Tomorrow, The Writer and I head for the Latitude Festival in Suffolk.
In all honesty, I’m not one of life’s natural festival-goers. I’m quite attached to hairdryers and Hungarian goosefeather duvets and, you know, being clean. But every once in a while, the mood strikes and it seems like a good idea to do something a bit out of character. Buck up, the thought process tends to go. You lived in Tanzania for six months without so much as a running shower. Man up, and deal with three Radio 4-less days.
And it seemed like a good idea back in May, when we were throwing the idea around, and the sun was shining and the weather was hot, and TW was offered press passes.
Now, in my sitting room with all the lamps on at 8pm because it’s so grey and dark outside, where the rain is tipping down and people are scurrying back from work under their umbrellas, it seems like less of a good idea.
Next to the dining table, amongst the sleeping bags and tent and more junk food than is probably a good idea, there are two pairs of heavy-duty wellies; two decidedly untrendy but decidedly practical waterproof jackets and two pairs of sunglasses – because if I don’t believe in the slim possibility that they’ll be needed, I might just break down and cry.
But I can at least take comfort in the fact that there is little chance on earth that however wet and cold and grubby and miserable TW and I manage to get, it won’t be as abhorrent as my last festival experience.
My last festival experience which saw me – not one of life’s natural festival-goers – at Reading, the festival for grubby, drunken teenagers. Being, as I was, there for work on a Bank Holiday weekend, not drunk, and far from a teenager, it was wholly and deeply unpleasant.
There were difficult clients – a joy at the best of times, but extra-delightful when they’re muddy, wet and sleep-deprived. There was a tent (corporate hospitality, my backside) pitched just under the all-night funfair, precluding any sort of sleep as the lights and the noise blared until the small hours, only stopping when my colleague and I had to get up to go to work. And there was mud. Oh, so much mud.
And, at what could fairly be considered a real low-point in my career thus far, whilst I was working on a project, there was a photographer from the now-defunct News of the World ogling teenage girls in bikinis as they were hosed down in a makeshift shower on-site, telling them they “needed more soap”. You could practically hear the salivating.
So, all things considered, a bit of wet weather isn’t all that bad. And the goosefeather duvet will feel incredible to come back to.