moshing, decentish traffic for the most part, and a fun variant on Stobart to play en route too.
Back on the train from Harlow and hence home. Tired but happy. Definitely one of the best weekends of my life. Great music, great to spend so much time with Mike, and nice to meet his friends, who are all great fun. Looking forward to next year already.