Thank god for summer festivals. Thinking about theses potential up-coming music and arts parties keeps me sane throughout the last few weeks of winter with cabin fever. Even if I only make it to one festival annually, it will be just enough to sustain me through to the following year. However I MUST make it to at least one.
I'd never encountered a Tangophone before, and that's because the one at the 2 Cambridge Street apartment in Edinburgh is the only one in the world. We'd just arrived in Edinburgh for the start of one of the lesser-known festivals in Festival City, the Scottish International Storytelling Festival, so it seemed perfect that we found ourselves in unique accommodation that was full of stories itself.
If it's possible for six days to say no to fear, to go to a place where fear doesn't exist then surely that must mean that fear isn't real and is something that is imposed on us by the circumstances we live in or by what we believe to be circumstances that stop us from doing what we really want. Mind boggling no?
So much to choose from - the fruit, donuts and balls sex exhibition party, naked pub crawls, kundalini cooking classes, the orgasmatron experience, slut Olympics, booty shines, workshops on how to turn your panties into a face mask, male stripping, spanking at Spankies and - my favorite - the strap-a-thon in Beavertown for women and transgender people only.
Saturday afternoon's judging was a hoot with a raucous hoedown feel to it. The beer and whiskey flowed freely, judges were encouraged to speak out, cut up, and toss spare samples out from the stage where we presided to the rowdy audience below.
The musical highlight this year was Grace Petrie and the Benefits Culture who roused a damp Monday night crowd with their politically charged folk songs. Grace Petrie is the musical soul of Corbynmania. Heartfelt catchy tunes delivering lyrics of love and protest which sum up her generation of politically engaged youth who despise the political establishment.
I went to Reading Festival this weekend. I've been going virtually every year since my first time in 1989, apart from when I got banned, which is a long story (yes, I really am that old and yes, I really did get banned). And you know what? It was still absolutely brilliant.
So now it's out there, how do we achieve Safe Gigs for Women? Writing this in the week we've seen debate on whether women only carriages on the tube, it feels like the debate around achieving safe spaces for women is difficult at best. But here's my ideal.
Among the more recognised names that will be occupying the stages at this year's Greenbelt festival over the August Bank Holiday, will be a little known Filipino priest called Father Herbert Fadriguella.
Bands there were aplenty of all the metal genres you could throw a stick carved to look like a skull at. Admittedly, pre-arrival the line-up felt a little odd in places - mainly because you could read the logos of the headliners.
I worked on my quads before IOW in preparation for squatting (that's a complete lie). You will want to avoid any kind of physical contact with the toilet seat if you can though, so upper-leg strength will be beneficial. Having a vivid imagination also helps, as it will distract from the sights and smells which surround you.
The current debates around gender bias in live music (specifically festival lineups) are important but people are focused too closely on the big names and headliners. I think we learn more looking at the smaller stages and events specifically aimed at 'emerging artists'. I've done two quick bits of number crunching in that area and found more optimistic results.
If anything festivals are starting to lead the way in demonstrating how deaf and disabled people can fully enjoy the whole experience alongside their family and friends. In my own experience many of the big festivals are going beyond the simple legal access requirements and doing more than paying lip service to accessibility.
Mod was very often routed in class. Working class young men who wanted to look super smart when they went out at the weekend and would save for months to buy the right clothes. Add into the mix a carefully selected mix of music, a penchant for drugs to keep them dancing all night and the desire to prove they were not defined by a dreary office job - and you have a template that can be repeated whatever the year.
Whenever I see an old documentary about the 70s (or the 90s more recently) there always seems to be some old boy, talking-head saying "Well, everything had gotten so stale, people were bored of the same faces and same shit coming out. It was ripe for a shake-up". I feel like that about now.
The banging beats of Leftfield's epic Sonic Stage headline set shall live forever in my heart (sorry Kanye), and I know if we apply the same dedication to recovery as we did to partying last week we'll be back to normal in no time.