Rough Beats 2011 – there were indeed Beats, and they were Rough.
Even more rough, however, was returning to work after 3 days of little-to-no sleep.
Anyways – the weekend started on Friday – with my walking up to a car rental agency. Very small office – apparently the office had opened that very day – and I was the very first ever client. Which, I guess, is why my ordered “compact 5-door” turned out to be a big powerful Citroen. All the better for speeding in. I allowed the errand boy to drive my big powerful Citroen to the service station, in order to fill it with diesel – which he did with gusto. Young man with big powerful Citroen – bad combo. Overtaking on London inner-city streets – in front of a police station. Anyways – when we returned to the office, my fellow Rough-Beats-traveller was awaiting – and getting her name added to the insurance, such that she may drive our big powerful Citroen. And we discovered that as big and as powerful our Citroen was – it did not have any satellite navigation system. Or a TomTom, as his friends call him. Nope – no TomTom. But – we knew which direction our Rough Beats were… north. So – we drove North.
And kept heading North – Mary trying to tell me to take offroads towards getting on the M1, and me panicking at the last moment and constantly veering across traffic whenever I saw a sign which stated “The North”. After an hour or so though, we’d had enough chit-chat that I trusted my navigator enough to leave the trusty A1 – and found our way onto the M1. And continued North without incident – until some ridiculous little town called Piddle or some-such, where we got horribly lost once more. Eventually, after Mary’s iPoone failed us, and my HTC SuperPhone saved us – we did some shopping, and left Piddle behind. And found our way to Rough Beats – despite me once more ignoring Mary’s directions, and therefore going the wrong way.
And then Beats were had. Tents were erected, warm beers were consumed, cold beers followed, more warm beers, cold beers, and just a general evening of beers and Beats. The pub took a visiting, but refused to serve us any food other than pork scratchings and ‘crisps’. Warm beers were a-had. And a leisurely stroll returned us to the Rough Beats campsite – where Beats were still playing from tents, and a bus. Friends were a-caught-up with, dancing was done, people were met. And then it came time for sleep. But it was cold. Oh my friends, you can’t imagine how cold it was – in our tents, in the middle of the Yorkshire dales, with nary a heater available. But we did what we had to do to survive. For me – that was dressing from neck to ankle in that wonderful material which is true-blue New Zealand merino. Unfortunately – I had no socks. Not a one. But – I survived the night, and that’s all that matters – is it not?
Oh, but had I known what I would have to endure the next day – would I have wanted to survive the night? For the next day – every single conversation at this festival of Rough Beats was based around “Oh gosh oh golly – wasn’t it cold last night?” And being less receptive than most to idle chit-chat smalltalk natter – I slunk off and hid. Got my hammock slung up between two gate posts at the top of the hill, and read me some book. eBook, to be precise – as I have moved my attention from trying to destroy the music and movie industries – and decided to include the publishing industry in my ePiracy attacks. (Not really – I pay for every single movie/album/book I’ve downloaded – ‘onest officer! But seriously – I do pay for as much music and literature as I can. Well, a fair bit anyway – “fair” being the key word.)
Anyways – my peace and quiet was destroyed when a posse of raucous yooves sat down nearby. Katie, Chook, Tom, Mary – and none of them had thought to bring me any delicious breakfast, despite the fact that by this time I’d worked up quite the hunger. Eventually food was attempted – but my efforts were lacklustre, to say the least. Muesli & yoghurt turned out to be a whole heap of muesli, with insufficient yoghurt to moisten even a part of it. A litre of milk later – and I was still pretty much trying to swallow a thick cement paste. Wandering to the pub again in the early afternoon, we fared no better. Once more – no food to be had. Beers though – delicious warm beers. Returning to the festival, Beats were STILL happening! So we enjoyed these Beats, Rough as they were. And the beers continued to flow – a crazy hodge-podge of cold and warm. But then midnight beckoned – and there was a great joy, for at midnight – I did slip behind the bar, and the whole process of buying beers became that much more magical. Or something. Anyway – I’ve neglected to mention that as dusk fell, I had donned something a little more formal – as befits a Saturday evening. So, when I took hold of barman duties, I was dressed in quite a fetching ensemble – consisting of (from beautiful bottom to tasty top): kung-fu slippers, black suit trousers, white wing-collar shirt with black/grey paisley waistcoat, and white paisley bowtie. Not your regular pot-bellied barman, oh no – being served alcoholic beverages between the hours of 12 & 3 at Rough Beats was a delightful experience.
Yep. Moving on… the bar closed at 3, and I rejoined the general public. And mingled, met a swiss sex maniac (self confessed), and ran away from her. Eventually, the sun began to rise, and it was time for sleep. Not much sleep – and then it was time to arise, and listen to some Beats. For yes – there were still Beats to be had, and they were still as Rough as ever. But today I was tired, so my day consisted of: lying in my hammock reading, lying in the main tent reading drinking bloody marys by the pint glass, sliding down the grassy embankment in the rain on an inflatable mattress trying ever more dangerous routes in an attempt to hurt myself, sitting in the bar tent reading, drinking red wine, getting lost, eventually finding my tent and collapsing into it.
And Monday arrived – time for the long trip back to London. Mary took the wheel of our big powerful Citroen, while I struggled valiantly to stay awake for chit-chat, but failed. I woke at some random service stop, where we bought bad overpriced food and coffee. And then I drove our big powerful Citroen the remainder of the way to London. I drove the wrong way up a one-way street in order to drop the car off – thereby scaring the errand boy. He was also startled that we would have the nerve to drop the car off early. Eventually he agreed to take the car off our hands – and we wandered to a pub for some afternoon shandies. Chit-chat was done, and we eventually parted. Mary off to the train for some more travelling – and me to my local pub for more shandies. Or “lager-tops”, actually. And food. I ordered carlsberg-tops one after the other, and then ordered meals one after the other. All while looking quite the mess. Jandals, mud splattered dress trousers, and a dishevelled dress shirt half-opened – carrying a plastic bag of wet clothing, a big old backpack, and reading my eBook.
After many a “lager-top”, and a couple of meals – I started the final leg of my journey home. One flight of steps, collapse in the front door, and fall into bed.
And those were the Roughest of all the Beats you will find anywhere, in 2011.