Category Archives: Music festivals

Melodic Randomiser Unspooled 4…

After much burrowing around in the cardboard box and carrier bag breeding ground of our under-stairs cupboard, today I managed to haul out the second box of rattling plastic nostalgia cases that is my cassette collection.

Throwing caution to the wind, I blindly grabbed a trio of magnetic memory magnifiers and slotted the first one into the stereo before I’d even checked to see what it was.


So you can imagine my delight (or maybe you can’t, you might not be so easily pleased) when this next installment in the trip through my own personal musical heritage began with an album that gave us the best song from the soundtrack to a movie cult classic, the wantonly strange Donnie Darko (which, if you haven’t seen it, go find it and watch it).

The Church are not, in the UK at least, a hugely well-known band, hailing as they do from Sydney, Australia. But this song (as well as featuring one of the only acceptable uses of bagpipes in pop) is an instant earworm. It appears at a pivotal point in the movie and perfectly captures the dreamy and surreal tone of Donnie’s world.

Here it is then, from 1988, The Church and the sublime Under the Milky Way Tonight

…plus, if you liked that and because I’m feeling generous, why not check out the full album, Starfish, while you’re at it.

From antipodean indie to U.S. political hip hop and rap/rock, the next stop on our eclectic journey brings us to a tape that was put together for me by an old friend from Sussex (hello Chris) and it tackles themes that are, somewhat depressingly, just as relevant today as they were in the early ’90s.

The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy were an astute and politically aware hip hop four-piece from San Francisco who, despite their short lifespan, (they split after only three years) provided us with one of the most memorable rap anthems of the era.
Their album, Hypocrisy is the Greatest Luxury, was one long rant on the state of America at the turn of the twentieth century’s final decade, and although it’s filled with angst, it sidestepped the “cop killer” attitude of many rappers by concentrating on social issues and generational injustices.

Of the two tracks I’ve chosen from that first blistering album, this is the one you’re most likely to remember, Television, the Drug of the Nation

…and this, the album’s opener, is just as apposite in 2015, here is Satanic Reverses.

But if proper, eye-popping, vein-bulging anger is more your type of political poison, look no further than the other side of today’s tape two.
Because there you will find some truly furious men, the no-holds-barred riffing monster that is Rage Against the Machine and their ground-breaking eponymous debut album.

I could have picked a couple of the less well known tracks to play you, but there really is nothing that compares to their signature anthem from 1991, the musical steamroller they call Killing in the Name

…and I’m going to follow that with a performance I was fortunate enough to witness, the apoplectic Bullet in the Head, live from Reading Festival in 1996.

Which brings us to the final selection in today’s trawl of the tapes, lightening things up a bit with some American new wave pop from The B52’s and their ’89 breakthrough album, Cosmic Thing.
I could go the really obvious route and play the massive worldwide smash hit, Love Shack, but instead I’m going for two of my favourites.

First of all, here’s Roam

…and to complete this visit to the archives, let’s all join the Deadbeat Club.

Thank you for listening.
And as always, remember: Be kind, rewind.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tenuous Tina 2…

Barely have I even had the chance to find out if anyone read part one of this epically episodic experiment in interconnectedness, but I made a commitment to posting a new set of tediously tenuous transitions each day up to Christmas Eve and that’s just what I intend to do.


Right, where were we..?
Ah yes, we’d got as far the first choice in my highlights of the year, Daft Punk and Random Access Memories.
Hang on to your hats, this could get tenuous.

Daft Punk have a habit of dressing up as robots.
The Flaming Lips released an album called Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots which was inspired by one of their fans fighting cancer.
The astrological sign of Cancer ends on July 22nd, the day on which I posted this year’s report from Chagstock Festival.
One of the bands playing this year’s festival was Mystery Jets, whose album I bought in Winchester
.. on the way home from the inaugural Golden Face Palms, which we attended with Ho, who designed the fabulous team t-shirts for our annual night hike across the moors.
On our latest Rotary Startrek in the dark we got a little Lost, which by coincidence is the name of a TV series created by JJ Abrams.

And it was Abrams who directed one of the blockbuster movie highlights of the year, Startrek – Into Darkness.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.


Posted by on December 11, 2013 in Arts, Blogging, Films, Ho., Music, Music festivals


Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Sunshine Award. (7 degrees of separation)…


I’m delighted to say that I’ve just received another blogger award.
This time it’s the Sunshine Award, presented to me by Lanthie at Life Cherries and as usual it comes with some pass-on-the-award-to-other-people-and-give-some-facts-about-yourself type rules.
But if you’re a regular reader then you’ll know that I try and do something a little more interesting with my nominations, so with that in mind jet me introduce you to my new award.

All seven people nominated are of course automatically recipients of the Sunshine Award, but in addition they will receive my brand new accolade. (along with bespoke Ho artwork)

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Tenuous Lynx Award.


Here’s the idea. We all know we can connect ourselves with each other via six degrees of separation but I thought I’d go one better and connect the seven blogs I’m nominating for my newly minted award by seven degrees, all via stuff I like, thereby giving you that all-important insight.

Just because, alright?

(It would please me greatly if you attempt something similar when you pass it on to whomever you choose, but feel free to just bestow the Sunshine upon them if you so wish)

Let us begin…

Life Cherries gave me the award.
Cherries have stones.
The Rolling Stones recorded a song called Mother’s Little Helper, about housewives getting pills from their doctor.

The Doctor is soon to be played by John Hurt in the 50th anniversary episode of Dr Who and he was also in classic sci-fi horror masterpiece, Alien
4º …the second sequel of which stars a host of British actors, including Charles Dance.
5º Charles now stars in the TV adaptation of George R.R.Martin‘s brilliant Game of Thrones.
6º Game of Thrones has a plotline involving dragons..
…bringing me to my first nominee, windhound’s colorful and experimental Dragon Shades blog, featuring beautiful abstract digital art and photography.

Dragon Shades brings colour to life.
Living Colour were a heavy rock band from the late ’80s who I once saw at Reading Festival.

The Ballad of Reading Gaol is a poem by Oscar Wilde.
Wilde was played by Stephen Fry in the film of his life.


Stephen Fry – Wilde man.

Fry used to be in a double act with Hugh Laurie.
Laurie has found fame in America both through his music and as the unconventional doctor in the title role of House.
House Music is often accompanied by elaborate computer graphics and digital video effects.
Which are just the sort of things that are on display on the blog of my second nominee, Waking Spirals.

Waking Spirals combines cutting edge art with literary quotes and philosophical musings…
…as does Waking Life, the extraordinary film by Richard Linklater who also made A Scanner Darkly.
Scanners is a film by David Cronenberg who also made disturbing dystopian hi-tech nightmare Videodrome, starring Debbie Harry
..who was in Blondie.

Blondie began their career at CBGB, along with other punk legends The Ramones and Talking Heads.
Talking Heads made my favourite concert film of all time, Stop Making Sense..
…during which David Byrne wears a giant white suit…
..and what do you have in the back of a suit?
A Vent, that’s what. Which is what Ron calls his blog, and he’s nominee number 3.
Check out his take on life in the big city, it’s faaabuuloso.

A vent is something you would use to release air.
Air are a French electronica band whose first single was the sublime Sexy Boy

…from the album Moon Safari and when the Apollo 11 mission went to the moon they planted a flag.
Flagg is a character in many Stephen King novels including The Stand, many of which contain monsters..
…and Stand is a song by R.E.M.
..who recorded an album called Monster.
6º  They also had a massive hit with Everybody hurts.
And what do you have if everybody hurts?
A World Of Pain, that’s what. Adam’s blog is funny, clever, thought provoking and occasionally mischievous. Go and take a look, you won’t regret it.

A World Of Pain’s Golden Face Palms are raising a lot of dough for cancer charities.
Dough is what bread is made of and Pain is the French for bread.
Pizza is also a dough and Pizzaman is one of the many aliases of Fat Boy Slim.

Fat Boy Slim’s real name is Quentin and Christopher Walken appeared in one of his videos.
Walken also appears in another Quentin‘s film, Tarantino‘s Pulp Fiction.
Tarantino’s films frequently contain prolonged shoot-outs, much like those favoured by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in Spaced.
Someone else who was severely spaced was Arthur Dent in Douglas Adams’ fantastic Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, in which he and his friend stick out their thumbs and travel round the universe..
…as opposed to Quillan and Angela at Toemail, the fourth of my award recipients, who travel round the world and send back stories with photos attached, all of which contain a toe or two. Go dip a toe in their blog.

Toemail posts all feature feet.
A giant foot ends the Monty Python title sequence
…which is animated by Terry Gilliam who also made the dark and Orwellian Brazil
The original Orwellian nightmare, Nineteen Eighty Four revolves around the character Winston Smith.
The Smiths recorded a live album called Rank.

The Rank Organisation movies of the ’50s and ’60s opened with a man striking a giant gong.
The psychedelic band Gong recorded an album about a “Radio Gnome Invisible” who travelled in a Flying Teapot
…which would be an ideal accompaniment to my penultimate nominee, The Flying Fruitbowl, where you will find Aaron curating all manner of fabulous digital and fantasy art by new and exciting young artists.

A fruit bowl is an item favoured by artists painting still life pictures.
Still Life is an album by prog rock pioneers Van de Graff Generator.
The scientific apparatus, the Van de Graff Generator is used for making electricity.
Electricity was the debut single from Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

…who also recorded Maid of Orleans, a song about Joan of Arc.
In Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Joan of Arc is played by Jane Wiedlin from The Go-Gos who had a hit with Rush Hour.

Canadian rock band Rush released an album called Moving Pictures.. the ones you’ll find on Sandro’s blog Life in Pictures, an eclectic selection of beautiful photography with something to interest and enchant everyone.

Which is my seventh and final Tenuous Link to an award nominee in this daisy chain of tangential twaddle. I hope you found something to entertain you amidst the forest of links and clips and if you are a lucky recipient, why not have a go yourself and pass along the Tenuous Lynx.


{Ooh, and please link back to Diary of an Internet Nobody in your post. Thanks)


Posted by on November 12, 2013 in Arts, Awards, Blogging, Charity, Films, Ho., Humour, Music, Music festivals, TV


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Running commentary…

The more time I’ve spent writing Diary of an Internet Nobody, the more I’ve come to appreciate how important the part of comments is in helping to keep the stream of ideas flowing.

Since it appears to be the month for celebrating milestones – 15,000 hits, 200 followers – it’s also worth me taking a minute to congratulate you, my esteemed followership, on the fact that over 1000 comments have now been registered on the blog, (although I should point out, that does include my replies) and I’m grateful for each and every one.
I even had my very own troll for a while, but he seems to have crept back under his bridge of late.

Trolls aside, if it wasn’t for the opinions, advice and thought-provoking discussions that have begun in that little square box at the bottom of each post, many of the actual posts might not have been written in the first place.
Quite apart from the direct contributions so to speak, from old friends Oliver, who gave a personal account of a trip to Reading Festival in this post and Zippy, (Richard Thorns) who has added his own inimitable take on two separate stories which you can find at the top of the homepage, along with links to their sister posts.

[In related news, Zip’s passion for cryptozoology continues unabated and you can watch the video about his latest expedition to locate the fabled Pink Headed Duck right here…]

I have actually been congratulated by a writer I rate very highly (not without some degree of envy, I’m pleased to note) on the quality of the comments on the blog, and on the articulate calibre of my readers, so you should consider yourselves suitably flattered.

Both Bully for me… and Foot in mouth disease… were inspired by conversations I had elsewhere on the hard shoulder of one information superhighway or another.
While the time reading and commenting on other bloggers’ posts is time well spent, not just for the welcome reciprocal traffic this generates, but also for the chance to get involved in exchanges with like-minded people on subjects as diverse as the posts we all read.

The trouble is, if I see a good blog I automatically follow it. Likewise, if someone follows Diary of an Internet Nobody I’ll generally follow back, (although I’m starting to learn my lesson now, after getting spammed by various, deeply spurious, get rich quick schemes) which means I now have so many blogs to read that if I commented on them all, I’d need three of me just to give me time to write.


And I like to leave a comment with a bit of thought behind it if I can, whether it’s just to join in with Adam, bashing the numpty-du-jour at A World Of Pain, trying my best to interpret the enigmatic art of Windhound over at Dragonshades, enjoying the eclectic mix of photography, video, reviews and comment in Emilie Rosson’s world, having an exchange of cultural views with Ron, flamboyant host of Vent or making terrible puns on Toemail.

But nothing beats the feeling you get when something you wrote generates enough interest or emotion in someone that they take the time to leave a thoughtful, well written comment.
These freely offered contributions act as additional insights into the subject of the original post, providing other readers with another point of view and sometimes even lead to cooperation and collaboration between bloggers.
Just this morning, turning my phone on to finish writing this post, I’ve commented on three blogs one of which, Tim Love’s blog is completely new to me, a recommendation from a fellow blogger.

Another problem I’ve had recently is trying to navigate the desktop site of the mobile-unfriendly but otherwise excellent, so I’m going to find the blogs I follow on there which I can’t get through my WordPress Reader and follow them by email instead. That way I don’t need to spend hours trawling through dozens of microscopic notifications to find links to the latest pearls of wisdom from Rum Punch Drunk, to see the latest artistic offerings from the lovely Carol over at Anfinsen Fine Art or to catch the newest batch of scantily clad female fantasy warriors and/or poodle-haired ’80s rock drongos from the Assorted Thoughts of Big D’s Unsorted Mind.
And while we’re on the subject, Hey BlogCatalog, can we have an Android app please?

So thanks again for your help in making my blog what it is today. Because without all those wonderful interactions with all you other writers, readers and ranters to keep my neurons firing, what would I find to talk about?
And thank you once again to Ho, for his latest bespoke blog-toon.

Rest assured, this will be the final burst of barely-disguised, self-congratulatory own trumpet blowing (for a while at least) but I am inordinately proud of my foray into the world of blogging and I’m not modest enough to care who knows it.
In fact, not since my days as a teenage theatre nerd have I been able to look at a body of creative work and said to myself “I/we did that from scratch and people like it”

And I like that.


Tags: , , , , , ,

Moor music. (Chagstock 2013, part one)…

Some people look forward to a couple of weeks in Torremolinos, some save up all year to enable
them to visit menacingly giant cartoon characters at their home in Florida, and there are even those who choose to bob around various oceans on board giant floating hotels.

But if if I had to pick my ideal summer break, I’d have trouble thinking of something I’d rather do than go to a music festival.
And for the third year running that means Chagstock, an eclectic family-oriented festival that is deservedly growing in popularity,set in the beautiful surroundings of Dartmoor national park.
And yes, again we played the “glamping” card, (we may not go abroad for expensive holidays,
but we do treat ourselves to luxury accommodation as Elaine doesn’t cope well with the temperatures involved in camping in the midst of a heatwave. See last year’s Chagstock blog for details)


So, old friend and fellow festival-goer, Ho, collected off the bus in Okehampton, base camp tent set up on the festival site, and Elaine and I booked into the B+B, we could finally relax in the sunshine of the campsite.


Ho and Elaine stay cool.

Now, even if I have got a comfy bed and a shower to return to at the end of each day, I still love camping, and even if Ho wasn’t using it we’d still put the tent up, because it’s good to have a base on site where we can relax, make a coffee, and just enjoy a few minutes in the shade away from the heat and bustle of the arena.



As a result of all this relaxation, we were slightly late in getting into the festival proper, and when
we got within earshot of the main stage for the first time, Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman were already soothing the audience with their gentle lilting folk.

But a louder sound soon took over.
The growling of three neglected bellies.

We headed straight for the food stalls, having not eaten since breakfast, and as usual were spoilt for choice with freshly cooked dishes from Thailand, India, Egypt, Spain, and the Caribbean, alongside local West Country fare, from a Hog Roast of pigs bred on the farmland where Chagstock is held, to traditionally smoked meats from Devon, and the justly famous Tom’s Pies, to which Ho has become addicted since he first came here two years ago.

Suitably stuffed with ballast, I stopped in at the beer tent, which displayed this huge sign above the bar..


…a Monty Python reference,which I realised was a nod to the “Circus” theme of this year’s festival, along with chalk boards bearing quotes, including one about someone not being the
Messiah, but in fact being a very naughty boy.
This reminder also went some way to explaining why I kept walking past ringmasters, strong men, and clowns, seeing as by this point I hadn’t even drunk that much cider.


Welcome to our world

Now fully equipped, we headed to the acoustic stage in the giant marquee to watch a frenetic set
from Ferocious Dog which included a song written about the singer’s brother, a soldier who
suffered from PTSD, and whose story featured on a recent current affairs programme.


They played a storming set and drew roars of approval from the rapidly swelling crowd, finishing with a surefire festival winner – a song that appeared to have about five endings.

After their triumphant exit we made our way outside and headed down to the main stage for the next act, all the while taking in the spectacular views across the moors.


We didn’t have to wait long before Wille and the Bandits took to the stage, and they didn’t put a
foot wrong throughout a punky, funky, folky, slide guitar-drenched set that even included a sleazy,
rocked up cover of Dire Straits’ peon to ’80s consumerism, Money for Nothing.
And so, as the sun began to set…


…and the stage was set for tonight’s headline


…we watched the moon rise and waited for the Mystery Jets

This was the band that the younger section of the crowd had come to see, and I’m sure they didn’t leave disappointed either.


I’d not heard much of their material prior to this gig, but I was pleasantly surprised by the bright,
dreamy pop and spacey, folk-tinged anthems.
At one point it looked as though the mothership actually had descended to carry off the faithful.


But as the night’s entertainment drew to a close, the most memorable image I have is that of the almost full moon, shining down from directly above the stage in a cloudless sky, promising another beautiful day in the great circus that is


For the hardier amongst us though, there was still the dance tent, and that was pounding out
techno as we left the arena for a quiet nightcap back at camp.


Then a slightly unsteady but happy stroll back to the B+B for some much needed rest.

Because tomorrow there would be some bona fide punk legends at Chagstock…

(I apologise if you have received this post or any others more than once, this is due to technical stupidity at this end.)

Go here for part two…


Tags: , , ,

Billy, Sir Bob and Moor. (Chagstock 2013, part two)…


Waking on day two to a hazy morning that none the less promised another scorcher, just looking at the view from our luxuriously appointed B+B was enough to lift the spirits.
A dense carpet of bright red poppies covered the fields outside the window, the vivid splash of colour practically shouting summer.


A bowl of home-grown garden strawberries, two hen-fresh eggs, 3 local beef sausages, and one damn fine cup of coffee later, we made for the campsite, collected Ho and made for the second and final day in the happy land of Chagstock.

By the time we got into the arena the sun had made short work of the haze and the temperature was climbing again.
But wait, what’s this? A breeze? The ideal festival climate – hot, but with just enough air moving around to provide some relief from roasting.
Nevertheless, we decided to start off cool and work our way up to baking gradually, and with that in mind made for the Live Lounge tent.

Soon after we got there we were treated to short acoustic set from a young lady I shall describe as a petite blond, in order for you to more fully appreciate the surprise I felt when she began to sing.
With a powerful, soulful voice at odds with her diminutive stature, she charmed the audience with a great set that included a fabulous version of Dream a Little Dream of Me. (I believe her name was Fiona Richards but apologies if I’m mistaken)


A quick trip to the bar, via some rock shops for Elaine, (the crystal sort, not the seaside sort) and a stroll round the rest of the stalls, then we made for the Acoustic Stage in the marquee.


And I’m very glad we arrived in time to see the amazing Marc O’Reilly, a riveting performer with a voice I instantly compared to the late, great John Martyn and a finger-shredding guitar strumming style, he captivated the crowd for his whole set and was rewarded with wild applause and whoops of enthusiasm.

Marc O’Reilly. You should see his pianist.

Time to venture out into the breezy sunshine to catch the Main Stage performance by someone Elaine and I had both been looking forward to seeing.
Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo play a hybrid of Country, Folk, and Aussie blues with a fair bit of rocking thrown in for good measure, and on a balmy Saturday afternoon on beautiful Dartmoor it felt like the music was part of the landscape.


By time their set finished, despite the breeze it was still pretty damn hot in front of the stage so we retired to the tent to sink a couple of cheap cans, (no alcohol allowed to be brought into the arena from outside) grab some shade, and cool off for an hour or so before heading back for the final session of music.

There’s one band that you know is going to play Chagstock every year, and that’s the band fronted by the man we’re all grateful to, the founder and organiser of the whole event, your ringmaster, Mr Simon Ford.


His band, New Crisis play good time party music for an early Saturday evening and they really get the crowd on it’s collective feet with songs by bands ranging from Status Quo to ABBA.

Here’s a taste of how much the punters enjoyed it, please excuse the wobbly camera work.

We elected to keep our seats set up in front of the main stage, grab some more food and have a rest before the two main acts came on, and at 8.15 the man they call the Bard of Barking strode onstage with his newly grown silver-streaked beard, to the introduction “Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the legend that is Billy Bragg!”


I’ve seen Billy Bragg a good few times over the years and he never fails to entertain. This time we got the benefit of both sides of his musical personality – What I like to think of as his “strumming and shouting”, alongside the mellower folk numbers by Old Timers like Woody Guthrie.
And he still has the same quick wit I remember too.
When heckled by a group of circus themed whiteface pierrot clowns, The Bard spake thusly;
“Oi, Pierrot, if you’re gonna do it, do it properly, mime your heckles”

He did the to-be-expected good natured politicising, and the bigging up of the unions speech, but more importantly he did Sexuality, he did an updated Waiting for the Great Leap Forward, and most important of all he led the crowd in a singalong to A New England.
And I bet I wasn’t the only man of a certain age present who would flatly deny getting a tingle on the back of the neck or a need to swallow an unaccountable lump in the throat, as Billy yelled for us to “Sing it one last time for Kirsty!”

But if it was legends we were after, we didn’t have long to wait, because as ten o’clock approached the crew began hoisting a new backdrop.
One with a distinctly rodenty appearance.

And half an hour later nobody would have had the slightest doubt who the final band were.

A monumentally thudding techno beat began pounding out of the speakers, along with sirens and noises more associated with Prodigy gigs.
Then, with the stage still in darkness, a chant joined the beat “BOOMTOWN RATS BOOMTOWN RATS!”
Then the lights came up and there they were, the punk survivors (minus original pajama-clad pianist, Johnny Fingers) with Bob Geldof wearing what he described as “a fuck off suit” of fake snakeskin.


There was nothing fake about their performance though, thundering through an extraordinarily tight set list that included the manic Like Clockwork, a mid-set I Don’t Like Mondays which had a much extended pause before the final chorus, presumably symbolic of the continuing tragedy of school shootings, and a totally superb Rat Trap.

Before many songs, Geldof drew parallels with the times they were written and the present day, citing their continued relevance and giving us all an Irish history lesson into the bargain.


I don’t know if it’s his saintly status, but every photo I took of Bob had his whole head so brightly lit that you can’t make out his features.

After a rapturous encore of Diamond Smiles the Rats left the stage only to return when their ludicrously over the top intro music started up again.
Only this time it carried on.

What followed can only be described as sounding like the bastard lovechild of the Utah Saints and the KLF, with the whole band riffing, thrashing and bellowing over the top of it.
It was, not to put too fine a point on it, Absolutely Fucking Astounding. I was so stunned that I forgot to film it.


I’ll leave the final word on the subject to Ho who, when I asked him if he was looking forward to seeing them, said he was “resigned to it”.
At the end of the gig he said “Now I’ve got to go back to Brighton and try to convince people that the Boomtown Rats really were amazing”

And that, apart from one more visit to the food stalls and a quick nightcap under the stars, was Chagstock 2013.
Another sellout year, and long may it continue.

I’ll leave you with a little taste of the festival that brings out your inner smile.

This is Chagstock…


Tags: , , , , , , ,

Blogstock part 3…

Clad in my lovely new Chagstock merchandise, I awaited the arrival on the Main Stage of the New Crisis band, the group formed by the heroic organizer of the whole weekend, Mr Simon Ford.

His entrance being marred ever-so-slightly by a trip over the top step of the stage, he strode out to the microphone wearing a regal red cape and magnificent crown, in keeping with the Arthurian fancy dress theme of this year.
The band were on top form, running through a family friendly, across the board selection of covers including the Beatles, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and many more.
The end of their set drew a massive ovation from the assembled crowds, and rightly so, this being the man who had brought us all together in the first place, and therefore a folk hero of some proportion.

A suitably attired punter. Suits you, Sir knight.

This is probably the point at which I should confess to not really being much of a Seth Lakeman fan, but there is clearly no accounting for popular taste, as his set would have brought the house down, had we been indoors. Here’s some of his music anyway, so you can judge for yourself.
I even bumped into Alun, our landlord from the B+B, who had come in just to see his performance.
(The locals that live within a certain radius of the site get free tickets)

I elected to spend the time getting another drinks-run in, and scoping out a place from which to watch the next band on the Acoustic Stage.

There’s not three of them, they’re not from Alabama, they’re from Brixton, ladies and gentleman, the Alabama 3!


An all acoustic, unplugged set was an unusual prospect from a band that, up until recently, I had heard only more electronic/dance influenced stuff from. If you haven’t heard this side of them before either check out this video of them performing Woke Up This Morning or, better still, do what I did a couple of weeks ago, go out and get Last Train to Mashville volumes one and two.
Long after the echoes of “Whoop whoop! It’s the sound of the police!” had died away, their set, and it’s protest tinged tone – several mentions of Ian Tomlinson‘s police attacker being acquitted were crowbarred into songs – images of the set stayed with me.
A real eye-opener.


All four – and at one point, five – of the Alabama 3 in full flow.

And now it was time for the big finale.

There was barely enough time to march back outside, voices already hoarse, hands smarting from applause, and retake our seemingly magically protected spot in the arena – no groundsheets there now – for the arrival on the Main Stage of the headliners of the whole weekend.

Anticipation had hardly had a chance to take hold however, when they came onstage to the strains of the A-team theme tune.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, knights and damsels, dragons and wizards, for the final time this year put your hands together for FUN LOVIN’ CRIMINALS!


Huey and Co giving it some NYC attitude.

Of course they were amazing. Of course they were funky. Of course they were slick. And loud, very loud.

And they did apologise for using the MF word in front of children, but then as frontman Huey Morgan pointed out; “…it’s a motherfuckin’ festival, what the fuck ya gonna do?”


They thundered through the fabulous Scooby Snacks, schmoozed their way through the smooth croon of Barry White, and finished the night off with an unavoidable encore, bringing us all back down on a dreamy version of Louis Armstrong’s We Have All The Time In The World.


Up close (ish) and personal with Fun Lovin’ Criminals.

And that, pretty much, was that.

We went back to tent for a nightcap, then back to the B+B and a well-needed rest, (we still had another day of holiday planned on Sunday)

Without a doubt, the highlight of the summer so far, and it’ll need some beating too. Book your Chagstock tickets for next year as soon as they’re on sale.
You won’t regret it.


As a footnote, I should say that on Sunday night, when we were out for a meal in the Post Inn, a pub recommended to us by our hosts at the B+B, we were informed by the landlord that Simon, and the other Chagstock organizers were having a private celebratory meal in the restaurant.

Never one to be backward in coming forward, I asked if he thought they’d mind if I went and expressed my gratitude for a wonderful weekend. He said to go on round, so I did.

I took in the tanned faces and satisfied smiles round the table and felt genuinely chuffed for them. That they had managed to keep the faith, through all the crappy weather over the last few weeks, and all the problems that brings with it, and pulled off one of the best festivals that I remember attending, shows how dedicated they are.

(And it should be pointed out that the whole Chagstock operation is a non-profit organisation, nobody is getting rich off this)

Interrupting as tactfully as I could -not very, I’d had quite a few Thatcher’s Gold’s by then – I told them I’d been to, and greatly enjoyed their festival, and would like to thank them on behalf of all attendees, that it had been a fantastic weekend and that we’d keep coming back as long as they kept doing it.

Oh, and next year could we have two beer tents please.

Having delivered this diplomatic communique, I bid them farewell, turned, and tripped over the restaurant steps behind me.

The last thing I heard as I walked back to the bar was laughter,and someone said; “That was about as good as your entrance onstage last night Simon.” More laughter.

Because it’s that sort of festival, it brings out your inner smile.


See you next year.


Tags: , , , , , ,

Blogstock part 2…

After the amazing start to the festival on Friday, the only thing that could have spoilt this year’s Chagstock was the weather.

(Spoiler alert, it didn’t)


The view from the campsite.

We rose from our luxury bed, availed ourselves of our luxury bathroom, and made our way down to our luxury guest breakfast room. We were met by our luxury genial hosts, Alun and Gaynor, who served up our now customary, fantastic three course breakfast – fresh fruit, cereal and toast, and a full English with eggs from their own chickens.

Should you wish to pay Southcott B+B a visit, go here, but I wouldn’t bother trying for next Chagstock weekend, I think you’ll find it booked.

Suitably fortified, we arrived in the arena in time to be welcomed back by our esteemed MC for the weekend, Mr Tony King, and to see the first band of the day on the now-open Main Stage, These Reigning Days, or rather I heard most of their set from the nearby beer tent. They were very good indeed. Imagine a more cheerful, more melodic Editors, very tight, punchy Indie rock. A fine way to start the day.

By the time we had made ourselves comfortable in our own little piece of arena space – with several drinks apiece – it was time for the next band.
Big Boy Bloater has apparently been described by Jules Holland, no less, as “One of the greatest blues guitarists of our time” and he, and his band, the Limits, certainly put in a pretty convincing claim to that title. Highlight of the set being a storming guitar workout called Rocket Surgery.

Big Boy Bloater and the Limits.

Time to go in the shade next, for a chance to see someone who I’d been looking forward to seeing, ever since hearing the fabulous Gay Pirates a couple of weeks ago, the extraordinarily talented Cosmo Jarvis.
According to the intro, Cosmo is not only a singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/producer, but also an actor/director/filmmaker. The man has more slashes to his name than your average IP address.


Cosmo Jarvis. Fame had made him turn his back on his bassist.

He came onto the acoustic stage with just a guitar and sat at a stool in front of a bass drum and pedal. He was joined by a bass player, and that appeared to be it.
The tent was already filling up, and as he is a bit of a local hero, many people had been looking forward to seeing him in particular since yesterday. The crowd were in for a treat.

I’ll say one thing for Mr Jarvis, onstage he really does give it his all. His voice, already on the husky side when he began, must have been positively shredded by the end of the set. He and his bassist – whose name I did write down but subsequently lost, apologies – played a really great collection of songs which ranged from pure folk to sea shanties and all ports in between. By the time he finished with a triumphant Gay Pirates, I doubt there was anyone in the tent not singing along.

Back out into the blazing sunshine again, and it was another trip to the bar, which was surprisingly empty. So, pints and Pimms in hand, I made my way back to our nomadic arena camp.

At this point, I would like to mention “arena psychology”.
This is practiced by almost everyone who goes to a festival, whether they know it or not.

You get to a nice clear patch of grass, with a good view of the stage, and you dump all the crap you’ve been carrying around with you – half a curry, a pint of warm cider, a rucksack, too many clothes, a massive great flag on a twelve foot pole that seemed like a good idea at the time until you want to sit in the chillout tent, chairs, etc – and you lay out your groundsheet.
Now, at this point, you have set up an invisible forcefield around your belongings, effective on all but the most intoxicated or terminally dickheaded, which people will automatically skirt around, even if you are standing up at the time.
A useful play on folks’ natural inclination to be polite, or the “festival effect”, turning us all into a big, happy family for the weekend? You decide.

As we’d been on walkabout, we had been able to hear The Martin Harley Band playing the main stage, and we drifted back that way to see the wonderful Mad Dog McRea. Having seen them before I knew what to expect, and they certainly didn’t fail to deliver.

Down the front with Mad Dog.

They played a blistering set, which included my personal favourite Am I Drinking Enough?, and Raggle Taggle Gypsy which left the crowd going wild.

Our intention had been to wander back to the Acoustic Stage to see The Monkey Gland Blues Band, The Travelling Band, and Juan Zelada in between each of the Main Stage acts, and although we could hear quite well enough to know that they were all going down a storm, I frankly couldn’t be bothered with all the moving back and forth, Elaine and the others were going back to the tent for a while, so I guarded – unsuccessfully, as it turned out – the remaining arena paraphernalia and soaked up the sun and the music coming from the tent behind me.

I got hungry after a while, having not eaten since breakfast, so left my rucksack – containing my shirt, my prized hoodie from last year’s Chagstock, camera, tobacco, socks and groundsheet – and my pint, with some friends of Inge’s, with whom we had been sitting.

Yours truly. Rucksack just visible, for now, bottom right.

I got held up in a food queue, the site being now sold out to capacity, and when I got back to it, neither my stuff, nor the people I left it with, were anywhere to be seen.


Now, I’m quite a positive person when it comes to people in general, so I naturally assumed that they would be back soon, finished my meal, and waited.
And waited.

Ok, maybe they’re not coming back then.

At this point – it was about 6pm by now – it was beginning to get a little chilly to be wearing just a T-shirt. And since my clothes, hoodie, and denim jacket were all AWOL I had to take drastic action. I went and bought another hoodie.
They are very nice hoodies.

Ten minutes later, I got a call from Ho, telling me that Inge’s friends had my stuff and were bringing it back to the arena with them.

Like I said, the Festival Effect.

The united colours of Chagstock.

Concludes in part three…


Tags: , , , , , ,

Blogstock part 1…

Well, it finally arrived. The much anticipated Chagstock Festival was last weekend. And what a weekend it was.


Chagstock is one of those rare things, a truly family orientated, proper music fan’s festival, and boy did they go out of their way to spoil us this year.

Elaine and I travelled down from Barnstaple on Friday morning in unfeasibly good weather, the past few weeks having given very little reason to expect anything but an extremely soggy weekend.
The plan was the same as last year; stay in the fabulous Southcott B+B (from which you can quite literally see the arena field), take our large tent, to use for a daytime base on site, and in which a friend of ours, Ho, was staying for the weekend, and also to meet up with a couple that we had first met at the festival last year. We were joined by a mutual friend, Inge, that we’d not seen for many years, who came over from Holland with her young son.


The gang’s all here. (I appear to be strangely faceless)

Having arrived on the campsite in glorious sunshine, the possibility that we might be about to have a proper English summer festival began to sink in and I’ve got to say it felt good. We set up the tent with the casual efficiency of festival veterans (whatever you’re thinking about that sentence, you’re probably right), and made our way off to get some lunch and check in with out genial B+B hosts.


For two days, this was our world.

We realized one of our objectives almost immediately after re-entering the site, meeting up with Mick and Jane, a couple that we’d got on well with the year before, and we went in search of a festival.
Straight away we headed for the food tents, got ourselves a drink, sat in the sunshine, and just soaked up the atmosphere.
There were already a few people in fancy dress, – the theme this year was Arthurian – and there were carved wooden animals, kids activities and stalls of all kinds. It was just a perfect setting for a weekend of relaxation.


I regret to say that we missed the first couple of bands, due simply to the novelty of being able to sit in the sunshine, but by the time Ellen and the Escapades came onstage in the acoustic tent, we were certainly up for a bit of jigging about, and they didn’t disappoint. They delivered a lively, country flavoured set with some tasty harmonica playing.
The main stage was only to be in use on the Saturday night, so we had the full evening’s bill in the spacious marquee.
Up next was the silken voice of Kate McGill, the Welsh girl, adopted as a local (no mean feat, let me tell you) by the West Country since she moved here.

Now, we come to my only complaint about the whole wonderful, sun-drenched weekend. There was only one beer tent for 5000 people.
Ok, so we weren’t all in there at the same time, but it was a considerable effort to go and buy a drink. For this reason, I’m afraid I missed Ruarri Joseph, but I an reliably informed that he was superb.


Exhibit A – the queue for the bar before KT Tunstall came on.

As I say, the single gripe about the whole weekend, and a small one at that. I believe most people, myself included, learnt to buy three pints at a time by the Saturday (to be drunk responsibly, obviously) necessitating fewer trips to the bar.

What we were all waiting for, of course, was KT Tunstall. And as it turned out, we were waiting a fair bit longer than we bargained for.
She took the stage to a predictably enthusiastic reception, from a pretty much full tent.
She started to play.

She stopped playing.

There was fiddling with cables, knobs, pedals, and other devices that we poor front-of-house mortals could only hope to grasp the complexities of.

She started playing again.

She stopped playing.

There was clearly a problem, so we waited, mainly good-naturedly, for a further ten minutes or so until, finally Miss Tunstall took the stage, apologized for the cock-up, and launched straight into an amazing set, which included much use of her trademark delay pedal vocals / beatbox / guitar riff that made her so instantly famous with her appearance on Later with Jules Holland. At one point, she even got the crowd beatboxing the chorus from “We Will Rock You” by prog-opera stalwarts Queen.


KT Tunstall, pedal to the metal.

To be fair to the organizers, she was allowed to overrun her allotted time slot to make up for lost tunes, and we all went back to our tents happy.

Well, we went back to our cosy bed, but we were shivering in our tents in spirit.

Saturday promised to be another scorcher, and the music looked as though it would be pretty hot too, but for a first day, you really couldn’t top it for England’s first day of real summer.


Continues in part two…


Tags: , , , , , ,

Rock stars and stripes…


1993 was the year that we met The Americans at Reading Festival, and they were some of the most entertaining neighbours that I’ve ever spent that annual August holiday weekend with.

When we arrived at the campsite on the Friday – (in ’93 I went with two friends, one of whom, Lori, has since passed away making this an especially treasured memory of mine) – it was already quite busy, and we had to grab whatever space we could.

Olly and Lori. One of these people will soon be very drunk.

It just happened that there was a space in the the corner of the field, with very little passing traffic, right behind a large encampment of tents and pick up trucks, which conspicuously displayed several US flags. There didn’t appear to be anyone around at the time, so we pitched our tent and went in search of all the usual immediate essentials; arena wristbands, food, festival programme etc. before making our way back.

As we neared our tent, we could tell that the neighbours were back. On the roof of one of the giant pick-ups were two large p.a. monitor speakers, blasting out Jimi Hendrix at considerable volume. This was an encouraging sign, as we had neglected to bring anything in the way of audio equipment, and I don’t think our car stereo would have been able to compete anyway.
Always keen to meet new people, Lori, Olly, and I wandered over to say hello.

It turned out that they were USAF personnel based in the UK and had been on site since Wednesday night. I’ve trawled my memory, and the only one whose name I can remember is Art, a gigantic bloke with a shaved head, a massive grin, and the build of your average cage fighter.
I think there were about 8 of them altogether, two of them women, all really friendly in the way of Americans abroad everywhere, (“Oh, we luuuve your country”) and straight away they took to Lori, with her infectious dirty laugh and outrageous clothes and make-up.
Well, it wasn’t long before we had joined forces – pardon the pun – with them, and spent the best part of the weekend with them.

They were there primarily to see the frankly astonishing Rage Against the Machine, who were playing that night


Now that’s what I call a line-up!

The rest of the afternoon was spent exploring the various stages and checking out a few bands, the Flaming Lips being a highlight.

After returning briefly to the camp for supplies, and to hook up with Art and Co, we went back to take our places for the Rage Against the Machine set.
They were, of course, extraordinary, with their performance being made even more unique by the fact that the frenzied drummer, Brad Wilk, played the whole set with his back to the audience.
During the latter part of the night Olly wandered off somewhere, and Lori, the yanks, and I went on a trip around the site to check out some of the after hours activities, ending up back at our combined camp.
I think we all passed out around 4.30am, by which time Olly hadn’t returned.

One of the things the Americans liked doing were beer bongs.
A beer bong, in case you don’t know, is a length of syphon tube or similar with a funnel in one end.
The intended victim recipient of this device would then place the end of the tube in their mouth, and beer would be poured into the funnel. Raised high above their head, gravity forces the beer down the tube like a supercharged yard of ale.
They had been doing a conspicuous number of them on Friday afternoon, and Olly had stood and scoffed at the puny strength of the Bud Lite they were using. We, being from Sussex, and hardened cider drinkers, had brought with us scrumpy, Merrydown, and for that get-smashed-quick tipple, Diamond White.


Art (kneeling) and the art of beer bonging.

Anyway, as I said, Olly had disappeared with some other new friends the night before, and would only make his reappearance whilst Lori and I were trying to get a couple of hours sleep.

I shall let Olly himself take up the story;

“What I remember most about the ‘bong’ experience was getting back to our encampment (a car and a tent) at around 7.30am, and our American cousins were blasting out “Fuck you I won’t do what you tell me”, and I seriously needed to crash out.

I went and asked them to turn it down which fell on deaf ears, so I challenged the big fella, Art, to a bong, and if I won, they would turn it down so I could sleep. This time, it was a 1.5 litre bottle of Diamond White.

I went first, and took the whole lot, and they were so impressed (and Art chickened out) that they did turn it down. I made it as far as the entrance to the tent, and collapsed half in and half out. Following that, and when I woke, you and Lori were there, and I think the Yanks cooked us some breakfast.”


Olly goes cider-bong bye-byes.

So, there you have it. Straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.
Thank you Olly, my first eye-witness contributor.

It was only after we had been given the aforementioned breakfast, that we realized one of our new mates was missing.
Again, I must apologize for having forgotten the rest of their names, but I suspect he was called Chad, or Brad or something similar, and he had been the most rabid RATM fan. It turned out that whilst engaging in that staple of rock moshpits the world over, Slamdancing, he had managed to break his leg.
Being so into the music, he refused to be taken to the first aid tent (and then to hospital) until they had finished their set.
And the encore.

Now that’s dedication.

I leave you with another burst of the stars of the weekend.

Let’s hear it for Rage Against the Machine!

Thank you and goodnight.


Posted by on July 15, 2012 in Music festivals, Personal anecdote

The Cosmic Photo Challenge

Weekly Inspirations For Creative Imaginations

Running with the Pack

An American Gypsy

Chet Desmond Has Vanished

But Where Did He Go?

48 before its too late

48 states in an RV in 6 months.


French magazine - art & visual culture


The online presence of dark fiction writer C.M. Saunders


"We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect"

Little Fears

Tales of humour, whimsy and courgettes


The ramblings of a very troublesome haemorrhoid on health, travel, art, sport, bad dogs, good cats and other stuff at

The Lessons

that time forgot to teach


The Best of British Bullshit

Homeschool To UnSchool

Teaching Our Kids to Wonder Again


words and scribble.


hedy bach original photography mixed stories and music

Isabella Morgan

Opinions not otherwise specified

Author Kyle Perkins

The latest and greatest of my documented daydreams

Rereading Jane Eyre

Author Luccia Gray

Luca Sartoni

Protector of Asynchronicity at Automattic

Pages That Rustle

The journey from words to stories.


For your mind only!

Waruni Anuruddhika

Film and photography

An Artist’s Path

Art, Poetry, Prose, Spirituality & Whimsy

Tyler Charles Austen

Foul mouthed, Queer and Angry


The facepainting and balloon twisting lady

Art by Rob Goldstein

Reject Nihilism

Kristin King Author

True Story...

The Paper Kind

Creative living.


To Share, To Connect, To Create, To Inspire.

unbolt me

the literary asylum


Music means something and art is right up there too

Broken Castles

Shattered long ago...

Joshi Daniel Photography

Photoblog of Joshi Daniel


Every day I'm jugglin'.

The Write Project

"The answer is to write." - Richard Rhodes

b e t u n a d a

I'm interested in THE GLUE BETWEEN THINGS. "Back on planet URTH" i search for and study desert wombats and inukThingies (they're like inukshuks) while rambling in the high desert of western Colorawdough.

Sam Seabornen

Photography, Movies, Books

%d bloggers like this: