Thursday, 10 June 2010

Call of the wild.

Now have you ever seen that “March of the Penguins” film?
I’ve not seen it, but I think I get the gist of what it's about.

I heard it’s basically a documentary about how every year this group of penguins, (in fact lets say that they’re Emperor Penguins).
How every year these Emperor Penguins march all the way across (Lets say Thousands), thousands of miles of frozen Arctic (possibly Antarctic, never can remember), Tundra to the same place, (possibly some kind of nesting/breading ground).
Now they make the same journey each year and every one of them knows where to go because of some built in inner calling that directs them back to where they were born (/conceived).*

I think Turtles and salmon do it to, and also that frogs might do it as well. But in their case the breading ground is the pond they were born in and the thousand miles of tundra is replaced with a brand-new 3-lane bypass somewhere near Birmingham. But the basic thing is the same.

The point I’m trying to get out is that for some wild creatures part of their yearly routine is a life-threatening journey across treacherous landscapes to return to the place they were born. They don’t actually have any real choice in the mater; it’s just in their nature.

(I may well have gotten a lot of my facts wrong but I’m writing this somewhere sans Internet connection and I very much doubt I’m gunna check my facts in the time between now and when I publish this tomorrow. But for the sake of this blog just take what I’ve said thus far as true regardless of its factual accuracy).

Any way here’s the thing.

At present something in my subconscious keeps telling me that what I should be doing right now is pushing all my most brightly coloured clothes into a rucksack, pulling my tent from the crawl space it’s spent the winter hibernating in, finding myself a van, buying some “supplies” and getting ready to spend at least 12-46 hours a week on the road.
Chasing down and riding on the back of that most magical, transient, shape-shifting beast of a place.
That beautifully malevolent paradise of contradiction. That place where we can all die and be reborn in the same instant; I am of course talking about the festival.

See I personally harbour the idea that all festivals are in fact manifestations of the same powerful creature.
In fact I’d go as far as to say that it would be naive not to realise that the phenomena we know as “Festival” (from the Latin festivus) is very much a sentient being. An all-powerful host upon whose glorious undulating teats we suckle yearly, quenching our thirst for fun and adventure.

A beast that should be both loved and feared, a beast that demands to be respected.
Oh Festivus can turn a beggar to a king in the blink of an eye.
It will reduce normally rational men to the very edge of mindlessness.
Festivus can be your provider or it can be your undoing.

I first met this beast when it took the form of Glastonbury 1998.

Long story short,

0 tickets + £32 + (1 x 2-man tent) % (5 x 18/19 year old guys)
% 4 days of near solid rain.

Needless to say, not the best one.

Although it was the first time I’d heard 2 very familiar phrases

1. “Imagine if everywhere was like this”

2. “Why don’t we just live here?”

I’m pretty sure that anybody who has ever been to any reincarnation of Glastonbury has at some point uttered one if not both of these 2 phrases.

Of course by the Sunday we have all no doubt realised why we don’t live here and imagining a world where everywhere is like this is no longer something we want to realistically consider.

For me Glastonbury is always the start. The Festival big bang, the moment the creature begins its’ existence.
Glastonbury is boot camp for the rest of the summer. It trains you for what’s about to come. It shows you the best and worst sides of festivus, it teaches you to walk.
Oh how it teaches you to walk.

Back in 1998 you had the added adventure of not actually needing a ticket.
Back then it was all about getting in for free be it via a Scouser’s rabbit hole or by a Bristolian’s ladder. All you had to do is get past the fence and the world was your oyster.

I had a short hiatus from festivaling the year they introduced the alleged “super fence” around Glastonbury.
By this time several seasons had passed since my first encounter with festival. It had been responsible for some of the best and worst experiences I’d ever had.
But I just lacked the organisational skills or self-motivation to actually go about purchasing a ticket.

It wasn’t until 2005 that I climbed back onto the horse. Glastonbury again. This time (thanks to the organisational skills and self-motivation of my brother/co-performer,) I was performing.
For me this was very much the start of something. Although I did notice that the “super fence” looked exactly how I remembered the old fence to look.

*Turns out they were Emperor Penguins going thousands of miles to their breading grounds, in Antarctica. Swings and roundabouts really.

No comments: