Yesterday I went to the Wireless Festival, the only kind of festival I will ever go to again, one that lasts one day and doesn’t involve a tent. In fact I'm not sure a bit of park even counts as a festival. But believe me, I’ve done my share of the other kind, and realised it’s not for me. I can say I’m too old, but the truth is, I’m too miserable. I get tired of being outdoors after about 8 hours. Of course, Wireless lasted more than one day, but I didn’t go see the Black Eyed Peas. Call me crazy.
The weather was perfect; hot but no sunshine, so I didn’t need so much as a cardie, but didn’t come home red. The queuing system was a bit annoying- not enough queues, very slow moving, and they binned the small bottle of perfume I had on me (my other alternative was to buy it back for £6- why the fuck should I buy back something I own? I’d rather bin it! *cuts of nose to spite face*
Once in my friend ran the schedule for the day, we started off with a shot of Jagermeister (no I’m not looking up how to spell it) and an ice cream (trying to avoid greenfly sprinkles) and went to see Metronomy. They were pretty good, but what was with the paper plates stuck to their lapels? We unwisely sat near the front, in a load of dust that was once grass, and there were greenflies everywhere. You had to hold your hand over your pint to keep flies and grass out of it, or as my boyfriend put it, ‘It’s like being in Ethiopia.’
A couple of vodka red bulls (£6 each) later I was forced to endure that great gonk fronting The Horrors, shambling around like he’s looking for thruppence. Tuneless and you can barely hear his vocals, yet this feels like a blessing. Still, it was nice just kicking back in the cloud, now we’d found a more suitable spot on the left. We also spotted Lauren Branning from Eastenders around this time. Yet despite about a million people I know in attendance, I didn’t see one person I knew! Peculiar.
Next we went to the Pepsi Max (blergh) stage to watch Naked and Famous (I think they’re called this, but dare not Google those two words at work). By this time we were onto the cider and quite merry. The last four or five songs in their set were pretty excellent, plus we saw a guy in a red shirt doing some AMAZING dancing. Hats off.
I think we saw TV on the Radio after this, but it could have been before, I’m a bit confused now. En route I had some chips (£3) undercooked and vile. My friend had a burger, so who knows if she’s even alive today. On the bright side, the toilets weren’t too bad, and anyone with half a brain could jump the longer queues.
I didn’t like TV on the Radio much, they were a bit shouty but not in the way I like. Another thing I didn’t like: Huey from the (alleged) Fun Loving Criminals doing annoying adverts on the big screens between acts. Truly gutted I missed StooShe and Dot Rotten on the Friday though, they sound amazing(ly awful).
Around this time I bought some donuts (5 for £4, and one was stale). Next (is it next, I don’t remember, although I did stop drinking around this point) we went to see Foals at the Pepsi Max (blergh) stage again. They were alright, but I only know and like one song (Spanish Sahara). Luckily they did it and it was ace. Although too much dry ice and a packed tent meant you couldn’t really see the stage.
After that, we went back round to the main stage to await Pulp. Now, Pulp and I have a long and intimate history, although Jarvis may not know it. I discovered Pulp when I was 14, and His and Hers was pretty much my sex education. Common People came out when I was 15 and was my favourite song of all time for well over five years. Jarvis was everything to me, I had Pulp posters all over my walls, went to arenas and forests to see him. He meant so much to me, but I fell out of love with him a bit when he seemed to shoot his own legacy in the foot, and then disappeared from the scene for a while. Still, those memories mean a lot.
Can you recapture that moment? Can you be 15 again, dancing to Common People in the Roadmender in Northampton, or seeing them live in Birmingham singing Acrylic Afternoons? Well, no, as it turns out. And it’s not really Jarvis’s fault; it feels more like mine. But it was also the crowds.
They came on to Do You Remember the First Time? Which you can’t really go wrong with, followed by one of their best songs ever, Pink Glove. Unfortunately halfway through this we were basically bystanders to an enormous ruck. A girl in a stupid hat was sitting on her boyfriend’s shoulders, when a short girl came and asked her if she could get down because she couldn’t see (er, there’s about 50,000 people here, why not move elsewhere where you can see? Don’t get me wrong, shoulder girl was an inconsiderate prick, but I think that was a requirement of being let into the festival). Shoulders girl refused. Short girl and co threw empty cups at her. Shoulder girl doesn’t respond. Then short girl and co throw a full pint at shoulder girl’s back (about a millimetre away from us, I might add). Shoulder girl gets down. Her boyfriend (a terrier in a denim shirt) turns round and goes ‘who threw that?’ Short girl’s boyfriend proudly declares, ‘me’. To which terrier boy charges at him and attacks him. I’ve never seen anything like it. They were just on the floor attacking each other and wouldn't let go, and about ten other people got involved. There was half one guy’s watch on the floor. My friend then went to shoulder girl and/or short girl, ‘you happy now?’ In the meantime, Pink Glove goes pretty much out the window. I wouldn’t say this was indicative of the crowd as a whole, but there sure were a LOT of idiots there. Also, because there were so many idiots there, we didn’t have the best view, even though we were near the front.
About three or four songs later, I turned to my boyfriend and said, ‘I’m not really feeling it’ and he said, ‘I know, it’s rubbish.’ Pulp! Rubbish? But no, Pulp weren’t rubbish. But the crowd were. This empty feeling also co-incided with me stopping drinking, which may have had something to do with it.
But Pulp did drop one or two clangers. Doing Mile End as the second or third song was pretty uninspired (me: ‘I don’t like Mile End’. My boyfriend: ‘No one does, not even Begbie’.) Ten minutes of This is Hardcore was unbearable then and unbearable now (that goes in there… yeah, we know. But why drag it out over ten minutes?). Following that with the sub-par Sunrise was also a setlist cock(er)-up.
Where was Lipgloss? Where was Razzmatazz? Where was A Little Soul? Acrylic Afternoons seemed a dim and distant memory (it is, it was about 15 years ago I saw it live). It did warm up towards the end (we moved, which helped) and Common People was brilliant, of course, but there was no encore. It felt like the set was half done. In the time Jarvis spent prattling nonsense between songs he could have snuck in Dogs are Everywhere. Also, Jarvis’s Stars in Your Eyes transformation into Rolf Harris is now complete. There’s no going back through that smoky door. And it's funny seeing the rest of Pulp, those cardboard cut-out friends of old, all lined up in a row. But life has changed.
Maybe all reunions feel a bit like this, a bit cold, a bit cash-in (even though Pulp never really broke up). What I'd really have liked is a new album from them, to show us that they do care about us and the music, and not just the cash. Maybe that will come; I hope so.
Disclaimer: I know YOU had an amazing time at Pulp, but this MY blog. And I did really enjoy the day, I just enjoyed the earlier parts more. And that's not right.
On the walk to the tube my friend said it's like going to see your old auntie and her giving you the same biscuits they have you 15 years ago, and they've gone a bit stale. Yet my aunt Morrissey's biscuits never go stale. Because she never went away. Well, she did for a bit. But then she came back guns blazing and got a number 2 record. I want Jarvis to do the same.