Everybody in this train is going to Wilderness Festival. I have already met two people I know, one on the train and one in the station. I’ve gone every year that the festival has existed, in a wide variety of different capacities. It’s a good festival, even if it is mostly trustafarians in a field talking about matcha. It has been my tension release mechanism for the best part of a decade.
This year will be the first time I’m not there for the duration, although my one day off – Sunday – will be spent running around in tweed as some kind of silly bookmaker. If I’m organised I can get my ticket validated on Saturday morning, then go immediately back to Oxford, do two shows and get a late train straight back two stops to Charlbury, talk my way in and hang out with my festival crew until late Saturday night. If I’m not validated and don’t have a wristband then the guys that work the gate at night will actively enjoy stopping me getting in. I know them of old. They are humungous assbadgers and take pleasure in wielding what little power they have been granted to obstruct other humans. The guy I met a few years ago used to be a soldier – (he told me). Now demobbed he probably lives with his aged mum who whips him if the tea is too milky. Standing upright at the gate saying “no” to people gives him tremendous fulfillment. “I’ve said no to all sorts of people in my life as a soldier.” “This isn’t Glastonbury, you tit.” I had to be sly to get past him and his joylessness. I snuck with me a 25 year old who had given up and was about to go to sleep in floods of tears in a wet field with nothing but a sleeping bag. “I’ve got my wristband. My girlfriend is in there. I have no tent. It’s cold. Please!?” “You have to go through proper accreditation. It’s closed for the night. It says that on the website.” Oh he is going to hell that man.
We met a steward near the border, after we had got through. He knew exactly what we’d done. After checking our wristbands (which just hadn’t been blipped) he said: “Can you keep an eye out for a guy with a big beard with grey in it and a tall younger guy with dark hair. Apparently they are likely to try to break in. I’ve just had it through the radio.”
The upside of this one night Wildernessy plan is that it will be great fun. The downside is that it will be the complete opposite of restfulness. This week has been one of the most full-on weeks I’ve had for ages and it’s not going to be any different next week. My body is getting used to it, but it’s probably expecting a day off before long. Not six hours of dancing, three hours of sleep, an afternoon running around in the sun and an exhausted tipsy attempt to get back to London in some sort of reasonable time for bed before double work funtime restarts on Monday morning.
My train is pulling into Oxford. Lots of my friends on WhatsApp are asking each other where their tents are pitched. I’m gonna go do a show with lovely people and then rebound to London while they go wide eyed into the wilderness and learn all about guarana and Himalayan pink rock massage or how weird they find stroking a fully grown human dressed as a cat, or how satisfying it can be to switch off every critical faculty and dance like a total idiot until you are completely and utterly exhausted and hysterical and then collapse under canvas until the sun cooks you out of bed far too early and you do it all again the next day.
Show happened. Joy happened. I snatched a pint tonight. Now I’m on the train again and it’s an alcoholic wreck. All the empty seats are a carnage of discarded cans and bottles. “Can we make an offer for the whole trolley,” says the group of lads by the door to Andy the booze trolley guy.
In some ways I’m quite glad I’m going home tonight. I’ve realised I have got the energy to do this rehearsal plus show thing. But I’m only human. Hitting the hay for a minimum 6 hours with a little Pickle curled in the empty space – it’s a recharge. But barely. There’s not much of me left right now. Thankfully I find writing this blog strangely relaxing. How the hell I got to that when it used to fill me with anxiety is testament to the work I’ve been undertaking this last three years, and the support of my close friends. I used to wonder if I’d be sued. Believe it or not I was once threatened with exactly that, which is confirmation bias at work. But so far I’m ok. It is fiction after all.
I could probably throw this skill – proven through daily use – towards people who pay insincere gushing energy-vampires to write bullshit lifestyle columns. I‘d need a reasonably wide remit. “Liberty withal as large a charter as the wind to blow on who I please”.
A weekly column where money hits my bank as a result of my work… That’d be nice. Right now I’m an amateur writer, essentially. And I’m under no illusions about my opinions being anything other than my opinions. I don’t have adverts switched on, I’m not seeking corporate sponsorship, or calling myself an influencer, or even trying to put my blog out widely. I’m just writing for my weird personal reasons. I’m not even sure why anymore. This is an intimate thing, almost like a diary. I have never looked at the numbers. It might be more than I imagine. I don’t care. But am I missing a trick by just throwing free words into a limited bag of humans? I don’t think so…
I got a gold star after yesterday’s blog! A literal gold star!! From someone I really admire who sometimes reads my witterings and had a gold star to hand. I’m wearing it as I write. Glory. THAT’S the reason.
I’ll keep at this blogging for now. It’s part of my schtick. But my gorge rises when someone describes me as a blogger. Weird.
How are you?