Twas with a shooge amount of trepidation that i was anticipating last weekend's T in the Park. The weather's been pish, the line up wisnae the greatest and, bein kinda long in the tooth, the thought of 3 nights in a muddy field full o buckied up nippers and boomin shcemie techno beatboxes was nane too appealin. However, C Mitchell and Acky were gonna be around and we were campin next to Jules (carriageway) and Nobby so some barry patter was bounty be on the cards. Plus the Specials were due to play and i couldnae miss them. Oh and, erm....my ticket was free so there was nowt much to lose.
First impression was that the event's mushroomed significantly since my last trip to T in 2006 (daily capacity's now 85,000). On the way into the campsite i was truly freaked by the level of wobbly pishedness on display. How grim was it gonna get by Monday morn? We did however, meet a Hare Krishna gadge whom i managed to get to shout "Awkuntzbarry" in return for me goin "Gouranga". He asked if it was Gaelic and we told him it's Embrese for "Everyone is good". Beautiful.
Having entered the arena, i spent 2 hours locating then queueing for beer tokens. Well pissed off to be stuck in a queue while my chums grooved out to Camera Obscura. Still, the site's surrounded by decent wee hills and a big big sky so i contented masel checkin the changing colours as the sun sunk gently in the west. Right pretty.
On finally obtaining said tokens and exchanging them for actual lager (£3.50 a pint, bitto a scandal but the Tennents was much tastier than that Carling keech at RockNess), i grabbed a snatch o some very jump abooty Pearl and the Puppets then rejoined ma pals for the last 45 mins o the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Tunes were tops and the singer looked fab - there's no such thing as too much lipstick and i'm always game for pvc and buckles.
By now it was late and we had to decide tween Kings of Leon (been there, bored by that) or Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (never seen, always been intrigued, featured in the second rubbish pic). Seemed like 84,750 peeps took the Kings' shilling cos the crowd for NC and the BS was paltry in extemis. But who cared about that? The Bad Seeds sure didnae cos they fair battered out some filthy, malevolent, sleazebag rock, gobbed a lot, pulled great shapes and looked like they enjoyed it as much as the paltry group o punters. Well chuffed Copie and Scottie B had plugged them so heavily. Thank you, geezers - king cheeseburger really was born in Tupelo.
Back at the campsite, punters were pleasantly chatty, chilled and even keen to kip. Me, Nob and Mand were the last peeps in earshot to hit the sack and managed to grab a few happily zonked hours before waking in our sauna tent. The sun was up and we had toasty weather. Nobby had a stove and made cups o coffee wi veggie sausages on a roll and squeezy cream cheese. Jules crashed choccy bics. Mand crashed apples and oranges. Flippin magic.
So we hit the arena with a spring in the step plus gin and vodka in our bags. First sight of note was some tasty Elph graffiti on big cement bollards (3rd rubbish pic above). Later on i met Elph himself. For such a skilled sprayer, he's a right decent gadge (if i had any talent other than makin soup, i'd probs be a big heided twat). Anyway, we checked out Beardyman in the Slam tent (sweaty as fuck and too many beats), Unicorn Kid (17 years old, enthusiastic, talented, no really ma thing) then soaked up some rays wi beers, chat, laughter and James playin away in the background.
This was all a warm up for the one, the only, the truly magnificent Specials (top dodgy pic). Even without the toothless Jerry Dammers, the Specials brewed up a storm for the large 30 and 40 something crowd they pulled to the sunny main stage. The Specials have, for many years, been my favourite unseen band and i was almost in tears as they rattled out Ghost Town then left the stage. Trouble wi festivals is that non-headlining acts get noe more than an hour in the spotlight and it was all over much too soon. Oh well.
There was very little of interest to me on the rest of Saturday's bill and i'd happily have jumped a bus back to Embra for Headspin. Thank the sweet baba Jesus, i heard 2 great tunes from the 1990's and then was huckled by Jules into seein Florence and the Machine. I'd seen this mob on the tellybox at Glasto and thought they were fairly gash. How wrong i was. Florence can really leap aboot, isnae scared to down plastic bottles o vodka flung on stage and can sing like an angel on acid. She had a hoachin wee tent in the palm of her hand throughout and for me, this was by a mile the most pleasantly surprising band of the weekend.
The long feared rain rolled in on Saturday night and was still tumblin down come Sunday mornin. Urgh...this is what festy nightmare are made of. But miraculously, by midday the rain had eased and the sun poked through the cloudy murk. We still missed Squeeze and Seasick Steve due to a reluctance to venture far from our tents but by the time we did hit the arena, the weather was decent enough to wish i hadnae stuffed my daypack with every bitto waterproof clothing in Scotland.
VV Brown cheered up my hangovery mood with some happy happy tunes. Pete Doherty was right on top of his game and put me in mind of Joe Strummer (but better at guitar and no quite as angry). Lily Allen was cack as expected, Hockey disappointed, Shnaw Patrol were like pouring a pint o ditchwater down yer lug, Pendulum sounded great but i couldnae get near their stage and neither could i get in to see Tommy Reilly, of whom everyone sang massive praise.
So it was left to Blur to round things off. Another band i'd never seen before. You just cannae argue wi a proper band with great tunes and, what i imagine to have been the biggest crowd of the weekend went bonkers, singin every word from start to finish. Tender was possibly the greatest live song i've ever heard and the crowd forced a reprise from the band 3 or 4 times. Precisely what it's all about for the likes o me. Was also good to see that Damon Albarn looked rough as fuck (nae offence Damon, rock and roll eh?)
So all in all, a great weekend away and, if the line up's any good next year, i'm gonna do my best to hit it again. Organisation was spot on, the security and polis were happy and helpful and the punters were in great form - met some barry randoms including wheens o English cats who rate T as their favourite festy. There are signs of me ageing though - feel completely done in today, actually ate some food over the weekend and even had 2 jobbies, which is certainly a first for me at T. I think the presence of those big shite tankers (4th crappy pic) had somethin to do with the genuine cleanliness of the bogs. Or maybe my standards are slipping.
Anyway, my main point is, stick 85,000 people together and, in general, they're fab.