Tuesday 28 June 2016

Glastonbury 2016 - Fun, Frolics and Mud, Mud, Mud!

This year's Glastonbury was, according to Michael Eavis, the muddiest in the festival's 46-year history and the subsequent traffic chaos made headline news throughout the world but did a seven hour queue or a bit of mud dampen our spirits? Hell, no! With all the crap going on in the real world it was the least of our worries.

Although the gates opened at 8am on Wednesday the festival didn't officially kick-off until 11 am on Friday. A great leveller as no matter your age, status or background you're as hungover, filthy and knackered as everyone else.

1980s Indie gods, James, opened Glastonbury 2016, delayed for an hour while the ground crew attempted to soak up the quagmire with bales of hay and wood chip (at the end of the weekend the festival had used up South West England's entire supply of wood chip). Despite the torrential rain Tim Booth put on a great show, treating us to his legendary freaky dancing and stage diving headlong into the ecstatic crowd. 

Snug in our rain capes we cracked open the canned cocktails and stayed to watch Blossoms and some spectacular French pop in the form of Christine & The Queens (thanks for the heads-up, Em & Fiona!) 

After a pit stop back at the tent for food and a change of clothes we caught the brilliant ZZ Top at the Pyramid Stage. We could have stayed there for Muse's headlining set but as we'd seen them countless times decided to explore further afield.

After catching Hothouse Flowers at the Acoustic Stage we moved on to the cabaret field where we danced in the mud to the New York Brass Band (from Yorkshire).

We met the Glasto Cowboys. (Linking this to Patti's Visible Monday)

Saw tributes to the great and the good,

Had fun in the Circus field...

Before heading off to the Post-Apocalyptic, distopian wasteland that is post-Brexit Britain Block 9.

 We caught a stupendously brilliant surprise gig by Reef

Had a messy rave in the meat packing district,

Marveled at all the weird shit in the Unfairground,

Before making our way to The Park, settling into what looked like someone's Nan's front room to watch Richard Hawley.

After drinking and chatting into the early hours back at camp we rolled into bed fully dressed (it might be mid-summer but it was bastard freezing).

Glastonbury - muddy and overcrowded, eh? This is Petta's Pond, a wooded glade recently discovered behind the John Peel stage. The perfect place to spend Saturday morning.

A dry day! We sat on a grassy bank in the sunshine watching Dua Lipa and Alessia Cara.

We decided to move on to the Stone Circle. Not the easiest of walks when you're up to your ankles in mud.

But it certainly made kicking off those wellies and cracking open a can all the more blissful.

Crowds, what crowds? Glastonbury really does have something for everyone.

No rest for the wicked, time to pull the wellies back on and head to West Holts to catch Mbongwana Star from the Congo.

....and the Shibusa Shirazu Orchestra from Japan, labelled (quite rightly) the weirdest band in the world. See them HERE.

On the way back to camp we saw an incredible acrobatic performance.

 Later on most of the gang met up for the spectacular set by psychedelic Australian band, Tame Impala, photo-bombed by a random bloke.

She might be the biggest recording artist in the world but Pyramid Stage headliner Adele just doesn't float our boat. Luckily New Order were playing the Other Stage at the same time. When they finished with Love Will Tear Us Apart, a song I've loved since John Peel first played it in 1980, I was already quite emotional, but seeing the backdrop featuring a photo of Ian Curtis with the words "Forever Joy Division" made me blub like a baby. Wonderful stuff.

Sunday morning was a bit of a write off as we'd been up indecently late, chatting (and boozing) back at camp but we were near enough to the Pyramid Stage to enjoy Gregory Porter & Laura Mvula's sets from outside our tents. 

Mid-afternoon, the rain torrential, we headed to the Other Stage to watch Jamie Lawson & Years & Years (we'd caught some of the latter's act last year and loved it) but it takes a pretty special band to play in weather as bad as it was on Sunday and this time they felt disappointingly flat. 

We returned to camp to dry off after stopping en route to admire Glastonbury Tor, recreated by festival goers in cardboard. 

After a quick change we caught Beck who lifted our spirits and got us all dancing. Coldplay were next up but we've tried to like them and just can't so we escaped and watched Cyndi Lauper at The Acoustic stage (undercover and dry) instead and were glad we did, she was fab. 

After yet another late night chat back at camp we turned in, setting the alarm for 7 am, giving us time to pack up and leave the site before rush hour, calling into Cheddar on the way home for our traditional civilised lunch in a gorgeous riverside inn, scaring the punters and staff alike with our filthy, disheveled appearance.

...And that was Glasto 2016. Wet, cold, muddy and f*cking marvelous. 

Back to reality with a bump, Britain out of Europe, England out of the Euros, our political system imploding and awoken by my doctor this morning, calling to tell me that I'm on the waiting list for another hip replacement. Never mind, less than 48 hours to go until we escape reality for another festival. Camperjam here we come!

See you next week!

Tuesday 21 June 2016

We're Not Worthy - Oh Yes, We Are!

Hand on heart, if you'd asked me two weeks ago I was seriously doubtful I'd make this year's Glastonbury Festival but, after taking things easy for a fortnight, the hip pain has subsided into a nagging - but manageable - ache. I'm off to get x-rayed this afternoon but as the doctor won't be able to get hold of me until next week I'm going for it while I still can. We're off to Worthy Farm in less than 12 hours and excited is not the word!

Wearing: 1970s maxi dress (20p, jumble sale, ages ago), denim waistcoat (a friend found in a chazza), excited face (courtesy of Glastonbury)
Our month spent travelling in India and five nights at Glastonbury are our holidays. I know that to most people a week under canvas in a mud-sodden field with limited access to water, a shared communal toilet and a diet of food cooked over a single gas jet isn't an ideal way to spend a holiday but to us it's perfect. A chance to live simply, to do whatever we like; to strike up random conversation with strangers; to discover new music & bask in our favourites; to experience the weird and the wonderful; to drink wine for breakfast & eat chips at bedtime; to sleep whenever the fancy takes us; to put the world to rights over a late night campfire; to dance in the rain; to wander the site getting hopelessly lost....I'm already getting butterflies at the thought of it all.  HERE's this year's line-up.

Past Glastos

In a desperate bid to put off the tedium of packing, I spent yesterday browsing the 'net for all things Glasto. As usual there were photos from previous years' festivals featuring page upon page of celebs & wannabes in the ubiquitous uniform of Hunter wellies, army jackets and cut-off Levis.....and then I saw this vision in psychedelia.

Courtesy of The Telegraph
Paloma Faith labelled "Worst Dressed" by The Telegraph. Get stuffed, you boring old Tory broadsheet, I think she looks amazing. Funnily enough their photographer snapped me last year as part of their festival fashion spread - I wouldn't be surprised if that was for their fail list, too. 

Inspired by Paloma I've made some myself some pompom-tastic jewellery for the week ahead. 

There's no new clothes to show you, you've seen them all before, they've been worn countless times and that's fine by me. They work, make me happy and, being vintage, there's no chance on earth anyone is going to be wearing the same, unlike the girls who follow those lame festival fashion guides in magazines and all end up looking depressingly similar.

In amongst the frivolous chat & rumours on the Glasto Facebook page there's often some useful advice. Yesterday morning someone suggested testing out your waterproofs in advance so, as it was pissing it down, Jon & I donned our rain capes & wellies and walked around the garden for 15 minutes only to discover both ponchos had come apart at the seams - charity shop fail! Normally I'd patch them up with duct tape but, with rainfall of near biblical proportions over the last fortnight I'm not risking it, I went on-line and ordered replacements - paying more for the next day delivery than the items themselves. Never mind, the capes were half price, mine's purple and have over fifty positive reviews.
I've sprayed him with the hosepipe and it works. Weather gods, throw whatever you want at us, we're ready for you.
Just in case you're concerned we're shirking our responsibilities and missing the referendum, living the hedonistic hippy dream in a field, worry not. We're registered for postal voting and sent our ballot papers off a fortnight ago. The other day a couple of random strangers stopped and told us that they could tell which way we were voting by the way we were dressed. So, if you're confused, if you wear vintage you're "in".

See you on the other side - knackered, dirty and hungover but hopefully on two feet and still in Europe!

Friday 17 June 2016

Slowly Does It

Sometimes the world can feel very bleak, especially after the horrific events of this week, but we have to remind ourselves that despite the sadness, life goes on. Most of the people who inhabit this planet of ours are kind and good and lovely.

Like Lynn and Philip, who we met as customers at Manchester's Victoria Baths and, over the last two years, have become dear friends. They'd spent a week visiting family in Oxford and, en route back home to Lancashire, popped round for a visit on Tuesday. 

If you follow Lynn's blog or her Facebook page you'll already know that she's a super talented artist and creator. She made us this beautiful cushion using her favourite technique, slow stitching. I'm all for taking it slowly, good things take time. That's why I choose home cooking over fast food, the time-consuming but wonderful community of blogging over the instant but inherently vacuous, hash tag driven world of Instagram and shopping second-hand over buying new. Finding the right piece can sometimes take years but when you find it, that's it. You'll never go off something you've spent half  your life looking for.

But sometimes those much sought after pieces all appear within a couple of days.

We have a couple of friends we originally met at a jumble sale (you never know what you'll find when you're queuing outside a church in some godforsaken Black Country town) and like us, love vintage hunting. They're always out and about on our behalf, even on their holidays, finding cool clothing to keep the Kinky rails stocked - brilliant for us, especially when we're tied up with festivals and can't get to the car boots or jumble sales. This dress was one of their finds, bought with me in mind.

Treacy Lowe was a label started by Kathy Lowe Howden, who started working in fashion in 1948 as a buyer for Marshall Fields' Import Bazaar. She took a break from fashion in 1961, returning to work as a fashion and merchandising coordinator for Jaeger in London in 1966. She started Treacy Lowe in 1971 with her husband Kenneth Howden, a retired English businessman. Their garments cost between $120 - $300+ in the mid 70s.  

Information from the Vintage Fashion Guild website.

Treacy Lowe silk midi worn with vintage tooled suede belt (50p, car boot sale) and Aldo boots (£1, car boot sale)

I've got Ossie Clark, Miu Miu and Pucci in my wardrobe but this dress is by far the best quality garment I've ever had on my back. Gossamer light, fully lined and f*ckin' fabulous. My friends know my taste to a tee.... and that's why we're happy to let them shop for Kinky. 

I was hyperventilating when I spotted this Freedom for Topshop breast plate in the Salvation Army charity shop yesterday. It still had the original price tag of £18.99 attached. I was more than happy to pay £5.99. To me, charity shopping isn't about buying something as cheaply as possible, it's finding something you love at a price you can afford and helping out a good cause at the same time. Who in their right mind wants to give Sir Philip Green any more money?

This Indian block printed midi dress was another Salvation Army find, on the sale rail reduced to £1.99. Similar dresses are selling for silly money on eBay yet this had been hanging up in a charity shop for a month and didn't sell at the original price of £4.99 - hardly extortionate!

Block-printed Indian-made midi, silver costume jewellery and 1960s suede jacket worm with Aldo leather boots (£1, car boot sale)

Traidcraft is still in business. Founded in 1979 it sells fairly traded goods and runs life changing development projects and campaigns around the world. The drop waist, button-thru' style is exactly the style of dress I was wearing for my post-O Level work experience in 1983 so I'd say this is from the same era.

I found some good jewellery yesterday - the faux turquoise necklace was 99p, the Mexican silver and real turquoise bangle (on the right arm) was 49p and the Indian bangle with the paisley filigree design (top one on the left) was 50p.

This British Mist 1960s suede jacket was another find by our friends. Its got circular pockets, petal shaped lapels, a self belt and worn just on the right side of knackered. I've been after something similar for most of my adult life - it's a keeper. 

As usual, I'm totally obsessed by the Euros and haven't missed a match yet. I had to laugh at myself having a long discussion with a roofer in the avenue this morning about Italy's fluid style of play, the strength of the Icelandic team and the euphoria of Daniel Sturridge's goal. With my disinterest in weddings and babies, preference for nuts and crisps over chocolate & cake and not finding either Tom Hiddleston or the bloke who plays Poldark remotely attractive, my ex-work colleagues were probably right, I should have been born a man.

See you soon!