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Sh Sh Sh Shambalahhhhhh (Pt1)

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This time last week we were fizzing with anticipation about No.1 daughter’s GCSE results and our trip to Shambala the following day…

The girl done good!  11 GCSEs in total, lowest grades 2 Cs. The rest all Bs, As and A*.  She must not be mine or Bman’s.  A changeling from the maternity ward at LGI perhaps? 

🙂

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And what better way to celebrate than to go on some Adventures in Utopia at Kelmarsh Hall, Market Harborough at Shambala Festival.

I’m not actually sure where to start TBH?  Shambala is a festival of shiny happy people who make you feel like the country isn’t totally full of fucktards, skanks, unfortunates, spice tramps and bellends.  It’s colourful, glittery, sequinned, eclectic, very vegetarian (but not militantly vegan) and not the sort of place where tents get left behind and loos get set on fire.
Where else would you be asked by a young child on the way back to camp late at night, “Do you want to hear the most amazing sound in the world?”  (The answer of which should always be.. “Why yes, thank you, I sure do”) then the next thing you know, you are dangling an oven shelf from your ears on some string with your fingers in your ears, while child in question drags a wooden spoon across the slats of the shelf.  Suffice to say it was one of the most amazing sounds I have ever heard. Right there inside my brain like angels singing into my ear canal.  Try it! Get the shelves out of your oven right now and get dangling people!

 

This year we also took my youngest daughter’s pal Poppy – one of her friends who was hit by a car at Easter.  This made the family dynamic a little different, but I found it less stressful if I’m honest. Perhaps because the three of them went off together, they all got on well and were able to stay out without me, or head back to camp earlier than me. They helped when I was minding my young nieces.  They didn’t appear to fall out at all and Poppy didn’t bat an eyelid when we watched a ‘cunt walk’ fashion show, or me and my sister did stupid things like starting a traditional family pile-on in the Chai Wallah tent, or tried to embarrass them with crazy outfits.

 

 

I did my usual and went to town a bit on the first night.  I thought I was being quite restrained until I felt a bit knackered and fragile on Friday morning after a night bouncing around in the Swingamajig.  Sleeping bag?  Check! Toothbrush?  Check!  Glittery outfits? Check!  See the Electric Swing Circus?  Check!

I know this is me on these pictures but I have no recollection of them being taken.  I blame Thursday tequila amnesia. You will note my go-to facial expression that is more ‘Manic Loon’ than ‘Blue Steel’.

 

The sun played a blinding set for 4 days. The emergency waterproof trou stayed in the bag and the sun lotion was thoroughly used up. I sat on my sunglasses and fell on the tent.  We fashioned a tiny paddling pool for the folding washing up bowl and turned a blind eye to the naked people washing their bumholes under the water taps.  Boobs were akimbo and glittery. The Police Rave Unit were in full effect and gained a new fan in Poppy, who was also a big fan of the Roots Yard (because who isn’t?)

 

 

Had a special moment on Friday night taking the youth to see DJ Rap in the Kamikaze tent.  Getting my old skool rave back on with my kids.  Nice! 

Old ravers never die- they just creak when they two-step. 

🙂

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Whistle posse blow!

Later the band ‘Idles’ were on the main stage.  Allie and Poppy went to the front.  It got quite lairy so Rhona went in to stay with them.  So then I had 3 children to worry about instead of 2 in the moshiness at the front of what transpired to be a very shouty set. 

 

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As my sister and I stood to the side, looking confused and slightly concerned. At one point I thought I might have to go in, Poltergeist style, on a rope held by my sister, so I could rescue the girls and bring them out unscathed.

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We then got distracted, discussing in hushed tones whether or not the dreadlocked man laid on the grass near us wearing a sequinned catsuit, was in fact the Reverend Michael Alabama Jackson of ‘OMG It’s the Church’ fame.  My sister, more gins in than myself at this stage, sidled up to ask the question, “Scuse, me. Are you ssshhexy Jesus?” to which she was told, “No, but I am the Reverend Jackson”.

Result!  OMG and IN!  Turns out, the band were doing a secret set at the Madam Bayou stage on the Saturday night/Sunday morning.  This festival was just getting better and better!

After a wander around the Enchanted Woodlands – a magical Ewok village/Tree-Walk of strange sculptures and hidden gems, I had an early night to fortify myself for another hot day on Saturday and to finally sleep off the exertions of night before. 

 

 

Ciao for now Sinners.  More to come tomorrow. Xx

 

 

 

 

 

Shambalananegins 2015

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This time last week we had just about set up our living space for the long haul at http://www.shambalafestival.org/ .

 

 

 

Tent's up. Cider open

Tent’s up. Cider open.  Flying the Vive Jose Cuervo flag.

Our adventures in Utopia began last Wednesday when we tackled not one, not two, not three, but four trains, with all our camping gear to get to Market Harborough.
Got a lift from the station to our host, DTR’s house, from the lovely Garyman. Cheers for that dude.  Much appreciated.  The even lovelier Dave, took us down the pub for a late supper.  Thank you muchly sir, you are too kind. 

I then spent the first of several restless nights, beginning with a banana shaped attempt at sleep on DTR’s couch.  I was just about too long for it – hence the banana shape.  Lessons learned from that evening.  A Woo-Woo cocktail in a can is no friend to an empty belly!  I felt like I had swallowed a brick.  A brick made of sherbert & alka-seltzer.  Step away from the cans of ‘bitch piss’ (apart from the Mojito one – that one’s ok).

🙂

Next day, the ever fabulous Miss Sunshine arrived and it was time to play Tetris with the camping gear & the childerbeast in her little car.  A little creative stacking of bags later and we were en route to Kelmarsh – the purportedly secret location of the festival.  (Not that much of a secret if it’s been held there for several years). 

What a beautiful location it is too.

After the quickest entry into a festival I’ve ever had!  We had a bit of a wrestle with the old Pink Flamingo tent.  It was in rather more of a poor state of repair than we had originally thought.   A bit of tactical duct taping and re-engineering of the poles & it was finally erect (after a fashion).  Not helped in any way by the windy weather!
       It was just for Miss Sunshine & the food & drink supplies, so we hoped it would last the weekend.  Worse case scenario she would have to squeeze in with us three in the Blue Baloo.  (you have to name your tents – it’s the law).

🙂

We’d hardly ventured far into the main arena before Miss Sunshine bought herself a full length faux fur coat.  She has several at home but hadn’t brought one with her.  With that on & her Trilby, it would have been churlish not make some Game of Thrones meets Huggy Bear gags, particularly on Fruity Friday when we sported our dangly moustache & sunglasses combo.

Frozen margaritas in the Enchanted Woods

Frozen margaritas in the Enchanted Woods

We saw a fair few people who seemed to have over-indulged waaaaay too early into proceedings on Thursday.  I did not envy how they might feel the next day.   I did find myself saying things like “Let that be a warning to you kids” quite a lot over the days –  but essentially, it was a festival.  The very place to over-indulge and party.  A time and place to let yourself go.  Go barefoot.  Dress up.  Get naked. Paint your face. Cross-dress!  Throw glitter in the air, roll around in it, eat it, shit it.  Glitter & sequins everywhere – like Christmas card making week at primary school!

We did receive a text message on Saturday morning warning that 4 festival goers were in hospital due to been taken ill from drugs & that we should be mindful and take care.  (Well done Shambala for the heads up).  In fairness, if you do indulge, then you do run that risk.  Same can be said for booze of course but that doesn’t have the same stigma attached because it’s legal!  Seemingly these people are now ok, having been released from hospital.  Allegedly it was something called DMT that they took.  I’m 43 and don’t know what that is, but according to Google, it’s some form of hallucinogenic.

To be honest, there’s that much weirdness, oddity & at least 39 shades of cray going on at Shambala that any form of hallucinogen is neither necessary or isn’t the best idea, especially in the Enchanted Woods by night… but what do I know. I’m 43 and dull as fuck.

Since coming home & seeing the festival Facebook page, apparently there was a lot of drugs to be had.  Some festival goers said that they were offered pills & powders almost every time they went to the loo.  Can’t say that happened to us & I’m not sure whether to be happy about that or slightly disappointed.  Clearly we actually look dull as fuck aswell!

🙂

Foodwise, I rekindled my romance with Anna Mae’s Spicy Juan mac & cheese.  Delighted to report though that the childerbeast still said they prefer mine.

Cheesus loves you indeed

Cheesus loves you indeed

Our favourite ‘back at the tent’ meal was, without doubt, hallumi, peppers & mushrooms skewers.  Took about 5 minutes and was so easy that even the childerbeast could do it.
We ate a fair few cheese toasties and of course that festival staple – the wood fired pizza.  (That’d be fired not fried kids – read the sign properly!)

We actually found the kids woodland tribe area this year so the childerbeast made a mini raft each & had a go on the climbing nets, whilst Miss Sunshine & I had a child-free hour.  They also did their usual circus skills & roller disco while we joined in the krumping and samba workshops, (which were both awesome.)  We skipped out on the Withering Tights Kate Bush flashmob though, as we couldn’t hear a thing because of microphone issues. 

The carnival theme this year was Cosmic Chaos.  Me and the childerbeast had Toy Story alien onesies, while Miss Sunshine utilized her Kermit the Frog onesie.  We met several other Toy Story aliens so there was lots of “The claw is our master” & “Strangers from the outside”.  I don’t know how much tin foil and emergency foil blankets had been used to create some of the outfits but I suspect it was rather a lot.  Shambalans do not disappoint with their approach to fancy dress.  I saw a Tuskan raider from Star Wars shaking hands with, & hugging a Jawa.  There were several variations of Darth Vadar & other Star Wars characters.  Loads of random space creatures, cosmic girls & space cadets aplenty.  Kids dressed as Mars bars & Galaxys, to a man dressed as Darwin on one side of his body & as God on the other.  Entire constellations of stars & I even saw a man dressed as Shrodinger’s box.  Genius.

I particularly liked it when a bridal party appeared on the lawn infront of Kelmarsh House and were essentially photobombed by 8,000 loons in fancy dress.  I hope they keep at least one shot and don’t photoshop us all out.

🙂

We have all been chosen

We have all been chosen

 

The claw is our master

The claw is our master

 

Judge me if you wish but I think that exposing my girls to the craziness of a festival is very well-rounding for them.  It teaches them tolerance & might even teach them lessons that they’ll remember later in life when they go out on their own.  I’m not expecting them to never indulge of course.  To truly learn, they’ll have to experience for themselves. 

They’ve seen grown men wrestling in a paddling pool of glitter.  They staged an intervention & refused to let me buy a shiny purple lycra leotard.  (Probably for the best).   I wish they had talked me into buying this stag head fascinator though:-

It's very me... but I didn't buy it. Wish I had now.

I didn’t buy it. Wish I had now. It accentuates the bags beneath my eyes

 

They watched ‘Being John Malkovitch’ & ‘Citizen Kane’ & didn’t complain once.  We saw a 500 year old man playing the spoons on his own in the dark. They saw a boylesque show (that’s right I said boylesque, not burlesque).  They saw just how many people took part in the nipple-tassle making workshop when they all chose to model their creations in the parade!  They were completely unfazed.  Even by having ‘Frozen’ ruined forever by seeing a couple of Princess Anna’s with beards & by witnessing their mum jumping around to The Jungle Brothers with her mate.

Girl I'll house you. You're in my hut now

Girl I’ll house you. You’re in my hut now

The Pink Flamingo will not be joining us on any more adventures into Utopia or, anywhere else for that matter.  The steady, heavy rain on Sunday was the last straw.

The death of the Pink Flamingo

The death throes of the Pink Flamingo

 

We may  however, give this festival a miss next year, if only because we’re hoping to have a proper holiday like normal people.  One that involves airports & hot sun, with a pool & beaches.  It’s about time we had a jolly holly that doesn’t mean sleeping on airbeds or wearing all your clothes at night to keep warm.

We’ll be back though Shambala. With glitter, sequins, furs & facepaints – but not those UV ones – they dry really hard & make your face all stiff.  Like ravers botox!

Goodnight Utopia, thanks for having us.

                              Goodnight Utopia, you were fab, thanks for having us.