V Festival 2010 – Chelmsford
Piss Bombs: A Survival Guide
Last Friday, [Ed. Note: Due to my dumb-assness, clearly this didn’t all occur “Last Friday”. Please accept my apologies, Carter. I love you, you know.] Masher and I made the trip from Wolves to Mildenhall to catch up with our friends Hedgetrimmer and Tahiti. Last year, Hedgetrimmer bought 8 tickets for V Fest, which was good. He bought 4 for Stafford and 4 for Chelmsford, which was not so good. This year, He’d managed to buy the correct tickets as well as the correct number, so our ranks swelled to include Phil, Shelly, Justin and Becks.
Despite Phil having very little experience towing a caravan and attempting to do so in a car that has less power than mine (no seriously) and the camper van loaded up with quarter of a ton of food and drink, we made it to Hylands Park in good time. With campervan, car and caravan parked, awnings erected and tent pitched, our merry little gang set about the task of getting, um, merry.
There isn’t a massive amount to do on a campsite except listen to music, drink beer and play games. We decided to emulate last year’s success with the cricket equipment, fashioned from a tent pole, electrical tape and some cardboard. This was great fun until I ripped my shorts and Shelly, a bloody girl no less, hit the ball further than the rest of us. Bloody miles further too.
Tahiti and Hedgetrimmer have two little boys and Tahiti’s maternal instincts are honed to perfection. This would become evident many times over the weekend.
“Give me your shorts, don’t argue, and I’ll sew them up.”
“Thank you Tahiti.”
“That’s alright. Now off you go and play nicely with the other boys.”
“I am three years older than you you know…”
“Of course you are Jumbo” pinches cheek “Now off you pop, I’m going to have some more gin.”
I had brought with me lots of beer, 4 changes of clothes, toiletries and a sleeping bag. When I unpacked the sleeping bag, it turned out to be kiddie size. It’s just as well for me that Hedgetrimmer and Tahiti do treat me as their oldest as they, along with Phil and Shelly, made sure I would be looked after; an airbed and decent sleeping bag was provided for me to pass out on and in respectively.
Apparently, as they made their way to bed that Friday night and I was spark out on the deck, Tahiti was heard to remark “I’ll just tuck him in.” For some people there is just no hope.
Four extra people means four more mouths to feed. This proved to be no problem whatsoever, as the addition of Phil and Shelly meant the caravan’s kitchen came into play. Sausages, bacon, baked beans, fried eggs and bread and butter split across two kitchens soon saw us with lined stomachs, ready for the day’s drinking, I mean, festivalling. I meant festivalling. Yes. Ahem.
V Festival is a commercial venture and makes no apologies for being so. This manifests itself by protecting what one can and cannot take into the arena, most notably, booze. No cans, no glass bottles, no booze and what liquids you are allowed to take in must be less than a litre.
Red wine in a coke bottle looks pretty convincing, as does coke in a coke bottle with vodka or whatever else is your pleasure. What we didn’t take into account however, was the keenness of the boys on the gate. From a good 15 feet away one of the Jamaican lads expertly announced “that’s not coke” and at least four of them were taking a keen interest in Hedgetrimmer and Masher’s drink. I half expected one of them to produce a chemistry set.
Drunk (HA!) with power, these keepers of the Festival’s monopoly on booze were not letting anything through. Except for what the girls had in their bags and what Masher smuggled in down the back of his shorts.
It was daft really because on Sunday, they insisted on patting us down as we walked through. That time we just carried whatever we wanted to take in, in our hands.
Last year the queue for beer tokens took over an hour and a half in the baking sun. This year many more booths had been laid on and the queue took a mere 10 minutes. That was *much* more like it. With beers at the ready we settled down, in virtually the same spot as last year, in front of the 4Music stage and watched The Magic Numbers.
They were alright.
The Magic Numbers were followed by a solo performance by Neil Whatsischops off of The Divine Comedy.
He was alright. Bit weird but alright.
On either side of the stage are very large screens and between each of the acts, adverts are shown. One of the adverts, repeated throughout the course of the weekend, was for Peter Andre and every time one of these adverts came on I booed. I booed with all my heart.
“BOOOOOOO! NO PETER ANDRE, NO. THAT IS ENOUGH. PLEASE JUST STOP. I DON’T THINK I CAN BE ANY CLEARER. BOOOOOOO!”
Whilst my protest was met with general amusement, one fake tan splatted 15 year old girl felt obliged to defend the antipodean irritant.
“Aw leave ‘im alone he’s had a hard time.”
“You have got to be kidding me?!”
Apparently she was not kidding. I swear to Christ; this country is screwed. The fact that the general populace has any sympathy for a failed popstar, who gets taken for a ride by one of the most famous slags in the world *AND* the fact that Jordan is actually celebrated in this country, well, it just goes to show how messed up this world is.
But I digress.
Paloma Faith was next. She asked the crowd if they were here to see David Guetta and a big cheer went up. She then announced “I’m not a fan.” to which the same cheer went up. Seriously, I thought to myself whilst I cheered, crowds of people are so stupid.
She was alright too.
The day wore on, much more beer was drunk, more abuse shouted toward an 18foot high TV image of Peter Andre, Newton Faulkner did some clever accousticy guitar stuff, The Temper Trap were pretty good too and Scouting For Girls did what is they do.
It would be very easy to be cruel to Scouting For Girls, for example:
“We’ve been Scouting For Girls!”
“No mate, you scout for boys and you know it.”
It would be easy to be cruel to them but I won’t because they were entertaining. They sing catchy pop songs that you can all dance along and sing along to dear god what the hell am I saying? It is quite clear to me that we were well on the way to getting drunk at this point because we were singing along to
Anyway, they were alright.
We left the 4Music stage and ventured over to the V Stage where Paul Weller was finishing up his set.
I had missed Paul Weller because I had been singing along to Scouting For Girls…
I shall hand my testicles in at the next Man Meeting along with my membership card. Sorry dudes.
Next up on the V Stage were the Stereophonics and they kicked no small amount of ass. Whilst thingamedoodah from Scouting For Girls could not have looked more pleased/blessed/grateful/incredulous to be on stage; Kelly Jones took it all in his stride. Liam Gallagher on stage comes across as arrogant, which I used to like, but Kelly made Liam look like the red-headed step child with his performance.
Which I find rather conflicting because he’s Welsh and has a girl’s name.
No preamble, no messing about between songs, they had a stag do to get to after the gig apparently, so for a solid hour and ten minutes, the Stereophonics rocked right out. I will however, stand by my assertion that Have a Nice Day is a crap song.
Somewhere in the middle of their set something hit my shoulder quite hard and dumped it’s warm, yellow tinged payload all over me.
Ladies and gentlemen, I had taken a direct hit from a piss bomb.
Masher, Hedgetrimmer, Tahiti, Justin, Becks, Phil and Shelly froze mid point and laugh when they remembered that I have a Donald Duck like tendency to explode. As they held their collective breath, I took the three quarters of a pint that I had in my hand, tipped it over my head to give myself a quick, cold, lager shower.
Trust me, it was preferable to the warm sensation.
Once again, Tahiti’s mothering nature came to the fore; as I stood there, absolutely dripping with recently recycled Carling, she offered me a tissue.
To be fair to her, once the futility of this course of action became apparent she produced a rain mac from somewhere for me to wear instead of a T-Shirt. At this juncture, I would also like to buy the man who invented showers in campervans a pint. Mate, you’re a life saver.
The Kings Of Leon were next but we buggered off halfway through the first song as Hedgetrimmer didn’t want to stick around for the man love. He thinks KoL are a little homo-erotic and it makes him uncomfortable. This left David Guetta on the 4Music stage which I stuck out for all of 2 minutes before leaving to get Sunday’s beer tokens while there were no queues.
Sunday morning’s fried breakfast was just as good as Saturday’s and we headed back into the festival where Plan B was due to start on the 4Music stage.
Despite wanting to punch/give elocution lessons to Plan B whenever I hear him speak, his music is very good. Except that beat box stuff. It’s never been cool and never will be cool. Stop it.
It was far too crowded for me so I sauntered over to the V Stage where the bars were easily accessible and Seasick Steve was performing. A piece of 2 by four with a bit of wire nailed to it shouldn’t sound that good, but it did get my foot tapping and my head nodding.
He was alright.
Once Seasick Steve was done I headed back over to the 4Music stage. This was much easier said than done because I was going against a massive tide of people leaving Plan B and swarming towards Madness. I finally rejoined the gang and we saw Shed Seven (alright), Amy McDonald (never heard of her but alright) and the Eels perform to a virtually non-existent crowd.
The Eels gave a masterclass of doing whatever the hell they wanted, by steadfastly refusing to play songs that anyone knew. They did get round to playing Mr E’s Beautiful Blues to the tune of Twist and Shout by the Beatles, but that was about the only recognisable tune they did.
I liked them for that.
Jamie T was next and there’s something quite unsettling about that boy, his band and their music that I just can’t put my finger on.
Moving on with a shudder, the shout went up for food so back towards the V Stage where, up in the top corner, was the Walls Sausages stand. Their sandwiches and pies were spot the dog and not badly priced for a festival. I had three sausage sandwiches in rapid succession and could have quite happily had a fourth, and possibly a fifth too.
Next door to the Walls emporium of amazingly good sandwiches and pies, was a Nintendo Wii Just Dance 2 tent.
Now I haven’t really mentioned Becks during this retelling of my V Festival experience because, well, if I were to recount everything Becks said it would take a while. She’s a bit of a livewire and this Just Dance 2 tent place was, according to Becks, the best place on Earth. She was in there dancing for quite a while yet she was still bouncing up and down for all she was worth during Kasabian’s set.
Her boyfriend Justin, just looked on in bemusement as his missus followed the instructions on the screen, in time with the Spice Girls.
Oh yes, Kasabian were alright too.
All too soon it was time for the chemical toilet to get emptied and for everyone to ignore Hedgetrimmer’s pleas for an assistant. There’s absolutely no point in rushing to leave the campsites because you’re only going to get stuck in traffic, angry car horns sounded throughout the morning and accompanied our regular breakfast fry up.
One of the things that you don’t see in the campervan site is the carnage that is prevalent throughout the regular campsites where the teenagers dwell; random passed out children who may or may not be dead. Bless their little cotton socks.
It was a cracking weekend and Hedgtrimmer has informed me that he’s already got the tickets for next year sorted out. I for one, very much like last year, can’t wait.