12 June 2015

First time to Glastonbury this year? Here's how to win at Glasto.

Dear Glastonbury Virgin,

Congratulations! You are about to embark on one of the most enchanting weeks of your life! Be prepared to see, hear, do, and smell things you never imagined...like...ever. Me? Well, I'm going into my sixth consecutive year. While my experience at doing Glastonbury may not compare to the veterans who have been going for decades, I think I can smack some wisdom on you. Here are some tips, tricks and hacks that I think will help you have the best festival evar!

1. Start planning for next year

via http://pleaseloweryourexpectations.tumblr.com/
So you have your ticket and you're going this year? YAY! The minute you get back start counting down to the first Sunday of October. That's when tickets for the next year go on sale. Put it in your diary now or you'll regret it.

2. If you're getting the coach, get drunk

via http://benedoodle-cumberpoodle.tumblr.com/
I know, it seems like the most convenient option for travel. Or maybe a coach + ticket was the only thing that was available. But consider this: you're going to be living the struggle for up to 5 days. You don't need to add being towed in a shitty box with no air to the misery. It may be door-to-door delivery, but the traffic into Somerset is the worst and the queues can get quite long into the festival.

3. If you're getting the train, get drunk

via http://giolovesnetflix.tumblr.com/
The train adds a tiny bit of luxury to the experience. You get a nice view, you get the freedom to walk around and if you're super lucky you get to sit at one of the tables! You also get to switch at Castle Cary to a coach service that will take you to the festival site. This switch can be quite frustrating as there will be a lot of waiting. You may also have to switch trains at some point between Paddington and Castle Cary. The 2nd train will be a tiny one that has windows you can pull down. Brace yourselves, you're going to get close and comfy with a lot of strangers.

4. If you're driving, get there early

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I'm all for using the public transport options to get to Glastonbury. You normally get discounted food vouchers for travelling 'green' as well, so it's worth it. This is the week to let all those Green policies you never quite want to admit to liking run free. But, if you absolutely feel like you can't carry things in and need to drive (I say that means you don't need to bring it at all really) then get there on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.

5. Pack only the essentials

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There are plenty of lists out there telling you what to pack, but I think they can all be reduced down to a few things: baby wipes, cereal bars and a flask of a spirit of your choice. Yes of course pack clothes, wellies, sunnies etc, we all have the common sense for that. But I can not stress enough how important baby wipes will be to your life. Gone to the loo and they're out of toilet roll? Baby wipes. Need to wipe that festival noodle slop off your face? Baby wipes. Shower? Baby wipes. Can't be arsed to go all the way back to your luxury tipi area to pee? BABY WIPES. They are versatile AF. I bring at least 400 of them. Cereal bars are the best thing to have on hand. Sometimes when you're having a good time you forget to eat. Momma's telling you to have a snack with you at all times. Your stomach, liver and throat will thank you for soaking up that alcohol and not vomming all over the place. And I like to bring a tall flask/thermos of some type of spirit + a hip flask. You can't/shouldn't bring glass bottles into the festival so this is a nice way of bringing something harder without having it confiscated/break. Also, I'm not sure if you're catching the trend yet but - there will be queues. Having a hip flask of crunk juice  > buying 4 ciders so you don't have to wait so long to get another drink.

6. Do you even festival phone, bro?

via http://weheartit.com/
My friends may have heard me say 'I'll give you my festival number'. Remember those shitty mobiles we had in HS/College/start of Uni. The ones that did fuck all but text, maybe have a torch on them, and play snake? THIS WILL BE THE ONLY PHONE THAT WORKS AT GLASTONBURY. Yes EE have a big partnership with Glasto but 4G, 3G any G won't work there. You know what will work? Those bricks that do only phone functions. Get yourself one for like 10 quid. I won't say don't bring your smartphone because I still do. I don't always take pics, but the Glasto app is super convenient. And if you're responsible enough, you won't lose the thing. However, switch that baby into airplane mode, turn off all data usage and put the brightness as low as possible. This phone will be of no use to you. And on that note...

7. There's an app for that
A glimpse into my music tastes

Over the years this app has really taken shape. Rather than constantly flicking through your line-up booklet on your lanyard, you can select all of the artists you want to see and save it to a personalised line-up calendar. The app also does push notifications to remind you when your artists are on stage each day. My tactic is to select everyone I want to see, even if there's an overlap. It can help you narrow down who your absolute must sees are, or, who to see when you're wandering across the fields.

8. Where you camp is irrelevant
via glastonburyfestivals.co.uk

Glastonbury is a massive place. Regardless of where you camp, at some point you will have to do a massive schlep from John Peel to Shangri-La or something to that effect. Deal with it, this is what you signed up for. Unless you get there as soon as the gates open you're SOL for picking a 'prime location'.

9. Cash at Dawn

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Some places take card, but to save you and me time when trying to purchase goods, have cash on hand. Before you even get to Glasto, take a fair chunk of change out. Then, when you need to top up money, don't do it during the day. Remember those queue things? Yea. Loads of people. When is good? At stupid o'clock in the morning when the seagulls or pigeons or crows are snacking away at the Other stage. NO ONE will be there and you can get your money out in peace and quiet.

10. It's too damn hot!

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I bet you were so proud of your Argos pop up tent. No hassle, lightweight, cheap. That's cool, but you're gonna want to splurge out on a few space blankets. You know how humans aren't meant to work 9-5 in office jobs? Being out in nature...when the sun rises...will prove this point 10 times over. There are no trees to camp under and you WILL wake up in a pool of sweat and a weird smell from tent/human condensation.

11. The day isn't over after the headline at Pyramid

You just spent £230 to head back to your tent at 11? Wrong. Aside from the mass exodus and queues to get away from the Pyramid stage at the end, there will also be a herd of ravers heading to the South East for the banging nightlife experience. If you want to be a part of that, get there as quickly as you can as it starts to fill up and sometimes they don't let people through. If you don't want to be a part of that, head to some of the pubs in the Avalon area. They're nice and cheerful, quieter than the rest of the traffic and give you an excuse to stay up a little bit longer. And if you're like Goldilocks and want something in the middle, head over to the Park stage area for the best of both worlds.

12. Don't say no

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Glastonbury is all about the experience. Who cares who is headlining?! The festival is what you make of it. And if you don't find yourself doing anything you wouldn't do normally - you've missed a trick. Saying yes to experiences will open you up to a world of more tricks. You might even find the Rabbit Hole (I still haven't!!).

Have anything to add to this? Share your tips in the comments below.

10 April 2013

Glastonbury 2013 Line-up

I don't have many words for this post since the only thing that seem to come out are squeals of excitement!!  Anyhow, here's the current Glastonbury 2013 line-up:

And here's a playlist of the line-up that I've created on Spotify which you can add to as well.  Subscribe to my playlists for the most updated version of the line ups as they come. Happy Glasto Discovery!

Full Line-Up

But if you're really picky, I've broken it down by stage.

Pyramid Stage

Other Stage

West Holts Stage

The Park Stage

John Peel Stage

Silver Waves

Acoustic Tent

Avalon Stage

Block 9

Spirit of '71

25 February 2013

Seeking London - 25/02/13 - 03/03/13

If you're like me, this week is all the more better as pay day lands and our bank accounts look a bit fuller for a brief moment. So why not use that 'extra' dosh to treat yourself (after paying your bills of course) before you're back down to eating meals with Nectar/Boots points.

Here are a few different ways to spend your money in London this week.

Monday, 25th February
I've mentioned it before but I've fallen into a very sad pit of takeaways. I can't even tell you the last time I did a proper shop and stocked my fridge. Cue entrance of Dinnr to save the day.

The concept is pretty interesting: decide what recipe you want for dinner that night, get it delivered to your door/place of work, take it home and cook your meal. It's a great way to encourage yourself to get back in the kitchen as the recipes aren't heat up pizzas but rather, Five Spice Duck with Pak Choi and Udon Noodles (£19 and serves 2) or Gorgonzola, Cabbage and Pancetta Polenta Lasagne  (£14 and serves 2).  Order by 4pm for same day delivery Monday - Friday in Central London.

Tuesday, 26th February
OK we're two months in to the new year and most resolutions have gone out the window. Maybe you didn't like the idea of waking up for those aerobics classes or maybe those evening workouts just aren't as important as a 'quick one', which turns into 5, down the pub. If you're hoping all's not lost for your fitness regime just yet, pop over to Pineapple Dance. Entrance is £4 for non-members and then you pay per class (£6 - £8).

On Tuesday there are classes from Street Hip Hop, to Carnival Dancing, to Waacking, to Brazillian Samba - making it one of the most eclectic nights at Pineapple open to all levels of dancers. A much better way to spend your £ on a Tuesday night.

Wednesday, 27th Febfruary
While Science Lates at the Science Museum might be free, getting a few drinks in while you're there isn't.  This month the exhibit takes a look at the inner workings of the human heart to wrap up this month of love.  Bottles of beer and small cups of wine go for about £4 each, but as it's pay week and the event itself is free you can splash out!

Thursday, 28th February
On my quest to learn as much about North London as possible I discovered that the road from Angel to Archway was once lined with theatres/cinemas. Some of those still exist, some were bombed during the war, and The Screen on the Green across from Islington Green gives us a nice view into the past.  Open since 1913, it is one of the oldest operating cinemas in the UK.  Tickets are £12.50 for a standard adult ticket and there's a fully licensed bar.

Now showing: To the Wonder

Friday, 1st March
It may be a bit cold out, but nothing makes you feel better about living in London than a walk down the Thames.  Make the walk down the South Bank and just beyond the excitement, you'll find Gabriel's Wharf - a converted shopping and entertainment area. For those of you following the Lenten rule of 'Fish only Fridays' The Wharf is a nice way to go so that you're not stuck eating another pub fish n' chips or McDonald's fish sandwich.  And for those of you that aren't observing Lent, there are still some options for you.

Saturday, 2nd March
For those that know me IRL, this is the place that I've dubbed as 'The Greatest Pub in All the Land'. The Finsbury is my old faithful as it never lets me down for a good night out and there's always live music. The drinks don't cost much, but you won't want to leave!

Sunday, 3rd March
The sun's potentially meant to show its face so it would be worth to take a Somewhat Sunny Sunday Stroll.  The Regent's Canal or the Parkland Walk are two great places to start. Stock up on sandwiches, mini cakes and warm coffees along the way. 

Have I left something out? Let me know what's happening next week in the Borough of Islington and beyond in the comments.

12 November 2012

Seeking Art - Tate Modern

Living in a big city always seems to be a gateway to becoming an 'artsy' type. You know, you become one of those people that frequent the theatre for a night out or you keep your eye out for the latest street art on the scene.  It's not to say it's a bad thing, this part of our culture is a dying, errm, art to say the least but you can't help but feel like you're becoming 'one of those guys' when you join in.

A friend of mine that works in the art industry invited me along to the Tate Modern recently. In the 3 years that I have lived here, I had never stepped foot into this building. Don't judge me.  Stranger still, we went to the museum for the start of our Big Saturday Night Out of celebrating.  Museums on a Saturday night, is not in my usual lineup but I liked a bit of change.

As this isn't normally my scene, I couldn't help but feel like the gang in Ferris Buller's Day Off when they went to visit the museum.

That song was totally playing in my head for most of my visit.

In short, it was very enjoyable to exercise my brain in a way that I haven't in quite some time. I can almost certainly conclude that I am not a fan of sculptures but I do like landscape photography and abstract art.  

One of my favourite pieces, (which I'm not really sure what you would classify this under), was titled 'Air Pollution of Iran 2004-6. Eight Flags' by Mahmoud Bakhshi Moakhar.   It was presented in a room that had 8 different Iranian flags, each from a different year in the Iran-Iraq war.  Each flag had been raised for only one year and each flag had acquired varying levels of soil and damage depending on the year.  It was some powerful stuff that had me reaching for my inhaler just looking at them.

Another good'un was 'Lament of the Images 2002' by Alfredo Jaar. When you approach the room, it may seem like nothing is or will happen.  The best way of seeing this installation is if the room is dark at first.  There's a thin white light that cuts the room in half horizontally and it stays this way for about 2 minutes. Suddenly, the thin white light grows into a large glowing light that fills the room and you realise this light was coming from two steel tables with their tops meeting in the middle - one suspended from the ceiling. I liked Jaar's message of becoming blind to everyday things in life, just as we focused on the thin white light when the room was dark rather than the two tables that were in the centre of the room.

I'm kicking myself because I didn't take any photos. I don't know what it is, but I'm always afraid they're going to tell me off and say no photos allowed - so I don't. Is that a myth?

Also, I always assumed you had to pay to go to the Tate Modern, but I only saw the free galleries. There are different exhibitions that have a fee attached or if you're a paying member you can have unlimited access.  From Wednesday, 14 November for £10 you can see their new exhibition 'A Bigger Splash: Painting After Performance' featuring key paintings by Jackson Pollock and David Hockney.

I'd certainly go on a late night adventure again as the museum stays open until 22.00 on Fridays and Saturdays - if not for a bit of culture before drinking my cares away, at least for the phenomenal view.

The moon above London

St. Paul's Cathedral

19 September 2012

Seeking London - What's Cool 19SEP

I never realised how many London event things I read on a weekly, if not daily basis - but it's quite a lot.  So much so, that I plan my weeks around some of the cool things that I see.

Here are a few:

If you haven't had enough of the pop-up bar, the pop-up restaurant and the pop-up theatre trends that cover London then get your fix with the Street Feast crew.  It's been running since the summer and after being kicked out of a few locations by jealous establishments, they've now found a home in Hackney (where else really).  Meant to have some of the best street food we'll find in these here parts.

Image from the Londonist review of this tour

I didn't even know this was a thing!  You can go on tour with actors, musicians and the whole shebang and tour some of London's original coffee spots.The history geek in me thinks this is pretty awesome, and for the coffee lovers out there (I'm not really one of them) you can get your caffeine fix while learning a bit about London.  The tour runs every third Saturday of the month and is £13.50 + bf. 

Shutthefrontdoor!! Wait, no, really. Apparently, going out to a bar and getting pissed is just not enough for us Londoners on a Friday night.  Now we want to be purposely locked in a basement room and have to crack codes and find clues on how to break out of the room in 60 minutes. Crap, maybe when I put it that way it doesn't sound nearly as exciting as it should be. I love puzzles, but this is just insane that it even exists. Nonetheless it sounds really interesting if not at least a bit different. Tickets are £16 + bf and must be booked in advance.

What cool things have you seen happening in London lately?

Swimming with this Mermaid