Latitude: The Comedown Column

Things you do at a festival that you don’t usually do:

  1. Waltz with a young man named Cecil in a forest after spending twenty minutes asking him how he spelled his name, convinced he’d got it wrong.
  2. Buy the contents of an entire big sized Tescos out of fear that as soon as you enter the festival site you will be locked in to experience some sort of apocalyptic showdown til the death, like a literal take on the Hunger Games with everyone fighting it out with hand-made bows and arrows for the last mini babybel. Could happen. This world is getting crazier by the day. Also, by giving in to ‘The Fear’ it gives you a really good excuse to lick the jam out of a doughnut for breakfast. It would be wasteful not to. And, you know. Africa.
  3. Walk around holding hands with your mate, who is dressed as a unicorn.
  4. TENTS! (HOW DO THEY WORK?)
  5. Go to bed with your sunblushed skin glowing like embers, to lie with your head out of your miraculously erected tent letting the rain fall lightly on your face until you feel yourself drifting to sleep and drag yourself slowly in under cover like an earthworm.
  6. Wear flowers in your hair because you feel like you are now Official Ambassador for Natural Living and need to take news of the Pagan Way back to The Real World.
  7. Hug people just for telling you where you can buy falafel. There’s not enough hugging of strangers in my book, at any time of the year, not just festival season. I think the world needs more spontaneously administered hugs at the moment. I’d like to see drop-in centres popping up around the country, so if you’re passing one and you’re feeling like you need a burst of random and anonymous human kindness, you can nip in and get one as easy as buying gum.
  8. Dance as the sun’s going down. Things are generally better as the sun’s going down. Maybe because you’re caught in that half-light, as day fades and night arrives and you sub-consciously make peace with the loss of another day and the sky offers you strange colours by way of apology. We don’t do enough things by sunset. Most days we don’t stop to clock it happening, we just rush around going about our business, but when we do, it’s like something stills in our heart for a moment, no matter how briefly.
  9. Hold your lavatorials for as long as humanly possible in the name of all that is holy. Literally. You do it for your holes. You don’t want a badger to crawl up there. You’re in the country. Anything could happen. So you hold it. There are also other reasons why you don’t go the toilets at festivals as often as you might at home. But we don’t need to go there. We all know what lurks beneath the depths of that inky blue flush-water. And it’s not a whimsical Charles Kingsley otherworld of Water Babies, it’s a nightmarish Bosch painting of bottomly hell.
  10. Perform a brand new play for the first time ever in what is essentially a public dress rehearsal to a big theatre tent packed full of people including reviewers. In fishnets. Insane. Get another career. You are mental.
  11. Lick the rest of the jam out of the now stale doughnuts.
  12. Grapple your good friend, the tent, to the ground, in one of a million efforts to get the tinker back in its bag. Blame the state of education today for why you haven’t got the necessary skills to solve logical problems. Blame Gove. Blame them all. Somehow get the tent in the bag. Crack open a beer. One less thing to carry home in your five thousand Tesco bags.
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