Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Yet another curry

Home last night and good to have a really long hot shower and a night in a proper bed. Unfortunately I have the familiar signs of cellulitus in my leg (they did warn me it could reoccur) so today it’s a trip to the doc’s for some anti-biotics.

Feeling a bit ropey, but with no food in the house anyway I rouse myself and head to Rusholme.

Stuart, K and my ‘three favourite (not actual) nieces’ and I are developing a post-Greenbelt tradition of a quiet curry at our favourite restaurant (if you have to ask you must be new to this blog…). Good times and lots of cuddles from my younger two nieces who spent the last week at their grandparents. It all helps alleviate the growing yukiness I’m feeling (which either means the infection has hit the bloodstream or I’m yet again not having a good reaction to the medication).

Still curry is a solution to most ills…

At the festival it was observed (as part of the ‘L1z is the shallowest blogger in Greenbelt land’ discussion), that curry is a frequent subject on this blog.

It was remarked by one wag “well if I ever found myself in M@nchester in need of a decent curry, I’d know where to look”.

See this blog does have a purpose after all!

Yay! I have a use!

Monday, August 29, 2005


Somehow the weekend has flown by.

After another very late night, I fall out of bed and into a Management Group meeting; where I’m greeted by the news “you have to have your photo taken for the website”. Oh that’ll be a good pic then – so not looking my best!

Moving on from such vain concerns, Make Poverty History day and the Wizard of Oz theme is everywhere (Heart, Brain and Courage).

The yellow brick road is looking good as I pass on my way to the Ops Meeting.

Realising that all the Ops team are working all the time and missing the chance to see things at the festival, Karen arranges to bring a little bit of it to us and Juliet Turner accompanied by Harry Napier open the meeting with too gorgeous songs.

Such a beautiful, beautiful gift.

At midnight I finally get to properly go to something and sneak in to see an hour of Last Orders. The fabulous Jude is on good form.

And then before we know it, the last night draws to a close and the workers head to the Organic Beer Tent for a wrap party.

Wonderful way to finish it all off – laughing more than is good for anyone.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Hidden Shallows

Somehow I’ve agreed to be part of a panel on blogging

As I predicted, it seems I am indeed the token shallow person.

So there’s John D on wonderful urban context stuff, Maggi, Jonny and Kester on theology, emerging church and the like, Dave who does the cartoon blog with a work angle and then L1z – who talks about shoes, gigs and Boswelbollox.

Just as I start to have a blogging crisis (why the hell do I do this? is it arrogant to put your stuff on-line at all? why do I have no focus to my blog? how come I can't do deep stuff? etc), I realise a key difference between me and some of the others – I write this because I like writing; if friends read it and we keep up with each other’s lives then great, but ultimately I’m not in any sense addressing the world (in fact it freaks me out to think ‘other’ people find this waffle). Accordingly perhaps it doesn't need anymore justification than this: I do it because I enjoy writing it and because I enjoy reading other people's?

Anyway, after conversations with Steve L, I’m seriously considering changing the subtitle of this blog to "Hidden Shallows"...and not for the first time.

Still at least I don’t go to an art’s festival and spend my time desperately trying to find a tv to watch the cricket on. At first it seemed that these sad folk must be watching feeding time in the Workers’ room (chuck a Pie in amongst a gathering of stewards and I presume you get a sight akin to neon yellow hi-viz piranhas in a feeding frenzy)...

Honestly and we go to all the lengths of laying on fab entertainment like Bedlam Oz and the Polar Explorers...but no what do they want to see? Sodding cricket.

I ask you...this:

or this: ?

Saturday, August 27, 2005


The site is alive and it feels good.

The centre course area is already proving a huge success and everywhere I look there are people enjoying themselves.

It makes all the hard work seem worthwhile.

Which I try to remember at 4am when we’re still dealing with the chaos caused by a handful of trouble makers.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Opening Day

Friday is always a strange day on site. Suddenly a space where you knew pretty much everyone, opens up to tens of thousands of people.

Ben and his team have done a cracking job and one by one the venue managers get their venues open.

Mid evening I walk up the main drag behind the grandstand and look over to see the parade ring arena full of people chilling out on the grass in front of the Tiny Tea Tent and watching the big screen.

I physically start grinning – such a total vindication of the big screen – it’s working!

Heading into the pit for the last song by Emiliana Torrini, it’s clear that the Stage 1 area is working as well. A good balance between the two.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Buddies and Exercises

Well the buddy system is working well; my buddies Stuart and Nick the traffic/site managers are kidnapping me regularly and I’m getting away from the never ending stress at the same time as getting to know the site and campsite better.

They even let me drive the tonk (so cool on bumpy ground – I’m getting a taste for 4WD off-roading).

Cullen passes us at one point on the campsite and as Stuart reflects the horrified look on his face simply says “I’ve created a monster!”.

By the time I’m coming out with stuff like “oh you mean out by junction 26” and giggling with glee when I accelerate over the bumps everytime Stuart attempts to answer a radio call, he and Nick are looking at me in a similar manner…

Of course they all get their own back in the afternoon. I think it went along the lines of “let’s secretly plan a major incident exercise and make L1z the unsuspecting Duty Manager at that point”.


Still I do at least get my own back on Geoff, who had no idea the “shall we go to the volunteer’s session” wasn’t such an innocent enquiry.

Still he shouldn’t have imagined that he’d ‘retire’ after years of fantastic service on the H&S front without us marking the event in some way.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The festival develops

Day by day the festival starts to take shape.

Marquees rise from the ground, tipis are sited, decoration goes up, radios switch on, surprises crawl out from the woodwork, teams form and get briefed, mile after mile of gaffer and tiger tape get deployed, rubbish gets cleared, venues prepared, stages built, big tops raised, paperwork finalised, tickets and meal vouchers sorted, lanyards prepared, loos serviced, water mains charged, computers networked, keys organised, signs erected, hazards controlled, campsites prepared, wind damage repaired, caterers open contributors arrive, art is created…a festival forms.

Monday, August 22, 2005

A Familiar Feeling

Driving on to the racecourse site, feels very familiar these days.

Less familiar for this time of year is to find the traditional festival village area only has one marquee even partially erected.

10 seconds later the reason becomes clear – the new centre course village is decidedly more advanced.

Walking into the Production Office feels like arriving home – so many people to catch up with. Greenbelt family.

I love these people.

MS Centre

I hang on in London longer than originally planned, so that I can go with Mum to the MS Centre.

I’m very impressed – loads of amazing machines and equipment that understand her needs and staff who know what they’re doing.

Hopefully the new foot brace thing will be ready soon and will prove an improvement on the current rubber boot contraption.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Family Gathering

My brother’s family come over to join us at my parent’s house.

The kids (R & J) are on good form – most entertaining (which is surely the reason God put them on the planet no?).

On top of this though are some serious discussions that need to be had between the adults about things like respite care.

Not conversations that anyone wants to have, but ones that are sadly needed.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Slow Drive to London

Good lord preserve us from Friday night drives on the M6.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


Two little minor news stories caught my eye today.

First off the Advertising Standards Authority has criticised L'Oreal over "misleading" claims about its wrinkle and cellulite creams.

According to the BBC, L'Oreal's advertising for Wrinkle De-crease and Perfect Slim made effectiveness claims were based on surveys of 50 and 48 women respectively. Oh and ASA claim that half the women didn't even register the improvements claimed.

So, surprise, surprise, it seems that the claim that the wrinkle cream was "the first anti-creasing cream with Boswelox to counteract skin micro contractions" and could "rapidly reduce wrinkles", was actually a load of Boswelbollox.

Who could have predicted that eh?

Pseudo science, made up compound names and dubbed voice overs would have to appear on my all time top ten advertising sin-list, which I may just formulate properly when I get some time.

The other story Joan Bakewell and Anna Ford respond to the comments Michael Buerk made recently.

I think Anna Ford sums it up nicely when she says: "He's bonkers. He's a dear old-fashioned chauvinist of the first order.”

Buerk on the other apparently claims that men are being given a lesser role in society.
"All they are is sperm donors, and most women aren't going to want an unemployable sperm donor loafing around and making the house look untidy."

Well he’s got a point; I mean at least when women were ‘unemployable, breeding machines” they at least tidied the house up whilst they were at it…

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Remember to Eat

Stuart and Karen, pop round this evening to deliver two tents for me to take down to Greenbelt.

They are a little appalled that I’ve been working on emails since I got home and it’s now half ten and all I’ve eaten is a few raw carrots. I had managed to turn the oven on a while back, but hadn’t got as far as putting anything in it.

When they leave I find this message on the board.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Victoria Plums

It looks like the Victoria plums on my two miniature trees should be ripe soon. A bumper year; I’m having to support the branches as the plums are weighing them down to the point of breaking.

The first few I’ve picked have been beautifully sweet.

Too good for jam this year!

Friday, August 12, 2005

Impromptu BBQ

I’m not sure quite how it happened. Stuart rang up yesterday to arrange a convenient time to drop round the tents that he and Karen would like me to take to Greenbelt for them.

Within the space of a few sentences I had somehow invited them (plus other Greenbelt Mancunions) around for a BBQ.

Lovely to see them all and it was a grand night – Big Brother Eviction Night in the lounge, slightly more cerebral conversations in the garden.

Just a shame Stuart and Karen forgot the tents.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

A Brief Escape

Mid-afternoon, S texts to suggest an early dart to That Cafe, as she points out, I need some time off, even if it's just an hour or two.

Two courses of fabulous food (I plumped for Avocado with salad potatoes bound in a tartar sauce, served with a Nicoise salad of blush tomato, French beans, olives, capers and free range egg with a balsamic vinaigrette; followed by Lamb rump
cooked pink with braised fennel and chicory, served with a roast beetroot and green peppercorn gravy....yum!) and lovely company all for £12.95 (before you start, the company was free...) and home by 8.45pm so still time to do a few hours of festival work.

Well to be honest the two kind of merged really...three festival phone calls were received in the restuarant. S is very forgiving, she knows the score at this time of year.

You need friends like that.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


I know, I know, I've been a bad blogger (though not as bad as some I contest!).

Just the teensiest bit busy at the mo.

Plus I promised to do some blogging on the Greenbelt site. I've been struggling for material there as you'll see and the last couple of entries there didn't seem appropriate to duplicate here and...well...errr...

Will try and improve I promise.

Not that I have anything interesting to say right now. Yet another night of staying in with my emails rather than being out to play...only 2 weeks left to go...a thought that is both scary and reassuring...the end is in sight.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Art is Our Airplane

There’s a small gallery on Fairfield St in Manchester called the International 3, whose tagline is "Art is Our Airplane".

I love that expression.

If art is your airplane, where will it take you today?

I understand what Bill Drummond means about when a relationship with a piece of artwork sometimes ends. Maybe it's the point when that piece of art ceases to transport us somewhere?

Of course Bill has gone to quite extreme lengths to revitalise his relationship with a certain piece of art...

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


I’d committed to cutting back on the Greenbelt work from the rather ridiculous levels of the last few years. Spotting an area of need, getting a solution up and running and then getting someone to take it over is a good pattern and delegation of the venue manager management was key to my plans to workload reduction.

A quick glance at my email folders suggests this has been pretty successful. Greenbelt 2004 folders contain exactly (spooky!) 2600 emails. So far the Greenbelt 2005 folders total 1642, which with only a few weeks left to go means it’s looking pretty good.

The continual improvement on the information we’re able to make on available via the website has had a major impact over the last few years on the number of ‘common’ questions that get emailed, but that notwithstanding I know where most of the ‘missing’ emails have gone this year...and I need to buy Ben a pint of quality organic beer as a thank you.

Monday, August 01, 2005


As I look at my diary this morning, there is the dawning revelation that I only actually have two weekends left before I head site-wards for Greenbelt.

Aside from the nagging feeling that I should have spent more of the weekend just gone sorting out the boxes of kit that I’ll need to take with me (let’s face it emptying them from last year would be a start even...), it means there are important phone calls to be made.

Chief amongst which is the call to make my pre-festival haircut appointment.

Now experience tells me that this is a bit like ‘festival shoes’, in that most women, but few men understand this concept.

Let’s just say that if you’re going to spend a week and a half, walking round and round a large site, whilst living with only basic amenities, decent yet attractive footwear and manageable hair is a must.

It’s a girl wouldn’t understand…