Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Greenbelt Phlegm Vol 1: Greenbelt Day the FIrst

I have just returned from a fantastic weekend at the Greenbelt Festival in Cheltenham this weekend. For those of you unfamiliar with Greenbelt, it is a music and arts festival that takes place once a year at Cheltenham racecourse. I've been attending for a while, but the last two years I've been working at the festival radio station. So many exciting things happened that I am going to beg your indulgence and present you a blog post for each day of the festival.

Greenbelt is really like nothing else I've ever experienced, the closest I can imagine would be a smaller, more Christian Glastonbury type thing. Click on the link above to find out more. Each year the festival has a theme, this year's being Heaven in Ordinary. This last 6 days, especially with the glorious weather we had, has been the closest to Heaven I have experienced in a long time.

I won't talk about the Thursday when I arrived on site much, except to say that it involved setting up many many tents in the wonderful sunshine, then an evening in the Organic Beer Tent (a recurring event you will find over the next few posts).

Possibly due to the combination of lots of sun and a moderate amount of strong organic beer; myself, Eyan and Anna from the Greenbelt FM team woke on Friday morning with horrific hangovers (like "Urrrrrggggghhhh, I think I'm actually dead" type hangovers). I emerged out of my tent like a George Romero zombie groaning and stumbling around in my search for liquid replenishment (and a banana).

However, on with the show as it were. I had no presenterly duties, so I was dispatched round the festival site on various errands to help prepare for the afternoon's shows. I also did my bit for GB FM publicity by lending my meagre erection skills (oo-errr) to the placement of banners.
I think this picture really does bring out my best features. The 2 inches slightly below my knees. They can be admired on the left of this picture purloined from the official Greenbelt section on Flickr.

I was assigned to help out on Eyan's Live Lunch Show, which went very well. He interviewed some excellent guests including a particularly striking young lady called Alicia from Christian Aid. She was promptly booked to come back in for the remaining Live Lunch shows. This went down very well with the straight male members of the Greenbelt FM team (oo-errrrr. OK time to stop now....)

The rest of the day flashed by in a flurry of activity, including some frenetic planning with my excellent team for my show Greenbelt Today (the first of which I will blog about in the next post).

In the evening I met up with a friend and went to mainstage to see Billy Bragg, which was amazing. The man may not have a great voice, but his songs are as powerful and passionate as ever and he can work a crowd brilliantly. My favourite line from Billy that night was a throwaway comment about how that as he has aged, his music has been upgraded from punk to folk. It had me chuckling quietly under my breath like a lunatic for 5 minutes.

We also tried in vain to go and see something young and trendy in The Gentlemen, who are a very exciting young Sheffield band who Eyan and I cruelly labelled as the Christian Busted on Refresh FM at Easter. They are much better than that and deserve to do exceedingly well. Sadly about 7 million people had the same idea as us and we couldn't squeeze ourselves into the venue to see them.

Finally, the evening started as the day had begun, in the beer tent. I met up with various Manchester people who all commented on the belisha beacon sunburn look I had assiduously cultivated during the day. Thanks go particularly to Stephen Devine who managed to mock my excessively red face despite it being near pitch dark in the beer garden.

In the next thrilling installment of Greenbelt Phlegm:
More beer! I actually get unleashed on a microphone! I interview some Minstrels (not chocolate ones)! I hold real gold in my hand! We inflate chairs! I eat a jacket potato! I buy a hat!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

#Working Niiiiinnnne to Fiiiiiiiivvvvvveeeee#

(Well actually more like 7-2....)

I am more excited than a bucket of hamsters running over a bucket of pigeons today. In less than an hour's time I will be cramming my many-pocketed rucksack into a small car full of lovely people and winging my way to the Greenbelt Festival. Like last year, I am working for the festival radio station Greenbelt FM (see last year's post about my adventures here) which will no doubt be great fun once more.

This year I am presenting a daily show called Greenbelt Today and also producing regular radio partner-in-crime Eyan's daily Live Lunch show.

Despite last minute tent related travails (Damp tent + tent bag + 11 months = tent ruined by thick black mould.... I was quite cross with the person who borrowed it and then told me it was dry when they put it away!!!!), I am really looking forward to this year's festival. The weather looks like being fantastic and I'm rather looking forward to seeing Aqualung too.

I might try and blog while I'm away, but if not have a picture of a penguin kite (Christmas present perhaps?) to tide you over till I get back...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Hot Podcastular Action Vol 3

The Odyssey is complete. The final three podcasts from myself and Eyan's radio shenanigans at Easter on Refresh FM. Click here and here to see my earlier podcast posts.

Click on the underlined titles to to be whisked to the download site...

In which we talk about:
Fiddling with turny-dials, Lee being smarter than Chris Moyles, the Plain Jane Super Brain Show, a woman from Atlantis, boys with idiot brains and girls with gills, Lee fires Eyan and promotes Fil from the Posse, we dedicate a mewithoutyou track to the entire world, the continuing saga of the Drive Time feud and the related tasks, throwing shapes - old skooool, we invent the Rockter Scale, Eyan's a sheep, how to file a Norma Jean CD, we count people's aunties, talk about rock melons, whether John Rutter is nice to his pets, Fil's girly feet and cleats, we destroy Bertie the imaginary Refresh Hamster in our game Sackcloth & Bashes, we give Preacha: Geography of a Journey by Cameron Dante a slow death with pink sandpaper and a power sander to the accompaniment of Relight my Fire by Take That.

Games: Chainsaw Challenge, Sackcloth & Bashes,
In which we talk about:
Our show being Refresh-innovative or Refreshnovative, we have a British hour, said farewell to Fire Fly, talked about Delirious being a thrusting young band, a nice lady called Janet who is a woman of the cloth visits us, Eyan defends himself for going to see Take That, the Christian Busted, Eyan then defends the real Busted, Lee liking Patience by Take That, the paucity of good British Christian bands, talk seriously for a change, Lee & Eyan having our own charm and attractions, Lee judges Eyan, Janet throws things at Eyan's head as part of a game, someone asks us to play Misty for them, a toy Chicken that distributes candy from its arse, Lee has his revenge, we have an upsetting text from a listener with ability to compress time, flushing hot cakes down the toilet, haggling for scented candles.


In which we talk about:
Biblical curses, our bitterness at losing our feud with Abi on Drivetime, a bucket of pigeons being run over by a bucket of hamsters, giggling Stefan and Sarahcontrary,, Shameless Unplugged, Eyan's fluffy sock related explosiveness, Lee's beer impaired memory of Sarah at Greenbelt, Eyan finds George Bush strangely attractive in a simian way, visiting the Quite Early Show pub quiz in a fake outside broadcast at the Fox & Hammer, ladies with flat caps and beards, never camp in a pub, settling the transubstantiation vs consubstantiation argument with a thumb war in Rejoice & be Gladiator, we say our Quite Early Show goodbyes till 2008, we reflect on how rubbish and vacuous we were for two weeks.
Games: Rejoice and be Gladiator, Quite Early Show Pub Quiz

Two gladiators yesterday

The Simpsons Movie ***
Ran *****

Sunday, August 12, 2007

This is a highlights post...

Due to my internet weebles taking a well-earned summer holiday I have been unable to post on this here blog for a while.

For some bizarre reason, when my computer is out of action or if I am somehow unable to get access to t'interweb I have loads of great ideas for stunningly creative and gut-wrenchingly funny blog posts. Sadly, by the time I get round to actually blogging, all those ideas have sailed out of my mind like a flotilla of racing yachts in a gale. Therefore, I will give you some of the highlights from my brain over the last couple of weeks....

There are 5 things because 5 is the 3rd prime number (its also a Fermat prime dontcha know....)

1) Bowling
In the house I share we are completely addicted to ten-pin bowling on the Wii (we are now a 2 Wii house). I like it because its about half-way between real bowling and previous attempts at computer bowling. However, recently we have had TWO house outings to partake in real-life meatspace bowling, which were exceedingly good fun. Now I hadn't gone real bowling for ages so over the two visits scores of 138, 122, 99 and 117 were most satisfying. Sadly, I think I'll never replicate my Wii best score of 212 in real life...

2) Underage Festival
A festival in that there London for young whippersnappers. Read this article from the Guardian. Near the end Conor McNicholas, Editor of NME makes a comment. NME makes me very grumpy, nay, furiously angry at times. NME has been quite vocal about how modern festivals are being ruined due to old people insisting on attending. Apparently it would like Glastonbury to improve its atmosphere for 2008 by attracting the 'NME & Radio 1 crowd' who it would seem are all 16-17 years old. Now I don't know about you, but most 16-17 year olds are unlikely to read NME as it is a magazine written by people predominantly in their 30s and upwards. So there's an inherent contradiction in their whole argument that makes me very grumpy.

3) Somerset
I visited my friends Andrew & Ann in their new home in Somerset last week. The weather was lovely and the cider most agreeable. Do read Ann's blog here. This is what I have decided to name Taff's View. This is the view from the patio at the bottom of their garden. I am most envious... Click on it for a larger view.

4) For the love of all that is holy, don't read this book!
I had the misfortune to pick up Next by Michael Crichton in the middle of a long train journey. It is dreadful. Don't read it. I only read it because the alternative was staring out the window for 5 hours. In my defence I had 3 minutes to buy a book before I had catch my connection at Bristol so I grabbed it as I enjoyed reading Jurassic Park. However, there were warning signs I should have spotted. Firstly, the half price ticket - a new(ish) book being sold for £3.50? Secondly, these fateful words on the cover which I didn't see till too late "Completely Brilliant!" - the Daily Mail. NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! I read a book the Daily Mail thinks is brilliant? I feel violated somehow.

5) Toad in the Hole
I learnt how to make Toad in the Hole! Which was rather exciting, in an 'I'm clearly 30 years old and rather sad' way. I made two for my housemates, which they seemed to enjoy, which was also gratifying.

Transformers **
(Possibly the dumbest movie I've seen in a long time. But its great fun and the effects are jaw dropping)
The Thing *****
(How a sci-fi horror movie should be done. The effects are wonderfully gruesome and creative considering it was made in 1984)
The New World *
(Beautifully shot, but incredibly dull and boring at the same time. Full of shots of people walking through grass looking pained and emotional)
The Departed *****
Jaws *****
The Contractor *
Breaking & Entering **
Serenity *****