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30 Aug 2011
Post 304:Making the best of the bank holiday
I think I probably ended up making the best of SW4 on Sunday despite the cold and the mud but it's difficult to describe without sounding like I'm seeking sympathy how hard these things actually are for me these days. When I first had this stroke I could manage 15 minutes in a wheelchair before fatiguing beyond the point of being able to speak and I still find sitting in my chair pretty tiring, so a festival like this is pretty terrifying mainly because it is cold, noisy and busy but staying at home would just be crap! The main reason it ended up feeling like a success and I was glad I went was getting to see some friends I rarely see and their very presence reminding me why we were and still are such good friends. First were Shaun, his wife Renae and Nessa.
Shaun and Nae are over from Melbourne and Nessa, as a clubbing friend, we don't really go to the same places these days (well no-one goes to the same places I go anymore because I can't really do much these days) plus leaving our 20s has meant different things. For me, it has meant crippledom, for her, it's been about running, keeping fit and maximising the use of that visa (bloody antips who come here for a year and end up staying ten).Also present were the legend that is Simon ( Shauns best mate when I met them years ago)
Looking at this picture reminds me just how cold it was! And their and my good friend the eponymous Jonnie Random who kindly came and met me and took me back to the place I was meeting my lift ( brilliantly handled by a local care agency called Karens Angels found for me by my counsellor). It may cost a bit but there's no way I could ask a friend to drive me to and from this. I already feel bad enough for the help they give me inside the event but no amount of thanking persuades them it's something they wouldn't do. I'm fortunate to know such selfless people. One of the things that had me laughing like it was ten years ago was Shaun dancing to headliners Pendulum.
It cracked me up how he'd keep up with their energetic form of synthesized electronic Wah-wah ( think prodigy but better) and suddenly his body would remember he was in his mid-thirties and he'd have to rest. At one point we blazed a trail to the 2nd tent to go and see my DJ hero of the last decade Sasha.
A lot of people find his style of progressive house dull, I just find it relentless intense and Balearic. I even found myself saying to the Rowlands – 'this is proper Music'. Of course it's not, maybe it's how a DJ should sound. 'Proper Music is what you hear at the Proms which oddly enough I'd been to the night before which is for later. I may go to these things but the lesson to me is clear. Even though the event itself provides a talking point, they are totally secondary to what really drives my survival: Seeing my friends and family or giving them a treat. I don't care how hard or expensive I find it.
I was vaguely embarrassed on Saturday when I remembered how I used to chuckle to myself at school about 'how I'd never met a good bloke from Harrow' this was based on a couple of visits for matches in my early teens and my impression of a couple of guys whose names I remember but won't mention. What a twuntish thing to say (a word I believe invented by Jimmy Carr when he met Jedward) The reason I feel like a twunt for saying this is that on Saturday I was treated to lunch by a college friend of mine called Richard Rous and driven to the Proms in the evening by a college friend of mine called James Renshaw. Both went to Harrow and both have a couple of harrowing (sorry) tales of the place. At this point doubtless the 'poshist' brigade will start sharpening their claws. As well spoken comedian Simon Evans says: He learnt to speak properly thinking it 'would smooth his passage through life but 'if anything it seems to provoke hostility'. Quite.
Anyway, seeing these lads was great, and I've high hopes we'll do it again. What summed up this weekend of contrasts was James
saying to me on Saturday during Beethovens magnificent 'Eroica' while I was busy chuckling at how much the conductor looked like a Bond Villain
or Steven Berkoff
or whether I was still reeling from the modern classical 'horror movie' piece in the first half, when James said 'I'm loving this' and Shaun saying at SW4, 'It's hard to imagine we came to the first SW4 and that was 7 years ago'.
The lady from Karen's angels was not impressed by me saying how old I felt on the way home. She said 'but my son's 31'.Touché.
My final word is reserved for the lovely Rachael (who I've not met but we've been chatting on facebook plus we have some mutual friends) who, as a music enthusiast and event organiser I was going to give my carer ticket to and meet there, sadly she had ended up with a black eye and a fat lip when she had tried to help someone in town on Saturday, totally understandably, she decided that a black eye and fat lip were not a good look for meeting strangers or a music festival. How unlucky is she? I was gutted and gutted for her.