Afterwards and outside we bumped into Rick and Mike (and Ed) who'd been there for the whole thing on the other side of the tent - and apparently we just missed Jan and Owen too. I'd been planning to catch a bit of the levellers next before wandering to the main stage, but the opportunity of company changed my mind and Mike and I headed over earlier and caught the end of the Goldie Lookin' Chain set: which was good at what it did (getting that many MCs on stage all working together is quite impressive) but not really my cup of tea. At this point I got a call from my dad saying they'd found a cheap cornet in a junk shop in Whitby and should they go think about buying it for me? In a fit of enthusiasm about being more involved in music I said yes, and they hung up, hoping whatever was next would be an improvement on what they could hear of GLC in the background. And it was. Because it was the Kaiser Chiefs, who were wonderful. I've not listened to their album much, but enough to be able to sing along to much of it, and their energy and enthusiasm was catching. The lead singer bounced around like a mad thing (there's a great photo in the paper of him in mid-leap with tambourine and muddy wellies) and also tried crowd surfing. He failed to wrestle the giant inflatable dinosaur back to the stage with him, so instead got Security to pass it up and adorned it with his tie while they played on. Priceless showmanship. By the time they got to "Oh my god I can't believe it" they had the crowd in the palm of their hands. Enough so to play an entirely new song as their last and still leave everyone cheering and happy. Excellent set all told.
Mike wandered off at this point for something else, I think he caught The Departure, and I stayed for Ash, though first there was the official "moment" and an unexpected appearance from Bob Geldof on the main stage to encourage us all to hold hands and chant "Make Poverty History". A cynical part of me found it all a bit too calculated in its tear jerking and enforced good-cause-ery but he really was sincere and in the end I was quite touched as I held hands with the strangers beside me. It was quite a tough act for Ash to follow I guess, but they did it well. A mix of mostly hits and old favourites, one of which has been running round my head all day today "Yeah we've been walking barefoot all summer" - they played quite a few summery ones despite the grey day. The crowd jumped up and down despite the mud. A guy in a tigger suit near me went crowd surfing and reappeared with an enormous beaming grin. It was a feel-good set. And a lovely pared down duet between lead singer and bassist on a cover of "Teenage Kicks" dedicated to both John Peel and Joe Strummer. A nice moment.
After this I realised Mike was out of phone batteries, and I had no idea where he'd be for quite some time. So since that was at the Avalon stage and there were a couple of other things I fancied up there I pottered on over, stopping for some nachos and homemade lemonade on the way. Did I mention how much I love the variety of food? By the time I got there I'd missed Session A9's set though, and they were just being thanked by the compere. I did unexpectedly get to listen to short set by Polly Paulusma, who had been due to play the previous day but missed out due to the tent being out of order. Nice stuff, possibly worth investigating more. Lovely voice. And after her came Rory McLeod who I last saw at Ely Folk Festival a couple of years ago when we'd gone for the day to catch Oysterband. He played a nice set, including London Kisses, which is about my favourite track of his, and his missus Amy sang backing and played percussion, while he played guitar and harmonica and the spoons. Fun to dance to. I began to look out for Mike and Rick and Ed at this point but there was no sign of them, so I danced to Hayseed Dixies on my own near the front, and just grinned at strangers instead of friends. The set was a little too similar to the one on the main stage in the morning, though not having heard it properly there this didn't matter to me so much. Sabbath and ACDC and Led Zep amongst others, plus some tracks of their own penning (which weren't really that good) and some fab banjo and mandolin playing. Sadly they didn't do the Green Day cover again, but still, was fun. OK and I admit I felt a bit smug for knowing ACDC better than Mike does when I managed to catch the others afterwards.
We had a nice wander down through the Glade towards the John Peel stage again, though Ed and Rick abandoned us in the Dance area and Mike and I went on for the Magic Numbers alone. This was definitely a huge highlight of the weekend. I really like their album, even if I've only heard it a couple of times. The music is lovely and rich and well played and the lyrics are great, and they're obviously wonderful musicians, but what they are more than anything else is awfully awfully sweet. They weren't in a million years prepared for the reception they got, and the more they blushed and looked almost teary and bewildered the more the crowd went wild. Saw a lovely review on 6Music's webpages somewhere (ah here which really summed it up well.
We split up again at that point and I caught Razorlight on the Other Lake. OK so that's a slightly unfair name for it. I did have to wade through the lake a bit to get into the crowd proper, but after a few tracks my legs were aching so I waded out the other side and was pleased to find some land dry enough to sit on. I carried my mac around all weekend, not to wear but as a handy seat. Invaluable. But yes, it was a good set and I enjoyed it but would have enjoyed more if I'd been less cold and achy by that point. Fish and chips on the way back to the tent was the order of the day, and accidentally got caught in the coldplay crowd, and had a brief chat to a teenage lad who'd obviously loved it while I sat on one end of a semi-submerged bench. When I struggled up hill to the tent Mike was there already and a bit sorry for himself for having wussed out so early in the evening, and it seems Ben had slept half the afternoon and the whole evening away in his tent after a few too many of something or other. A drunken Ed who'd been at the spicy cider popped his head in the tent for a while, necessitating a quick hiding under the sleeping bag from me, and he said Coldplay were good too. Perhaps there's something in it. As we settled into bed the traditional cries of "Bollocks" echoing round the field were disrupted by a wag who interjected "Catherine Zeta Jones" and a new game was born. Later Rick got back too and we could hear his dulcet tones joining in with cries about Stephen Hawking, assorted bad TV quiz shows and presenters, and the refrain of "Up the arse". And so I giggled myself to sleep as it continued into the night.
It's getting late. I think Sunday and Monday will have to wait until tomorrow.