Sunday, 16 November 2008

Something Reading this way Comes

This week in Luke…that sounds strange, let’s try another one. This Sunday, I will discuss…That’s pretentious. Balls to it, I’m just going to jump right in.

I, like many other participants of the food basket of England, attended the holy sanctum of current auditory delights, the Western Woodstock, the Musical Mire; Reading Festival. This was my first attendance to a festival of any kind, unless you consider the Bristol Comic Convention a festival. Which I do not. On any account. And if you disagree, you are no doubt a fucking nerd.

Anyway, as it was the first time I had been graced with the pleasure of camping in a surrounding of filth, I naturally had to keep my un-judging eyes open, for any and all things I could grab, and pin down with tiny strings, in a sort of giant Gulliver of delights, to remember forever and ever. And thankfully, in this conglomeration of the great unwashed, I found many things that I enjoyed greatly, so thankfully my collection of tiny harpoons and rope did not go unused. A list of major things has often been used in English culture to display how fantastic and brilliant things are. Pro’s and Con’s are an American phenomena, and because I like American television better right now, I shall use the Yankee method of listing things. Here we go people, strap in tight.


  1. People. Many of the participants of this unholy union between man and sound seem friendly. They smile and wave, and occasionally, request if you would simply like a free hug. Although the last point was displeasing to me in its entirety, having never really felt the desire to wrap my arms around a filthy semi-naked man, I felt as though it was nice to have the option. In the same way that it is nice to have the option of squid offered to me at a restaurant, even though I will never eat it. Even the drug dealers are friendly. They chat with the patrons of the many bars, and even chat nicely with people terrified of their grizzled, unshaven complexion, such as myself. Even though it is hard to talk to a man who seems to be eight different shades of green, and has a distinct musk of vomit and alcohol on his mottled and stained hemp fleece, his voice is soothing and smooth, and allows me to overcome the intense desire to run away. When a person stamps on your head when you are knocked down, or spills his two star curry over your shirt, he or she will apologise with gusto, offering you rewards for not getting angry. This leads me nicely onto…

  1. Food. Never in my life have I tasted such food. It is strange to experience. Your body can tell the food is substandard. You can tell there are parasites embedded in the very material used to package the falafel wrap. And you can see that the man serving you is not clean, you wouldn’t expect him to be. He has been working in a filthy shack surrounded by mud and disease. But you simply have no other choice. And you wouldn’t want another choice, because the majority of the food, apart from the burger that is clearly a by-product of crude oil, is delicious. The only downside is the price. It is hard to explain in any other way than this: Investment. And money will not grow from it, but other things. For it is made from bio-culture.

  1. Music. This is really a no-brainer, so let’s make it into a brainer. Music is a collection of “sounds”, formed into a distinctive and planned melody. Sound is a form of energy that moves through air, water, and other matter, in waves of pressure. Sound is the means of auditory communication, including frog calls, bird songs and spoken language. Although the ear is the vertebrate sense organ that recognizes sound, it is the brain and central nervous system that "hears". Sound waves are perceived by the brain through the firing of nerve cells in the auditory portion of the central nervous system. The ear changes sound pressure waves from the outside world into a signal of nerve impulses sent to the brain. But no one wants to hear about that. The music is good. I went to Reading; all excited about hearing one or two bands play. But my main reason for going there was to expand my musical culture. And I did, mission successful, but in a very different way to the plan I had. My plan was to see the mainstream, and figure out which ones I liked. However, my time was mainly spent inside the “Punk” tent. This area is usually filled with people who are begging to attack something, anything, to prove that they are more of a primal human being than the person next to them. I remained unperturbed. I focused my attention on the music, and now I have an increased musical knowledge. It was a good day for me and all of my unborn larvae.

  1. Drugs and Alcohol (which is another type of drug). This is a sticky subject, and must be approached with caution. The fact that I was eighteen was certainly a blessing, because from what I could see, whilst many, many, many, drugs were readily available, with chants of “Drugs for sale” floating around the festival like migratory birds, alcohol was not so accessible. It seems ridiculous that at an event known for reckless, but thoroughly entertaining, hedonism, that one could have trouble finding even a snifter of the worst backwater-piss cider anywhere, but this was a very big problem with members of my friendship group. And being offered sips of a “bag of wine” from a person mildly resembling a fairy-tale troll, I could only wrinkle my nose in disgust and back away slowly. There are very few lines I will not cross, but I remain vigilant in my attempts not to cross them. This whole paragraph may seem like a Con, but the fact is, I have been complaining about the lack of alcohol. When you can find the noxious stuff, and drink it with gusto, it is incredible, and you are incredible for doing it.


  1. Filth. I need only tell one story regarding this subject, and I will have explained my point. Toilets are good. They stop us from shitting in the woods, or in small patches of high grass, like disgusting animals. However, this concept is only vague in the minds of the Reading Festival organisers, like a waif, flitting around in a haze of smoke. The product of these fevered minds is simply a skip. With around 10 to 15 cubicles thrown on the top. People would go into these shacks, wearing little more than underwear and “flip-flops”. And yet, the ironic thing is that the human beings cleaning the cess pool were wearing what I can only describe as Haz-Mat suits. It was incredible.

  1. Wasps. Fucking wasps. Think they can do whatever the fuck they want. Coat your tent with some insect repellent, or spray the little fuckers with it, and then they’ll see what’s what. Assholes.

  1. People. Now whilst this was a pro, there are also those who have this undeniable urge to destroy everything you once held dear, whilst terrifying you beyond your imagination. Being pelted with mud clots, I can take that, I went to comprehensive school, and I lived in Somerset, it was practically a pastime. But imagine, towards the hours of the early morning, taking a stroll over the vast grounds that encompass the Reading Festival, and hearing the sound of drums. You look around, perhaps it is in your head, or perhaps it is something darker. Then imagine turning round the corner to see the shattered wreck of a toilet. Not only this, but a deep and roaring flame bursting forth from it, twisting and turning, in a way that could only be described as possessed. And atop this mighty throne of twisted metal and flame, many young men and women, with tattered clothes, shout, almost musically. They hit the remains of this toilet, with other pieces of the toilet, ripped with their bare hands, in such a way that can only be described as warlike. The noxious fumes rise, and the sky turns a sickening purple, as if God himself is rolling in pain and anguish at what he has wrought.

All things considered, Reading was pretty great. I would go again, and so should you. I mean, for the first time. Unless you have been, in which case it’s again. It is sad to end this piece so abruptly, but I’m going to. So there.

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