We slept late, we sleep better on camp sites than out in the streets, psychologically it feels safer there I supposed. First stop, shower, but it was open day today, RIP area showers turned me away, so all the way back down to the caravan site showers behind the 20 foot steel fence. I knocked, huge gates swung open, I wasn’t sure whether I was being let out or into the city, it was now 9am, way too late on a festival site, there was a long queue and I just though “Nah”
So back to Motley Brew and the standpipe by the little brook that ran along the hedgerow under Pearls nose, separating us from the main arena.
I sat in the cab writing, watched Nina emerged from her blue VW campervan, pink haired and looking remarkable, she sat pulling her purple tan thy high pixie boots on, lost to her thoughts, some people just have that star quality don’t they. We were all gearing up in our own way, Nina was the signal for, ok, lets rock.
Phil tipped us off to be up on the hill by the dogs head when the gates opened, so there we were, security were being given final instructions, fanning out across the green hill side waving their arms like fledgling birds about to take their maiden flight.
“Slow down slow down” was the call
And then it began, one or two people in black T shirts running past us down the hill side. Then couples hand in hand, then more, some with rucksacks. A very large overweight girl leaning forward carried by her own weight faster and faster down the hill the just about managing to stay upright
Then groups who’d waited for friends, descending at speed down to the basin below, as if the barrier was magnetized, people drawn past fast, hurrying down the hill, stopping only when they hit the front row barrier. Within minutes it was two people deep all the way along and more coming down. I even saw Jesus running past us at one point.
Then the damn burst, T shirt stalls on either side of the field instantly had a crush of black buzzing bees around them, it was all about the T shirt, which we’re mostly death, monsters, Satan, hell and blood spattered it all looked very painful to me
With the damn now overwhelmingly breached the fledgling birds who’d flapped furiously just give up and we made our way back to camp and waited for the wave to splash over and around the hedgerow to where we were.
When it did there were so many surprised voices
A couple of hours in and the area by the wrestling arena was busy. The first scout ants had been through, word had been given, suddenly there was a great crowd out front of us, unnerving at first but everyone well mannered and polite.
Phil’s regulars arrived for a nice cup of tea just as he said they would. Skulls beards kilts boots long hair and seeing as the ‘unofficial theme’ was super hero’s, there was just about every super hero you could imagine, squeezed into lycra way to small those big bodies, flesh bulging out the top of many a stocking top, both male and female and also those at the other end of the body spectrum, the wafer thin bodies caped draped and covered in oversized ill fitting muscle suits. But it wasn’t all out of proportion ill fitting strangely clad, there were some magnificent and beautiful super hero’s too. That was until the heavens opened.
It had been forecast “intermittent light showers” But showers it was not. It poured, and within minutes the field emptied except for the hardy bare chested long bearded Scottish looking people in kilts and skin so white you knew had rarely known the sun, though after half an hour even they gave up and ran. Everybody of course made for the nearest canopy, so the Motley Brew tent was instantly packed. Phil and family brewed up the brews and warmed all souls gathered there, but the rain didn’t stop all day.
At one point some straight guys came wanting a reading. I turned them away saying come back when you’re sober but they were smiling and insistent, we relented. It took about 5 minutes before Orsi re-emerged and sent them packing in no uncertain terms. We are learning. Now, if there is even the slightest wiff of alcohol the answer is No.
I knew that was Hypnotherapy out of the game, so stood sentinel outside the dome under the umbrella, whilst Orsi did readings, I think she did 4 one for free for a volunteer at the Calais refugee camps who’d particularly touched her. I’d watched the body workers too Hannah and Nicolla and Nina all seemed to be doing well.
A girl came who to us who was in a lot of pain, trouble with her back, discs she’d said. Orsi had called me and asked if I could help. It was pouring down there was a band playing loud fast heavy metal a few hundred yards away, planes were coming in a few hundred feet above us, but she was in a lot of pain. We laid her down on the bench. I spoke as closely to her ear as was comfortable and she went into Hypnosis. We turned the volume down, as I call it. She’d indicated the pain was at No8 and we managed to turn it down to No4, afterwards when she emerged from the dome I asked her how she felt, she said beaming “I bent down to pick up my bag”
Her boyfriend who’d been waiting outside was noticeably surprised.
Earlier in the afternoon I’d gone to have a peep at the crowd. It was stunning. The green arena field now swamped by a huge army of humanity. But by around 6pm a dark trail had begun to form in the green grass right past the healing area.
Later Nina Orsi and I went to explore. As we came around the corner by at the bottom end of the arena field, the green had vanished. It was a thick brown mud, the super hero’s had been replaced by plastic see through shawls and the waifs had wilted, drooped and disappeared under camouflage and heavy waterproof coats, one or two held out but it was a sorry sight.I was so glad we had brought wellies.
I reasoned that, just say the Almighty God was looking down upon the spectacle the gathering flock or horde, all proclaiming allegiance to the monsters of hell and Satan he, she, it may have reasoned
“Really, you want Hell?”
The notion that hell would be fire and brimstone, scaly monsters and the laughing sharp-toothed skulls, and hail Satan logos, were a little misguided, hell it seemed has a few variations and at that moment, hell was thick liquid mud and dirt and cold rain. ‘You want hell, ok you got it’
It wasn’t a pretty sight.
We squidged our way up the hill side sipping our beers watching the hell unfold all around us and to be honest I think we all enjoyed it possibly because I have never seen anything like it before, and maybe knowing we’d be in a dry van later may have helped. I cannot imagine what it must have been like up there in the village of Sodem we’d seen the night before.
We dipped our toes into various stages, then there was a huge pink explosion. Rammstein had arrived. The arena field that night was an unbelievable sight packed right up back and beyond the dog. The sound was amazing, who ever was doing it, we salute you.
I’d not heard of Rammstein before. They sang in German which was a surprise, most of the crowd sang along. They were a stunning crunching riff rhythm machine, impressive massive and overwhelming and though I love that stuff and on a stage and to a crowd that big the theatre has to be big, but all the breathtaking techo wizardry, the flames and heat waves left me a little cold
I had to remind myself that it was a heavy metal concert, but still, great sound good band shame about the subtle sinister undercurrents. But to be fair I was probably the only one there who thought it, maybe Nina too
After the singer had grown beautiful pair of dark silver wings and lifted into the air above the stage for us, we squidged our way back through the slopping brown liquid down the hill to the cauldron at the bottom
The rain then stopped, praise be.
Next day 4.55am the sound of a great plane coming into land, then more every 5 minutes, I got up and was writing in the cab. The windscreen speckled with rain, the air damp and cold. Phil already up brought across a mug of hot coffee. I watched him taking out mugs of tea to the sleepy therapists camped around Motley Brew. Hannah looked fragile and grateful, Nicola dazed. A nice cup of tea in the ditch at the bottom of hell hill was just what was needed. Bless Phil, top guy.
The field in front of the dome had been scattered with straw all across the mud and the bottom of the field where the thick deep soup was worst fresh soil and gravel had been bulldozed in, it helped but was temporary.
I had a client that morning, ‘weight loss’ Lovely girl who was ready, she also had sore knees, only mid 20’s I suspected some other reason for her knees, we did some work on them too and proved to be quite accurate. I was happy with the session, she went away with a much improved self image and a wedding day to work towards, a good start to the day.
Orsi had lost her voice and could hardly speak so moved into the tent so she could be heard, she was busy for most of the day. I stood sentinel again with the umbrella doing demonstrations to answer the many questions. It work very well stood there, but no clients.
The crowd ebbed and flowed all day there were some incredible sights and some serious unhealthiness paddled by too.
We packed up around 6pm and then at 6.30 the rain started again, heavy rain and it didn’t stop. But it was still really good natured out there. There were bedraggled faces but it seemed most people had come prepared.
But the Arena field was appalling, there were streams of mud flowing down towards the stage and either side, over ankle deep, liquid in places, quick sand in others and dirt glue everywhere else, just about everybody was drunk but merrily, most having a laugh
All except the Dog bar at the top of the hill, service with a smile it was not. A machine at the back of their tent poured 9 pints at a time, tables were covered with rows of ready poured pints in wax paper cups at £5 a pint, 2 seconds and your done, next. The guy tried to take £11 for the two pints, I pulled him for it, he argued and I argued back. Nice little earner, a Caribbean holiday next week if he was doing that with everybody, which I suspected he was. Then back down the slippery hill into the rising tide of the deepening brown sea. As we awaited the Sabbath the heavens opened big time.
They were warmly welcomed, they had amazing video screens with boggling eyes and maggots and fire and cities burning. Tony Iommi was genuinely amazing to watch playing with his false finger ends, quite a remarkable story. The drummer was incredible too, the bass player was a bass player and Ozzy well… mostly He said “How you doing” “Can’t fucking hear you” & “Come on, yeah” but mostly he said “I can’t fuckin hear you” and after a few times I wondered if he really couldn’t hear us. His voice was recognizable and he looked ok from half a mile away, but brooding and dangerous he wasn’t. We lasted about 50 minutes and then wondered why we were stood there, we were absolutely soaked through and though it seemed sacrilege, we went in search of a beer then and back to pearl, I don’t think we missed much.
Next morning I sat in the cab writing. The Motley Brew and body workers materialized all around us wandering in wellies brushing teeth and chatting. Nina emerged, a pink butterfly pixie, glamorous and glowing, with not a crease to be seen. Through all of this Nina is a reassuring presence, a focused trooper and a hard worker. She’d been busy the day before. Impressive.
Phil was thrusting hot brews into the grateful hands of whoever appeared hunch shouldered out of their tent, the main stage sound checking AC/DC Back in Black again. We had reports that it was going to be bad weather again, I watched people scanning the skies, it didn’t look too bad right then, everybody quietly hoped. Secretly praying to different gods.
We didn’t open till 11pm there didn’t seem much point and no matter how many times we went back to the van and then re emerged back into the Healing area it was a shocking site, at first the area between us and the toilets and the wrestling arena didn’t seem to bad there was an obvious sticky muddy trail by the second morning but then as more people began trooping past, it turned into a flowing stream then into a small river, then into a rising flowing river of mud coming closer and closer to the dome.
I added another post to the end of the signs as people were unconsciously trying to walk on anything that was green and so it was pretty soon trampled and swallowed up by the rising tide, people began clipping the dome so the post meant that they had to step out and not into the tent. Nina was opposite us on the other corner, I watched as the tide crept up until there only a tiny green fringe, maybe an inch remaining around her tent too.
It was remarkable to me that anybody went for any sort of relaxation-body work-therapy at all in those conditions, but they did.
In between readings Orsi and I sat outside on stools so people had to walk around us, and so kept the tide back a few inches from the door, whilst orsi was doing a reading I’d started to demonstrate hypnotherapy stood there in the mud and the rain, if I could do hypnosis there I could do it anywhere, there were some great moments, people slipping into mild hypnosis and me enjoying the chat.
At one point though I did slip into melancholy, I’d sat there all day under the umbrella watching the mud spreading and the tide growing higher and higher, what the hell was I doing, what the hell were we doing, I slipped a gear for a little while and my usual empathy began to falter.
Then out of the blue the girl who’d had the session about weight loss and confidence the day before came back. She was glowing and almost lifting of the ground with energy and happiness. She’d slept well and had even managed to find a health food stall, which let me tell you was a remarkable achievement in itself there.
A little later a lady came past who was deeply grieving, I sensed to just take her into the dome, no charge, the group she was with waited. We had a quick fifteen minutes, we did some fast but deep work about her brother who’d died. She stepped back out obviously lifted looking so much better. She came back 20 minutes later and slipped me £10. I was deeply touched by them both and really lifted me
A never ending stream of thin plastic mud spattered ponchos wandered by, many capped with drooping soaked red firestone trilby hats, the Indian head dresses or the soldier/biker helmets with horns, there were beards and tattoos of every description, but by now faces beginning to look a little dejected, the mud and the damp starting to take its toll. Mud levels everyone doesn’t it.
“It’s like being in Lord of the Rings”Orsi said It sure was. people walked or should I say waded through, very gentle steps, stiff thighs, waves of mud swept in front of heavy waterlogged feet, about 80% had brought wellies and so it mattered not where or what you stood in, but still tentative steps, the fear was of course of slipping over into the quagmire, now that would have been very very bad for a persons state of grinning and bearing it.
We heard stories of the camp site being absolutely disgusting and tents being washed away, I spoke to the guy in charge of the stall placements and fencing he thought just a little further down from where we were, at the entrance to the caravan site and the main arena was a little bit worse
Over at the porta-loos as 30 or 35 doors slammed shut rhythmically the chemical smell was wafted over to where we were, people trudged past whilst overhead small planes became large and large ones became small rumbling and screaming. I sat there and was still, I allowed my mind to be silent and meditated for quite long periods of time and still managing to hold up the umbrella.
I had a seeing. It looked as if I was looking through a mist of condensation, there was something beyond, a bigger picture, then condensation was wiped away in the shape of an eye, I couldn’t see the whole picture beyond just yet but the message was clear, things would become clearer and clearer, I also remembered the first seeing when we’d set out from Alfriston, the lifting of the Golden Entrance from out of the brown canal covered in liquid mud.
We were packing up when a couple came to see me about a session, Orsi left me to it. It was about then that the heavens opened again, probably the last night the heaviest of all, the best or worst till last they say, and it absolutely poured. I invited them into the dome but they turned out to be time wasters. The girl butting in telling me how it was, what she knew, what she’d done, you get a lot of that; even her guy was irritated by her. So to change the focus to him, I showed him how to feel his energies. But in that confined space he became really agitated and began blustering
“You shouldn’t mess with that stuff, you shouldn’t mess with it”
I was at first puzzled and then irritated. I said
“Mate it’s your own energy and you are expressing energy now in your fear, you need to be aware and control that energy, the only thing to be afraid of is superstation, it’s where fear lives”
I pulled the flap aside and let them out and went back to Pearl where Orsi had made some great food, we were so very glad of cozy Pearl. As we were eating Nina text us and asked us if we’d like to go and see Saxon with her, underneath that pixie exterior is the strong beating heart of a rocker.
So we got wellies on and our waterproofs stepped out to find Nina had put plastic bags inside her boots and gaffa taped her legs up, It looked like flexible silver armor, she was well and truly ‘Saxoned’
We stepped back out into the shocking site, you see where the vans were, was still green as it was fenced off, but step beyond that into the Motley brew and Healing area was an appalling scene
The three of us stepped of the straw island and into the river, waded round the bottom past the porta loos and there laid before us was one of the most incredible sights I have ever seen, it was a brown liquid field, rock music blasting out over thousands of fists punching the air, heavy waterlogged people trudging ankle deep in all and any direction, seemingly aimlessly, groups of people sat in camping chairs the bottoms dipping in the mud, bottoms of coats dipped, dragging heavily soaked in mud, thousands of people right up the hill side and as far away as you could see,
The ground shone with the reflection of the stall lights that hemmed it all in on either side, it was an insane looking sight. there were many by now as we waded through who we saw sat in their muddy chairs, fish eyed, simply exhausted, the only escape was the beer at £5 a pint,
We made our away over past the fun fair, I simply couldn’t believe what I was seeing, we’d been tied to the healing camp each day, none of us could believe it and so what to do, yeah that’s right do what everyone else was doing laugh and get drunk.
We got there just as Saxon were going on, we linked hands pushed forward, it was all so good humored, everyone in it together people very politely gave way and let us through, helped us, make sure you could see, very sweet in fact.
We managed to get right into the tent very near the front, Orsi & Nina were loving the bass player who had a fine pair of biceps, leather waistcoat, bare chested with long shaggy hair giving it plenty, also a superb bass player. I never thought I would say it but they were great, the singer too, an obvious old trooper had the crowd in his hands. It was great we all gave metal salute and screamed and yeah …. clapped hands above our heads. Great fun in the mud.
Afterwards up on the hill at the beer tent I discover that I’d been short changed again so we were 80p short of a pint. We’d seen people all day recycling the wax-paper cups, it was 10p a cup so 40 of them was a free pint. But just then Iron Maiden came on so we went for a look. I was mightily disappointed. The singer in yellow mustard trousers (could have been corduroy) and a neat black sweater looked like a banker, and then at one point introduced us to a kids toy monkey Velcrow’d around his neck , I think he called him Freddie, but I may be wrong on that, he did a ventriloquist act. I was honestly open mouthed, 85,000 people had stuck it out in awful conditions, and he then said and I quote
“I’ll just put him to bed now” as he slung him around the back of his neck. No NO No !!
Where were The Clash when you needed them. We looked at one another, it was unanimous, lets go and get some paper cups and get a beer Iron Maiden played on Bruce waved the Union Jack with Freddie the Monkey (I wondered if the monkey on his back was some subliminal statement that was going on behind his scene) and the rain poured down. We had much better fun it was comical in the conditions. We collected a lot of cups but never managed to find the place that refunded the recycling. Instead I went to the bar and explained we’d been short changed, they believed me and we got a couple of pints, Hurrah. I think a lot of people had the same thought as we did as there was a steady stream leaving as we stood on the hill with our cups. We a great night
Next day I’d promised Nina a healing session her back was a little sore with all the work she’d done, so I was up first Orsi was really looking and sounding quite poorly and so left her in bed while I went to get washed at the stand pipe. I got there to find the water cut off and the portaloos full to overflowing, the power had been switched off so no running water, really out of order of the organizers.
But I’m not one to be defeated. Phil told me of another stand pipe right at the bottom near the deepest quagmire of all. I shook the pipes and managed to get a full bucket of water out. So I stripped off there and then and had an all over wash, Nobody batted an eye lid, you’d have been proud of me. There I was looking out on a sight of utter devastations with a clean bottom, clean armpits and fresh breath.
Then back for the session with Nina it was a good one, But when we stepped back out Phil and it seemed the Healer camp had lost its sparkle, everyone now anxious about how we were going to get out of there, we were on an island, it looked bad, there was the odd tractor towing a van off here and there, and still the rain came down, it was by now quite miserable.
Orsi and I are by now well drilled and we had the dome all down and packed up within about ¾ of an hour. I then happened to spot a tractor in the process of towing another van out I asked the farmer if he could give us a tow if we needed it. He said he’d come back. So we legged it back to camp to say out good byes. It was very sad and quite a wrench, somehow nobody wanted to let go, but everyone understood, we had to leave whilst we had the tow, I reversed Pearl out and then around the farmer said
“You should be able to make it”
So I rolled her out and we slipped fish tailed slowly slowly and then down into the deepest pool I was feeling for the grip and she slipped and wheels spun a little and then suddenly the jolt of traction, and we were through both of us patted Pearl.
“Good girl pearl, well done”
We were out and on tarmc. In a long traffic jam but we really didn’t mind, Just so relived. We passed Iron Maidens personal 747 airplane I think it’s a 747, it was huge anyway, there is something punk rock in me that really doesn’t like them, boeing 747, toy monkey, business man hair cut, 666 number of the beast.. What Evvvvaaaa. !!
Within half an hour we were on the M1 heading north towards Scarborough. We’d done it.
As an after note I’d dreamt the night before that a man was going through a house somewhere shooting people. He just kept killing people, seemed to be searching for them, It was odd, I’d woken up then gone back to sleep. He was waiting there for me so he could continue. He’d shot 540 people I remember asking in the dream “How many?” it came back “54 54 54 54” We’d not heard any news whilst we were there. I switched on the radio. It was the first time we’d heard about the killings in Florida. Back in the real world eh, that was a real downer.