I forgot to post my experiences at Lost Vagueness a few weeks back but now I’ve got Amelia’s photos to give a home to I’m dragging the review out of the archive to post up here (and backdate in a week or something)
On the Friday I woke up at the completely unreasonable hour of 7.30 to check the details one last time before I caught my bus to the festival and found that I’d got everything utterly and ludicrously wrong. Somehow it had got into my head that I was supposed to be there at 10 or 11 when the time in the e-mail was clearly 9am. I phoned in to work and said I was sick, then ran down the hill and leapt in the first available taxi, which ended up costing me a whole £20. Got to the site at 8.30 and found I was by far the first person there. Evidently the bus wouldn’t have been such a bad idea after all. Ah well, £18 down the drain.
After a lengthy wait another steward called Duncan turned up and we went off to find the Stewards’ tent, which turned out to be in completely the opposite corner from where we had been directed. Got a staff armband and went off to pitch Liam’s tent, lay down for a bit, got told to move it as I was in the caravan area, moved the fucking tent behind a thistle patch, lay down and dozed for a while. At 11 I went over to check out the stewarding situation but failed to bag a place on the first shift, so strolled off back to my tent and on the way got a phone-call. I assumed it was from Amelia and pressed answer only to find my boss on the other end of the line.
Still, think I got away with it. There weren’t any bands playing at that particular moment so I could feasibly have been in my back garden.
Duncan, Amelia and Charlie all turned up a bit later so I escorted them from the car with their massive tents, eggs and egg-cooking equipment. When they were up we had some egg mayonnaise sandwiches and looked at the thistles for a bit, then went for a little stroll round the grounds before my shift started at 6.
Instead of noodle stalls there were the ‘Mystery Meat’ stand and the ‘Sympathy Tent’ –
And here’s Duncan and Charlie, while it was still sunny –
My first job was to stand around at a farm gate telling people they ‘couldn’t come past, no, not even if you’re staff,’ which was alright briefly, while I had someone else on shift with me, then deeply, deeply dull as evening set in and I was stuck hanging off a fence in the dark on my own with nothing happening and nobody coming anywhere near. The only drama happened when I refused entry to three bands, including the headline act (They were called Ska Cubano but I thought they said ‘Skaky Bano’, I dunno) and when the farmer’s wife turned up with her three daughters, all in ball gowns, and chatted to me for a bit. Eventually the ‘Love Patrol’ brought me a torch, just in time for me to hand over to some other sucker.
There was time for a brief dash back to the tent to get suited and booted, then I headed over to the casino for the mass wedding. The casino was only accessible after a ten minute queue in the ballroom after which you had to be looked over and sniffed at by a gigantic drag queen. I found everyone sitting around after a minute and then watched the mass wedding. Duncan married Amelia and Charlie married Kate. It was all very emotional.
Duncan and Amelia in wedding getup –
Charlie and kate and some other people –
And other people who were around –
Afterwards we went to the diner, talked to some people, played pinball, danced, etc. It was a good night but I was exhausted and unable to catch up with the inebriation, so I went off to kip, then woke at 6 when Amelia tried to give me some tea and at 8 so I could phone in another sickie. This one wasn’t quite so convincing but as it was to an answering machine it wasn’t any big deal.
I spent my food voucher on a burned bun with a ‘vegetable pattie’ inside and a coffee. The guy serving would have won the ‘most fucked of the festival’ award even if he hadn’t been at work. I did the same job as him at a load of festivals but never got to the point of rocking backwards and forwards, gurning, with twenty people waiting to be served. It took him two minutes to work out how much change he needed to give me (a pound) and he still didn’t put any sugar in my coffee. What a character.
I returned to work at mid-day, this time guarding the crew camping with a girl called Dominique. It wasn’t a bad job for the first couple of hours, but then the clouds came out, the wind began to chill and, inevitably, the rain began. When you’re at home the rain can go un-noticed, at a festival it seems catastrophic. Having to stand out in the open while it rains, thinking about how you haven’t pegged your tent down properly, well, put a bit of a negative slant on the afternoon. Thankfully friendly types with bottles of brandy came by from time to time, which helped a bit.
40 minutes after our shift was supposed to end we were allowed to finish, so I said goodbye to Dominique and started the evenings fun by finding Amelia and Charlie asleep in the tent with the flap open and the rain coming in. I zipped them up and went off to buy a raincoat, at which point it stopped raining.
I left them to sleep for a while and went off to the ballroom, where an attractive woman was on stage taking all her clothes off and having sex with stuffed toys while 3-10 year old children sat around the side of the stage silently staring at her. Then I walked back and found Tim and Duncan here –
Here’s Tim in his Indian getup –
And me in my gangster suit –
Everyone got up and ready eventually and we went off to the casino again to have a bit of a boogie. It was a good night, though I couldn’t seem to get drunk no matter how hard I tried. Still, there were some good trapese types –
Everywhere we went there were these three women sharing a pair of knickers –
And lots of pictures of other people –
I met a girl who had been getting past me while I was stewarding all afternoon without a wristband. She’d said it had broken off and she was getting it sorted out, but as I wasn’t an official any more confessed that she’d actually broken in. I spent the first hour talking to her and an actually pretty cool woman in her forties who was stewarding too.
Someone sat on one of these pinball machines shortly after this picture and destroyed it. That they escaped without getting a huge chunk of glass up their arse is merely a lucky break –
Duncan, Charlie and me –
When I’d finished with those two I found the gang again and we had some balloons full of nitrous oxide. Which was funny.
Then some band started who sounded like Reef so we went off to the diner again and then back to the tents to have a smoke.
Sunday morning I felt and looked like crap. Packed my stuff up, hitched a lift back with some lesbian flappers and got home for a long bath.