Sunday, 9 September 2012

Post-Festival Blues,Cardiff Afterlife & Birthday Bants

I can't remember the last weekend where I didn't drink at least a litre of wine/the vodka equivalent thereof/both, which is kind of worrying but since I've been travelling cross-country seeing new bands and old friends (and old bands and new friends) I guess I can be forgiven. First of all, August 16th brought with it the hideous prospect of RESULTS DAY. I don't need to go into it in detail, but I did well and I got into my first choice, the University of Liverpool, so that worked out pretty well and meant that the following weekend at Beacons Festival could be spent celebrating and not commiserating. We got there and pitched the tent and stuff and it looked a bit like this:
It's funny because I live about half an hour away from Skipton but it's bloody beautiful. Unfortunately the weather didn't quite hold out all weekend but amongst puddle-jumping and getting stuck in the mud we managed to catch some awesome bands, as well as dressing up in fairground-themed fancy dress and getting our eyebrows done in glitter, making DIY vodka cocktails and eating the worlds best mashed potato. Musical highlights included the obscenely talented Willy Mason whose beautiful set had me sobbing my way through my Sunday hangover, Japandroids who I'd really really been looking forward to and who didn't disappoint, and Star Slinger, a DJ I'd never heard of before who played the Sunday afternoon and had us all dancing in Barbour jackets outside the tent at Sunset to Nicki Minaj and 'Crossroads'. Non-musical highlights include the man with one leg who went around spiking people with LSD (you literally could not make it up) selling fake laughing gas to unsuspecting camp-neighbours and The Impossible Lecture, a 72 hour performance piece by Leeds-based collective Indivisible featuring Carianne the Merman (or a lad writhing around on the floor wrapped in tin foil), The Jeremy Kyle Show Live & an hour long dance to Proud Mary. Surreal doesn't quite cover it.

After saying goodbye to the lovely Funkirk Estate I went home for a couple of days to recuperate before my fourth visit to the Leeds Festival. As much as Leeds has the rep for being 'a bit shite', it always feels to me like a sort of homecoming, partly because it's basically in my back garden but also because it's full of all my friends, new and old, getting together to party hard. This year was a bit different as we were camping in the Guest area thanks to a friend of Beth's pulling some strings, but this brought with it coffee cocktails (flat white White Russian anyone?) clean toilets and star-spotting in the bar whose clientele included the Cure's Simon Gallup (unfortunately I wasn't in the bar at this point or I'd have fangirled the fuck out of the world) a couple of members of Los Campesinos! and the Mystery Jets who were totally lovely to Tom's little brothers. Leeds looked a bit like THIS (or the sky did, unfortunately the rest are generally unflattering shots of yours truly and/or friends drinking too much)

I saw about half the bands I was planning on as we spent a bit too much time back at camp drinking Merlot straight from the box but we did still see a good few, personal highlights were Future of the Left, At The Drive In, The Cure, Blood Red Shoes and Los Campesinos! (And most of all seeing BRS drummer/vocalist Steven absolutely losing his shit during ATDI, I love it when bands love other bands). Returning home on the Monday morning to a rainy Harrogate, I spent most of the day moping and drinking blueberry tea before preparing myself for a week of being sat in the office, moping and drinking blueberry tea (I like routine, okay?!) before packing my leopard-print bags and heading off to South Wales to hang out with some fellow obsessive-compulsive Manics Fans. I was, to be frank, absolutely shitting it as although I knew everyone from 'the internet', this was to be the first time we'd met in real life and being a pretty paranoid person I was really afraid that it'd be dead awkward, so I bought a litre of vodka and sat on the train in my leopard fur & eyeliner reading American Psycho, feeling like Richey Edwards and getting slowly more wasted as I neared Cardiff. Upon arrival I got totally lost trying to find the exit to the station, but eventually made it to the lovely Amy's house. Rachel and I were the last to arrive and everyone was a bit drunk which made me feel a lot better about the state I was in. To my absolute relief everyone was COMPLETELY BEYOND LOVELY and not at all awkward, vodka and cranberry ensued (it's a Manics thing..) as well as a candlelit Richey Appreciation Moment, burnt garlic bread and hours of Top Bants (tm) courtesy of Rob and Edmund featuring Banthony Costa, Bant & Dec and Blink 182's Take Off Your Bants & Jacket. The next day we went into Cardiff and spent far too long record shopping before taking a trip to Cardiff Bay which was pretty and looked like this: 
After smoothies at the bay and a glance at the rather disturbing Torchwood memorial thingy, we went back to Amy's for the Big Manics Haus Party, via Lidl where an alarmingly large bottle of red wine and several kiwis were purchased. To be completely honest I don't remember an awful lot of the night but there are few moments worthy of an honourable mention: Ed and I giving each other dodgy Judge Yr'self tattoos, everyone getting 4realed, Rob 'bonging a fag' and just about everyone turning into a hardcore chain smoker (big up to Amy for clearing up all the ends...), Roisin documenting the evening for the forthcoming pastel grunge blog, mine and Nicky's scary knees, deep emotional chats with Rachel during which Ed passed out on a wall, and waking up at 6am to David Mitchell dressed as a woman to find myself an hour later nearly falling asleep with my head in the toilet bowl. I don't even want to talk about the hungover train journey, made worse by the fact that I had pretty much the greatest time ever and desperately did not want to leave, but alas I made it back to Manchester in one piece in time to spend a morbid hour on the M62 (Myra Hindley represent) back to miserable Yorkshire. Here is some highly unflattering photographic evidence of the bants in action: 
 /\ I proper love and miss this lot, peak :( 

After a week of hangover & wanting to be anywhere else in the world than in the office, it rolled round to Friday, my birthday weekend had begun and I could no longer hide from the big bottle of Absolut with my name on it. I had a wonderful and slightly emotional night with my nearest and dearest, my 'speech' was pretty peak (basically I was ordered to do a speech which basically consisted of me saying 'I'm going to miss you all so much' and then sobbing into my White Russian). It was probably the last time I'm going to be together with all my favourite people before I move away for university next Saturday but I reckon the most of it was certainly made. Especially big love for my best friend Bethany for turning up with a bottle of Spanish vodka, Tom for looking after my house and the lovely Leah for staying up to watch the sunset with me and smoking my bus ticket cigarettes without complaining. Also to Hannah for vomming violently but neatly and photographing the evening, Sally for the epic jams and Matt for being the King of Ring of Fire. 


Also big shout out to Ben for this photo ^ it's probably my all time favourite picture, EVER. xxx

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