Secret Garden Part 1 y


I’m sure I’m fine, feel a little blue and appear to have cultivated an array of spots around my nose and the other facial creases so detested by the teenagers of our planet. I’ve got sketchy memories of a great weekend, and a firmer belief that my expanding social circle will cane their way into their forties, like a schoolteacher just awoken to his true perversion. I’ve lost clothes, and found paint where it shouldn’t be. I keep smiling at the oft rising thought of Badgers. I missed Tayo and Lisa, but I caught Dreadzone and The Whip. My guts troubled me, but all the time I heard myself ordering more cider and avoiding all food. A camper van housed me in a true caravan of tents whilst Spartacus and Leaf made themselves at home. Ladies and Gentlemen, I went to a festival, The Secret Garden Party. It was Restorative to the spirit.

You’ve got to get there; someone has to bring wheels to the party. Our party started in style at The Willow Tree opposite Langley station. Empty at 11am, J and myself popped across to this Platinum Piss Provider and had Stella 4% (which our barlady charmingly referred to as “childbeater”) medicined with something brightening. Soon we were refreshed to the point that J was making wild claims about his grandpappy having had the plan to avert WW2 (reparations were too harsh, breeding nationalism apparently), whilst my earnest protestations that I had the original ideal for both YouTube and Facebook went unheard. No wonder it makes plants grow. Thankfully Lenny arrived, carrying A & E. I can’t even be bothered to make a joke about that – all I know is that just a few hours and about 17 pit stops later J and I were wrestling a canvas draped over bending legs. (If I’d know then the mayhem inside the festival, and the costs of damaging Lenny the campervan’s awning, we’d have made some kind of covered spider thing under which we could snort, wheeze, dab and gag to our hearts’ content.) Phone calls were made, people gathered around the cream VW and excitement escalated. G & P, three kids flung to grandparents, strolled up having had a mooch about. C & L shook in, R made it with M and I currently look at this screen rather chuffed that no initials duplicate. Very considerate parenting of friends.

Three nights. THREE nights. And yet, there every single last one of us are, getting utterly mortal on night one. By the time we made it to the entrance, things stashed amongst hats and pants and socks and God-knows-where-else, we couldn’t care less about the dogs. I wasn’t the only one who felt like stroking the lovely little buggers. I’ll be honest, my memory starts faltering here. I think we met S (is that free? Can I use that one? YES!) later on, but maybe he found us at the gates. We agreed to meet at the Pink Marquee Beer Tent (almost certainly not its name), and on our way were diverted by an alarming moment. Have you seen someone fall without trying to break it at all? Just going over, backwards, without putting arms out or bending knees? It is quite the funniest fucking thing I have ever seen. I think I managed a castrated yelp of hilarity before I realised he was fitting. Emotionally up and down in a moment, second time my poor heart has had to deal with that this year. Anyway, poor kid was having a fit and got seen to, so we all went on our merry way, down dale and over water. SGP is set in a wonderful valley. In Cambridgeshire. If someone can explain why that’s going on in the Fens, that’d be good. Much in the same way as I hadn’t realised Lenny was left hand drive ‘til we arrived.  Dear reader it’s a cocking surprise that i) you’ve come this far & ii) I can remember.

We drank and met H and his godson. (No ‘H’ yet? Ace.) O & D didn’t turn up until the next day, but I am SO fucking happy that we’re still good on initials that I thought I’d best pop them in now. There was hair stroking, stumbling and to be fair, a lot of lost time. Someone must have spiked my sherbet Dib Dab, because all I can recall is slinging myself around a rope web in the Badger area, talking to trees, searching for a ring whilst trying to second guess the exhortations of its owner as cries of despair or deliriousness, Kafka, a toy hat and it being bloody chilly on the way back. Oh, and The Egg didn’t turn up or weren’t booked. I saw some Industrial Punk (that is how I distinctly remember identifying it at the time) and some hip hop. It’s fair to say I went overboard and watched some shipmates sail away in the distance. I’ve not mentioned our naval theme yet, oops. Seeing as this is for limited eyes, I’ll not edit – we all went dressed under that said theme. There were pirates, cheeky sailors, officers and gentlemen. Next year, I’ll be a perambulating house brick copulating with a fly swat, and feel a bit straight. The costumes were amazing. I salute, or doff my cap or sing the Star Spangled Pan Handlers to those that put in more effort than us. Suffice to say that I needed sparkly make-up to feel at least a little un-normal along with the whispering K-heads, the mong-eyed stoners and pilled-up trance freaks. Badger, Badger, Badger. We loved it.

After much cajoling, J made bacon butties the next morning. I had put not one thing up this delicate nose of mine, yet still I blustered and guffawed like grandpappy. I cursed the dry, warm conditions, that some would say are perfect conditions for a festival. Buggery and damnation, if I want to feel like that, I’ll spend £60 and talk shit for a few hours in a Luton bedsit with strangers. I’ve had just about enough of getting eggshell paint over this keyboard. If you want your memory refreshed via my memories let me know.

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