Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Port Eliot

Port Eliot is a lovely, tiny, cosy festival. It's full of bookish types, is in the grounds of one of the most beautiful estates in England and is pretty small. All of these are good things.

In fact, everything was pretty good: the sun shone all weekend, I didn't get too many mosquito bites (when I went in 2009 I counted 37 on one leg before I gave up), and the loos had lights, flushed and were continually supplied with fresh loo roll. I saw Caitlin Moran, who is a complete heroine. I bumped into lots of nice people. I felt smug about being the only person on my literary pub quiz team who knew that The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas was actually written by Gertrude Stein. I was with two of my best friends who I adore and we drank and danced and giggled a lot.

And yet... I sort of hated it.

My festival days are drawing to a close. For one thing, I hate big crowds (even Latitude seemed overwhelming) and being fenced in and herded. I also suffer from hypochondria so intense that being more than a mile from an A&E department is enough to make me break into a cold sweat and imaginary heart attack - it's the main reason I love living where I do at the moment, where the nearest hospital is so close I'm pretty confident that even if I had a stroke, I would be able to drag myself there.

But, basically, I am too old for festivals, and too middle-class. This may mean that I am boring - if so, bring on the boredom. I mean, I like staying out late and being naughty as much as the next girl; but I also like having the option of not. Of staying in with some horlicks, a BBC documentary and some actual hot running water and actual soap. And then go to sleep in an actual bed that isn't on a slope and doesn't have rocks underneath two very thin layers of plastic and isn't accompanied by the sounds of a stranger's snoring.

Try as I may to be broad-minded, I can't help but slightly disaprove of hippies who bring their brood of children (why do they always have so Goddanm many of them?!), sedate them to sleep and then go and take alarming amounts of MDMA for three days straight. Or the yobbos who leave their lager cans on the grass and rip down the art installations. Even the normal seeming, sweet and well-educated people in their mid-twenties meet with a bit of scorn - why the hell, I think, neglecting to remember that I rank among their number, are they actively choosing to be dirty and cold and surrounded by drunk stangers for a weekend?

So that's the end of that, then.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Heeeerrrrrrre's Violet

All change, please.

Since I last wrote, I have left the bookshop (which is very sad indeed and I miss A, J, D, S, C and F almost constantly) and got a lovely new job at a magazine, which I adore and means lots of writing and giggling: I spend my days mainly discussing Pippa Middleton's bottom and doing things like researchnig the cost of renting a helipcopter to take you from Nice to St. Tropez and so on.

I have turned 23, which is weirdly A LOT older than 22. At 22, you can still be precocious and enormously over-acheiving: people are downright amazed that you have got a degree AND a master's AND a job at such a tender age. By 23, however, it's the norm and tales of your success, which would have met with wild applause mere months ago, are suddenly rather dull. This is very annoying, especially for me, as I love being praised. Man cannot live by bread alone, but I reckon I could get along just fine with nothing but compliments.

Anyway, off to the Port Eliot festival this weekend with O and A. Slightly dreading it as have just remembered that a) I hate festivals and b) I don't have any gum boots, but hey-ho. I'll get all erudite, like, and fill y'all in next week.