I consider my relationship with nature as a long and unfolding conversation, like learning a language that I can never master. And this conversation is never dull. Like most discourses, it only improves with time and age, to reach a point where a constant connection evolves and grows, with almost daily realisations.
What do you think of when you read the word 'Now'? Perhaps you can hear the distant warbling of Elvis Presley passionately proclaiming 'It's Now or Never'? The constant advertiser's dream slogan that piles on the pressure to 'Buy it Now'? Better still, you engage with your experience and senses right now to focus your attention on the present moment?
The anthropologist Rapport, who wrote extensively on ritual, noted that masks do not always disguise, they often transform and actually display identity. They "coordinate the iconicity, the signs of identity in any particular cultural context." Rather than conceal, they become an agent of revelation.
Festivals might not quite lead to a dancing plague, but there is a sense that anything can happen. Laura recalled the first year of Wilderness festival: "We ended up teaching hundreds of people the conga, on stage with a bunch of naked people. That has to be a professional first! But this is what we love about Wilderness, you never really know where the experience will take you."
What is real success, why is happiness more elusive than ever for so many, and why are happiness and success so difficult to get together? Stress is becoming the number one health killer in our modern world. What do we need to do to make some positive changes so we can get successful and be happy? How can we manage the stress we're all under?
Simply put, London is rubbish at food markets. Yes, we have Borough Market (inexplicably only open three days a week) and we have some very decent farmers' markets in suburban car parks, but there is nowhere in the capital that comes even close to the glorious Rialto Market in Venice or the sumptuous San Miguel Market in Madrid or the vibrant Cours Saleya Flower market in Nice.
"Our restaurants do take reservations; in fact you can book more often than not" (of the five restaurants we operate, 4/5 take lunch bookings and you can book dinner at 2/5). I usually find that people don't want to hear that answer. What they really want to know is why they can't reserve a table for six on Friday night for Alice's birthday. It's a fair question.
A chance encounter with a university reject who could sell sand to the peoples of Arabia, known in my industry as 'a promoter', led me incrementally into the world of festival organization. Its been a long trip (sometimes literally), and this opportunity to blog gives me a chance to recall some of the highlights and explain why festivals are less a job, more a crusade...