The “Other” Canterbury Tales – By Scottish Keith Stodart
August 27, 2003
This diary could have been called literally anything, there were so many things happening and jokes made over this weekend that you could have practically written a book about the whole weekend however I’ve gone for the obvious.
A Travellers Tale
Well immediately there was confusion on my train on Saturday morning. I had booked a ticket some weeks ago but you know how it is, it’s a bank holiday so let’s get working on all the rail tracks, I mean there’s only a few music festivals going on. Anyway a journey, which is normally 2 ½ hours, took 4 and involved changing on to a bus then back onto a train.
When you pre-book your train ticket they allocate you a seat number and surprise surprise when I get to min there’s someone sitting in it. “Am I in your seat?” says the guy, well unless your ticket says B01 yes you are, “I’m only going to York so maybe you could sit somewhere else til’ I get off ” he says, Oh yes that’s sounds very logical since I booked my seat and you didn’t, I don’t think so you twat! He finally moves muttering something under his breath, it’s 10.10am, I open a can of Carlsberg lager and put on my headphones, Big City -Spacemen 3, marvellous.
I arrive in London Kings Cross then get the tube to Victoria where I meet up with Dukie as he’s the lucky person sharing my tent this weekend. We get the “fast train” to Faversham (remind me never to get the slow one) then a bus to the site.
A Challengers Tale
So I’ve arranged to meet up with a friend of Mike’s, who works for Roland UK, called Hannah she’s at the festival with her friend Miranda. They’ve saved us a camping space near them.
I don’t know what Hannah looks like and vice versa but through the wonders of modern technology i.e. mobile phone we hook up (lucky actually because telephone reception on parts of the site are poor.
Now Hannah and her friend were at the V festival last weekend so they’re in festival mood. “Mike says you can drink Keith” she says “Well we’re up for the challenge” she goes on. I tell her that’s OK but it wasn’t my plan to push the boat out too far. The tent goes up let the drinking begin. I nearly forgot to add that Hannah also announced later in the evening that she’s the queen of innuendos. Sadly her Premiership status is now in tatters and she will be applying for the re-election into the Conference league soon.
I’m not really into the bands that are on today, Incredible String Band and Roy Harper are not really my cup of tea. I kept waiting for man, playing a lute, dressed in a jester suit to appear. It doesn’t matter though as I’m not here to see them anyway. Dukie is taking the drinking easy and I’m not pushing it too hard but Hannah is starting to wobble a bit. In her defence though both her and Miranda had arrived the day before so they did have a head start. I decide that it’s time to liven it up a bit and when a women comes past selling vodka jellies this seems to be the right moment. I ask how much they are and she tells me £1.50 each but I’ll give you 4 for a fiver, “If you make that 10 for £10.00 you’ve got a deal ” I say, OK deal. she actually gives us 11. Dukie gives them a miss but Hannah and Miranda indulge along with myself I think the net results are pretty self-explanatory.
Mike’s meant to meet up with us tonight but it turns out that he’s left his phone at the hotel and as it’s pretty dark on the site he can’t find us so goes back .
Now it just happens that he’s in the same hotel as Lizzy B. her hubby Chris, cousin Joan and friend Tina so when he gets back, meets them and informs them that he is hungry, a road trip into Canterbury is hastily arranged. Naturally, they find a suitable kebab house and Mike stocks up
Now Lizzy’s crew have the right idea they’ve pitched a tent for through the day and booked a hotel at night just in case, now that’s planning.
A Campers Tale
Wake up early Sunday morning feeling that I could do with a wash and a shave but other than that fine. Dukie and I have a wander round the site, and get breakfast. We also find some decent toilet and washing facilities, which is a bonus.
I check my mobile for messages and there’s a couple from Mike from the early hours of the morning but while checking them my phones rings and it’s Hannah she says where are you? I brought you a bacon roll and you weren’t there, I tell her that we’ve been up since 7.30 am and we’re currently just having a pint, there’s a stunned silence, only joking I say. Hannah is taking it easy today (well that’s the plan)
We met up with Lizzy B. and crew who have pitched their on the cricket pitch at Ephraim House, how civilized we didn’t know this existed. I had arranged for Lizzy to bring some beer in for me in the car as I hate paying £2.00 a can, “anything but Stella I say”, knowing it’s potency when consumed in large amounts. Obviously, Lizzy never heard me as she produces 24 cans of Stella that were in offer in the local supermarket. Oh well I suppose that will do then. (Before anyone gets the wrong idea they weren’t all for me they were bought for sharing)
By early afternoon we had a nice crew, Lizzy, Chris, Joan, Tina, Hannah, Miranda, and Dukie and we had some civilized sandwiches and a few drinks, well more than a few for some of the crew. Tina was in fine form as she downed G&T’s and when she informed us that her husband (Somerset Keith) had given her strict instructions prior to the festival, which consisted of “No shagging” we almost lost it with everyone going into fits of laughter.
Tina was in fine form as were some of the others and I could write chapters about it but lets just leave it at that for now. Oh yes apart from when we were briefly joined by Joss who was asking where we got our Love T-shirts from, he eventually left un-scathed despite Tina’s efforts. A little girl and her father also joined us briefly when Tina complimented the little girl’s curly red hair, she looked like a doll.
After a while at the tent Hannah had went for a walk and something to eat as she was feeling a little bit under pressure from the consistent drinking, Dukie went to see Bob Weir’s Ratdog and a few others fell asleep. We all went down forever to see the Buzzocks.
Before the Buzzcocks came on I finally got to meet up with Mike who had a beer with us prior to going backstage for the gig. We arranged to meet after the Love set at the Sangria stand ….. Where else?
A Punks Tale
Now I’ve always been a huge fan of The Buzzcocks since my punk days and when they came on it simply took me back 25 years, they certainly produced some raw energy and started to get the crowd going.
We all congregated near the front, as our plan was to stay here for Arthur and Love however we didn’t expect it to get so lively. Initially we had one guy right in front of us pogoing like mad which was fine but when his friend came and jumped on his back it was getting dangerous, never mind they were enjoying themselves and give the initial guy his due he did keep saying sorry as he banged into everybody. The steward wasn’t looking too happy and when the guy jumped the barrier to get to the stage he was quietly ushered back to the other side of the barrier.
The Buzzcocks set progressed and steadily more and more people (including some young kids) started to pogo, we were in the mosh pit. I was getting a bit tired of being constantly bumped plus the music was good so I decided it was time to do something. I took off my shades, put them in my rucksack and charged backwards into the mosh, of course everyone moved out the way and I landed on my backside with a couple of other people on top of me, ah well if your can’t beat them join them. Let’s pogo!!
A Fans Tale
The Buzzcocks had certainly warmed the crowd up but I think it would be safe to say Love blew them away, I loved watching the expressions on people faces during the set (a la Mama Cass’ during Janis Joplin’s Monterey set, Wow!!!)
Their set, though cut short due to Sunday curfew, was excellent and there were many highlights: – The light show was fantastic as was the orchestra and the band but my particular highlights were Arthur’s harmonica playing during Signed DC and Mike’s guitar solo using a Becks’ bottle during the same song. I think Arthur was disappointed that they had to finish so early but there was no option. We were even treated to a Spinal Tap incident during the show when Mike jumped up in the air with his guitar only for the strap to break. It was interesting watching the guitar tech struggling to put the strap back on while Mike was still playing. He eventually gave up and Mike played his guitar like someone from Haircut 100 until a new leopard skin one was fitted, sexy.
This show for me was up there with the best of them and the music combined with light show made it fantastic. What made it for me when Joss who we had met earlier appeared beside me and simply said, “this has been the best day of my life, Arthur Lee is god”.
There was actually a great story surrounding Joss, who is 22 and a mosaic designer. He had managed somehow to get backstage and he gave a mosaic stone to Mike and asked him to give it to Arthur. Later on Mike told us that he didn’t know what was going on and thought Joss had given him some crack cocaine for Arthur.
I think it’s always great to say such a wide span of ages at gigs and this was no different there were whole families here with their young kids in Love T-shirts and before and after show Mike took the time to shake hands and for some get their picture taken.
A Minstrels Tale
After the show I met up with Mike as planned at the Sangria stand we were joined by the usual suspect and by North London Hilary who had driven down from Finchley for the show. Initially there were about 10 of us but it soon swelled to 20 or so as we drank and chatted away.
As we sat and chatted there was a hippy guy and his wife (partner) who were playing guitar and mandolin respectively but unfortunately they were both a bit the worse for wear and were far from enjoying. The guy was especially wasted but when I found out that he originally came from Greenock I knew why, right folks. At one point he asks if anyone else can play the guitar better than him at which point I points to Mike. After some delay or probably focusing he gives Mike the guitar who in turn comes out with the classis phrase “do you mind if I tune it” Mike plays a few songs and we get a bit of a sing along going, I then remind him of an agreement we made a few weeks ago, he looks at me vaguely then remembers “OK in a few beers time” he says. The agreement is that we both have a few refreshments and sing Sloop John B, which we do (well he sings and I drone), I have to say it wasn’t word for word but is was fun. It might even have been recorded.
When the electricity gets shut off and most of the beer is finished we decide to make our tracks, it is 1.20am after all. Mike asked me back to the hotel bar for a nightcap but I decline, as I don’t fancy the logistics of getting back to the site later, although I could have slept on the floor I guess. Anyway, when Mike leaves a message on my answer phone later Monday morning I’m glad I never, he sounded as rough as I looked.
So another Love experience ends, a fine weekend had by all and I thank everyone who created this experience. I also thank Lizzy’s cousin Joan for driving me back home instead of me getting all those trains and buses.