Great news everybody!!! Snakes in mysterious global decline. I’ll be drinking champagne tonight.
In other news – went to “Yorkshire’s best and most original independent music festival” Rough Beats this weekend. Left the organisation of it extremely late – due to dozens of unknown variables. One of which was – when would Chook&Chris be able to leave work, would Chook be taking the van, and would I be able to leave work early on Friday – or not go to work Friday at all. The answer to all of these would be “no”. Chook&Chris wimped out of the entire weekend. I had a meeting Friday afternoon which I had to attend. And everything just combined to make things as difficult as possible. Although – the upside was that my options were so restricted, I didn’t have to make any decisions. Only one option – rent a car, drive up all by my lonesome. So – that’s what I did. Didn’t take a tent because I didn’t want to lug it into work, and then to the rental car place. So – turned up in North Yorkshire at about 10:30 pm – rather tired – with a backpack containing my laptop, a hammock, and some minimal clothing. I turned down the road to the festival – and as I topped the hill to see the carpark – I was rather shocked. The number of cars had probably doubled since the last time I went. They’d actually run out of space – and had to open another field, which was arrived at over a very dodgy farm bridge. As I parked up and get ready to walk up the hill – I overheard the security radio telling people to “not let anybody else in”. I started worrying that the whole thing had gotten out of hand, or something. But – walked up to the gate – told the nice lady that “no – I don’t have a ticket – but my name should be on the list”. And crossed my fingers that my name really was on the list. It was – scrawled by hand right at the bottom of the printed list. Just below Katie’s. So – I walked in, found the bar (and Katie behind it) – and had a few drinks.
After a little while, I tried to follow Katie’s directions to find her tent – so I could get rid of my stuff. Opened a tent – saw a box of cans of Strongbow. Thought I might be in the wrong tent. Returned to the bar, and confirmed with Katie that I had indeed nearly given somebody a very nasty/nice surprise. I guess it cancels out the previous weekend. As soon as Katie got a chance for a break from being barmaid – we moved Katie’s tent from the general campsite into Kevin’n’Maggie’s lawn. (Dom’s parents. Full props to them for hosting nearly a thousand people for a weekend. A warning to my parents – I’ve started getting ideas. Anybody willing to host a music festival?) And then – back to the bar, until closing time. After which we tried to crash. But were kept awake by drunken singing, drumming – and the bloody portaloo doors slamming shut every 10 seconds.
And after a couple of hours sleep – it was time to go to work. I got up, into the house – and sat down with my laptop to do a few server migrations. Just the right frame of mind to be doing it too. Eventually finished, or mostly – then wandered out to hang my hammock, and lie outside – listening to live music and reading a book. Sometimes – just sometimes – life is good. Katie joined me for a while – and then it was time to play barstaff for a while. As soon as I left the hammock – there was a rush of people trying to grab it. I figured I might as well leave it out – I think there’d be a riot if I tried to convince people it was private property.
So off we wandered to the bar – and proceeded to spend the next 7 hours or so absolutely decimating the stocks of booze. Everytime Kevin popped in we were inundated with drunkards – and I think he thought we were shit at the job. But then he’d leave, and it would settle back into a busy but manageable stream. Until after a few hours when Kevin/Dom checked the truck – and suddenly realised that we’d sold nearly everything. And I really had – I hadn’t drunk any of it. Well… very very little. It was actually such a steady stream of customers and restocking that I think I only had time to drink about 1 pint over the course of the first 3 or 4 hours. And after that – it was just hectic. Started running out of beer, then rum, then whiskey, then coke, then tonic water, etc etc. I think we eventually closed around 2am – and just started packing what we had left away as quickly as possible, before the drunks realised what we were doing. Bloody drunks. I then proceeded to have a few drinks with a few people back at the house. A decent whisky, some blue cheese, and then some beers.
I then snuck out to see if I could reclaim my hammock. There seemed to be about 4 people in it – being swung vigorously. I decided to try again later. Later – I found it deserted – and tried to untie it. Very difficult – wet rope, pulled very tight by holding about double what it was designed for – and dug into the tree. As I was struggling, some people wandered across – and accused me of stealing the hammock. They apparently had plans to sleep in it that night. I’d already untied one end – so said sorry – and continued. They seemed to think it was festival property – and I was actually stealing it – but wandered off more concerned about the fact they wouldn’t be able to sleep in it that night. I eventually got it off the tree, and crawled off to the tent, where I collapsed without too much trouble.
And then it was Sunday. Hung the hammock back up. Drank some Bloody Marys. Read some books. Listened to some music. And got a little drunk. Bloody drunks. Went to listen to some chap – and sat down for it. Tried to stand at the end – and collapsed. I must have looked like a complete drunken fool. But honestly – my entire left leg had gone to sleep. Could have been quite nasty actually – with the chance of rolling an ankle or something. So – sat there making a large point of rubbing my leg – and not appearing drunk – before trying again. And eventually – the last band left the stage. And it was time for the celebration to begin. Which it did. But most people were complete exhausted after three days of setting up bands, organising sewage trucks, etc. I believe my night ended with realising I was absolutely smashed – going back to the house – finding it locked, with nobody else awake that might have a key – so staggering off to the hammock. Slept there until I woke up in the pouring rain. Staggered about again – into one of the main stages – and found some big cloth bags to make a bed out of.
Woke a few hours later – and realised I pretty much had to get straight into the car. Gave one chap a ride back to London – and his chatter probably aided a lot in my not falling asleep. But – I got back safely. And returned to Balham where I could infuriate Chook&Chris by giving away as little information as possible about what they had missed. And my wearing a Rough Beats 2010 T-shirt. And then back to work on Tuesday. When I remembered it was the day scheduled for one of the most critical and highly visible pieces of work. And so I did that. I think – I have a vague memory of doing that yesterday anyway – and nobody has complained, so all good.
Anyway – many thanks to Dom, Mike, Tony. Kevin’n’Maggie especially. And I fully recommend Rough Beats to anybody looking for a music festival.