Monday, 22 September 2008

SupersiZing Everything

Yes its a z, well actually its a bigger Z than your Z. This noticing of size and marketing nonsense started with a walk around Stonehenge and the surrounding areas on route to The End of Road Festival.

To the best of my knowledge I've never seen Stonehenge, I think I attended 'The Stonehenge Festival' back in the early 80's, but this was Thatchers Britain and the start of 'not quite the truth marketing' so it could well have been The Stone - hedge Festival or something similar. Whatever the detail, there is no picture etched in my memory of the stones , although I do recall the Hawkwind dancers....strange that.

Talking of supersizing, even the signposts have got in on the act, not your normal beware and watch out signs around Salisbury, but BEWARE thats a good signpost. A tank also turned up at the side of the road  about half a mile later, I put on my best I'm being Ware face pretty sharpishly.

I then passed a signpost for Woodhenge which was just too ridiculous to stop at, I've since looked it up and its almost as daft as its hard as nails cousin up the road.

I parked up in Amesbury town carpark and amazingly it was free of charge for the first five rich are the councils down here? 

I had another 'can't go wrong' step by step walk from The Walking World website which are normally fantastic (up North),written by random walkers and normally to the point. I'll drop in some quotes off this route guide which were most definitely OTT sized. 

Even without a compass this one wasnt going to be too tricky, as I turned right onto Stonehenge Road. 

I reached the burial mounds and this is what the lovely Ron and Jenny from WW had to say 

'These are Bronze Age graves of important individuals and a ridge of barrows extends for over half a mile, making a dramatic feature in the landscape viewed from Stonehenge in the distance. Continue on this delightful way in this magical, historical area, the flat, beautiful landscape stretching away for miles in a stunning panorama.'

No directions whatsoever and more than a touch of hyperbole but worse I suddenly realised that  Stonehenge was in the distance and I'd missed it...doh!!! So I stopped and scanned the hillsides for this wonder of world dominating the mountainside for all to see (except clots like me). Double take and try again, reread the wording and look for a third time. Then my eyes found the small round circle at the bottom of the valley, (RELOOK ABOVE) I actually started laughing out loud which I'm not proud of but FGS....that is not a monument. If you are going to move something all the way from Wales then at least stick it on a bloody great hill.......or Supersize it a bit.

Its actually worse than that because the next signpost....(see below) then actually compensates for the fact that you may be a bit disappointed, by just making up stuff you can't see.

So the biggest structure in the area is a mile and a half big and can't be seen........*******s.

Just for reference its £6.50 to walk within 20 yards of the 15ft rocks or free from 25yards on the roadside. Tricky decision that one.

More fun with Roy and his Mrs on the way back

Turn left and cross a busy main road with care, to walk along the verge for a short distance - TRUCK NIGHTMARE

Turn left on a permissive path, glorious landscape all around - FARMERS FIELDS

Turn right to continue above deep swathes of landscape - MORE FARMERS FIELDS

This is a wonderfully atmospheric walk that treads in the footsteps of our ancient forefathers - STUFF COWS PUT ON FARMERS FIELDS

Some crazy birds scared the Farmers Fields out of me too on the the way back, as they ran about hidden in the cornfield jumping out on me avery 4 or five minutes. 

Next it was off to meet Craig and then the End of the Road. 

As Craig had made reservations in the hotel he stays in every week near his new job, I knew it would be I was packed off to the B&B over the road I realised I should have known better and it wouldnt be. Still a few beers and a curry and a festival in the morning so a great nights sleep was had.

We were only really at the festival to see BSP and The Young Republic, although it did feel as though we were taking our 'special' friend Andy on his Americana weekend out. You can read all about how fantastic the place is on this website but I think you'd rather look at pictures

Abbreviated version

No Queues
Not far to walk
Loads of camping space
Nice people
Gorgeous setting
Small - 4 stages
Fast bars

Friday morning was just lovely, sunshine, beers and nothing to do except help our new neighbours put up a tent and chat. Andy and Chris arrived and the car park  was so close we even helped them carry their gear and set up camp. (Strategically close to the perimeter fence).

More drinks and an explore and then it was time for YR first set, it was inside thank goodness as a steady rainfall had set in. It was immense,  the violin solo three quarters of the way through this vid is just perfect in the middle of an indie tune. 

I do agree with Andy that the cover version of Isis is also spectacular, perhaps this is because the lead singer can express himself better without guitar and just be a frontman. (I made a note to ask 'Jules' about this later). It was a great set and I did indeed ask Jules about it later when he informed us that they were playing 4 sets over the weekend. As he'd promised to play Wagon Wheel at one of them I was going to be at allof them, its a cover version of OCMS who built it around a Dylan lost chorus. Remind me when I'm drunk and I'll fill in the gaps for you.

Set 2 in 'The Local' tent at about 1am, my pals had all ran out of steam by this point, excellent time for some loud out of tune singing from me then and at least YR played a few songs of the first album. 

Sue arrived Saturday morning and again had plenty of helpers, although after the Glastonbury palava they were going to be needed. There really is no need for 6 magazines, four books and a coffee table at a festival Sue. Although, I will say that Yoda was a good call for this festival.

Main stage day...Young republic followed closely by BSP and then later Mercury Rev. We attended with Yoda kitted out in splendid (if a bit limp by now) BSP folliage.

YR played an almost totally different set to the first day and as a biased punter I thought it was great all over again. BSP did a B sides and a guitar driven set with much less singing than normal, which as a biased punter I again enjoyed. I then went for a bit of a snooze at this point and came back to see Mercury Rev playing an absolute blinder, I think Andy was close to it when he described them as almost Primal Scream. A few more beers then it was off to the Bimble Inn tent to see YR one last time followed by BSP and mates doing Jonathan Richman covers (He's really good)

Within minutes of getting in there and being at the front (secret side entrance -result) we spotted Andy and Chris and although well behind us we werent about to miss Andy.

The Young Republic got into the spirit of a very late Saturday night party and played a rolling stones, beatles, van morrison, bob dylan guilty pleasures cover set. We had dissention in the ranks though, as a grumpy and possibly still tired Craig declared that 'if I wanted to see this shite I would go down the local working mens club'. I loved every minute of it particularly the cover of Paint it Black.....I chose not point out the irony that YR had indeed played the Westgarth Social club in Middlesbrough only two nights prior to this. 

Supporting evidence from the lead singer, I've removed the Yo Paul bit...

'The Bimble Inn was one of my favorite shows we've ever done. I'm sure we didn't SOUND our best but I really appreciate when we can just play rock n' roll and let it do what it's suppose to do: make people dance and sing and feel alive and carefree and happy. I like the "artsy" stuff too obviously, but as far as a rock show goes, I really thought the Bimble was fun and hit the spot. So best wishes to you and your cohorts, we'll see ya again soon'

As  people danced and sang and friends fell by the wayside we partied through to the end of a very rowdy roadrunner roadrunner at close to 3am. 

For a small festival I had it down as well supersized.

A final note on the most ridiculous of all supersizing as seen in manchester this week. Not a job centre anymore but Job Centre Plus.....thats just silly

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice blog again but you shouldnt be indulging Jules in his new direction, its like giving chocolate to a dog.

'12 Tales' is an absolutely fantastic album, a real breath of fresh air. Steering the band towards becoming a Dylan tribute act is a wrong move though and will put them in the Poor House (if such a place exists).

And as far as him having fun trotting out 'Rock and Roll Music' etc, whats the point? I really could listen to that stuff down Norton Workies if I wanted, but I wouldnt hear anything as brilliant as Paper Ships or Girl from the Northern States between the bingo and the meat draw. Its such a waste of talent. I do like The Alchemist though (if thats the one with the violin solo).