Sunday, March 10, 2013

So tie me to a post and block my ears

Born & Bred Boy is very excited about the Mumford & Sons festival, and not just because they have an ampersand in common. “I’ve hired out my hard-standing to some bloke with a campervan,” he says, ticking money-making opportunities off on his fingers. “A family is renting my spare room for two nights. And I’m selling glow-sticks outside the gate.”
I don’t know whether to be impressed or horrified by his entrepreneurship. “Don’t you need a licence, Boy? But otherwise, you know, well done, very Apprentice and all that.”
He “pshaws” at my concerns. “Licence to print money, you mean. People who’ve paid £75 for their kid’s ticket are hardly going to balk at bunging them a glow-stick for two quid.” His eyes are alight with dollar signs, like Scrooge McDuck.
Grange Girl’s festival priorities are different. She’s been staying in every night, hunched by an overheating Spotify, to familiarise herself with the entire Mumford back catalogue. She’s nearly mastered that folksy spiritual facial expression she’s gonna need to fit in with the hardcore fans down the Convent Field.
I must confess that I hadn’t even heard of Mumford & Sons until their Lewes tour was announced, and even then, when I heard their name I initially thought they were a BBC sitcom, in the Open All Hours mould. Though why would a sitcom need a tour? Actually it’s rather a good idea, must see if Born & Bred Boy fancies backing it.
Ah, there was a time – specifically 1982 – when I knew not only every band in the top twenty, and the words to their songs, but also the names of all the band members, AND was very clear about which band member was the most fanciable (often not the one marketed as such – for instance in Madness I preferred Chris Foreman, while in the Human League it was Joanne Catherall). Looking at Mumford & Sons I suspect one is meant to go for Marcus Mumford, and apparently the lovely Carey Mulligan has done so, but surely the pin-up money is on the other one, the one with nice teeth? It was reassuring to know that Grange Girl wasn’t familiar with Mumford’s oeuvre either, but being Grangey, she wasn’t going to just wing it. Be Thorough Even If Wrong is her family motto. I, on the other hand, was planning to wing it proper. Only uncool people sing along at concerts, is the way I see it, so why bother knowing the songs in advance? But of course I was going to be there. What, miss the biggest thing to hit Lewes since Waitrose arrived? And more to the point, miss a festival that’s a five minute walk from home, and a proper toilet? My younger self might have known who the drummer in the Undertones was, and the reason why Haircut 100 were so-named, but there was one vital thing she didn’t understand: the importance of being able to nip home easily from a festival.

Beth Miller, published in