Tents are funny things. You go to bed and end up wearing as much as possible to try and keep warm, then wake up in the morning sweltering even once you've taken it all off again.
Anyway, we had a good night by and large. The 3:15 train from Cambridge was met with no trouble, impressive given Mike was still renewing his railcard at 3:12. Beer on the train and watched the skies - black on one side and blue on the other. Jammy change meant 10 mins after arriving at Paddington we were on the non-stop Reading train. Eating brandy and drinking roast chicken. And when we arrived there was room (just) for two tents. With mine conveniently opening right into the gazebo. Mike and I shopped for firewood and camping chairs and programs and the rest of the evening was spent around the stereo and the fire, drinking, talking and pissing about. Anyway around the gazebo we have an assortment of tents - each for one person. And mine's not significantly larger than any of the others! Luxury to have this much space to myself for whatever reason. Rob, Steve, Craig, Rick, Johnny, Mike and Bailey. A nice bunch really. And they did damned well at not making me feel like a spare part. We were also joined for a bit by Beth who seemed nice. Though Mike being a bit flirty with her was a bit hard to bear. Soemthing I'll learn to live with - and it was no more flirty than he'd have been while we were going out anyway - but it still hurts too much that he's not mine any more. (And while we're being honest - he may be being pretty nice about splitting up but I can't help resenting the fact he doesn't even want to try see if it can be fixed. I just wish there was something, anything, I could have done differently. But it's too late now. And thinking about it is only making me cry so I should carry on trying not to think about it).
At midnight I figured what the hell and wished Mike a happy birthday and give him his presents. And hugged him and went to bed. Tom rang around 2 and I thought about getting up and saying hi but was feeling a bit grim. I didn't actually get to sleep til the others all went to bed though - maybe next time I'll just stay up.
A new day today anyway and I've plenty of time to chill out before the music starts. It's going to be a good day.
Highlights of the evening include Bailey setting his shoes on fire. Craig and Johnny wrestling (and wrecking at least two chairs in the process). The nearby visiting Aberdonians in their splashsuits (one white, yellow, orange and blue). Arm wrestling atop a blue wheely bin. And a bottle of Sambuca drunk in 7 minutes flat.
Rob made tea. He's a star. Breakfast more or less over now, nearly time to make a move.
Apparently indie rock and roll is all I need. We made it down to the arena in time to catch Goldie Lookin' Chain. Now I didn't enjoy them all that much at Glasto but actually they were quite good fun this time. They lyrics are damned funny and they had some new material so it wasn't all a case of having heard it before.
After that I managed to hook up with Tom and Carrie and had a nice chat with them then wandered over to find the other Oxford lot. No sign of J-P but odd to see Jo and her bloke and Ralph and some other familiar faces. The Wedding Present were OK I guess in an indieish sort of way. Would have been more so if I actually knew them at all I guess. Just wasn't all that fussed. But amused myself watching some people play catch with a rubber frog.
Caught up with the others for the Dropkick Murphys - who I'd been looking forward to because they were ace last year. A bit disappointing to be honest. They played a couple of trad things (Amazing Grace and The Wild Rover) but none of their own stuff that I knew. Shame. But still relatively good fun. Mike thought the sound was shit but I didn't notice.
Time for a pint before Graham Coxon where I found myself sitting on my own for most of it. Beth bounced through to show off her picture of Charlie from Fightstar: she's having fun making the most of backstage access and rubbing shoulders with the stars. I had a few low moments to be honest. Mike reappeared during Elbow who were good but a bit overblown and grand sounding really. Good but well not very Reading. Crowd seemed to like it.
But yeah, we didn't exactly have a lot of energy and it kind of upset me a bit how much he perked up as soon as someone else turned up to talk to. Still we wandered off to catch Fightstar and I cheered up a bit. Just needed to keep doing stuff I think. They were OK I guess, yeah not bad. And followed by a fuck-off big gap which was quite well filled but the music on the PA but a bit pointless. And we only stayed for the first track of My Chemical Romance - the sound was crap and you couldn't hear the singing at all - though the crowd apparently knew it backwards.
Bit of a loose end but by the time we'd been for a piss the Coral had finished and the lads were all around. We all tried to head into the crowd for Queens of the Stone Age - but when I found myself lost 15 feet behind them for the second time I gave up and came back out again and listened from ditting by the fence. I'd not realised how much of their stuff I actually knew. Good stuff and some cheesy chips made me feel a fuck load better. Turned out in the end they'd all come out over the barried and I could have hung out with them for most of it but still. Anyway Rick's mate Charlie seemed nice and me, her and Rick watched the Killers from somewhere in the middle of the crowd. Well I say watched - could barely see the screens never mind the stage. But yeah it was actually just what I needed. Smile like you mean it made me think of Jamie and smile sadly along. But Indie Rock and Roll was just one hell of a moment and all of a sudden it was all I needed and everything felt alright. And they finished with All These Things That I Have Done and I found myself looking up at the sky with my hands silhouetted, the bright lights catching the smoke in the air, and the stars shining behind it, and the music just wrapped around me. It was a perfect moment and just left me with a huge grin.
Found Mike again and gave him a big hug and just felt great. Which was a great mood to be in for the Pixies. Who were just brilliant. Doesn't matter that I can only name 6 tracks that I knew there was familiar other stuff and even the bits I'd never heard were good. And Kim Deal's grin was just infectious as she played the bass nonchalently with a cigarette hanging from her mouth. I ended up dancing on my own in a gap with a handful of other random folk who were doing the same. And Where Is My Mind before the encore with Gigantic to finish. Just wow. It was magic.
Back to the tent found only craig still awake sitting getting gently stoned and taking pics of the fire. Mike, Beth, me and Craig sat up for a while chilling but when none of the others reappeared from their "quick lie-down"s we went to bed.
And now we're chilling over breakfast in the gazebo and I can join in without even getting out of bed. Nice one.
Everyone else looks wrecked this morning on <4 hours sleep. I got round this problem by throwing up at around midnight and feeling shite enough to go to bed. Jalepeno chillis - just say no.
It was a pretty damned good day though. There was only one shite moment when despite Mike spotting me lagging and sticking a hand up to follow I completely lost the others for the foo fighters. I think I was flagging already or I wouldn't have been as bothered. Still I got over it. You do.
As far as the music went we caught:
- The Longcut
- The Explosion
- Nine Black Alps
- Roots Manuva
- Then a bunch of comedy in the caberet tent
- Hot Hot Heat
- Arcade Fire
- Kings of Leon
- Bad Religion
- Foo Fighters
Not a bad list now I look at it. They were mostly pretty good with the possible exception of Roots Manuva who weren't really my cup of tea, but hey I got to doze in the shade. Bad Religion were fucking brilliant though - definitely a highlight. While being mildly amused I was having so much fun watching something recommended to me by an ex who played their most recent album at me while we were splitting up. Nice one.
Apart from that I reckon I enjoyed Hot Hot Heat and Kings of Leon most.
This morning is scorchingly sunny and the scottish guys are playing nursery rhymes on the stereo - perhaps in revenge for last night's magaphone action. Probably fair. Thank fuck for earplugs.
Lots more to do today but not yet.
Well probably nearly lunchtime by now. With the gentle sounds of people quietly putting their tents away and peacefully going home. Oh no - I mean lots of explosions.
I didn't seem to have time or energy to write any more this morning,
so I'll have to catch up from here from memory not notes. Sunday was
boiling, and I was definitely worried I'd get sunburn. So having caught
Turbonegro on the main stage (silly OTT mock metal - good fun) I went
and hid in the Radio 1/NME tent and caught Towers of London, the Rakes
and Sons and Daughters. The first seemed to be a bit miffed the
audience weren't more enthusiastic, which is a little unfair for a
Sunday lunchtime really, we were still waking up, I rather liked their
music though - a lot harder rock than you normally get in there IME.
The Rakes did well considering their lead singer was off with laryngitis
so they had the guitarist and the drummer both have a go and also
borrowed the singers from Bloc Party and Maximo Park for a couple of
tracks. Hard to tell what they'd sound like normally, and I was
shattered and dozed for a while too. Sons and Daughters were just great
though, I really like their sound - bit of a folk edge to it and lovely
contrasting twin vocals. Definitely another one for the
Next stop was back at the main stage for NOFX who I'd been intending to meet the others for. Despite me leaving 20 mins to get there though they'd started early and I missed the beginning and the company, which was a shame. Still I bounced along. I don't really know them to be honest, more their reputation, but they were good fun if a bit seemingly feeling the strain of getting up to play at 4 in the afternoon. After that I was beginning to bake and there wasn't much anyone was interested in - Iggy didn't really grab us - so Mike dragged me and Rob back off to the comedy tent again. Where we saw a couple of acts one of whom was OK and the other really blanked and had a terrible time on stage despite the crowd being rather sweet to him and *trying* to find him amusing - and he was in places. By and large Ed Byrne the previous day was the cream of the crop. Excellent mimery.
The rest of the night was spent at the main stage for Marilyn Manson and Iron Maiden - couldn't really miss either of them. And well wow. Manson was apparently not as good for Mike as when seen on previous occasions but given I'd not seen him before I was happy. There was a fun set (with the keyboard hanging on a swing from a gallows) daft outfits and makeup, serious stilts, and some good music. They played all three of the covers they do (sweet dreams, personal jesus, tainted love) which was a treat and they also did Rock is Dead and The Beautiful People which are favourite stompy tracks of mine. I let my inner sad old goth out and revelled in it. With minor embarrassment at not knowing more.
As for Maiden, well I wasn't sure quite what to expect. It was *not* that much energy. Or indeed that short a hair cut. When did Bruce Dickinson cut his hair? Perhaps it's the experience as a DJ but he had a good line in anecdotal style patter between batches of tracks, and it was nice to hear a little bit of history. And well the music. *grin* I felt like I was 15 again. Which is kind of disconcerting. Highlight for me was probably Phantom which was just *cool*, and I probably only really knew a couple other than that (Run to the hills most obviously) but I let my hair down and had fun.
Another fairly long evening back at the campsite. This evening the megaphone action was largely dominated by world domination. And Bailey managed to recruit an impressive 28 people to his army before he got bored of standing on a box in a red blanket cape. It seems the refrain from the previous night ("Are you a crime ... inal - a criminal" apparently from http://www.fat-pie.com/) had been a hit with some as well as irritating with others, and lots of variants ensued. Plus cries of "Trevor Macdonald will never be defeated". Perhaps you had to be there. And the only bollocks shouted across the fields were the ones we were going to defeat or defend as appropriate. It was fun. And punctuated by the explosions of assorted aerosols and gas canisters being thrown on fires. The scottish lot got a bit carried away burning things on theirs but nothing too lethal thankfully. And they rather trashed their next door neighbours' gazebo which was a bit mean but very funny. One of their contingent spent half the night sitting quietly with us trying not to be noticed. And there was belated birthday cake! Bed was around 4:30 tired but happy.
And the morning was mostly just packing and chilling out. Lots more bangs still, some of which were a little close for comfort (a can shot itself out of a fire some 50 feet towards the fence behind us) and one of which was astoundingly large and long-lasting - though not nearby enough to see the results of. I hope no-one was hurt in all of this arsing about but it seems unlikely there weren't at least moderate injuries out there somewhere. Still, I packed up then sat around on a chair in the shade of the gazebo until Rob packed that away, then realised the other nice neighbours had left theirs behind and dragged it over. Seeing walking gazebos during the night had been pretty funny - reminded me of the wonderful roleplaying joke and would add a rather new twist to it! It was a good call, since even with that precaution I seem to have caught the sun a little today. Rick finally packed up his tent (in 6 mins 45 secs plus 45 secs injury time) and went to fetch the van at around 1:30 and Mike and I headed for the station to make our way home.
Only slightly foiled by the trains (overhead lines down in the KX-Cam line) we acquired a spare hour at Liverpool Street which led to a nice pint and a burger and chips in the station pub, and a nice chat with a couple of lads on the next table, one of whom had been at Reading too, who were in London that night for Bad Religion again at the Astoria. Nice one. The train was old and rickety and slow and delayed and far far far too hot, but I'm home in one piece and by and large pretty damned happy. It's been an excellent weekend on the whole, and I can't wait for next year (she says hitting reload on the tickets site to see if the promised limited run of early bird tickets are up yet).