Saturday 28 August
Yesterday's awful breakfast experience means a new venue must be found. And fast. Also, Dan and I, being culturally-minded types, have decided that a trip to the museum to see the Reading Festival exhibition is in order. So we stroll into Reading, caked in mud, of course. A new place for breakfast is found - and it proves to be a winner. Proper veggie breakfasts (as opposed to the usual "full English with the meat taken out" variety). Nope, it's a proper veggie breakfast with really, really nice veggie sausages. And there's comfy seats and sport on the telly. And beer, of course. And,no, I'm not about to reveal where this fantastic establishment is. It's an undiscovered gem - and staying that way, I hope!

We try to make ourselves look a little bit smarter before entering the museum, but it's to no avail - we're filthy and there's nothing we can do about it. The exhibition proves to be fairly small, but very good indeed - and for us oldies, many memories come drifting back through the fog of time. There are some fantastic photos and the memorabilia includes Kurt Cobain's smashed guitar and set-lists of several bands who played over the years. If you missed it, you missed out.

But there are bands to be seen today, so we head on back to the site pretty promptly after our cultural diversion to catch the 5678s on the main stage. they're mildly diverting, but a couple of trips to the bar set us up very nicely for the mighty Young Heart Attack (the band of the festival when they played the main tent in 2003, folks...) and they certainly don't disappoint in the open air. It's a cracking, electric set with proper guitar solos and screeching vocals. Awesome. You should have been there. After that, The Bronx can only be a let down. And they are, so we scurry away for more beer before The New York Dolls back on the main stage. And it's another winner - despite four of the six members having died, including bassist Arthur "Killer" Kane who pegged out a few weeks before Reading. His place on bass is filled (in an inspired move) by Sam Yaffa, formerly of Hanoi Rocks. The Dolls are everything they really shouldn't be and we love 'em.

Now by this point of the weekend, we're fed up eating crap festival food and drinking warm lager from paper cups, so Dan and I decide it's restaurant time again. Trouble is, we're caked in mud. But we manage to make ourselves look sort of respectable and set off for the same Chinese as last year. When we enter, the manager gives us a few odd looks (naturally) and says he'll have to check if they have a table available. Now, even we can see that the place is empty, and it's obvious that he's not sure about letting us in, but he must sense that we're decent, upstanding types and we're ushered to a table in a corner. He then presents us with the "all you can eat" menu - hmmm, he's got us figured out. But we're cultured, and request a la carte and tuck into a hearty feast, washed down with a fine Merlot and rounded off with brandies. Lovely.

Stuffed, we wander back to see the whole of the MC5 in the main tent - it's a good day for classic 1970s rock. And, like the Dolls earlier, they don't let the side down. then we see half Morrissey's set, which isn't as exciting as I'd hoped it would be. Mondo Generator sound incredibly dull, so we head main stage-wards again to see The White Stripes. On balance, they're not as thrilling as they were when they played mid-afternoon in 2002, but that's probably because there's a whole lot less of a surprise about them now. And Jack's vocal style is getting more irritating with each show - just SING, man, SING! On the way out, I stop briefly to catch a bit of Mark Lanegan, but that, too, sounds very dull, so it's off for beers round the fire.
Click on pictures to see them full-size
Even Saddam Hussein enjoyed Young Heart Attack
Karen, Graham, Mariko and Kev enjoy a warming fire
Quayley has never grown up - and thank goodness for that!
Bands of the day
• Young Heart Attack
• New York Dolls
• MC5
• Morrissey
• The White Stripes
Good things about Reading 2004
• Chinese food
• Veggie breakfasts
• Culture
• Exercise
• Party bags (thanks Karen!)
• The Rasmus and Fifty Cent being bottled off - eeh, it's just like the old days.

Bad things about Reading 2004
• Mud
• Cold
• Missing The Rasmus and Fifty Cent being bottled off