Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Its my Birthday! And so the list begins...

PROLOGUE - you have to imagine I actually got round to posting this on the 9th October!

Its my birthday!!! 

Well actually I was 40 years old yesterday. But today I am off work and apart from finding the time to blog, I am enjoying some much longed for time in bed while the mighty and incredibly thoughtful BF makes me a pot of tea. we have an amazing day ahead planned of going to the travel agent to plan our winter holidays and then off to one of best mates for an afternoon tea and snuggle with her 3 month old baby.

I have been able to finalise the #40Newthings list. Another item to fall off the end list was ‘turn vegetarian.’ Not because I am giving up on this life choice but because it is exactly that, a life choice. I am bound to need respite and recipes. Upon talking this one through with a number of people, it was brought to my attention that a life choice can hardly be as whimsical or as daring as taking on a new activity. My seriousness about becoming a vegetarian does not translate into the same year long experiences. I hope this life choice decision will last a life time.

There are a couple of new activities based on birthday presents – gratefully received from wonderful freind’s who know me well and have provided yet more opportunities for me to have near death experiences and in the region too!

So here goes the list up to number 29. 
Suggestions still welcome...List soon to be published on what activity is happening each week. I am starting this week with beginning Pride and Prejudice.

EXCITING!!!!!!  

1.       Publish a book
2.       Fly in a Glider
3.       Volunteer at the South of Scotland Wildlife Hospital
4.       Go into an airport and just fly somewhere for weekend
5.       Get into a car and drive somewhere new
6.       Go to Wales
7.       Eat a deep fried mars bar
8.       Bungee jump
9.       Climb Criffel
10.   Learn Aerial Skills
11.   Master two new Hula hoop moves: off body move & slow mo turning
12.   Make a mermaids lapghan 
13.   Go on a falconry day
14.   Climb an actual outside rock face
15.   Eat snails in France
16.   Go fishing at sea
17.   Walk bare foot in the rain
18.   Bake my neighbours a cake each
19.   Read Pride and Prejudice
20.   See Madonna in concert
21.   Watch the film - The Apartment
22.   Travel alone
23.   Wear a kilt on Burns night
24.    Take part in a ‘messy twister’ conquest
25.   Meditate for world peace all day
26.   Prepare a stand up act to perform the year 2017
27.   Photographic evidence of using a Double Adult Space hopper: spring, summer, autumn, winter
28.   Become a human sling shot – birthday gift
29.   Flyboarding – birthday gift




Dismaland - Banksy Bemusement Theme Park

On the morning of Thursday 24th September I was disappointed to learn that I would not be going to the Loopalu Festival in Ullapool. Some problem with my review companies tickets.

I wasn’t so upset about the change of plans for me but more so that a close friend who was being my press gang plus one would also be let down. This was someone I love dearly that I don’t get to spend much time with and was very much looking forward to seeing for the weekend.

But you make your apologies, change your plans and let the disappointment pass. You thank the world for your place in it, trust that it has other plans for you and move on.

And clearly it had other plans for me.

A few hours later I am zooming up the M74 to Glasgow when another dear friend who I also had not seen in a while rings me with the offer of a lifetime. True story.

“What are you doing tonight and tomorrow and can all your plans be changed?”

Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?

“I won tickets to Banksy Dismaland!! We need to leave tonight to get in tomorrow and there is an after show party line up that you won’t believe!”

Who in their right mind would have turned this down? The rest is history. And this road trip really did carve a special place in my own history.

Its 1:17am. The car is packed like a camp bed. We have snacks and sandwiches. Crisps and cake. We are on the move.

Our car journey down was a total realignment of our beautiful friendship. A long needed catch up had been in order for months. We had both been through so much self discovery, had worked with some amazing people, been to some wonderful places and were both in that place of ‘cant wait to tell you!’ 6 hours in the car should certainly catch us up!

Sharing stories and explaining new life lessons, it was with great excitement yet calm acceptance we head off into the night and into our hearts and minds.

We barely noticed the road. We played no music other than the music to our ears of our strange self awareness journeys. The momentous monolithic parallel synchronicity happening between us was too prolific to put down to anything other than universal connectivity. We sat up and noticed! In between loud WHOAHs! And NO WAYS!

It was powerful.

It is nice to know that connectivity on a spiritual level is happening among so many of our brothers and sisters. We talked and talked and listened and listened. We went back through the eras to earth’s birth and beyond. We went forward in time to how we might effect change on mother earth and bring peace to her soil.

We talked about the global economy, our fears for the planet and the human race. We talked about the Peak Oil crisis, Oil drilling in the arctic, refugees and global citizens. We talked about the ignorance of the plastic fantastic superficial race of the general populous around us. We talked about work and play, life and death, past lives and future visions, spirits and fairies, giants and angels, ley-lines and stone circles, healing and power.

We connected not just with each other on a soul nurturing level, but we connected with the plight of the world. The calling of the universe. With our lifetimes and our life lines. On every plane of existence and every level in our heart, mind and soul.

AWESOME!

We arrive at Weston-Super-Mare just before 7am and quickly find the old ‘Tropicana’ site on the south section of the seafront. The derelict lido site used to be one of those walled resort with an outdoor swimming pool and fair ground style attractions. It is now the home of the Bemusement Park Dismaland.

The sun was just lifting over the sea front apartments and put an eerie yellow glow on the Dismaland sign. The excitement in our hearts was further warmed by the beautiful sunny day dawning around us. The sky was a perfect blue and the temperature already warm enough for T-shirts. We tried to snooze in the back of the car, neither of us catching many Zzz’s as we tried to quieten our excited, intrigued brains.

Finally giving up on a decent nap by 10am, we secured a coffee and ate fresh avocado and mayonnaise baps on the beach front wall. It felt like a childhood excursion was about to begin. We did nothing but grin as our feet swung beneath us, the waves glistened far out at sea and the feelings in our heart grew humble and full of glee.

It is at this time I would like to thank the amazing people who got us here, at this moment, on this day – THANK YOU. You know who you are. For offering the tickets as a prize, for sharing and caring, for inviting me to come along the road trip excursion once in a lifetime, for giving, for living, for being. I thank you.

After a quick spruce up we head down to the barrier area to join the queue which had been growing since our arrival at 7am. Hundreds of mostly middle aged people waiting in line in the beating sun.

We were shocked to find the clientele so middle aged, expecting more funky youngsters until we realised – WE are middle aged! Good lordy! How did that happen? It snuck up on us really. And when you think how long Banksy's work has been out there, HE must be middle aged too right?

It was also shocking to us how warm it was. In true Scottish style, we were there, no coat, T shirts out and sun shades on. Convinced we would get sun burnt. While many other visitors stood in hats and coats! How?

Anyway, we finally get towards the front of the mahousive queue, our heart skipping, the anticipation swelling over as we step inside the entrance. We did not know we would never be the same again...

Greeted by a room created to be a customs checking area. Everything is made to look like a 2D white pencil drawing. As if everything has been made out of card. Indeed it is! The scanning machines, the conveyor belts, the walk through metal detectors, the CCTV cameras, the staff hats, the police guns, everything is all made of white cardboard, with thick black lines ‘drawn’ around every edge. It is surreal. You feel like you are stepping into a comic book page.

The staff are grumpy and rude. They pick on us for being silly and excited. We are made to answer a series of idiotic questions while they glare & tut at us. Eventually they tell us to stop smiling and let us through.

Stepping out of the room into the main arena of the ‘theme park’ we are greeted by more Dismal staff handing out leaflet guides. But, as soon as you go to take one from them, they throw them on the ground, or over your / their shoulder, or snatch it back and walk off. It made us belly laugh at the utter disrespect.

We move on to a dirty black Ice cream van, the vendor selling programmes. She is sat with her head sulkily resting on her hand. Her face a picture of inconvenience. Making everyone’s life a misery. How dare we ask for a programme! It is not as if she is here to sell programmes…oh wait!

So I tip toe up. Best smile forward. She is slumped in her seat staring at the counter. She is surrounded by piles upon piles of Event Programmes.

“Hello, may I have two programmes please?”

“Sold out.”

Gulp.

“err…then can I have two of the other programmes please?”

She rolls her eyes at me, tuts and slams two programmes in front of me. Snatches my money and sighs again back into her position of dismality.

“thank you!”

The irony of it is not surpassing us.

We are paying for this! Paying to be treated like this. And accepting it. Don’t we always? Hilarious.

Once past the programme booth we stand back and take in the whole of the scene before us. Central to the arena is a murky green lagoon sharing its pitch with a black and broken Dismaland castle, fashioned similarly to the Disneyland castle of course. Crashed in the right of the lagoon is a large RIOT Police truck, spewing water. Arial: The Little Mermaid from Disney sits central of the lagoon. But she is no normal Ariel. She is warped and distorted and disturbing to look at. Almost like the channel isn’t tuned in properly. The whole site strikes you that something is not quite right.

And there is more...

There are large strange installations all around the central lagoon. Such as a huge spiral of Big lorry Jigs. A rearing horse made from scaffolding poles. And more traditional yet slighted dodgy looking theme park items such as an over sized sand castle, a large rickety Ferris wheel (that I could not believe people were using even though it was making weird noises and wobbled when it stopped). There was a Punch and Julie stand, threadbare deck chair. A mini ‘Gulf’ area with people trying to hit the balls around the green not only navigating the various hurdles but also trying to get the ball past the Dismal staff who were just laying across the small gold greens not only being in the way but quite often just taking the golf balls off people and throwing them out of the area.

There were statue versions of some of Banksy's graffiti and a wide range of posters and banners pasted everywhere as well as large statements painted onto things and projected onto others. My favourite statement could be found on the back of the frontage building you walked through to get into the arena. The whole back end was painted in a variety of greys with subtle silhouette style bodies with their arms out. It struck me as moving and macabre. Peaceful yet poignant. The words alongside the painted moody shadow statues spelt out MEDIOCRE.

And there is more...

Dismaland was an absolute feast on the eyes but your senses pick up on the nuances that tell you, that all is not as it seems here. This place said something more than a fun day at the seaside. This was dark and menacing. This was in your face. This was greeting you with pointing fingers and greedy eyes, Hello consumer! Come on down! Sucker!!! We were inside the scratch beneath the surface.

Next up we find another Banksy installation. A lady on a bench with a mad colony of seagull wings as a head. Seagulls are stalking her. She must have had a face of chips or something. There is space beside her for you to sit and get your picture taken. Next to that is a member of the Dismal staff, in his pink high vis that all have DISMAL written on the back. Wearing his wonky over sized Mickey Mouse ears and leaning against a wall with a tepid, bored look on his face. We took his picture. He didn’t bat an eyelid. We watched people drop their eyes and quickly move along. We laughed at him and them. Loudly.

Our elation soon came to a short sharp end as we entered the warehouse. Darkness in the room swallows you in. As your eyes adjust, at first you experience the flashing statements of the roadside sign. The orange LED loop is both rousing and depressing. The social context in contrast with the hot sunny day outside. It flashes at us, at our serenity. It makes us think.

...Class action is a nice idea
With no substance
Class structure is as artificial as plastic
Don’t place too much trust in experts
Confusing yourself
is a way to stay honest
Deviants are sacrificed
to increase group solidarity
Don't place too much
Trust in experts
Go all out in romance
And let the chips fall where they may
Habitual contempt doesn’t
Reflect a finer sensibility
Hiding your motives is despicable
If you live simply
There is nothing to worry about...
o in the darkness of the warehouse...

There was a vending machine with an unborn baby, curled upside down in the foetal position, covered in brand names. Disturbing portrait of how we sell the innocence of our children to conglomerate corporates. Chasing sugar, chasing fame, chasing material success. Chasing money. Posing the question in my mind –is it right that those who control the world are doing it for love of money? Should Coca Cola rule the world? Should Monsanto? How did this become so normal? When will people find this abnormal? Forming. Norming. Conforming.

Then the plastic plants. Everything you saw made from recycled packaging.

The continually swirling non smiley face. All the parts available but never in the right order to create the known acid empire icon of the rave scene. ‘Here for a good time, not a long time.’

The place darkens even more, the BeeGees begin to sing Staying Alive and none other than The Grim Reaper comes out seated on his bumper car, racing around the stage. Evoking yelps alongside laughter. The theatrics of him demon-strating the epiphany of a good time, the irony of the song playing. It is genius.

We move through to another zone in the warehouse. Well lit and full of art work. Immediately the glance you are hit by the impressive magnitude of the work around you. There are colours radiating from the pictures down the walls.

Your eyes drawn right down the middle to a large 3D installation of an atomic bomb cloud. You push your eyes away and move on. We took it all in methodically and slowly. Not wanting to miss a thing.

The atmosphere is lighter, the place brighter. For just a second or two we breathe a sigh of relief for the change in mood.

Initially your impression is of stunning art work. Yet as you move from item to item, you discover the disturbing truth behind every single piece. The unbelievably topical issues represented. Before many of them hit the headlines. The incredible humour. The pain staking efforts some of the artists went through. The ingenious depictions. The sheer brilliance. The absolute horror.

Our senses heightened to enable us to creatively understand the images and cognitively comprehend each meaning. And because of this heightened awareness we were greatly affected by many of the art works. We became fearful. And tearful. The dumb and numb. The distress and discomfort behind each piece. The shear brilliance in the hideous outpouring of brutality. You shall not deny! Yet people walked by.

We watched, we stood in awe. We let the shock ravage our bodies.

We shook our heads. We sighed. We cried.

We felt humbled. Humbled at the brilliance we were lucky enough to witness. Humbled at our small place in the world and how we, unlike many others around us, understand it’s terrible plight right now.

We felt utterly attacked. Like someone had reached inside our brains, taken all the conversations we had on the journey down and created visual representation of them all. Raped. Raw. Stuck to the floor. Long moments passed. As other people shuffled on past. Our eyes stuck to images of pain, distorted points of view, ramming the point home again and again. This world in so much pain. And we are the cause of it all.

The final room took us to a dismal and disturbing place. It was a model village. It depicted a land where only the police were left. There were no general population. Flashing blue lights splattered the whole area. There was mass destruction and the aftermath of hideous accidents and incidents everywhere. Burning cop cars. Cars in trees. Broken motorway bridges. Jack knifed lorries. Burning churches. Smashed and fallen phone boxes. Refugees in sinking boats. Smashed up schools and hospitals.

It was too much. The depiction of what before we could only imagine shocked us to our core. We were there. Stumbling through the desolation.

Horrified. It impressed us and distressed us both intensely. We moved out of there as quick as the shuffling crowds would allow. Absolutely devastated at the devastation. The realisation of a horrific mental image truly brought to life prematurely.

We literally left there holding each other up.

We needed time out for a while. We took solace in the sun on the bleacher type steps at the back of the arena. We purchased a beer. Sat on a slope looking out over threadbare deck chairs. Time to breath. I couldn’t even think. Just shake my head in awe. Sip my beer. Breath.

It struck me, how much more horrendous all of this would seem if it wasn’t such a sunny day. From our position on the bleaches, we could see the outdoor cinema films running. The huge curling lorry installation called Big Jig. The fairground stalls asking you to ‘hook a duck from the muck’. People walking around with big black balloons that read ‘I am an imbecile.’ The back of the black decrepit Castle. The depressed staff. The beyond bonkers surroundings. If the sun hadn’t have been out I think I would have been seriously depressed and unable to continue the day.

Finally we were able to speak actual words to each other and begin to digest and discuss what we had experienced and what we were witnessing with the blind social conformity and the idiotic consumerism around us. We found it hard to believe that the majority of people were buying into all of this. That some had their young children with them. Were those children getting a debrief when they got home? Did the parents understand that this is not a theme park? This social message asking us to wake the fuck up and smell the overpriced coffee you are all addicted to paying for. That this is supposed to make you see how idiotic and shallow we have become. How cruel we are. How small. We should be sad. Sorry.

As helpful as our spot in the sun was, we were still not in complete respite. Opposite us was a small intimate stage area, currently being used as a cinema space. In front of us were rows of deckchairs.

Films ran continuously in front of us and we watched. We watched with open mouth, with open mind. For over an hour we watched the whole loop of every film being shown. What we saw is all here for you to see too:

The Employment - opusBou
https://youtu.be/cxUuU1jwMgM
Bottle – Kirsten Lepore
https://youtu.be/5mVEapKnS1c
New York Park – Black Sheep Films
https://youtu.be/d1BO9xu_eXI
I’ve fallen and I cant get up! – Dave Fothergill
https://youtu.be/daysCqmqd2Y
Symmetry – The Mercandantes
https://youtu.be/yi4CElXXhJM
Golden Age of Insect Aviation: the Great Grasshoppers – Wayne Unten
https://youtu.be/WlA-DVec61M
Dont hug me I’m scared #1 – Becky and Joe Leonie
https://youtu.be/9C_HReR_McQ
Teddy has an operation – Ze Frank
https://youtu.be/AdYaTa_lOf4
Pug Particles – Ramil Valiev
https://youtu.be/U8IFc-yLCbs
The Gap – Daniel Sax / Ira Glass
https://vimeo.com/85040589
Walking on By – Mr. Freeman
https://youtu.be/NbIoPdywXkU
Merry-go-round – VladimAr Turner
https://vimeo.com/97339446
5 metres 80 – Nicolas Deveaux
https://youtu.be/N4RlsJSAbSE
Liberty – Vincent Ullman
https://youtu.be/tt6QHBXjcMI?list=PLEKjMxfhRmvObOaN-K5ZMpCWv8ObwLd7E
Danielle – Anthony Cerniello
https://youtu.be/JRqPJdgdnIM
Rush hour – Black Sheep Films
https://youtu.be/ufK2XRGUjuc
Anamorphose temporelle – Adrien M & Claire B.
https://youtu.be/odgYPoOBS7g
Magic Hats – Jake Sumner / Alldayeveryday
https://youtu.be/l2iF0LDwzgI
Yawns – the Mercadantes
https://youtu.be/0OOYqnxZQ2A
Living With Jigsaw – Chris Chapel
https://youtu.be/kTXfAtckS3g
Fuck That: A Guided Meditation – Jason Headley
https://youtu.be/92i5m3tV5XY?list=PLSqAnkfbFfCaFI30AXVBVeqmVLOw79seV
Stainless / Shinjuku (excerpt) – Adam Magyar
https://youtu.be/oZlBdpp7FtI

You can see from watching any of the film clips above: some of them are light hearted, some of them not so much light hearted as heavy hearted. But all meaningful, insightful, thought provoking.

Next up we decided to get some knowledge and inspiration from the Army Tent. Inside you could find hundreds of activism books and tools. Campaign details, interesting articles, short stories, long books and incredible insights. It felt like the only place in the whole arena that made sense. Funnel your fury into some form of action people! We purchased a few items to help us help others help the planet survive the dismal future. We talked to some incredible people and we left finally feeling less under attack and more out of the spell.

We sat and ate some pizza. Awe struck by the odd conversations around us. One woman sat next to me and remarked what fun this place was. When I replied that actually I was finding it quite disturbing and socially depressing, she looked at me like I had just swatted the ice cream off her cone...oh well.

After chatting amongst ourselves and finding solace in our solitude we decided to brave the big black Dismal Castle. We were in high spirits yet I was not so keen to go in. Not being a fan of anything remotely scary and in particular things like Ghost trains, Halls of Mirrors or Dungeon theme types of antics, where you anticipate someone jumping out on you and dread the inevitable slight pant wetting hysteria of it all...i was slightly nervous.

On approach we were asked if we would be interested in a photo of the whole experience, to which we merely answered...we might. Next thing you know we are shoved in a line on our own and mocked by the staff for being the ‘stuffy rich people!’ We were belligerently chaperoned slowly into our own spot in the queue whilst all the people queueing in the other lines were told repeatedly not to look at us, were constantly heckled by the staff and occasionally poked.

To be honest I was still somewhat concerned with being scared witless but the theatrical demeaning distraction somewhat moved me in quicker. Inside we posed on X marks the spot in front of a green screen, with no idea why and then were shoved into a large pitch back room with flashing lights and jeering.

Hanging onto my friend for dear life, my eyes began to make out the scene in front of me. The strobing was camera flashes. The jeering a large group of paparazzi stood around the wreckage of a life size Cinderella’s carriage. Cinderella herself, on her way back from the ball, hanging dead from the carriage window. The horses dead in the road amongst twisted carriage and broken bridal tack. The cameras relentless flashing continue as we move away. As you back away from the whole disaster, you notice the two paparazzi vespers parked at the roadside. This terrible scene heavily reminiscent of a day gone by when another Princess Di.

We leave choked on the brazen depiction.

We visit a small circus like tent filled with weird and wonderful curiosities. Strange preserved animals. Weirdly combined body parts with other body parts or with animal parts. Odd. Strange. Challenging. Can you make sense of it all? Isn’t this just barbaric bludgeoning? Shocking us yet mocking us. Deviant art for our craved depraved minds? Is it making you loath yourself yet?

We take another breather and absorb the view from back at the beginning, from tattered deck chairs. We watch the weirdness of this dismal portrayal of our dismal world buzz around us. Our sense’s are warped and exhausted. The sun is beating down. The only tie with reality we feel we have. We stare opened mouthed in disbelief. We know it is all actually here, that we are in the experience yet it is all too real and too surreal.

There is just one thing left to do...Exit, through the gift shop.

Evening: Closing Party

We were a pair of lucky duckies to acquire tickets for the finale evening gig. We stood around the large zig zag queueing barriers and looked for ticket touts. None. We waited a long time for someone to appear with spare tickets. None. We were so alert and pensive, strutting up and down the waiting lines, we began to feel like ticket touts ourselves.

The only virtue to our nervous yet hopeful hearts was the people watching sport of so many people in masks or face scarves. What an effort some people had made. There were full ball gowns and tuxedo jackets. Many in fancy dress costumes. Deviant Disneyland characters and due to the nature of the weeks political headlines, many many pig faces and full pig head costumes. Hilarious!

My friend had read an official statement from the official Dismaland website, that "Dress code – due to the amount of paparazzi staking out the park in recent weeks Banksy has requested people come masked-up so he can attend the event without being photographed." So we too were scarfed up as we patrolled the crowds, hunting for entry.

Finally we both came up trumps, purchasing spare single tickets from separate buyers within minutes of each other. Our excitement was immense and our faces fixed with grins yet firmly tucked into our scarves as we joined the glamorous queue and stepped inside again.

Under moonlight the place looked even more freaky. But the mood was different this time. There was the sense of frivolity. There were fires in square pits. And strobing statements on the castle wall. A huge cage had appeared beside the castle on the lagoon side.

We took our spot waiting for the first act of the evening: Pussy Riot. Not knowing what to expect as all I could recall from Pussy Riot was two of them going to prison in Russia for their unauthorised performance in a church, that their sound was quite punky and that their performances were provocative and political. Well...

Before they came on a large crowd appeared on the castle draw bridge shouting “LET THE REFUGEES IN, EQUALITY FOR ALL!” and they shouted and protested like this for almost ten minutes. The air grew tense with trepidation. Then BOOM! The Pussy Riot music began and a horde of riot police stormed out of the castle and attacked the crowd. It was immense. There were numerous well choreographed fights, with truncheons flying and meaty blows pounding down between both sides. One of the Pussy Riot members was central to all the antagonism, running back and forth to the cage with beaten police man.

The air grew uncomfortable with violence and screaming, shouting and screeching among the singing. It was utterly intense. The normal punk sound of the Pussy Riot now a more funky electrobe sound, with plenty of anti establishment lyrics for good measure. At one point I looked around the crowd behind me, curious to see how others were feeling and dealing. All that I could see was an unnerving sea of masked faces. I had nowhere to run. I felt intimidated, violated, trapped. I hate violence and I wanted this demonstration to end! Which it did. When the protesters had beaten the living daylights out of the police and dragged those who were still standing or crawling into the castle. The finale being the Pussy Riot instigator throwing her shoes into the lagoon and four protesters standing along the castle flanks with flares in hands.

I can honestly say I sighed with relief and was glad of a nice sit down once that was all over!

We caught some of Kate Tempest too on the same intimate stage where earlier in the day we had watched the cinema films but I found her lyrical content of political poetry so fast moving and hard hitting my hearing went into shut down and I could not compute any more.

I was running out of capacity to cope! My brain was full of anti establishment messaging. Hope and horror for the future. I was beginning to feel over loaded and was glad when my friend suggested some time out around a fire. We happily sipped on cups of coffee and my friend devoured a tasty falafel wrap. We talked to a few people around us and tried to engage with one of the Dismal fire warden staff but they were still in their role of shoulder shrugging and not engaging banter.

These hilarious yet persistently noisy seagull people were squawking around, getting up in people's faces, squawking and squalling all over folk until they moved on. I stared at them in bemusement. Us hardy gull hating folk who live in Dumfries and Galloway have thicker skin where the continuing wail of seagulls are concerned...never will they squawk me from my comfy seat!

I was unconvinced it could be Banksy in there anyway...just for some interactive fun!

We eventually strolled back round to the small stage area. The cement step levels loaning themselves really well to the amphitheatre sound and ability to see over the crowd. We enjoyed the rapping and bass line as we watched De La Soul and managed to nudge our way into what we considered the best position in the house. Exact centre to the stage and on the same level. The speakers pumped right at us, the band pointed right at us and we could see over the heads of all the people down the front. We had room to boogie and an incredible, personal feeling view of the stage.

During the first half of De La Souls act, two masked men came onto the stage and made their way to the far right side, standing on speakers to dance and hang around. One was wearing a black batman type eye mask and the other a pig face full mask.

Turns out it was Damon Albarn and Damien Hurst!!! Damon Albarn joined De La Soul for a rendition of their Gorillaz collaboration ‘Feel Good inc’ which started with some microphone issues but was a huge hit with the crowd none the less. We were quite ecstatic by this point and I was certainly enjoying the less trying troubling lyrical content of this finale end to an incredible day. Finally the fun and the Bemusement was hitting us. Finally! I felt like I needed to smile a lot to counteract the grim thinking throughout the day.

And De La Soul and Damon made us smile.

As did the DJ who was up next, spinning out 1970’s old skool hits.

And then Leftfield who vibrated the hell out of our bones with his set mostly taken from his new album ‘Alternative Light Source’. The visuals were utterly hypnotic, the bass so in our face we fell all over the place. My friends loud exclamations as the beat dropped and my enjoyment of the heavy bass line making us both smile inanely. Leftfield's slow methodical climbing building climatic dance electrobe tunes took us almost to midnight without any more fright. It was nice to end the night with sheer delight.

Thank you Banksy for almost breaking my resolve, definitely breaking my heart and you certainly blew my mind. For challenging me in ways I was not ready for and have been digesting ever since. For taking away my safety goggles. For getting inside our heads. Or did we get inside yours?

You are so forward thinking that we trawl in the remains behind you, riding the wake of your social consciousness.

I hope your life is not as heavy as we find our own. That you live as an example of where we should be heading rather than a victim of your own success.

I hope your modesty is your liberty and your honesty upholds your integrity.

But then again, how would we know?

Because we don't know you.

Does it matter that you commentate so artfully on what is wrong with our world, when you are nowhere in sight to lead the way?

I guess not, because we know we need to be the solution and you are not here to help.

If the mess we are in is the problem, and people are the solution, then you must be the social finger of blame, wagging at society, as we hang our heads in shame.