For what I'm about to tell you, you will probably hate me forever: I have never suffered from a hangover at a festival. I don't know what it is about sleeping on the ground in a cold tent but I invariably wake up by about 10am feeling refreshed and ready to go, no matter what I've drunk/smoked/snorted/swallowed the night before. Of course, being all on my own this left me with 2 hours hanging around drinking tea and reading Bad Science*, but lets face it there are far worse ways to spend a morning. By midday the sun was shining and it was time for an ice-cream, before the queue got too ridiculous. Yes, this does seem like a particularly minor detail to mention, but it was REALLY good ice-cream - heather honey flavour. Never thought of making honey ice-cream but will definitely be attempting to track down a recipe now.
Onto the bands, starting with three A's: Absentee, The Affection and The Accidental. Sadly the fact they all started with the same letter was the most interesting thing about them for me. I was quite looking forward to the Accidental from listening to their myspace but it just didn't grab me, demonstrated in my original notes by the fact that I spent more lines pointing out how good the music between the bands was than describing all three of the above bands. The next lot were a completely different proposition - Screaming Tea Party were easily the loudest band I saw all weekend and just what I needed to cheer me up after all the A's.
The weekend's first dilemma of any note was whether to bother watching Noah and the Whale or go to the comedy stage early to make sure I had a decent place for Robin Ince. Thinking back to Latitude solved that one pretty easily, since Noah and the Whale were rather average and Robin Ince was the biggest surprise hit of the weekend. Got into the comedy room (it was housed in a real building rather than a tent, which seemed like a good idea but was to cause problems on the Sunday...) and it appeared to be running a bit late, but I couldn't be arsed to get up once I was sat down so I stayed to watch Adrian Poynton, Saturday's compere, desperately filling time while Dan Antopolski was stuck in traffic. He made a rather decent job of it too, particularly his list of "things I'm secretly proud of but know I shouldn't be." Dan finally turned up and did a rather mixed set, most of his actual jokes going down quite badly but saving the day with a bizarre routine about a worm. Finally it was time for Robin Ince and he did not disappoint, a glorious set including the expected Feynman and Sagan quotes as well as a fantastic recent quote from Brian Cox "Anyone who thinks the LHC will destroy the world is a twat." We need more scientists willing to say things like this.
Sadly the comedy had now ended for the day, which left me slightly lacking in options for a while. I decided I might as well see some Bon Iver but was no more enthused with it than I was at ATP earlier in the year (I was also quite irritated to notice the programme for EotR claimed they were the only festival to get Bon Iver on the very first page - apparently I was imagining it back in May) British sea power were, well, British Sea Power. I hadn't seen them in several years (except a brief glimpse from far far away at Latitude) but they don't seem to have changed one bit. Good fun but nothing incredible, sadly the classic set-closer of Lately was noticeably absent which left the set finishing on a bit of a flat note. I took the chance to wander round the woods by the main stage during another brief break in proceedings, noticed that the "healing field" was thankfully rather hidden and hopefully unlikely to suck too many gullible passers-by into the clutches of the homeopaths and other woo-merchants within.
A washing line, on the stage? Whats all this about then? These were my first thoughts on strolling in for Kurt Wagner. Turns out he spent the set pinning lyric sheets to it once he finished the song, along with the odd cigarette (yay, an excuse to smoke in the tent guilt-free) It was a beautiful set, just him and a guitar letting his gorgeous voice carry the songs. Of course, I missed the weekend's only proper talking point while watching him, when someone from Low apparently threw a guitar into the crowd (those ker-azy mormons) which luckily didn't injure anyone. One band left for the day - Mercury Rev, who were truly, utterly, indescribably stunning. Again they are a band I hadn't seen in a long time (I think reading 2002 was the last time) and I'd forgotten just how breathtaking they were live. Band of the weekend, despite the awesome stuff still to come on Sunday.
Of course, there were other bands on in the smaller tents for several hours yet but I knew where I was headed, something called "Scarytellers Club" in a tiny tent (think the sort of thing you might have in the garden if you were very middle class and having a family party) which was billed as being comedians telling scary stories but turned into comedians just being comedians, which was fine by me. Robin Ince made his second appearance, reading out a beautiful passage from a Feynman book which alcohol has sadly stolen the content of from my memory. After this wound down I spotted Robin wandering round the site and unusually for me actually managed to speak to him. This proved to be my best decision of the entire weekend as we had a fantastic chat about science and I ended up spending a couple of hours chatting to him, Sarah Bennetto, James Dowdeswell, Pink Haired Girl (with brilliant Gizmo rucksack) and Beardy Welsh Guy (as pointed out yesterday, I forgot everyone's name unless it was in the programme and I sincerely apologise for this) They were all really friendly and it was good to spend some real time talking to anyone by this point. Finally at around 4am it was time to grab a few hours sleep, knowing I had to return to the comedy stage by midday as James was first on.
*Managed to get hold of a copy despite Waterstones best efforts at hiding it - every single copy was on a table of '3 for 2' offers which I had no idea it was part of, rather than 'new books' or 'popular science' where people might actually be looking for it. Yes, I know it was much cheaper on Amazon, but I didn't want to risk not having it in time for the 3 hour each way train journey.