Everyone, I imagine, has at least one song for which the act of listening is almost a transportation.
A song that awakes a vivid memory and is so strongly associated with a certain time in your life that the two are inseparable...to hear is to remember, and to remember is to relive.
I know a lot of people listen to music in colours...for me the opening guitar riff to Counting Crows’ ‘Mr. Jones’ is a stream of yellow and gold, and that gold is the morning sunshine of the spring of my second sixth form year at Medina High.
The day is bright as full summer, but the air is cool and crisp - you feel alert, more alive.
For me that memory is always there, even if listening to the song so much since then has put a lot of memories in there with it.
Now...imagine you are IN your memory, and the artists who gave you your nostalgia-hotwiring tune are in there with you, playing the song. Over the trees across the river the sun is setting behind the hospital where you were born.
Instead of the memory coming from the song, the song...and the band, had come to the memory, and I stood there, in the throng, revelling in the knowledge that no one there was enjoying this mind-blowingly amazing sensation in quite the way I was.
It was a good gig.
The rest of the weekend
Festivals are pretty damned good fun at the best of times, and at the worst of times you can generally remember the wise words of Eric Idle - ‘Worst things happen at sea you know! Cheer up you old bugger.’. This weekend was a mixture of both for different people.
Friday night arriving at the campsite, myself, Ben Craig, his pseudo-girlfriend Annie and a friend of mine from the Island, James Foster, sat around in a space behind our tents. James and I, after an early-evenings’ hard drinking at the Island’s Chicago Rock were pretty merry, and I randomly started helping a couple of girls who were having difficulty in putting up their tent, and then gave up and invited them to come drink with us. As of then we accumulated people until about 4 or 5am, including some notably quality Festival Characters including ‘Jimble Girl’ and ‘Bob’.
Jimble Girl – a young punky-dressed Island girl of about 18-19, who, whilst rolling wide-end-and-twist-style cigarette-esque things for her and her mates on the far side of the social circle (literally) was telling everyone about the particular slang associated with that pastime on the Isle of Wight, unaware that she wasn’t the only one from the Island. A ‘Jimble’ was allegedly an almost finished cigarette-esque thing, and ‘Nigels’ were the last few draws of one, which automatically went to anyone called Nigel if they happened to be present when said cigarettey object passed over the Jimble Threshold. We later found her working on the Henna Tattoo stall whilst wearing stripy socks.
Bob – in late middle age, Bob was a totally pissed yet congenial bloke who insisted on attempting to light Sambucca in his own mouth after seeing someone light it in mine, which was...entertaining.
Whilst Jimble Girl was passing round one of her specials on the other side of the (admittedly large) circle, he leapt up, intercepted said special, took a long drag and handed it back. Through the rolling mushroom cloud of exhaled smoke he said;
“I shouldn’t have done that you know...I’m an-an-an officer of the law!”
We thought this was quite funny. Then he sat down next to me and a wallet fell out of his pocket. I picked it up to hand it to him, and it swung open to reveal a Thames Valley Police badge with the name ‘R. Miller’ embossed on it.
Ten minutes later on my way back to the circle from the portaloos, I passed Bob being escorted off the campsite between two of his fellow officers, one of whom was reading him his rights.
Which was nice.
It emerged that his brief inhalation was the least of three offences he had allegedly committed that night, the other two being theft.
Starsailor were excellent, although the lead singer’s attempts at being all ‘rock’n’roll’ were cringeworthy...he was too much of a nice boy. Iggy Pop was good, and Paul Weller amazing. Paul Weller’s backing group seemed to consist of most of Ocean Colour Scene, which made Saturday’s headline act a bit of a bargain, to be honest!
Sunday and the John Baker Trio (possibly...this is from memory) were a highlight, and the startlingly energetic Queen-on-helium ‘The Darkness’ also rated quite highly. Counting Crows made the weekend and to be honest most of this month for me, after which Bryan Adams could have farted into the microphone for the full 90 minutes for all I cared, but in fact was surprisingly good. It’s easy to forget how many songs he’s done just by being around so bloody long. You don’t have to like them all, but he’s jumped into bed (figuratively speaking) with everyone from Mel C to Chicane, so there’s bound to be something of his that you can at least tap your foot to.
Putting money to one side, it was well worth spending two days of my holiday allowance for.
Has anyone got any spare tickets for Glastonbury?