My Big Chill 2005
With forty minutes between connections at Great Malvern from our London train to Ledbury, we decided to take a spin on our new folding bikes around the town.
Sadly, a few minutes into the ride and I realised that my pedal was seriously knackered, hanging off at a weird angle with the thread screwed.
The attentions of three taxi drivers and one pair of pliars failed to fix it, so we lobbed the bikes in the boot and took a cab ride to a self-proclaimed “specialist” bike shop.
I carried in my pedal-bereft bike, confident that their specialist expertise would have me back on the road in minutes.
Me: “Hi. Disaster! I’m miles from home and away for the weekend and the pedal’s broken on my bike – so I need your help, please!”
Totally disinterested bloke: “it’s fucked mate”.
“What? is there nothing you can do? No replacement? No bodge?”
“Shit. Is there a cab office around here?!
“Have you a phone number of a taxi firm in the town?”
Suitably pissed off, I embarked on a high-speed uni-pedal hurtle back into town (reaching 20mph!) down a monster hill and then followed a lucky impulse to ask a a motorbike garage to have a go at repairing the bike. And the top fella did the business! Phew!
Suitably duo-pedalled, we propelled ourselves back to the station, got a train to Ledbury and then took on some challenging, thigh-straining hills en route to the site.
Delighted to find our tent already put up for us (thanks han and jan!), we quickly gorged on a heady cocktail of drink and drugs and headed into the beautiful valley below, ignoring the clink of the Pimms.
Drank some beers, watched the dying embers of the sun and relaxed into the dullness of St Etienne got us moving elsewhere.
Came back – suitably ‘confused’ – for Alex Petterson and Jim Cauty’s (KLF) new project, Transit Kings.
Shook a leg to the Mad Professor Dub Show and then got a bit, err, lost for a few hours.
Sunday, chilled out at our big camp o’chums and enjoyed the glorious sunshine.
Hit the arena for some food mid-afternoon and heard some awful bland disco band who manage to stretch one piss weak idea of a song into a twenty minute drone-a-thon.
In eve watched the excellent The Beat, bumped into PK, shuffled about to Burt Latino, got pissed, did the Art Trail (which was great – the huge video of the dying wasp was strangely compulsive), felt a fucking awful cold coming on and retired to bed.
This morning: woke up feeling shit with a gnarly cold and minumum sleep after some tossers were bellowing their gobs off all night at the camp site.
Packed up, cycled into the delightful market of town of Ledbury and scoffed scones and tea before getting the train back to the grime of London.
The good bits of Big Chill: hearing some dub for a change, some decent bands, the weather, the location, the great crew of chums, the lazy chilled out day time vibe, Son Of Dave – what a star!
The bad bits: more corporate sponsorship appearing everywhere, the stifling air of middle class smugness, the feeling that – unlike Glastonbury – everyone’s just pretending to be crayzee and wackeee for the weekend, the toilets that were absolutely fucking disgusting, more tent theft, more people and more massive gas-guzzling 4×4 and palatial motor homes.