Tag Archives: Music

Some People Think I’m Bonkers..Part 1


Others may consider me bonkers but in all honesty my mantra for the past six weeks or so truly has been ‘but I just think I’m free’ too over indulge in live music events. Covid restrictions saw to it that the events originally scheduled across the whole of 2020 were due to multiple date changes all condensed in to this small time window.

The mayhem kicked off with the adventure to Newquay to catch up with festival buddy Pauline at Boardmasters. I felt as if I had been cast in some strange ‘reality tv show’ with the possibility of eviction ever present on the say so of a single positive lateral flow test. Before during & after was filled with nerve wracking moments as one waited for the vital pink line to emerge granting you permission on to the next event.

Given that horrendous weather had derailed Boardmasters in 2019 only to be cancelled again due to covid in 2020 it felt exciting to be a part of it in 2021. Indeed nothing blew the lingering post lockdown blues away quicker than exchanging happy banter whilst checking tickets & dishing out wristbands to hundreds of fellow festival goers.

Off shift we got to listen to live music & explore the local area which I had not visited since my twenties. Originally a surfer meet due to the quality of the waves I guiltily confess to having thrown a wet suit & boogie board in the car that I didn’t actually get around to using them.

It was almost impossible not to be moved by the various artists emotional response to stepping out on various stages after what was almost two years. Some voiced how they had begun to think live performance was a thing of the past & others how strange it was to play music that had been released yet never toured so they had no idea of how their fans were going to respond. They needn’t have worried though as the crowds cheered and danced as the alcohol flowed (which was amazing in itself given the prices) but it certainly was great to be able to see so many happy people.

Whilst not a Dizzee Rascal, fan listening to this live rendition of Bonkers by the artist supported by the crowd of thousands enthusiastically singing along it did make me consider just how important music is to lots of people. Personally I would have found dealing with the long weeks of lockdown so much harder without it.

Festivals are all about discovering new music & Inhaler were definitely a good find but also I found the personality of Beccy Hill & Maisie Peters very compelling though their style very different. Newquay hasn’t changed over much & catching the double decker bus that ferried us along the coast road brought back many memories.

The chaos caused by an incident on the road before me forced an unscheduled break in what was initially an empty rest area. As the car park filled & not wishing to sit for hours in a traffic jam I decided to cut across the Moors. Not quite a short cut it certainly was a journey down memory lane as I whizzed past pubs & places last frequented with hubby when we first started going out together nearly forty years ago. Amazingly most looked to still be in business so I think we will have to put a revisit on the ‘too do’ list.

No sooner home the grubby camping gear was washed, sorted & repacked ready for Reading Festival about 10 days later. Still involving water this festival flanks the banks of the River Thames. Reading I have discovered is my ‘musical home’ such were the plethora of bands I wanted to see I had to make a complex schedule on the back of my shift sheet. Sad & old school maybe but when the app was down it made for easy decisions on where & when to dash between stages to maximise listening potential.

In my stewards tabard I started to feel like the ‘patron saint of lost things’ successfully reuniting the tearful & very grateful man to his lost phone which contained his whole universe to the lad who arrived minus his glasses at the remote gate I was on. His powers of navigation had been nullified by what ever he had been imbibing as he was resolutely walking in completely the wrong direction into the dark wilds of Berkshire. Escorting him to the festival entrance & the bridge back to ‘Neverland’ (well the festival campsite & his mates at least) left me musing that none of these tasks featured in the steward training sessions.

Bands in my experience recently are a bit like buses – you might wait a long time to see one but then they all come along at once. I had tried to get tickets to see Biffy Clyro many times & failed miserably so I jumped with joy when I finally got tickets for a gig in Glasgow.

With all the lockdown restrictions in addition to the Scottish rules I began to despair of seeing them at all until the music gods took pity and it was revealed they were to play at Reading in addition to You me @Six.

YAMAS

Until then I had only seen YAMAS in smaller venues so that was a real unexpected treat. Due to the shift patterns I could only catch a bit of my favourite band The Hunna by ‘dashing’ from one side of the arena in the ubiquitous speed walk of a nurse traversing a hospital corridor dodging people & obstacles. Just one of many odd transferable skills that have proved useful in retirement.

Despite the risk of a dousing from ‘beer’ ( rather not think of the alternative warm liquid it might have been) randomly thrown into the crowd my favourite off duty haunt was The Pit or Lockup Tent.

Waterparks

From the quirky Waterparks with front man Awsten Knight’s madcap antics & generally upbeat tunes to the dark often quite challenging lyrics in songs by Badflower. It was amazing to see both bands actually had been able to leave the USA to appear at the festival as nothing was a given due to the effects of covid & the ever changing rules. The icing on the cake was Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes appearing as the ‘surprise guest act’ with their ‘old school style’ slightly angry, shouty punk which for me summed up a lot of what was making many currently angry.

Saying thank you & cheerio to Pauline for again being a great festival buddy it was time to sit in the car for several hours in order to leave the site. It took longer to drive the mile or two up the winding track into reading than the entire journey home. This time tent was aired and packed away & bags re packed for the next trip the following weekend.

Take care for now & back shortly with Part 2.

Lockdown lizard feet plus music


The danger of being let loose shopping without your glasses is that you end up with a few surprise purchases, one of which was a 90minute foot peel in a bag. Perfect opportunity I thought to give this a go while settled to watch the latest Basement Noise featuring Zack’s set list.

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Zack Merrick All Time Low

The All Time Low boys were on form, the music was fab & my feet initially felt really soft & silky. It wasn’t however until I actually read the packet I realised that this was far from a gentle foot moisturising treatment but one designed to strip dead skin! Next few days saw me shedding a lizard like trail of scaly stuff all over the place every time I took my socks off. As the home pedi packets were on a 3 for 2 it will be interesting to see what my feet get to endure when the next Basement Noise streams at the end of the week!

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Covid Safe Recording Session

Way before lockdown was even contemplated I rashly applied to get involved with a charity fund raising event that essentially was organising some live music in a pub. However by the time the selection process got underway, lockdown was looming forcing other options had to be considered. Two of us were introduced and together we set up a digital fundraising event that put us in a good place to explore what else was possible digitally. A few zoom calls later & we were involved in a pilot scheme in August that went remarkably well all challenges considered so we were keen to participate in a larger event.

alt="musician sat with acoustic guitar ready to play"
Digital Live Stream Pilot

As I write the culmination of many months work is currently playing online and I for one am proud of my small contribution in making it happen. The musicians who have taken part have been really great & it has been fantastic to watch their performances from some creative yet covid safe locations. In addition I have gathered a fair few skills along the way too which is always a bonus. So as the somewhat wild digital ride comes to an end who knows what will be next for me to get involved in. Never mind a lockdown life round here is seldom dull for long it seems.

alt="me sat in my office ready to play my electric guitar"
Practice Time

In the gaps between doing digital stuff I have been filling my time creatively with writing & playing my guitars. I probably have mentioned my guitar teacher has the patience of a saint given he has to endure me plucking away & murdering songs merrily as I go but I’m grateful as I really find playing a great way to escape mentally at the moment. 

Wishing everyone as stress free time as possible as the festive season approaches & you all stay as safe as you can.