I’m writing this on July 1st so happy first day of the month. ( I finally after a hectic work and social schedule finish it on 28th July ). I need to be unemployed or to stop going out!
Let’s start this new day as dawn breaks. We might as well, that was the time that the people in the tents around us decided , eventually, to stop playing music. They stopped rabbiting, having a party and finally went to sleep. I remember getting up to go to the loo during the night. It was about half 4. I’d been laying in my tent, half asleep and cold. For all the burning sun had done cooking me during the day, the moon had made up for it as the hours went by. The temperature had dropped quite rapidly by the time we made our way back to our abode.
I have only owned my sleeping bag for about 5 years so I still, in true bloke style, haven’t quite worked out how to use it yet. It has a built in blow up base in it. On arrival at our tent on the Thursday it was roughly 200 degrees and I wasn’t about to exert massive amounts of energy trying to blow it up in that heat. The little ‘DING’ of a lightbulb popped up, Thinking along the lines of ” I won’t be that drunk. I will put it up properly in the pitch black dark of the night “, I unrolled the sleeping bag and left it in our tent ready for a blow up that evening. Of course when we did return I had lost all interest in blowing the bugger up for a decent nights shut-eye. I laid on top, closed my eyes and shoved my feet, wet from the soaking dew on the grass, into the first hole I could find within the sleeping bag.
Getting up for the loo was a very bad idea. I slapped my flip flop soled espadrilles on and unzipped the tent. Don’t panic, it wasn’t solely espadrilles and nature. I do somewhere in the back of my mind have this vision of prodding Stubbly in the back to wake him up. Walking out into the field and yelling take a photo of this beauty! To which his reply is to zip the tent back up and leave me outside starkers except for me footwear.
Stepping out, the cold reality of a freezing wet dew on top of the long grass was horrible. The walk back from the bogs to the tent was the one of the longest I have endured in my life. It was only 400 metres, but it felt like 4 miles. My havianas were drenched and rubbing against the top of my foot. I couldn’t wait to get back to the tent and lie back on my DE-flatable. Back in the bosom of our tent I was shivering. I’d forgotten any form of jumper. What a doughnut! I remember laying there praying for the opposite of yesterday. The sun couldn’t come up any faster. I needed heat and the choices were few and far between. It was either suffer the freezing temperature, ( it was realistically about 10-15 degrees but it felt like minus 10 at that point ), or cosy up to Stubbly in the left wing.
I’ve spent many a night in a hotel room on various football trips with this man. The second option was simply not a good idea. I’d end up lost in the rainforest of Stubbly. If there genuinely is a person or creature more hairy than Stubbly then I reckon he lives with Clint Eastwood and goes by the name of Clyde.. In saying hat, ( I’m not sure why I’d say hat when really I mean that ) there is a possibility that this person just might live on the Isle of Wight and drink in ” The KIng Lud ” with it’s eclectic feel.
At approximately 7.30am, with the sun bringing me back to somewhere above North Pole temperature I heard shuffling from the west wing of our palatial home. Stubbly arose with a face like thunder. He wasn’t a happy bunny. Enduring a slightly louder level of noise than myself on the east wing, mister Stubbly had been mightily close to removing his sleeping bag and, with aggressive intent, thrusting it fully up the nostril of the loudest member of the party posse in the tents around us.
I like the fully functional sensible adult that I am, concluded that there was only one way to deal with this. Searching underneath the body of our tent, I located a Jim Beam with a splash of lime ( I’m no alcoholic ). Having cracked open said dusty bin and rehydrating myself with half of it, I thought to myself that a combo was necessary. I was feeling a bit roper. ( that should be ropey. At no point did I feel like the younger, intelligent, barrister friend we share in Emma. Coincidentally at no point did I feel remotely interested in using the c*** word which our Emma is so fond of either ). I procured a can of the finest drum of Pimms and fused myself a can of Pimms Beam ( with a splash of lime ). It was alcohol heaven if you excuse it being a tad warm.
We rose like salmons leaping from the sea. In truth it was more like more like turkeys running to the baster. Slowly and with a heavy heart. A lack of sleep and two days on the Sarah Bliss. It catches up with you. It had certainly caught up with Stubbly. He wasn’t a happy bunny due to the constant noise during what some would call the midnight hours. After a quick bed bath, wet wipe, spray, and brushing of the gnashers we were good to go. We were compis mentis. I need to ask Vicky Crowden whether that’s correct.
We had an extremely slow walk down to the town. I like to think of myself as an outgoing chap. I will talk to anyone providing they speak to me first. Stubbly on the other hand talks to anyone regardless. As we fumbled our way around the back of the site, a young-ish couple walking alongside us were discussing injuries. I say they, the slightly oddball fellow was telling his girlfriend, friend, or newly acquainted one night stand, all about the horrors of his foot. It involved lots of blood, gore and graphic details. Lovely!… Graham piped up with his toe nail story. ” I was in bed having this dream about playing for Arsenal in the FA cup final. The ball came over, last minute. I swung for a full on volley smashed the ball into the net and won the cup “… Of course what REALLY happened, was that he swung, kicked the wall and broke his toe, ripping his toe nail off in the process, but no pain no gain.
The intrigued young lady, with a nervous giggle asked ” you were playing for Arsenal? “… Bless her. I think she was a sandwich short of a picnic. Either that or she was inundated, having conversations about gross injuries suffered by men she had never really met before. I spilt the beans about a paper cut I suffered once but it wasn’t really in the same league.
It really was the slowest walk ever. We passed various stands the islanders had set up. Trinkets, food stalls, cassette tapes!… Cassette tapes?? Why not go the whole hog and bring your Betamax videos out as well mate!.. Obviously his stall was manically busy with people wanting to get their hands on Debbie Gibsons greatest hits on TDK 90. In theory that’s a waste of 86 minutes. Our Debs ever only had one hit. Give her credit though. You couldn’t shake her love. Granted that’s a bad joke, but it came ” out of the blue “… …sorry, sorry… Out of the blue was the name of Debbie Gibsons album, for those not down with kids..
Breakfast was the first necessity. For that we needed wedge. We made our way past the canal under the bridge and into the town centre. It was busy. I kid you not, as we turned into the main square where the cash machines are located, there was a bloke playing a didgeridoo . It was like Rolf Harris without the kiddie fiddling bit. Onlookers were standing fixated, mainly the children ( so that’s how he got them hooked ), at this bloke playing basically what I would describe as a giant sea shell. Whenever someone would lob some change into his busking cap, the bearded man would say thank you in a high pitched voice that surely only comes from losing your knackers in a fight with a pirhana. It was his attempt at adding some comedy value and it seemed to be working. Good luck to the didgeree-doo-er.
Having collected spondoolies from the ATM we made our way over to the Riverside Cafe and ordered up a couple of breakfasts. Stubbly had a crisis. His dog and bone charger was not playing ball. I don’t mean it was refusing a kick about with a group of young dandies. It simply wasn’t releasing any form of electrical supply to the Stubbly mobile. Worse still he only had another 5 spare batteries left. A quick call was put in to the Ryde household, and a new charger would be brought from home later that day. It would work however, if you fiddled about with the lead a bit though. Technical jargon eh!
My first real piece of honest criticism comes now. Other than the fact the cafe allowed me a cheeky bottle of Magners pear cider, the breakfast itself was not good at all. I’m not the worlds biggest fan of a full English at the best of times but this breakfast reminded me of all the reasons as to why I’m not its biggest cheerleader. It was greasy, lukewarm, and sadly the mushrooms were the sliced ones you get from a tin. I love a mushroom. Everyone does don’t they? If you don’t love mushrooms, really you’re just a bit weird in my book. The sliced tinned variety though can go and do one. It must have been rough, I left half of my cider.
Having left half of our breakfast we walked across to the other side of the canal where Jonnycake and Jack were already nursing both a hangover and hair of the dog. It’s the done thing isn’t it. I might be doing him a disservice but I think my colleague had something like a coke. Then again it could have been a shandy….NOOOO! DOH-RAY-ME!… I remember. We both had a Ginger Joe. In hindsight I should have known we wouldn’t have turned to the dark side. Coke is bad for you!… Apparently named after a rather long moustachioed man named Joseph Stone, this Ginger based beverage was both light and refreshing. After 5 or 6 of these feisty little buggers I was certainly feeling light headed if not so refreshed.
The other party of Lee and Shorter ( x 4 ) arrived, and in what was again a raging hot midday, the following topics were discussed along the way…
David Icke – is he a lunatic or is there really a secret society?
Croissant – a breakfast delight or merely an apple turnover without the filling.
Steak and BJ Day.
Why did the chap with the moored up yacht have a skull and crossbones flag.
How drunk do you need to be to wee in a wardrobe?
Why a woman should not be allowed within 100ft of a bar-b-q.
Arsenal ( obviously ).
Jonnycakes’ heroic deed.
The size of the meal at The Bargeman’s Rest. Without doubt a large portion YES!
Why we shout at people who don’t speak English to make them understand.
Rugby. It was a very short conversation.
Various bands seen.
The silent D.I.S.C.O…
Oh and the various names given to the breakfasts at the pub. All to be revealed.
The drinks flowed. I certainly remember one round of shots. We possibly stretched it to two. During the day we as a group would swap seats, in order for others to get out of the sun. Providing you could handle a part tree, part bush type of irritation just around about head height all was well. The shade here was peachy. I had my turn in the shade and forgetting to top up the lotion ( my 30 + 10 + 15 , so 55 really ) , I took my bow into the sun trap for my next stint. Chuckling away to myself at how Ginger Jon was frazzling under the Caribbean like sun, I completely ignored the glow coming from my right foot. According to Sky sources ( those guys get everywhere don’t they ), my neck wasn’t too pretty either.
It was time to return to the festival site. It was a long and slow walk back. It had to be. My foot was attracting aeroplanes within the flight path of The Solent. Glowing like a beacon at Heathrow it was starting to swell… Ahh if only everything did. We had, all of us been drinking for 5 hours roughly. I wasn’t feeling at all drunk. None of us were. The Lee / Shorter quartet were heading back to pick up the latest members of our merry ( or not so merry ) revellers. The Prings, Tony and Julie arrived just in time to witness my fall into a hallucinatory state. I must have been suffering from sunstroke. Not just any type of sunstroke, the worst.
This is the only conclusion I can arrive at, as to where I found, or we found ourselves at. Not just me and Stubbly. The newly arrived Prings, the Lees, the Shorters, Jack and John. All of us were there. It was mid afternoon, the sun, it’s heart beating down on Newport, was gloriously turning the fair skinned among us into human crustaceans, and yet….. We found ourselves undercover in the big top listening to, ( I use that term in the broadest sense ), and watching, ( same applies to previous comment ), none other than the hugely gifted, multi -talented …….. Samantha Fox!
For those of you born post 1990, Samantha, Or Sam Fox, was in the 80’s, along with Linda Lusardi, Maria Whittaker, and believe it or not, at a slightly later time Jordan, THE golden girl of the Sun page 3 model era. In mentioning Jordan I should point out, that I mean the serial baby maker with various fathers and not the country. Given the choice though, I think I’d rather spend a week holed up in Jordan rather than 2 minutes in Jordan. Anyway, I digress. Now when I mentioned earlier that our Sam was hugely gifted, I was being upfront, but then so was she. Sam Fox ( the original Essex girl of my day ), had two talents. The first of which was her left breast. Rocket science may not be necessary to gather up the info required, to decipher her second, major unhidden talent. I can quite honestly say hand on heart, it WASN’T her singing voice.
Back in the day, when Miss Fox, was at the height of her page 3 fame, there was a famous (ish) trio of music producers. Known for their amazing ability to make a catchy And sometimes irritating pop song, and also the knack of being able to make even the worst warbler sound almost tuneful. Step forward, Stock Aitken and Waterman, or S.A.W…. I will give you some examples.
Jason Donovan – Too many broken hearts ( I blame the drugs )
Sonia – You’ll never stop me from loving you ( even if I call you an irritating ugly scouser? )
Stefan Dennis – Don’t it make ya feel good ( only if I have earplugs in )
Kylie Minogue – I should be so lucky ( and as for her singing voice )…..
The list is endless. Natalie Imbruglia, Sinitta, Sabrina, Pat & Mick ( they were a pair of t**s )
Basically, if at any point you had a bit part role in an Australian soap, or had a nice rack, S.A.W. wanted you for a singing career. I think even S.A.W threw in the towel with Stefan Dennis though.
Through the wonderment of technology, our Sam released “Nothin’s gonna stop me now” in 1985. It got to as high as number 8 in the charts, when the top 40 actually meant something. She went on to release her biggest hit “Touch me” in 86. An album followed which tickled the top 20 like an irritating nose hair. . Then without a trace, her musical career sank quicker than a winkle picker on Morecambe beach. Too much?
…. And yet here she was. 29 years later. 29 years after her first cringeworthy effort to become a pop star. Samantha Fox, who these days is officially now a lesbian according to most red top newspapers. In An explosive interview with only 4 different journalists, a reporter from Heat magazine, and Bob, the local milkman, Samantha had revealed “exclusively” , her swaying towards the female tendency. I for one was gobsmacked. She wasn’t even in dungarees.
Of course Sam had a new single coming out ( no pun intended ) . I say new, it was a 2014 version of her number 3 smash hit “Touch me”. Seeing Sam Fox on stage I have to say was, for me, embarrassing. She looked a lot older. She sounded dire. She moved, wriggled, and generally wobbled around like she was gonna put her hip out at any moment. As Stubbly put it, as the wind machine once again came on to blow her hair back, just like it did all those years ago…” It’s just funny. She must know how bad she is “. True as it was, she would still be able to tell relatives or kids that ” I played the Isle Of Wight Festival “. She just wouldn’t add on the words like atrociously or desperately.
For more information about Samantha fox’s new single go to http://www.indi-bin.co.uk/fankf*k.
At the end of Sam’s set, there wasn’t much going on. We had an hour or so to kill. A few of us wandered off to get a drink. Some went to use the facilities, and the Pring, Shorter, Lee group ( x 6 ) meandered over to the main stage to watch Lawson. Myself and Stubbly, after witnessing a one punch brawl, made our way to the Whisky Sessions tent. Still trying our best to tip the scales towards merriness we opted for a ” Ginger Mojito “. We sat in the tent listening to a bluegrass band and talking minor nonsense. We did however agree that a Ginger Mo was the way to go. It must be a festival influence thing because my last festival experience with Stubbly had us drinking Mojitos as a breakfast “Livener”.
Just a small thing on a personal note. When we were in the Whisky Sessions tent there was a band on called Flats And Sharps. After previously playing the Royal Albert Hall, here they were playing IOW14. They played 3 times over the course of the weekend at various times. They charge a fair bit for their services so I understand. You can imagine then, my surprise upon returning home and finding out that Flats And Sharps next gig after IOW14 was my local pub, The Traitors Gate in Grays. Apparently the Chadwell Hillbillies had pulled out and as a favour, Flats And Sharps had agreed to take their place!
After a short while of being entertained by people dressed as gringos, throwing themselves around the dance floor to some doh-see-dohing, we regrouped in the big top to watch The Selecter. Singing quite a few songs that I recognised, including On my radio and Too much pressure, I personally really enjoyed their set. Judging by some of the 80’s style dancing around us being replicated by various age groups I would suggest that most in the arena did. Pauline Black ( lead vocalist ) still has a great style and singing voice, and is the heart of the band. She leads from the front and the rest follow very well.
Walking around wasting time we caught James Walsh doing an acoustic number or 2 in the Strongbow garden. Having just finished a set on the main stage with the rest of his band he put in a brief but impressive couple of songs. On the main stage, up next was Tom Odell and in the big top it was Anna Calvi. It’s not meant as an insult but even now, a full 6 weeks later, I still have no idea who these two people are , but through hearsay I understand both were very good. The ladies, Vicky ( newly arrived from Dubai ) and my poshest friend by far, Carla and Geraldine met us enroute to watching Mr. Odell and then they were off to see the legendary singer known as Alf. That’s not the American TV puppet alien, but Alison Moyet. We also swapped stories of the previous evening, and also to laugh at my ever swelling luminous foot. While there, a shady deal took place. Carla handed over a plastic bag of contraband. Others would call it a phone charger ( without the wiggle difficulty ), but for the sole excitement of the story lets call it contraband.
I was looking forward to watching Rudimental ( Rudimeaty ). On the main stage, I had never seen them before. I confess I think I got through maybe three songs before directing Stubbly away with my eyebrows. I don’t know why I expected more or better. I would also imagine that there were loads of people who thought they were terrific. For me though they lacked something. Mainly musical talent. I’m joking, I just thought something was missing. Almost the exact opposite of Biffy Clyro. The Friday night headline act before DJ Calvin Harris finished off the evening spinning his electrically generated computer made rubbish.
The fact Calvin Ham is a DJ speaks volumes for his lack of instruments on stage. Those that did stay to watch him jump up and down behind his desk tell me they thoroughly enjoyed his stint though.
It’s not difficult to spot a Biffy Clyro fan. A lot of them, and there were lots of them had the ” Biffy F*ckin’ Clyro ” tee shirts on. I think I have mentioned before that I wasn’t impressed with the line-up this year. Biffy Clyro as a headline act summed it up. I like Biffy, their music isn’t offensive in any way, and you can tap your foot to them whilst stuck in traffic on the M25. As the headline major act in front of roughly 25-30,000 people though, could they handle it? Would they freeze?
The answer was a resounding YES. They were magnificent. Full on beard blowing in the wind, ignoring the little amount of rain that had come over and dressed in jeans at least 4 times too tight, and very little else, the lead singer took to the stage and from the first minute owned it. The fireworks, the flames, all extras to add to the setting but in all honesty they didn’t need it. Technically they were stupendously tight as a band. The other thing that stood out though was how loud it was. I mean they played like a full on proper ROCK band. They went through the full repertoire of their hits including Bubbles and Captain..even the slow songs ( God & Satan ) were loud. Finishing off with I think it’s called Mountains they truly were Biffy F*ckin’ Clyro. The applause said it all and it was an awesome finish with the previously mentioned flames and fireworks that pierced the night sky. I am officially now a fan.
Myself and Stubbly hot-footed it over to the Whisky Sessions tent for a cheeky drink before heading back to the other stage for The Polyphonic Spree. Definitely the oddest of the bands I saw at IOW14. I knew a small bit about them. I have one album of theirs but it’s about eight years old. First thing about them you notice, there are loads of them. I reckon 30 all in if you add 15 for effect. The next thing, as a bloke, that I picked up on was the three backing singers. They were very pretty. The group as a whole were “interesting” with the lead vocalist / occult leader, making sure he was the centre of attention. They were very good though providing one of THE moments of the weekend. Halfway through their biggest hit “Reach For The Sun” the lead singer, a short American bloke dressed in a patterned, smock (I think that’s what it’s called) made the audacious decision to come out into the crowd. I don’t mean on the edge behind the barriers. He was standing roughly 20 yards from us mingling with his mic. It wasn’t overly busy as a lot of people had hit the bar areas, but it was still a bit of a shock. He had them all crouched down doing the whole “go lower go lower go lower….. READY….. Everybody jump up in the air and go CRAAA-AAAZY” .. If it was a full arena it would have been magical. Half empty it was funny and bizarre. Fair play though, and he looked like he ( or they ) were having the time of their lives. Well it must be nice to get out of Cult-chester now and again. Would I go and see them again ? possibly, just for the eccentricity of it all.
After watch The Spree we headed over to The Hipshaker for a few beers, meeting up with Jack and Johnnycake . I could make up loads of stuff to give this day a real climax but the truth is, what I can remember of it, we had a few beers ( watered down pints of course ), and made our way home. We stopped off for a closer in the posh camping bar, Viewed an old lady dressed as a teenager in her all-in-one track suit with optional cap and went back to the music and rattling of our adopted tent.
A fun day all round, and probably of the five, the most sober.
Isle of Wight day 3 review….. DONE!