If you can't change your circumstances, change your mind

Calne Travel Blog

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I guess she was there for Ronson!

Despite the fact that I knew for months that my friend was getting married in Edinburgh, I still managed to double book myself to meet 2Win at a gig in Chippenham.  It was going to be possible - but would involve getting no sleep at all on Friday night.  And I was really tired frmo work already.  Soooo not a good idea.  But how could I turn down a trip to Mark Ronson, in a stately home, with Rubz?

What with being tired, and practically living in my office right now, the first hiccup was the realisation that my ID was in my office, not my bedroom.  This meant a seriously sneaky trip into work in my gig-going short skirt.

Mark Ronson
  I put a lot of effort into looking adult at work, and I was dreading...

There we go.  the chief executive's secretary stops me on the way out to ask about a report that wasn't quite finished, and frankly, with everything else that was going on, hadn't occured to me as a remote priority.  So I scribbled something down, wearing the aforementioned gig-going short skirt and eyeliner, and hoped that no one else would see me.  I sprinted home to get the taxi to the station, and made it in the nick of time. 

I was staying at walkabout hotel in Bristol - that's right, Walkabout, as in the pub you always pledge not to go to until 1am sees you cheerfully on the stage.

Mark Ronson
  Well in Bristol, they have a hotel.  It's sort of midpoint between proper hotel and hostel; all single rooms, but casual decor and you can dump your suitcase, so I was happy because taking my suitcase to a gig would be a nightmare.  Even better - I was three hours before check in, but they had a clean room for me.  I could have hugged the girl.  I went upstairs, and, unluckily, had a nap.  Why unluckily, you ask?  I mean, you just said, Sarah, that you were really tired and won't get any sleep this night.  Why is a nap bad?

I woke up twenty minutes before my booked bus to the gig, that's why.  I totally failed to notice that my purse had come out of my bag and was tucked under hte covers, and only realised on my way into the festival.

Bowood House
 

In the meantime, there was no bus - very few people had booked, so the festival organisers had got us a cab instead.  Hooray!  Lovely comfy cab!  Except that lovely comfy cab, and lovely driver, drove like a total whirlwind.  Which only added to the excitement of the journey.  There he was, thermos of soup in hand, telling us how in Hong Kong the concert would be cancelled because of the rain, and I was telling him how if we cancelled stuff coz of rain we would never leave our houses, and he swerves off the M4 Motorway to check his wheel, still drinking soup.  Joy, I thought.

On the way in, having found my ticket (thank God) in my pocket, I realised my purse was not there.  No worries, I thought, I'm sure Ruby will lend me a fiver for some juice.

Leon Jean Marie
  Then comes the next hiccup.  Her friend can't drive her down any more, which means that on such short notice, Ruby can't come!  Nightmare!  I am stuck at a gig, on my own, with no friends, no money, and because it is a day festival with no camping, no water.  At all.  Well, it was pouring with rain, but lets face it, it's amazing how little of it falls on you when you are dehydrated, at least for the first half of the day.  Sneaking off to the loo and trying to lick it off your glasses is not going to keep you going for long.  And unsurprisingly, I settled in for a serious, serious sulk. 

Then I thought about it.  Well, I couldn't leave; I had no way to get home until the cab came.  And I couldn't get money, and I couldn't get water.

Natty
  The only way this wasn't going to suck was if I made a serious, serious effort to enjoy myself.  And lets think about this.  What normally cheers me up?  Er... great music.  And where was I?  Er... at a gig.

Grow up, I said.  Worse things happen. 

The first band was fronted by Leon Jean Marie, a sort of rock-y singer, who was quite good.  Better than that, he was fun, and quite pretty really.  At one point the band lost power and the drummer kept the beat going, and the rest of the group played frisbee with the crowd.  A lot of people would have stormed off, but they played frisbee.  Respect. 

Next was Natty, a reggae singer from London.

Natty
  Now I really, really enjoyed his stuff, so you mustn't think that the next comment is getting at him.  I especially liked his song Bedroom Eyes, which is lovely.  But there is something surreal, given I was down the front again, about standing with a crowd of 16 year old, wealthy, private school kids, listening to stories about inner city violence and ethnic rights.  Not wrong - they have as much chance as I do of understanding every word, and given their money, maybe a bigger chance of changing things.  It just felt weird, because I can't think of many places as far away from a London estate as a stately home in Chippenham.  And Natty seemed to think so too, given the pointed remarks he was making about Bowood House itself.  But he was very good, and when my computer is unbroken, I will probably be I-tunes-ing his stuff.
Frozen grin...

Cut Copy, up next, were sooo boring that I remembered I was freezing cold, soaking wet, dehydrated and surrounded by hyper-cool rich kids half my age.  Literally in some cases.  It was with huge relief that I cheered Sam Sparro to the stage.  In fact, from Sam onwards I forgot the rain.  A man who will appear on stage in the clothes he was wearing, and sing a medley of late 80s/early 90s house classics, deserves serious respect, and despite the fact I prefer Indie to Dance, Black and Gold has to be one of the songs of the year, especially live.  He had energy, charisma, astonishingly white teeth, and backing singers with his name pinned to their fronts on paper letters.  What more could you ask?

And the crowd really kicked off with Calvin Harris, who had far more charisma than I had expected from either his singles or radio interviews.

The backing singers
  On record, I always thought hsi stuff was in the not-all-that category.  Live, it was great.  And definately the most rock performance - his guitarist was swigging Jack from the bottle in a way I have not observed since Reading 1999.  In fact, it may well have been apple juice; if most men were drinking like that and jumping up and down and singing and everything, at some point they would slur or fall over or vomit.  If that was real JD I'm impressed.  And not a little scared.  Still, in a time when people's rock heroes are either Pete Docherty or Chris "Scared of Radio 4" Martin, then I am well up for a band that will drink JD and jump about.  Seriously fun.  Incidentally, who else thinks his collaboration with Dizzy Rascal is ace?

Mark Ronson was great too, and not just because by then security were handing out water (nothing ever tasted that good!).

Sam Sparro
  Acting very much like an old school band leader, and expressing surprisingly sincere sounding astonishment that he was headlining and how amazing it was, the pizzazz was great fun.  The songs were well done, the audience were great, and the concert over ran so I missed the finale looking for the cab.  The really annoying thing was that I could have stayed; I just didn't think he was going to wait, but he did.  Sigh.  Oh well.  I loved what I saw, and I got a nap in the car.  Which was just as well; after escaping the car park (the cabbie nearly killed an usher, because he didn't believe that he ought to have to wait any more!) I didn't get to bed til 2am, and I had to get up at 4.30 for the plane...

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I guess she was there for Ronson!
I guess she was there for Ronson!
Mark Ronson
Mark Ronson
Mark Ronson
Mark Ronson
Bowood House
Bowood House
Leon Jean Marie
Leon Jean Marie
Natty
Natty
Natty
Natty
Frozen grin...
Frozen grin...
The backing singers
The backing singers
Sam Sparro
Sam Sparro
Calvin Harris
Calvin Harris
Calvin Harris
Calvin Harris
Mark Ronson
Mark Ronson
Cool string section
Cool string section
rock and roll. See me disaproving.…
rock and roll. See me disaproving…
And youre the best crowd, honestl…
And you're the best crowd, honest…
Cant remember who they were, but …
Can't remember who they were, but…
I think he was having as much fun …
I think he was having as much fun…
The stage
The stage
Calne
photo by: sarahelaine