field day 2012

Even the sun came out for Field Day

I’ve been a little out of sorts, and this blog has borne the brunt of that by not being updated for SO long.  I have a stack of reviews and stuff that I have started but not finished.

2nd June was Field Day Festival at Victoria Park.  My first festival of the year – and a lot earlier than usual due to the sodding Olympics!

it was a bit grey and drizzly all morning, and I was bemoaning the fact that i didn’t have wellies, and I was going to have to go and buy some at short notice.  The Man said “Let’s just see how it goes – you might decide you don’t want to go at all!”

Chance would be a fine thing!

Field Day is lovely, but their entry system is absolute chaos every year.  You stand in a queue outside for at least half an hour!  Allowing time for the terrible entry, I knew I had to be there in time for Django Django who were the earliest on-stage band that I wanted to see.

There was one amusing point when we actually got to the bag-search area and this group of rather overly-made-up girls in the line next to us had an absolute panic when they were informed that they weren’t allowed to take aerosols in.  There was much spraying of hairspray and dousing in Impulse or the such like – with it being passed around the lot of them.

Once inside, the sun was shining brightly and it was extremely warm – it’s like there is a little micro-climate above Victoria Park, due to the mass of hot sweaty bodies at the festivals.  We grabbed a couple of ciders and made our way over to local boys, Django Django who had certainly drawn a huge crowd for that time of day.

They were everything that could be expected and more – they are definitely way better live than their recorded stuff (which is pretty bloody good anyway!).  I was extremely impressed.  Deep thumping beats, a giant tambourine, excellent drumming and just right to get the party going.  if you get a chance to see them at a festival this year, make sure you do!

To be honest, they were my favourite of the whole day, although it’s not like the day went downhill from there or anything.  Being the first festival of the year, and the weather being unexpectedly decent, there felt to be rather more people there than there have been over the past couple of years – it’s given a far smaller area than Lovebox, and it did seem incredibly crammed.  However, I hadn’t been to Lovebox at that stage…more on that later!

Always a favourite, the brass band had their own tent, rather than being in the bandstand this year!

It is an incredibly ‘hip’ festival too. it feels like someone has picked up the entire population of Hoxton / Shoreditch and just dropped them into Victoria Park.  Me & The Man are acutely out of place – but we love the people watching.  it’s great picking out those efortless girls who wear stuff that would be totally ridiculous on other girls, but it just works because they convey the right attitude.  And then the girls (mainly) where they’ve just tried way too hard, and it shows.

Last year’s hipster accessory of choice appeared to be rather a lot of facial hair. Considering most of the crowd are early – mid 20s, last year it felt about 90% had facial hair (on the blokes).  that seemed rather disproportionate to ‘real’ life.  However, this year’s male hipster accessory of choice appeared to be a cool Asian girlfriend.  Honestly! It was VERY noticeable – and I wondered what had brought it about. Any ideas?

One of the things I love about Field Day is that they have huge boards with the whole timed line-up for each tent near the entrance, with clear directions, and then line-up times on boards at each tent.  it is a REALLY good idea!

Anyway, the rest of our Field Day went like this:

Afrocubism:  I have seen them before, and to be honest, I didn’t really feel like they completely ‘brought it’ with them on the day.  even so, lying on the grass, in the sun, sipping my Pimm’s and listenign to them was a very pleasant Summer feeling.

Andrew Bird: Obviously very talented, but not totally my kind of thing.  Again, felt a very nice ‘summer day’ sound lying on the grass.

Grimes: Completely different sound, she’s a little bit whacky – sometimes folky, sometimes more electronic. i’ve never been very good at genres, hence linking to a place that I know can explain far better than I!

Metronomy:  Well, everyone knows them don’t they?  Electropop heavy synthy stuff, most known for the Look, whcih everyone went wild for when they played it. they were way better than last time I saw them 18 months ago, when they wore these big lights on their chests and seemed a bit up themselves.

It was also during Metronomy’s set when security obviously spotted someone doing/dealing drugs as this skinny lad suddenly made a bolt for it, persued by two hi-vis’ed big guys.  As he leapt over people’s heads, the crowd cheered in unison, egging him on.  Until he was ambushed by a third man who wrestled him to the ground, face-down in one rather violent move, and the only crowd went “Oooooooooo”, imagining the pain!

We did go to see SBTRKT next, who I was quite keen on seeing, but he started late, and then there was a huge problem with the sound, and then I really wasn’t feeling it.  So, we went to the very popular Bodean’s burger stall, expecting good things.  my chilli cheese fries were fabulous, but The Man’s burger was extremely disappointing!

TOY:  We popped by to see them, and they were certainly interesting.  Billed as a ‘Korg Delta led 5 piece’ – I had no idea what Korg Delta was, but it is apparently a keyboard / synth.  there’s a LOT of synth music around at the moment, it seems.

The Laneway Festival tent line-up

The Vaccines:  By now it was starting to spit a little, so it was nice to get along to a tent.  The Vaccines gave good festival – they sang the crowd pleasers and put on a show, everyone singing along to Post Break-Up Sex was a good feeling!  Was a really good set.

Franz ferdinand were undisturbed by the huge woman towering over their heads!

Franz Ferdinand:  The headliners.  and they did it in style.  Great visuals, played all the favourites, good crowd-interaction and made us all smile through the rain.  and by now it was raining.  Really raining.  Quite hard.  I have to admit, that we did leave before the last couple of songs, knowing that the walk back to the park entrance wouold allow us to still hear them, but cut out about 15 mins soaking time.

I must be getting old!

In summary, Field Day, I shouldn’t like it, it’s not really aimed at me, but I DO so like it and will definitely be going again next year!

And then a UFO came and transported everyone back to Hoxton

womad 2011

The Gis in the 'O'

I am not a massive festival junkie – I have been to Lovebox every year for the past seven, and I have been to a few others over the years, but they have always been day festivals in London.  However, I do love my music!  And I have VERY eclectic tastes.

This came to light a few weeks ago when one of the Awesomestow Twitterati asked for a Saturday morning music suggestion, and @martingreaves suggested Afro Celt Sound System who I have LOVED for years.  I tweeted this fact, as did @mr_omneo and as these things happen, within a couple of days, the three of us had bought tickets to go to this year’s WOMAD festival in Wiltshire, along with The Girl!

The Girl has NEVER been to a festival – of any type at all…and *I* have never been to an overnight one.  in fact, considering me & my family went camping about 6 times a year when I was a kid, it may come as some (or no) surprise that I haven’t even been camping since I was about 14.  However, I know The Man went to WOMAD with a large group of friends every year for about 10 years – but not for the past 6!  He didn’t want to come as he thought it might be a bitweird for him.

So, we packed our bags – luckily Martin had all manner of camping equipment – and off we went.

The Girl does her best Jamiroquai impression

I could go on an on for ages about how brilliant it was, but I will try to keep it to a minimum 🙂

Epitome of festival hippy chick (loads of people took pics of her during this time watching the MoRoccan Rollers)

Things I learned at WOMAD

  • Festival food has come a LONG way
  • £8 for the weekend for me & The Girl to use the La-Di-Dah loos was the best £8 I spent! (Ceramic flushign loos, running wtaer in the sinks, hand-driers, uniformed attendants, people with scrubbing brushes, mirrors, toiletries…)
  • Bubbles make EVERYONE smile
  • Kids will sleep through anything
  • Some people (in other tents) snore VERY loudly
  • Many women do the 5am ‘I-can’t-wait-for-the-loo-any-longer’ dash from their tents
  • My daughter really IS totally adorable
  • Festival-goers are a bloody lovely crowd
  • Drums are fab
  • It’s amusing to see a lot of very respectable-looking white-haired couples in their 60s smoking spliffs and giggling to themselves
  • It’s amazing how many times you can bump into exactly the same people over and over again in a crowd of 35,000
  • I just loved the eclectic mix of music – but it was amazing how many acts I already knew!
  • My daughter wasn’t to be a beatboxer
While watching Faiz Ali Faiz

And this was MY WOMAD

  • The Boxettes (workshop – where The Girl actually got up on stage with them)
  • Pacific Curls
  • The Boxettes
  • Afrocubism
  • Alabama 3
  • Taiko Meantime (Japanese drumming workshop)
  • Her 'night time' outfit - the ears flash!

    Alejandro Toledo & The Magic Tombolinos

  • Hassan Erraji’s MoRoccan Rollers
  • 9Bach
  • Faiz Ali Faiz
  • Brassroots
  • Oi Va Voi
  • Rodrigo y Gabriella
  • Baaba Maal
  • Procession practice
  • Amparo Sanchex (Spanish singing workshop)
  • Breaking the Guiness World Record for Mass Participation Air-Guitar (oh yes we did, we smashed the Aussies – 2,227 of us rocking out to Purple Haze beating the previous record of 1,883)
  • The Dhols of Jaipur (Indian drummers workshop)
  • Kitty, Daisy & Lewis
  • I Am Kloot
  • Creole Choir of Cuba
  • Booker T Jones (and yes, he did Green Onions!)
  • Gogol Bordello
Gorgeous weather too!

It was a fabulous experience.  The Girl loved every second of it.  She loved the singing, dancing, drum-playing, tambourine-flashing (yes,  I have had a flashing tambourine for years that I took along with me) moment of it – oh, and the eating.  She loved the eating.

Festivals aren’t what they used to be.  No burger/hot-dog stalls to be seen anywhere – everything was fresh, lodas of it was healthy, and a hell of a lot of it was organic and/or vegan.  Apart from the churros and chocolate which were a massive hit with her too!

So – next year, we will be going again.  This time, The Man is coming with us (I bumped into HIS friends who had gone for the first time again since having their 2 kids – so now he thinks it may be OK after all!) , and another friend who was totally gutted that I had gone without him this year.

I feel surprisingly stress-free, chilled out, happy and warm (that will be the slight sunburn!).

Can anyone think of a fitting caption?
La-Di-Dah Loos

we had a field day at field day

The only cloud we saw all day

I have taken forever to get around to wriing this post – everything has been so busy lately that I just haven’t had as much time to blog…and this has bothered me, as I keep thinking about what I want to put down and then feeling annoyed that I haven’t got around to it.

I said when I first started this blog that it was to get things out of my head, and over the past couple of weeks, I’ve realised just how much I do really need to do this!

Anyway, Field Day – Saturday 31st July in Victoria Park (yes, the same place as Lovebox a couple of weeks earlier).  I’d booked the tickets as it looked like a fun day out, esppecially for The Man who hasn’t been to a festival for about 3 years, and I felt deserved a treat.  It certainly was a treat – we had a fantastic day.

The sun was shining, I got my coveted Foursquare swarm badge when I got there 😉 and it was for over-18s only, so no kids running around – hurrah!  Sack races, tug-of-war etc made for a bit of fun, and then of course there was the music.

Even animals enjoyed Beth Jeans Houghton

It covered a far smaller area than Lovebox, but we saw Steve Mason, The Fall (Mark E Smith – totally mental case…not my kind of thing at all, but it amused The Man for a while), we went into one of the tents and saw Beth Jeans Houghton who was our surprise hit of the day – fantastic smoky country voice, with a great band including trumpet and violin / fiddle.  Although I was really amused by the ultra camp fiddler *snort*, who did great backing vocals, and seemed to go from girlie ‘do-do-do-do’ to quite deep manly vocals 😀

Back to the main stage, and we saw Lightspeed Champion who is always fun, and as wearing the shortest skimpiest shorts I have ever seen on a bloke.  He kinda pulled it off too.  Kinda.

Lightspeed Champion's short shorts

Then was the amazing Hypnotic Brass Ensemble – 8 brothers from New York playing brass.  Don’t sound very festivally?  They’re amazing, and they really got the crowd going.  I could’ve watched them for hours – the energy was fantastic.  Watch the video from about 30secs to check them out

Then the ‘twilight session’ which is always my favourite at a festival, and this time was the amazing Caribou.  As the sun was setting on a fantastic day, they played ‘Sun’ which I think is just abotu to be released as a single now, and was a perfect chilled out track that really captured the mood.

And the fabulous Frenchie boys Phoenix closed what had been an amazing day.  Singing along to Lisztomania was a perfect end 🙂

They had another great idea at Field Day – they had ‘recycling points’ where you could hand in your empty cans and get 10p each back for them.  Being a little on the skint side, we thought this was a great idea and managed to get at least a couple of cans free each by picking up empties as we walked around.  We weren’t the only ones who had this idea, as when you looked around the site at the end of the day, there were hardly any cans on the ground anywhere – and that’s a first time I’ve ever seen that at a festival!  They should do that more!

lovebox 2010

Anti-discrimation stickers (apparently) that they were giving out

I have been going to Lovebox for about seven year now I believe.  I remember when it was just one day and was over in Clapham.

The main reason for me having loved Lovebox all these years wasn’t just the fantastic mix of chilled but partying atmosphere but mainly because it was run by Groove Armada – who have been my favourite group for many years.

This year’s Lovebox was always going to be different.  It was in Victoria Park, hackney, same as the last few years, but for the first time, it was on for THREE days…and no Groove Armada!  I was worried that the absence of Superstylin’ might spoil the whole experience for me – but it didn’t.

I went on the Friday with one mate, and saw some fab bands who I hadn’t even heard of before, and which I’m going to have to look up because I can’t remember their names now.  Friday was very chilled, and not as packed.  It’s the first time Lovebox had done a Friday, and it really did feel different – more like a day in the park with some music going on 🙂

The day culminated on the main stage with the Noisettes (with their totally mental lead singer, singing whilst doing a crab at one point), Chase & Status and the Dizzee Rascal, who was brilliant and brought it all to a grand first day close!

On the Saturday (with 2 different mates), I was gutted that I Blame Coco were on so early, which meant I HAD to be back there for 1.10!  But it was worth it.  Other highlights of the day were the always fantastic The Nextmen who we danced energetically to til my dodgy leg started playing up.  We saw latin bands, rappers, soul, quite a few MCs, then we wandered down to watch Paloma Faith, who was well worth it.  She was bouncy, flamboyant and pitch perfect.

Paloma Faith: "Like the sunshine..."

There was one of those moments where you just couldn’t have planned it.  She was doing a cover of I Need Your Lovin’ and she’s got to the first “I need your lovin’……like the sunshine…” and just as she said sunshine, one major beam of sunlight suddenly spotlighted her on the stage.  She grinned, shouted “Thankyou sun!” and got a huge cheer from the crowd 🙂

As always, Lovebox had fantastic weather.  in fact in all the time I’ve been going, I think I’ve only ever seen a little rain.  Last year during Florence & The Machine, it rained for 5 minutes, and the next day, while Doves were on, me and my mate were dancing at the Relentless stage, and there was a fine drizzle that we hadn’t even noticed, LOL

So, who else did we see on saturday?  Grandmaster Flash, some weird people doing the Kama Sutra (we just missed How To Survive A Zombie Attack and Stavros Flatley), we went on the Just Dance stage and did a brilliant Rocky routine to Eye Of The Tiger.  We went to see Mark Ronson, but decided after one song that he wasn’t what we were craving, so we went and saw the brilliant Yeasayer (and missed Duran Duran joining Ronson on stage – but we saw them last year, so that’s OK)…we then also decided that Roxy Music would be too much of a come-down, so we stayed and saw Empire of the Sun – and the atmosphere was electric.

Nothing but blue skies and fluffy white clouds!

I had a weekend pass, and was planning to go on the Sunday and see Hot Chip and Grace Jones, but two full days on my dodgy leg were just too much in the end and I actually spent Sunday on the sofa, barely able to walk.

But oh, was it worth it.  Everyone in London should experience the fantasticness that is Lovebox.  I can’t wait til next year 🙂

things i did yesterday

I wanna SIX you up!

Me & The Man can be lazy bastards at the weekend.  Especially when we don’t have the Girl around (which we don’t this weekend as she’s off with her dad). So, we quite surprised ourselves by getting up, dressed and out before midday!

The reason for ths momentous occasion – we were off to show our support outside Broadcasting House in the protest to Save 6Music.  as, I’ve said before, this really is a cause close to my heart.  I adore 6Music.

I think there were probably about 500 people there, milling around.  What struck us as being funny is that everyone was so polite and niddle-classed, which is to be expected as that’s the 6Music audience.  People mainly late 30s/early 40s probably, not really the protesting type and not quite sure what to do.  we were there to show our support, but a little embarressed and self-conscious about it 😀

Some people had even brought sandwiches!

So, Liz Kershaw, Gideon Coe and Tom Robinson gave speeches – there was some music from a couple of bands (whose names I didn’t really catch – but one had a guy with a fab voice…Asian-looking and was sitting on his brother’s shoulders to make himself able to be soon over the crowds!).

Unfortunately the heavens opened and the rain came down very very hard.  We’d been there about an hour or so at that stage and sung a couple of songs (again all half-heartedly and a little embarressed) and I was starting to get nipple-strain as I was so cold!

So we decided to forgo waiting for Adam Buxton and went for a drink at The Cock (where I had been on Wednesday night too!).  A good and proper Sam Smiths pub.

after that, we made our way down to the Southbank Centre to the Chocolate festival, which was all well and good, but it was SO crowded, and the one chocolatier that I particularly wanted to see wasn’t even there!

By this time it was gone 3pm, and we suddenly realised that we hadn’t even eaten (apart from sharing a bag of crisps and a bag of nuts in The Cock), so we got on a bus and ended up in Brick Lane, considering curry, but not altogether convinced by the idea.  Wandering around though, we came across the Brick Lane Food Court which I have realised is a very new venture as I just had a look on Google Street View and this is the pic they had then, and it is now in the building on the left!

The choice of international street food served there was fantastic – all stalls had 3 or 4 dishes including a couple of Chinese, Japanese, Morroccan, Sri Lankan, Dim Sum amongst others!  It was brilliant – and they don’t sell drinks in there, so you can pop over to the offy over the road and buy some booze (or pop) to go with it!  I had the Japanese fried chicken, tempura prawns, salad and udon noodles.  Yummy yummy yummy – and only £5.50!

So, then we wandered back via Old Spitalfields and popped into Montezuma’s (which again, I have mentioned before!) and then braved another torrential downpour to get back to Liverpool Street to come home.  Unfortunately by this time, my leg was absolutely killing me and I was lurching really badly, like an drunken old biddy yet again.

I’ve been fine with my leg, but I must admit, I haven’t exactly pushed it hard – and being out wandering around town for most of the day did put a lot more pressure on it than I usually do.

I’ve put on loads of weight over the past few weeks as I haven’t been doing so much, and I haven’t been to the gym at ALL, simply because the thought of doing it in again really actually scares me!  i mean really scares me.  i know I joked about it a lot of the time, but it really, really hurt – and I can still feel it aching from yesterday’s exertions even now – whereas before I used to be able to walk around London for hours at a time!  Obviously the weight hasn’t been helped much because of The Man’s wonderful creations due to the present a bought him a couple of weeks ago!  but still – I want to get back to the gym and doing something, but I’m nervous of how/where to start!  I need to sort it out.

I’ve just realised – it’s quite ironic that we went to the Chocolate Festival but only bought chcolate from the company I always buy from in the end, LOL.

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