Tuesday, 23 June 2009


This is very much how my weekend went:It shot past in a tremendous blur, although it was a very enjoyable blur!
I headed to Leicester to go to the 5th Big Session festival and had a superb time.
Friday saw me picking up Gary, loading up the car with tents and bedding and heading off to find ourselves a camping spot.
We put up our respective tents - I'm still sporting my vintage tent. It's so noticeably different from everything else it stands out really clearly in the field. Which rather suits me down to the ground.
Friday evening brought me the Peatbog Faeries and the Levellers. It's almost perfect I swear, I got myself to the front and danced, danced and danced. Included in that dancing was a lot of jumping and bouncing. I just can't help myself. It's safe to say I was thoroughly exhausted!

When I woke up on Saturday I was aware of several things. Firstly it was my birthday, I'd made it to my 34th year. Secondly my left foot was distinctly sore, I had a suspicion I'd landed funnily during a session of jumping and the sore foot was proof positive. Not only that, I appeared to also have rather hurt my ribs somehow. I'm clearly not built for that much bouncing.
As I laid there, thinking about opening the cards I'd brought with me, just so there would be something to open on my birthday I heard singing begin outside.
"Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you"
What the hell?
They were women's voices, they clearly weren't singing to me. I listened to multiple birthday greetings, finally rousing myself and exiting the tent. I queried who was celebrating and when she stepped forward, I told her it was my birthday too!
What are the odds that in that big field two birthday girls would camp literally next to each other?!

Gary and I ended up spending most of the day in the Big Top, there's something strange about laying on a blanket where it feels clowns and acrobats should surely be dashing about. We listened to the bands that played without really moving to go the main stage until later in the day, but when we did I was suddenly taken by what I could hear. I felt myself being drawn to the stage and cursing myself for not having been there earlier. On stage were Baskery and I can't even begin to explain how good they were, I went to the CD tent to get their album almost immediately, I just had to have it, but they didn't have any! I was going to have to wait till I got home to hear more!
I'd intended to go back to the Big Top and dance in the ceilidh but the foot injury was clearly going to prevent any leaping about in a crazy fashion, much to Gary's obvious relief.
I ended up seeing Eliza Carthy for the third time in a couple of months and started to feel not unlike a stalker.
And as for the two women who talked for the entire set oh you're going on The List. I see a maiming in your future.
Gary was excited to see Billy Bragg who was next on stage, I made a swift exit and headed over to see Edward II where I danced most sedately, predominantly on one foot. These guys are doing a 12 month reunion, 10 years on from when they originally split. I am consoling myself that come hell or high water I am going to go and see them in November and dance properly! (That's like a maniac!)

Oysterband were closing the festival on Sunday and I was so excited about getting to see them again, I just always enjoy the camaraderie that comes from being in a crowd that has a deep love for the band on stage.
But before that Gary and I settled ourselves back into the Big Top as the sun was making infrequent appearances sadly.
I was most impressed with Fatima Spar & The Freedom Fries - definitely worth seeking out, I'll probably pick myself up an album at some point. They weren't at all like I was expecting and I do so love being surprised.
Gary had opted to stay and watch Adrian Edmondson & The Bad Seeds when I headed off to see Oysterband.
I was restrained and stood at the front but off to the side so I wouldn't be tempted to start leaping around!
The very last song they performed as an encore was done without microphones, and as such was very quiet, John Jones sang the first verse and without prompting, the audience all quietly joined in when it came to the chorus. There's something about that which I love, the knowledge of the songs, I feel like part of a shoal of fish, all moving without any apparent trigger to tell us what to do. I don't mind being a sheep in times like that, it's like a community for that song.
It's like knowing how a song goes and knowing that although there's a slow start, soon the fast part will come and as that first beat hits, the crowd raises as one into a big jump. I can't explain how exhilarating it is for me.
Without music I think I'd lose a part of myself.

I've written previously about the fact I'm not excited about Cambridge this year, but the Big Session has fully left me in the mood for it, I'm looking forward to seeing some new bands now.

When I got home and had to cut off my wristband, I felt a moment of loss, it's over for another year and the anticipation of what will come next year begins.

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