Something for the Weakened

Archive for July, 2005

Random Linkery

July 29th, 2005 by

Baby, I’m so hot I make minerals wet!

Okay, let’s start off with a couple of random games.

Next there’s television on the internet for those of us who are to cheap to fork out for digital boxes. Or for computers able to cope with streaming video. Arse.

Finally, I’m afraid I must move into in jokes which only two people in the world are libel to understand. There’s this, the author of which I imagine is a doctor. Then we have the ’sheesh kebab. Finally finally, something I only expect only one other person on the planet to find amusing (unless you too had the misfortune of seeing it).

The first line just entered my head a few hours ago. I only wish I knew why.

Seen Shifting

July 27th, 2005 by

Of late I’ve become increasingly annoyed by one of my many bad habits. No, not that one. From time to time I find myself making pointless clicking noises with my tongue. There’s no reason for it and I can’t remember when I started doing it. Or why. But do it I do. The odd thing is the fact that it’s supposedly something that some blind people do. It was on Radio Four (possibly Home Truths), so it must be true. The chap talking (who I seem to recall was blind himself) said that sometimes he found himself doing the clicking thing when entering an unfamiliar room, supposedly to judge it’s size from the echo produced. I want to say like a bat, but fear that could be construed as rather offensive (what is the PC term anyway? Sight impaired?). Having heard the comments I couldn’t help but wonder if this somehow related to my own clicks. It’s not as if I’ve got twenty-twenty vision, but I’m normally able to judge the size of the room I’m in. Besides which, I normally seem to make the noise while wearing headphones, impairing any attempts at judgement I could attempt. Could my sight be worsening at a startling speed and I’m inadvertently preparing myself for a world without vision? Could it be that I haven’t a clue what I’m talking about? I’ll go with the latter myself. At least the man on the radio agreed with one of my points. It is an annoying sound. If you catch me doing it, give me a slap.

Observer

July 26th, 2005 by

I was walking past one of the local adult bookshops the other day. Not something I do regularly (and I don’t mean that I’m normally unable to walk past), but it’s on my way home. I was on the other side of the road, when I noticed that someone had scratched some graffiti onto the red brick wall directly opposite said emporium. Crudely carved into the rock was the single word “wankers”.

This got me wondering. Did the writer hope that when someone emerges, clutching their brown paper bag, they will see the writing on the wall and feel so shamed they instantly return the porn? Unlikely, as the writing is quite small. The shopper would have to either be extremely long sighted (extremely unlikely if the old wives are correct) or cross over the busy road directly opposite the shop (also unlikely, as they are far more likely to try and secrete themselves in the nearest darkened alley, cackling). Perhaps a narked wife or partner of some description, having found their other half’s stash of nudie books scraped it up there in the hope that said partner would recognise the handwriting and thereby the error of their ways, stopping this terrible collection of filth. Probably not – the writer did a pretty bad job of making the letters recognisable with whatever bit of loose slate they etched them with. Any trace of anyone’s personal calligraphic style has long been lost. Could it be that one of the “wankers” themselves wrote it up there in a moment of sudden honesty, maybe as a celebration of their “wanking”, rather than a mockery of it? Seems the most plausible explanation so far.

It should also be pointed out that the writer isn’t wholly accurate if they are trying to address the shop’s clientele. They also sell marital aids for couples. Apparently. It’s not like I’ve ever been in there or anything.

kwiky

July 25th, 2005 by

Evenin’ all. Back from the Welsh jaunt. Just thought I’d let you know that I’m alive. Not that it matters. Something faintly interesting might appear shortly. Probably not though. Out.

Booze Muse

July 14th, 2005 by

I’ve made the resolution before and I’m bound to make it again, but I don’t think I’m ever going to drink on an empty stomach again. As we all know, this isn’t going to happen and for once I didn’t feel that bad the morning after. But the minor holes in my memory, the bruising and what I recall of the state I was in are not good things. Funny to the observer, I would imagine, and certainly amusing to me at the time. I don’t quite know what I’m arguing against actually. Frankly the pros greatly outweigh the cons. Barman, another gin.

On a slightly related note, this’ll be the last post for a week and a bit. Wales is calling to me again (it says “Baa” and on and on with the sheep gags (they stop them talking)) and this time I’m answering. If I see Patrick McGoohan, I’ll tell him you say hi.

Homeless Snail

July 11th, 2005 by

Friday Evening – Enter the bathroom just before going to bed. Notice that there is a slug sitting on the one of the floor tiles. Briefly weigh up the perverse pleasure I might garner from covering it with salt and watching it fizz with the inevitable guilt killing any living creature now fills me with. Decide to leave it be. Surprised by the fact that it has left no slimy trail to get to the middle of the room. Shut the door on my way to bed, supposedly trapping it in the room.

Saturday Morning – Awaken early to go to work. Slug seems to have vacated the bathroom, or at least gone into hiding in some corner of it. Think no more of it. Fill washing machine, set it running and head off to work.

Saturday Afternoon – Return from work. Empty washing machine. While hanging the clothes up I notice some clumps of mysterious goo that I’m fairly certain I didn’t put there myself. Scrape off with discarded tissue.

Could the two events be related? I guess I’ll never know for sure – I certainly can’t afford the DNA testing on the mystery gunk. Anyone who has any pictures of molluscs after spin cycles should forward them through the relevant channels.

Glumness Revisited

July 11th, 2005 by

The glum girl has got a bike. It appears to have cheered her up a bit. That or the g-forces caused by the increased speed are causing the corners of her mouth to curve into some horrible rictus. At least it makes her look perkier.

Glastonbury 2005 Report – Part F

July 9th, 2005 by

Okay, this is it. I can only apologise for putting regular readers through this. Normal service will be resumed shortly.

Sunday 26th June continued – Leave the campsite and move towards the Pyramid Stage again. Tom’s bag is only a small rucksack, so he is hardly weighed down. Get as near to the stage as we can be bothered to try and await the arrival of Brian Wilson. Eventually he shuffles on, surrounded by a huge entourage, and starts rifling through the hits. Unsurprisingly for a man who has been quite as mental as he has been, Brian doesn’t look well. Confused by everything going on around him, he manages to hit some of the notes he used to belt out in his sandpit. The backing group do an astonishing job covering his back catalogue, but Brian just seems to want it to be over so he can get out of there. Halfway through, one of Tom’s work mates turns round and notices us(once again, names elude me). They chat briefly and I say hello, before he returns to his small collapsible chair which I begin to envy. After around an hour, Brian scuttles off stage without saying a word. I wonder if it’s all got too much for him and we’ve witnessed his final ever performance. Thankfully after some cajoling the whole band return for an encore, before some proper bowing. Wilson still makes next to no attempt at patter with the audience, before dashing off to do whatever he does these days. I think it might involve crying. Tom decides that he had better get off, otherwise he runs the risk of missing the train he’s hoping to escape back to the Midlands on. I walk with him as far as the John Peel Stage, descending the alarming slope we had nearly come a cropper on on Friday, again unscathed. We say our goodbyes and he treks off up hill towards the exit. I consider having a poo as there’s a bit of a gap before the next act I want to see, but find that the queues at the nearest toilets are huge so give up on that idea. Have a look at what’s going on in the John Peel Stage. According to the programme I’m using for reference here I saw The Kills, who I’ve informed a couple of people that I missed altogether. It turns out that I was completely wrong. There are only two of them and I’m right at the back of the tent, but they do seem to be putting on a damn fine show. I even quite enjoy the music, which I’d never heard before. Only catch the last twenty minutes, but this discovery keeps my now lonely spirits up (though obviously not for long enough for me to remember that I’d seen them). The hirsute announcer reappears, but makes no mention of the next act. Disregarding what had been said earlier, I await LCD Soundsystem. It should come as no surprise to me that after the quick change of equipment they don’t show up. The crowd are all hyped up when the hairy gent comes on and introduces . . . Client. The disappointment is palpable as half the throng start a cheer that quickly turns into an “uh?” I stick around for a song and a half of their inoffensive Ladytronish electro-pop, but give up, feeling a bit cheated and foolish. Resolve to try and watch a bit of Rufus Wainwright back at the Pyramid – someone I work with often rants about his excellence, so I’m intrigued. On the way I buy some noodles from a stall that has run out of forks. I manage to eat them with two teaspoons. The food has slowed me down though and by the time I get to the Pyramid, I find an empty stage. Watch a short film about picking up litter on the big screen until they finally flash up a message saying that Primal Scream will be next on. Decide to return to Peel to see if LCD have just been bumped up a position. Catch the last couple of Client numbers, all much the same as the start. Wait around through the change again and am feeling confidant when a vast drum kit is wheeled on stage. Sure enough, the Soundsystem soon start up and crash through a blistering set. Their album has pretty much been my favourite of the year so far (admittedly I’ve not bought much music this year) and I forgive them and the grossly bearded announcer’s wasting my time. The only patter the front man dishes out is pointing at the drummer and saying his name (which, again, escapes me). The songs all sound remarkably like the album versions, impressing me particularly with the list of bands during Losing my Edge. It lacks the vocal effects, but the list sounds completely intact, even up to the “The Sonics” mantra at the end. Possibly my favourite set of the weekend. After they finish, I have a look to see if (Uber) Rob is around, having made a vague plan to meet him there. I notice a revised band list on the side of the sound desk that I had walked past half a dozen times without noticing. Feel foolish. Notice (Uber) Rob across the tent with some other folks, but they are already on the move. I decide to follow, but they are moving at quite a pace. Legs are too tired for me to consider running, plus they are moving up hill in the opposite direction to where I want to go. I follow for almost a hundred metres before realising they aren’t going to stop, shrug and give up. Instead I decide that I’m going to try and catch the end of The La’s on the Other Stage. Trudge there, through the small gap between flooded areas, hearing familiar music I take to be them. When I’m in the centre of the mud, finally in view of the stage itself, I notice it is devoid of people. It occurs to me that the song I’ve been listening to is actually by Gomez. I arrive at the only possible conclusion – that I’ve managed to miss them as well. Briefly consider hanging around to watch the stomping man himself, Ian Brown, but decide to go with my original instinct for a headliner and return to the Dance Village’s East Coast stage. At this point I notice that my weekend’s chain smoking has left me out of Rizla and with only a pound in my pocket. Resolve to buy more after the set and make do without nicotine for an hour. The tent is packed and I don’t even try to get through the crush of pilled up nutters so I can look at the stage. I’ve come to see 2 Many DJs, and find it quite tricky to work out whether they’re on stage or not. The nature of the set being that they’ll be playing records makes it hard to discern if I’m listening to the backing music played in the interim or if they’re just playing a pedestrian sounding collection of tunes. Cheers go up once or twice, making the confusion even larger, until the loudest shout signals the halt of the backing music. What follows is an oddly frustrating performance, that I’m still uncertain as to whether I enjoyed or not. The nature of what they do made the atmosphere rather like a particularly muddy club experience, especially the man made of elbows dancing next to me. The set was at it’s best when they were working over tunes that I recognised (Teenage Kicks, Song 2) or ones they had used on the As Heard On Radio Soulwax album. The rest of the set they were using what sounded like good dance tunes, presumably mashed up or deformed as they would do with the other ones. This lack of familiarity on my part just made them sound like ordinary DJs playing records, removing any sense of art from the performance. At one point I contemplated going back to watch the stomping, until seconds later they dropped Higher State Of Consciousness and started playing with that. Those five minutes of genius (both from them and Mr Wink) made me stick it out until the end, which involves them just stopping abruptly. Sort of disappointing climax to the weekend. Make my final journey through the swamp back to the tent, pausing only to buy myself some rolling papers. Fifty pence! I’d hoped to buy some proper food, but am forced to buy a Boost bar (with Guarano!) for breakfast in the morning. Arrive back to empty tent, prepare for bed and the early morning of the morrow. Manage to turn phone on long enough to look at the time, but realise I have no alarm to get me up early enough to get the bus to the station for 9:00. (Uber) Rob returns after half an hour or so. Various people come into the tent for a bit of a chat. I inform him of the new departure time, which he takes quite well. Asks if I’ll dismantle my half of the tent when I get up and disconnect it from the other canvas we’ve connected it too. I agree. Everyone hits the hay and I drop off into a paranoid slumber.

Monday 27th June – Awoken by the sounds of a tent being dismantled. This fills me with hope as I know some of our group are planning to leave about 6:30 to try and get their car on the road before traffic becomes a complete nightmare. I fire up the phone and find it is indeed 6:30. Resolve to stay awake and, unlike normal, manage to do so. Gather together my belongings and force the sleeping bag into my big bag. Dismantle my half of the tent and detach it from the other tents. Force myself into my battered shoes for one last time, eat my Boost and nip downhill for a wee. The awake have gone for their car already and no one obviously recognisable is awake. Walk off alone towards the exit, the sun low in the sky. The site is already looking half-empty. The field I arrived in has a pleasingly small queue for the shuttle bus to the station, when a steward points out that there is a second queue which is even shorter and already loading passengers onto a bus. This pulls away and I’m left waiting. I ask someone the time and find that it’s only 7:30 – my projected time for actually getting up. Ten minutes later I’m on the bus already, two having turned up and started taking people from our queue but ignoring the longer one. Looking out from the top deck I see that both queues are now stretching off almost back inside the festival site itself. The roads are dead for the time of day on a Monday morning so the journey to the station is even quicker than the one from it. It’s odd to see local kids waiting for school buses in the villages we pass through, wondering what they make of the whole thing. Upon arrival, I wave my ticket at a steward and end up at the front of the queue waiting for London bound trains. One turns up about 8:20 and I board, almost an hour before I’d planned too and manage to get a window seat again. A ‘Rah’ girl sits next to me, talking to another who is apparently in charge of some sort of punt based group. I try to block it all out with the Pixies on my discman. All to soon we are in Reading and I climb over the sleeping ‘Rah’, now destined for London. I assume she was meant to disembark here, consider waking her, then find it far more amusing to leave her where she is. I’m sure she knew what she was doing. Scan timetables, realise a homeward bound link is leaving any second, run to the platform and board with no hassle. Spot someone I used to work with but am too tired to shout or try to make any contact. Ride back is uneventful and short. Contemplate getting a bus home from the station, but realise that my ragged appearance is not really conducive to bus travel and probably neither is my smell. Walk, which takes longer than the connection from Reading did. Home, I peel off my shoes and cast them outside to fester. Bathe, survey physical damage to feet, finally relax for the first time in a week. It feels good.

fin

Glastonbury 2005 Report – Part E

July 8th, 2005 by

Right, even I am getting sick of this now. I can only apologise. If I have to do a Part F I’m starting to open veins. Onward.

Saturday 25th June continued – Having given up on the improv, we trek to the Other Stage for the first time that day. The ground still seems more treacherous than anywhere else, but has solidified to an extent. Here we catch Interpol, a band I have heard bits and bobs of over the past couple of years. Most of it has sounded okay, but I’m going more out of obligation than anything, having been told to see them independently by two different people. They don’t disappoint, putting on an enjoyable show, though I’m not sure I could remember one song that they played. Like all the other groups I’ve seen on the Other Stage, I become strangely entranced by the camera boom that keeps swooping above our heads. Sometimes I consciously try not to stare at it, attempting to look as if I’m far more interested by what’s going on on stage than the faint possibility of someone recognising me on the telly. At other points I wave at it with the rest of the drones around me. I have no shame, nor standards it would appear. At Tom’s suggestion we wade off towards the Dance Village again. Foolishly trying to cross through a part of the Other field which is still water logged. Balance is somehow maintained. Tom buys an Oggie – the Welsh pasty. I pass. Have a look at the G Stage again, which has been playing people I would have been interested in seeing all day, but they are mid sound check and nothing terribly interesting seems to be going on. Trot over to the Lounge Tent instead, only to find Four Tet on stage (who I’d forgotten was playing). Though he is only playing with a laptop behind a table, it is nevertheless an impressive site to behold. It is probably the set that I know the most songs from during the whole festival. Even though he is only cueing up samples in a computer, the way in which he extends the recognisable tunes with, what I hope are, periods of improvisation sounds great. I get to use the word folktronica too, which always gives me a warm feeling inside. Hebden himself spends quite a lot of time jumping up and down, until the whole thing comes to a rather abrupt halt. We wander off toward the G Stage before the compere gets the chance to say anything audible. It’s already quite packed, so near impossible to get close enough to actually see the headline act when they (or maybe just he) come onto the stage. Squarepusher (for it is he) launches into what turns out to be almost one continuous slap bass solo for the next hour or so. Despite owning much of his back catalogue, I’m not as familiar as I would like to be with many of his compositions, though a few moments of this do seem familiar. Amid the slapping are the squalls of electronic noise combined with the manic skittering beats I had hoped to hear from the man (men? I know he is fond of his bass, but couldn’t see if anyone else on stage was doing the programming, or if it was just a backing track). We leave, exhilarated by the high-octane drill and bass. Tentward bound, Tom buys another Oggie – beef rather than lamb this time. We circumnavigate the Other Field, realising our folly in the waterlogged zones before, sticking to the roadway. I decide that a poo might be a good idea, having stolen some napkins a bit earlier. Having located a tap to rinse my hands under, I join a short queue and am in and out in minutes, breathing through my mouth the whole time. Return to base, remove shoes to minor steam effects, retire to bed for some more half sleeping.

Sunday 26th June – Awoken by sunshine around 10:00ish. Stick head out of tent to discover it actually looks like a nice day. Yesterday’s threats of rain thankfully don’t seem to have been followed up overnight. No movement really occurs on my part until about midday (and if it did, I’m afraid I can’t recall it). Scoff a couple more of Tom’s cereal bars and contemplate my next move. Paranoia gets the best of me and I decide to carry my return train ticket in my wallet, rather than have it stolen from the tent during the day (if it were to happen, surely it would be on the Sunday – it did last time). Inspect the ticket properly for the first time. Realise that man at the station has made the same mistake as he did with my outgoing ticket – mistaking my proposed departure time for one of arrival. My leisurely Monday, catching a train about midday, now gets me back home about midday, on a train leaving about 9:00. This doesn’t best please me. Not just the early morning, but I had agreed to help (Uber) Rob dismantle tents in the morning. He has already left to watch Jools Holland so I resolve to tell him later. Tom and I finally move off to go and watch the Quantic Soul Orchestra back in the Dance Village again. The ground has recovered some more, but still retains a few inches of filth over almost all areas. As there is some time to wait before they start, we go down to the John Peel Stage for a bit. A band called Gear are playing, who neither of us have ever heard of, but are surprisingly enjoyable. At the end of their set, the hirsute compere says something about some time changes. I think he says that Client are on at 7:45, when someone I want to see is supposed to be playing. We don’t investigate any further, so buoyed up by our new musical discovery, we head back into the Village. I had nearly seen Quantic (as they were known then) a few years previously when visiting my brother, but they split up a week before the gig so it never happened. We walk into the wrong tent at first and catch a bit of Celloman, who is alright if a little dull, before realising our mistake (“Oh, that’s why he was playing the cello!”). QSO put on a good show, doing exactly what you would expect a Soul Orchestra to do. The Orchestra claim is a bit much, they have no more members than your average travelling funk band, but they do what they do very well. A mixture of classic numbers and their own, it’s all a rather jolly way to start the day. When they’re done, we return to where Celloman had been and after a short wait see the start of Jamie Lidell’s set. This impresses me no end. Half of Super Collider, he has an incredible soul voice which is akin to Prince. This he utilises to enormous effect, creating almost every sound that we hear out of the speakers with it. Be it his beatboxing, singing, or just making some random noises, these are all recorded, looped and often effected to the point at which some become inhuman breaks or whines. I am entranced, but Tom wants to go and see Cake on the Other Stage. As I’ve been dragging him around stuff that I want to see for the past twenty-four hours, I happily concede. We make it back to the Other Stage shortly after the band on it has begun playing. As we cross a slightly less waterlogged passageway, I’m sure I hear the singer saying that they’re a replacement group or words to that effect. We press on and watch two or three of the most pedestrian and uninteresting songs of the day. Later I learn that they weren’t Cake at all, but were some sort of a fill in. I’d like to find out who, if only to avoid the lacklustre fools. When we can take no more we orient around the pools to the nearest information tent. Tom needs info about shuttle buses to the train station as he needs to be driving a steam train by Monday afternoon. I attempt to pick up one of the daily free papers circulated about these parts, but to no avail. We strut about for a bit, walking away from the Other Stage before it occurs to us that the next act to be seen are on it. We return after a bit of a sit down in the Dance Village to watch Soulwax put on a damned good show. I’m only familiar with the first album’s material, which they reel out in almost carbon copy form to the recorded form, just with a few tweaks to improve things. Tom points out the entire bands inability to dance. He has a point. The staccato shaking could be mistaken for epilepsy. The new material has a couple of tunes that lodge vaguely in my mind, though the Belgian ear for an English lyric is found wanting. The camera boom has broken, so there is no distraction or feelings of self-consciousness. Perhaps the Beeb just can’t be arsed to record it. This concludes after they’ve plugged their later show and as there isn’t much else interesting on, we go for a walk around the Green Fields. This is largely uneventful, except for the discovery of a cobalt smelting stall (sadly not in operation) and a bench made entirely out of turf that I rest my legs on. Near the stone circle it is decided we should nip back to the tent so that Tom can grab his bag and thus pack as much into his limited time as possible. This we do.

Ow! That’s sharp! Not much left. Let’s climax tomorrow!

Glastonbury 2005 Report – Part D

July 7th, 2005 by

Okay, only three more days of this to relate. Let’s plough on, shall we.

Saturday 25th June – Achieve complete consciousness quite late in the morning. Not woken by either extreme heat or noisy sky fall, so don’t really start moving until middayish. The skies hang grey above us, threatening monsoon at any moment. Having consumed some of Tom’s cereal bars (oh, how we’d mocked him for bringing them, until morning munchies set in), the pair of us decide to go and have a look at Taj Mahal playing on the Pyramid Stage. The mud seems to be in the process of setting. Consequently it has become stickier, making every step take that little bit more effort. Squelching through the grounds, I’m pleased to notice that many of the ponds that had developed are now considerably shallower. Just before we enter the Pyramid’s field, an oddly clean man darts past in front of me. I realise that it is Vernon Kay, apparently doing some kind of outside broadcast. He nips over to interview the employee of some type of food vendor. Various people shout “Vernon”, while I suppress the urge to shout “Cunt” in an attempt to land him with an enormous fine if it was live. Settle in front of the stage for a while until Taj makes his entrance. It is very much what I had expected – blues standards. Played well, but a bit pedestrian. We manage three or four songs before wandering off to the Dance Village. This involves moving down a slope in some particularly viscous conditions. Hard work, but we both manage to emerge unscathed. Arrive in the Village a bit early, manage to find some dry ground (covered in straw) and sit down with a beer for a while. Get up to watch Cassetteboy next, who is appearing with DJ Rubbish on the G Stage (something Guardian related perhaps?). Large crowd for such a tiny area on the site, but all are treated to one of the finest shows of the three days. Rubbish lives up to his name and isn’t terribly good at rapping, while the balaclavaed Barry in the background makes the worst use of a pair of decks I may have ever seen. It is gloriously shambolic. Then the two Casseteboys take to the stage, dressed like the Man With A Stick, playing a child’s keyboard and a guitar extremely badly until Rubbish tells us to boo them off stage. Minutes later they return for the show proper, wearing Bush & Blair masks and mucking about while the tapes they had prepared are played over the PA. The whole affair combines libel, anarchy (custard pies) and much mirth. We leave the throng, moving to one of the proper Village stages so I can watch a group I’ve meant to see for almost a decade. And there they are, mid solo. I went through a major obsession with the Ozric Tentacles (or OzriK as the are now) when I was in my late teens and had often wondered how they would work as a live experience. It comes as no surprise that it is moderately pleasurable as they pretend to be playing different songs, while everyone really knows that it’s just the same guitar solo put through varying degrees of effects. This may be untrue, but I have my doubts. I’m baffled at I manage to recognise a couple of songs but recognise them I do. After their assault concludes, we move over to the other main Dance tent. James Lavelle is supposed to be playing and he might be (if he’s doing a DJ set). We leave as it all looks a bit tedious if he has started and I’m not really that bothered about missing him. We take a very slow walk towards the Acoustic Stage, during which time things must have occurred, though I forget what. I show Tom the floor in the Left Field tent, as it still impresses me. He seems nonplussed. There is someone doing some sub Richard Digance comedy set on stage. We leave sharpish. Things are running a bit late at the Acoustic Stage so we have to wait a while for Chas ‘n’ Dave to get on stage. Yes, you heard me. They probably get on about 4:15 and get everyone to give a cheer for world poverty. The great joining of hands moment when everyone on site was supposed to hold hands had happened a quarter of an hour earlier, with none of us any the wiser despite the claims that it had been co-ordinated perfectly in every corner of the festival. At least we were under canvas, so are unnoticeable in any high altitude surveillance footage. I’m sure that I remember Chas ’n’ Dave having dozens of memorable tunes. This myth is quickly dispelled as the first half a dozen numbers are unknown to me. The charm of the cockney knees up wears off Tom very quickly and soon after from me also. We depart just as they start on Snooker Loopy, which I do recognise but quickly realise that I don’t like as much as like the idea of it in my head. From now on that is where it will be kept. We go for a bit of a wander, pausing briefly in the Circus Field to watch an escapologist. Like all the other circusy acts, he seems to have only one trick and one that takes the best part of a quarter of an hour to set up. The feat itself is quite impressive, but we move on before the next act gets on the stage. A man I assume to be Atilla the Stockbroker skulks by. Strolling and stuff happen for a while, none of which springs to mind until about two hours later. By then we’re in the Cabaret Tent again, this time to watch a tribute to the late Malcolm Hardee. Compered by a pissed up Arthur Smith, it’s a mixed bag from a mixed bunch. Paul Merton does one joke (How do you impregnate a nun?), Munnery does his safety officer routine, a naked Greek man dies on his arse, Stewart Lee does exactly the same routine as yesterday (which is still funny), all culminating in the naked balloon dance Hardee made famous. Or at least infamous. After that it’s a quick dash to the rebuilt La Belle Epoque stage to catch The Stephen Frost Improv All-Stars – Whose Line Is It Anyway to anyone else in the know. We discover that La Belle is actually all seating, with areas around the edge you can stand and watch from. I position myself in a corner where I can just about make out those involved (Merton again, Frost, Jupitus, Vranch and others), but not exactly what they’re doing or saying most of the time. This disappoints me rather. After fifteen minutes or so I suggest we move on. We do.

More to come . . .