I hear you asking, “Jen? WTF is that thing?” Why, it’s a pseudo-Dia de los Muertos-semi-Elvis head carved of wood and detailed with paint that likely wouldn’t pass lead detection maximum standards, that’s what it is. 🙂 Never one to pass up a bargain, especially where freaky kitsch is concerned, I stepped deliberately into the vendor’s tent full of carved wood skeletal bliss and headed straight for the bust. I have several pieces of this style of Mexican art and couldn’t resist the King’s emtpy ocular cavities, staring at me and willing me to spend whatever necessary to adopt his armless form. Turns out, my driftwood Elvis was cheap. (I know, I know… I hear some of you say that free couldn’t be cheap enough for this post-mortem apple of my eye. But truly, inexpensive was a bonus.) His little price tag suggests ¬£22. The one I initially picked up and handled, (Yes, my Elvis had a few brothers on display.), was unmarked, so I asked the nice bone vendor what his price was. “I’ve been charging 15, but I’ll give him to you for 10.” SCORE!
I walked proudly with my decorative deceased, now ten quid lighter, and never looked back.
That’s one of my highlights of the Reading Festival. Less ‘undertakerly’ overtones for the day included seeing some crackin’ performances by a couple of my favourite bands, Queens of the Stone Age (whom I’ve seen before), and the Pixies. I never had the chance to see the Pixies in the 80s, and after they disbanded I thought it slim I’d ever see them live. I am delighted to report that their performance was one of the best I’ve seen from any live band. There is a clear reason why the Pixies are the oft-mentioned founders and most influential band for alternative rock as we know it: they are astonishingly good live. Even after all these years, tears and trips, the Pixies played a long and technically astounding set, complete with encore, that likely showed the rest of the top acts a thing or two about what it is to have such understated star power and longevity. Frank Black sang, growled, cooed and shouted in more than his native language whilst proving to the crowd that he and his bandmates still have it, likely never lost it, and were there to entertain the fans. They were tight and true to their records but you could tell by the performance on Friday night that they cut teeth on stage a couple of decades ago and never lost that edge. They are a live band that happens to sound good in the studio. They are heroes deserving of the recognition they have in modern rock. I’m in love with the Pixies all over again…
Neil enjoyed the music nearly as much as I did, even to the point of recognising far more songs than either of us were expecting him to. We ate naughty but reasonably priced food, had some excellent fair-trade coffee from one of the vegetarian booths, and indulged in first class people watching for hours. There was a dense population of ‘alternative’ people‚Äì the type who would typically be looked upon with a raised eyebrow or shake of the head in their hometowns and high streets, yet at the festival, it was the ‘normal’ looking people who wore average clothes and washed their naturally coloured hair that looked like freaks in this ‘alterna-zoo’ of contrived individuality. It just proves that it takes a bit more than a mohawk and a pierced nose to be different these days. Times have changed, haven’t they?
That’s about all I’ve got for now. The weekend has been uneventful and I’m glad. It’s the August Bank Holiday, which in the UK, is the busiest holiday just before school starts. We stayed home for most of it but braved the crowds at IKEA for a few hours to pick up some bits and bobs. It’s back to crankin’ out code tomorrow, but it’s a task I truly enjoy. I’ll blog a couple more times this week, but it will be slim posting for a spell as I’m off to the US for a visit soon. I’ve been living here nearly a year and this will be a very strange ‘homecoming.’ More on that later…
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