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Upping Tools



In other words it rained, and the rain was beautiful. I almost resented the intervals of sunshine, the great trees of the Glanusk estate were so beautiful in the damp mist. The towering lime west of Main Stage was my best act, the oaks and sycamores that graced the Outdoor Spa excellent in concert with the little birds that darted about high in their branches, the Sequoia Gigantica at the Box Office, and not to forget the Second Huge Small-leaved Lime, on the track by the Far Out field, lit purple and green after dark, a thick canopy that kept the last carpet of dead leaves dry for al fresco dining; until finally vanquished on Sunday. Songhoy Blues were absolutely wonderful, I don’t even mind that I missed a glorious thunderstorm while dancing like a loon. For that hour there was no distance between us and the performers, they had put heartbreak aside; they loved to play, and dance, we loved to dance: we were on a level. Illusion? Escapism? If so I preferred it to the different illusions of corporate rock, or aspiring corporate entertainment.

The nearest I ever got to Mali was a bus-stop out in the middle of nowhere, in Cameroon. That, and looking up about ancient Malian astronomer observations of Venus, for my "Old Venus" story. Dismissed as fantasy by early Europeans, because how could anyone, much less in darkest africa, record such accurate naked eye observations. But they can, they did. West African people make such long journeys! I wish I could go there. To Bamako. Maybe, one day. I wouldn't have to fly, which is a bonus because I don't. Great thing about Africa and Europe, but for a tiny sea crossing I could walk, if I had the time and the legs for it . . .

Me, I didn’t come to Green Man for the music. Or for the neo-paganism, although we did visit the Green Man in the rain, and admired web of cedar tile petitions strung around him; to be burned on Sunday. The exact same form of pleas and prayers as we'd seen preserved at Dodona, Dion, Delphi. (Nothing changes in human nature. Shame the same can't be said for the effects of human nature on one small planet . . .) Or for the beer. To my mind there’s few certainties in life, but one of them is that if 500 different craft beers are offered, every brew you try will be cr*p. (I was right) I came for the food, the fresh air, and the scenery. But once we got here, of course I started playing Pokemon. Got to catch them all! Calexico, loving the rain and grieving for wildfires in Arizona and CA. Hot Chip, highly satisfactory; going out on Dancing In The Dark. Oops, we missed The Temples. D*mn there goes Courtney Barnett! How the hell did we miss Atomic Bomb??? But Songhoy Blues, my MUST HAVE, safely secured, plus The Staves (such musicianship, and such cool stagecraft, so ladylike and affable), Father John Misty (so avuncular, so tv host and ditto), St Vincent So icy and distant, such wincy little lyrics, but still you really should see Annie Clark & co live. I do not personally like the stilted (literally!), alt. Lady Gaga gynoid act or costume, but she really can play guitar. Catch her now, while she's young and innocent.

And a lovely acrobatic ballet/masque/ by Citrus Arts at Fortune Falls about the ghost of a slaughtered stag, the bad baron’s beautiful daughter & the revenge of the wild wood. And many more.

& all the while I was looking around, & I was thinking I invented you people. Back in 1998 when I was dreaming up Bold As Love, this phenomenon, this inescapable summer feature of our modern world did not exist. Rock festivals were a laughable minority sport, something students did and got over it. Wellies for the over-fives came in green for toffs, plain black, or a very practical shade of mud. Glamping at Glastonbury hadn’t been invented & my agent said, but Gwyneth, nobody’s interested in Jimi Hendrix. Who he?

Did I forget Einstein's Garden? Place the Zen Self tent here, alongside the Botanical Garden of Wales, the man with the hydrogen engine demo and the people from NPL; with their interesting information about a sublimating kilogram

Not really very Green at all, no, no, no. Take a glance at the vast sea of shining cars. Forget that illusion! No more than the fictional Festival of Dissolution was. Not at all dangerous to the State of Things around here either; sad to say. But still.

Very late Sunday night, having gone neither to Lethe, Wolfsbane, Nightshade or any other reality enhancement (there comes a time . . .) I lay awake, listening to Manchester Man being led away by a mildly coaxing female. from the gazebo party next door; into the rain at last, full of beer and god knows what, roaring to one of the other guests, at the top of his mighty, infantile lungs “Right! Bastard! I’m going off to do a great big poo in your tent now!”

Aoxomoxoa, I thought, in his intemperate youth, cannot be far away.

It’s September. I have upped my downed tools. Normal service, media reviews, sarcastic revelations, exhortations to protest against this and that, etc will be resumed next post.



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