Sunday, 18 June 2017

That Glasto Feeling

We're less than a week away and i know i won't be able to escape the Glastonbury coverage. 

the live coverage, the rumours, the weather forecasts, all of it on my frequented websites, tv channels, radio stations and social networks. 

we're less than a week away and already i'm overwhelmingly missing that Glastonbury feeling. 

it's there in the warm weather and the ever-present threat of rain storms just around the corner. 

it's there in the lighter evenings and the prolonged enjoyment of alcohol in the company of friends. 

it's there in the smells wafting from food market stalls scattered on the streets and the bbqs in numerous gardens. 

it's there. any time a like minded group of people come together. 

it's there. in the traffic queues approaching Worthy Farm. in the trek from the car, laden with tents, backpacks and your chosen tipple. in The Park, or at the top of the field looking down towards the Pyramid Stage. 

it's everywhere. and yet sometimes it feels like it is nowhere to be found.

was it there when Brexit campaigning split the country? was it there when Donald Trump became President Elect? was it there throughout the UK's latest election?

is it here as this country picks up the pieces after the dreadful scenes played out at Grenfell Tower, as we scrutinise the cost cutting measures and safety failings, as we count the true cost, now that families and lives have been torn apart.

we're united in grief, but we're still divided - us and them.

i sometimes have to turn my back on the news.  too heartbreaking to bear or too real to comprehend.  

but sometimes news can be good news.  

sometimes bad news can result in good news.

and the recent, heartbreakingly sad, anniversary of the murder of Jo Cox being marked by a campaign of Great Get Togethers is a perfect antidote to bad news, turning a negative into a positive, using the power of human spirit to conquer grief and sadness.

as a population on our island, and as a shared human race, we are a very long way from 'getting together'.

but for one weekend, in a number of farmer's fields in Pilton, we are one.

Whether we are there slipping and sliding in the mud or enjoying (or missing) it from the comfort of our sofas, whether we are holding on to our well-earned position for the Pyramid Stage headliners against the will of our bladders, cherishing time with young families in the Kids Field or drinking ourselves into a cider-fuelled oblivion, whether we are asleep by midnight or up until sunrise in a far flung field losing our minds through legal or illegal means or simply through sleep deprivation.

I miss all of that.

I'm overwhelmingly missing that Glastonbury feeling yet again.

but it is comforting to know that in that microcosm of liberal and like minded society that will be congregating this weekend without me, whether they know it or not, these words of Jo Cox will be ringing true...

'We are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us'

from the many, varied, dance tents, to the headliners, stage openers and weird and wonderful performers and revellers that make this one weekend as glorious and unique as the human spirit, never a truer sentence has ever been spoken...

and that is the Glastonbury feeling....

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Everything is....

Everything is.... just a little bit up in the air right now.  Nothing feels quite right.  Lots of things feel rather unsettled.

The job security of me and my work colleagues has had some doubt cast over it, time off always feels fleeting... eked out between housework and hobbies and more housework, my mind is rarely at rest with all the things I'd liked to do and need to do and haven't got the time to do, fling in a recent bereavement in the family and you've got a mixture of emotions and mental health high-jumps bumping along with your average day-to-day existence.

How invigorating it was to leave behind the real world for a day, taking advantage of a rare combination of two days off in a row (miraculously including a Saturday off work) to tie together the opportunity of attending the Brickish Weekend at the National Space Centre and visiting family in Leicester.

A rather recently resurfaced love of Lego (I blame the Batman Movie and its accompanying minifigures) has left me with a geeky itch that I needed to scratch, and a whole slew of space and sci-fi themed displays and builds at a tourist attraction mere minutes from the majority of my wife's family was just too good an opportunity to pass up.  Within minutes of getting through the door we were already parting with cash... picking up a Ralph Wiggum as a belated valentines present for my wife, and then buying a 'classic' set of doors and windows (again, i must add, because my wife likes them.... ok, i liked them too) along with some other well-worn pre-loved bags of bricks and pieces and marvelling at a bunch of custom minifigs... we'd spent somewhere near an hour or so getting excited before we'd even left the vicinity of the 'brick fair' and the huge Paris themed build that was situated nearby the various sellers.

In fact we spent so long taking in so many of the builds and also talking at some length to the people behind these creations that we actually saw precious little of the Space Centre and its permanent exhibits, thankfully this can be easily remedied as booking our single visit online also secures an annual pass, perfect for the next time we're visiting family again.  And the creators themselves were equally as fascinating as the Lego builds on display, talking honestly and openly with both me and my wife about their passions, their ideas and sometimes about the price-tags that have fuelled their involvement, the complete lack of pretension and a willingness to 'just chat' was not only refreshing but also informative and very rewarding for me, and possibly gave my wife an insight into what she may have let herself in for.

With a handful more 'grab bags' of bricks and pieces (including a small mixed lot of wheels, again, suggested by my wife) in our tote bag we headed back to see family once the Space Centre's doors had closed, and I was more than a little surprised when my brother-in-laws curiosity about my purchases resulted in three adults in their thirties (two male, one female) all sat around building a variety of vehicles and oddities from the assortment of regular bricks and random components that we had accrued over the course of the day.

Time spent looking at Lego and 'playing' with Lego left little time to do some of the obligatory family rounds, but a couple of whistle stop visits to see family members of a wide range of ages was a perfect way to end the day, including some rather intense imaginative play and dance moves with a four year old that left me sweating and out of breath before a two hour journey back to London.

I'd met and talked to some fascinating people, seen some inspirational and breathtaking Lego builds, bolstered my own collection, built a spaceship (of course), spent time with family, dance partnered a care-free four year old and enjoyed quality time with my wife....

Maybe, just for today, everything is awesome!