Saturday, August 25, 2007

Reading Festival, bottling and...

...the six hundredth posting!
It's the time of year when I wish a) I had the money and b) I was a bit younger - not much, just a bit - and I could go along to enjoy The Reading Festival. Well, I can get it on BBC3 and recreate the experience by pissing in my garden until it turns into a quagmire, pitching a tent in the middle, have bouncers posted at the gate to prevent me bringing any food in from outside, and have someone in the garden shed sel me overpriced and undercooked burgers and expensive piss-weak beer in a plastic glass, which I then drink until I keel over next to the bonfire I've made out of extremely toxic bits of plastic, and do that for three days, but, I dunno, it wouldn't be authentic enough.
One thing that would be missing is the opportunity to bottle a bad band. I read an amusing piece in the Guradian guide this weekend, and it brought to mind my first experience of it, appropriately at my very first Reading festival back in 1986. It was still very mind a metal festival then, and that year it was the first time it had been held after the Tory council had barred it for the previous couple of years. However, they only gave their permission for the thing to be held six weeks prior to the August bank holiday, and perforce the line up was not overly amazing. The sunday night headline were, for example, Hawkwind.
The weather was pretty crap, but it didn't matter; I had a wonderful three days, wandering round in a drunken daze, taking photos and pretending to get high. Inside the main arena, the Melody Maker tent was handing out free seven inch vinyls. This were instrumental in what was to come. Around about three in the afternoon, some really crap set came out. They weren't metal, or even rock n roll - perhaps more like twitch from side to side, making 'doo-wop' noises. Anyway, that's when I saw it: A glistening missile, very clearly full of piss, rise into the air, make a graceful arc, and splatter the lead singer. He stopped, horrified at what had besmeared him, but thengamely continued. And that's when the bottle barrage began. Bottle flew, mainly at the stage, some full, some empty, some gaining their target, others falling short. The ones that fell before their intended target were the problem, as those who were unwittingly splattered with the foul contents decided to lob other stuff back. Eventually, the audience were having a bottlefight with each other, when some clever soul decided that the seven inch vinyls were the perfect frisbee, which they were. First one, then another, then hundreds of the things were zooming round, and causing nasty cuts wherever they landed.
However, there are times I wish I could have seen some of the legendary bottlings: Meatloaf having his nose broken by a cider bottle full of piss: Bonnie Tyler screaming obscenities at the crowd after being poo-bombed; Courtney Love ripping out her tampon and flinging it enraged at the crowd.
You see, sitting in the garden just doesn't come near to being visceral enough.

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