Down on the misty Solway coast of Scotland lies a music festival called The Wickerman. It’s named after the 1973 cult movie – many scenes were filmed in the area. The highlight of the festival is the burning of the big fella on Saturday night, except there’s no Edward Woodward-type trapped inside.
This is the 2006 model. Such tardy blogging.
Music festivals can bring out my most pathetic insecurities. I don’t really drink or partake in wacky substances (got enough problems with sugar and saturated fats already), so at first I stand round feeling dull and clumsy and wobbly. I curse my inability to casually layer tiny garments and look cool despite three days without bathing. I don’t even attempt welly boots. But the Wickerman has a more cosy, welcoming vibe. You only get the occasional hipster in the mist.
The line-up is eclectic with scores of obscure bands and remants of big ones. When we first went in 2006 the headliner was a Ramone. The Ramone. I can’t remember which one; the one who wasn’t dead. There was also The Blockheads; no Ian Dury of course since he’s also no longer with us. This year we had KT Tunstall, Gary Numan and… Hippo! Yep, Dr G took his sexy keyboards on the road.
I got to be a roadie for five minutes when he had technical difficulties with the Powerbook. The volume control had disappeared from the menu thingy but I totally saved the day. Except for the bit where I might have cocked up a bit because when they jumped into the first song all you could hear was DR G ON THE KEYS! Thankfully nobody in the crowd noticed as they were all merry with their substances. After some quick adjustments the rest of the set was bloody magnificent. They sounded so, so, so good. I was delirious with pride and could have kissed all seven of them if not for their coatings of festival grime.
Meanwhile back at the campsite, the port-a-loos were doing a roaring trade.
While our pals went to see KT Tunstall (or attempt to see her since the mist was so thick) Dr G and I headed over to the ska tent to see Neville Staple, otherwise known as The Dude from The Specials.
I’m ignorant so I kept referring to him as Arthur Staples. Gareth reckoned I must have him confused with the elderly president of a lawn bowls club. Neville Staple on the other hand is a spritely 53 years old, supremely buff and dancing like a mofo.
I only knew Too Much Too Young and A Message To You, Rudy but went crazy with the dancing too. And so did Dr G!
That was when I realised that in almost five years of togetherness I had never seen the Doctor dance. It was surreal! Not because he danced like a dickhead or anything, but you get so used to someone looking a certain way – hunched over a computer or painting a wall or hiking up a hill or sitting behind the wheel of the car. It was so foreign and hilarious and oh so good, shaking up our little world.
Scottish festival food is getting posher these days – lots of noodle bars and organic frou frou. You’ve gotta look harder for the shitty burger vans.
Floating like lillies on a pond.
They burned the wickerman at midnight; you could barely make it out the poor bugger in the fog. We were too busy scoffing doon our chips anyway.
File footage from 2006!