Sunday 3 June 2012

Leeds Day 4, Part the Second: The First Sign of Madness is Suggs Streaking on the Stage

And the festival continued, though by now both festivalgoers and the site itself were looking more than slightly worn around the edges. Luckily, we had the final shift of the day, so were free to go and see some of the acts. A and I plonked ourselves by the main stage, where we were treated to Seasick Steve, and Madness. Seasick Steve was great, lifting a bottle of Thunderbird wine aloft, pronouncing “Don’t think a grape ever got near any of this shit", then beginning his ode to Thunderbird before being interrupted by a streaker who bore a remarkable resemblance to Suggs from Madness. He began with his modesty protected only by an inflatable ball, before flinging said ball into the audience and dashing offstage again. Seasick Steve smiled into his beard, and continued the song. 

We were later treated to Madness themselves, and the sight of a thousand-odd people nutty-dancing to “Baggy Trousers” was indeed one to behold. The memory sustained us through a long shift. The end shift on the Sunday is always a bit of an experience, as by this point both the drinks and the cash are running out (the bar company reasoning that they may as well run the stocks down, and also that people who are desperate for a drink will buy anything once they’ve fought their way through a 20-minute queue to get to the bar). We slogged our way onward. 

I was hoping for a quiet shift, but it didn’t turn out that way. The bar was absolutely slammed all shift, meaning that the most we saw of the Strokes was a faint background sound of “Last Night” over the hubbub of the crowd demanding pints of lager (and being disappointed). 

Luckily, Pulp made up for it all. Alas, we didn’t get to see as much of them as we’d hoped, but we did hear all the hits. Towards the end, we started visually hinting to people that the bar was closing by the subtle means of dropping the covers down over sections of it, starting at the edges and working inwards. Anyone taking time-lapse photography would have seen the increasingly excited bar staff being slowly squashed into the centre of the bar. The excitement increased in proportion to how well we knew the songs, until by the finale of “Common People”, we were all squashed into a space about fifteen feet wide and jumping up and down like loons. Definitely a festival highlight. 

Our bar manager kindly handed out a few drinks, and with that we were off to see the festival (and eat a stone-baked pizza) one last time. We rejoined C, who’d swapped his shift in order to see “Rise Against”, who were playing in the afternoon. Truth be told, there wasn’t much to see, apart from drunks, so after we’d eaten our pizza and drunk our drinks vouchers, we wended our way slowly homewards to the party in the Village Bar. The drink flowed, the chips were nibbled, and everyone joined in the chorus to “I Wanna Be Sedated”. As we trekked our way across the abandoned campsite the following morning to catch the National Express home, fun had indeed been had, and I’d achieved a small goal of FINALLY seeing Pulp live. A good festival indeed.

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