an idiot in london


Thursday, 24th August.
Getting there is half the fun

"It's excellent, I bet you can't stop stroking yourself!"

(she was referring to my new haircut)

After a day of attracting admiration for my new haircut, I left the office for the Victoria Coach Station, from where I was going to the Reading Festival. In Reading. Strangely enough.

The Reading Festival is a three-day music festival, with an emphasis on rock. Am I heading for mullet city? Hmm.

But first of all we had to catch the bus. We (Charmari and I) made it with a few minutes to spare, and settled into our seats for the one-and-a-half hour bus trip. The bus wasn't even half-full.

The traffic became heavier as we approached the motorway turnoff for Reading. The sun was getting low in the sky, and we were worried that we might arrive a little late, and that there wouldn't be much light for us to pitch our tents. The traffic was backed up at the motorway exit, and barely moving. We sat there for a few minutes, when all of a sudden the bus driver decided that he take his chances with another exit. We lurched from the left hand lane, and barreled along, we knew not where.

We left the motorway at the next exit, but soon we found ourselves in narrow suburban streets, moving at a snail's pace. We wound our way through suburbia for a few minutes before the bus pulled over. This doesn't look like the Reading Festival...

"Any volunteers to do a spot of map reading?" yelled the busdriver. This is not a good sign. A girl near the front of the bus got up and assisted the driver. Thus we continued for another five minutes, before the steering committee decided that they had no idea, and we stopped at a service station for directions.

Darkness had well and truly fallen. We were only taking the bloody bus because it was supposed to drop us at the Festival, unlike the train which stopped in the town centre. Presently the driver returned from the service station, and we followed a car for a couple of kilometres, before the driver stopped and told the bus driver the route for the remainder of our journey. When we saw signs pointing to the Reading Festival we thought our ridiculous bus trip was nearly over. We were right, in a way.

We rounded the final corner, and the bus came to a halt. The overpass ahead of us was too small for the bus to fit under. After a messy few minutes, the bus driver reversed the bus up a laneway, and told us that the festival was only a few minutes' walk away. Oh the convenience. We all disembarked, with the same feeling of disbelief. The bus trip had taken well over two hours.

Once inside Charmari and I scouted for somewhere to pitch our tents. We stumbled around in the darkness through a packed campsite, unable to find a space large enough to pitch anything. An anonymous camper told us that there was plenty of room in the other campsites, so we kept walking.

There wasn't plenty of room anywhere. We ended up camping on a fire access way or something like that, mercifully distant from any toilets (which Charmari said would stink to high heaven after about a day) and close to a water supply.

Once we'd set up camp, we wandered off for a gander at the stalls and food outlets. There were three Ultimate Burger Bars, which didn't seem quite right. Otherwise pretty much the same stalls I had seen at Chelmsford on Sunday.

Ugh, the toilets reek and the festival doesn't start until tomorrow. Why are boys so messy?

We returned to the tent, and heard a roar go up on the other side of the campsite. The roar approached us, and soon we were engulfed by screams of "BOLLOCKS!" Apparently it's the done thing.