|Sunday 29 August
Today is a bad day for bands. Very bad. So bad, in fact, that there's no one at all that I'm interested in seeing. Dan is of the same opinion, so we decide it's going to be a day of leisure. And drinking, of course. So we head back to our new breakfast place and spend lunch-time in there, too, watching the Olympics on TV and supping beers. Then we wander off and find another pub - purely for a change of scenery and a bit of exercise. A couple of beers down the line in that boozer and we have a proper stroll, taking a peek at the ruins of Reading's castle (see, it turned out to be a very cultural weekend after all). Eventually, we've wandered quite a way out of the centre and spot a pub called the Lyndhurst. naturally we assume that this will turn out to be a Nicholas Lyndhurst theme pub, complete with lots of Only Fools And Horses trimmings, but our instincts prove sadly incorrect. But they are serving beer, which is our favourite, so it would be rude not to drink it.
Now, there comes a point where even we realise that we'll need more than beer (and the fine veggie breakfast) to sustain us today. But what to do? There's only pub grub and burger joitns in town, and the festival food just ain't tempting us back to the site when there's no bands on. But wait, what's this? Yes, an idea! And what an idea - let's go back to the Chinese restaurant again. After all, the food was magnificent, and a bit of maths reveals, incredibly, that it was hardly any more expensive than eating and drinking on-site. OK, so we were fairly creative with the maths, but it all made sense at the time - if we didn't have starters or brandies and drank a couple of beers instead of wine then there's anly a few Pounds' difference. But are we going to go without starters, wine and brandies? Are we hell! We're middle-aged, middle class and can afford it, so that's what we're going to do.
But something's different at the restaurant tonight - the manager greets us like we're old friends, ushers us politely to a better table than yesterday, asks if we'd like the same wine as yesterday (he's remembered our preference) and nothing is too much trouble. "Brandies to finish, sirs?" Oh, go on then, you've twisted our arms... Now we reckoned this was because we'd behaved ourselves the night before. And tipped well, too. But, as we leave the restaurant and go into the gathering dusk, the manager dashes out after us. Here's what happened next:
Manager: "I like to know: what you do?"
Us: "Er, we're at the festival. Why?"
Manager: "My staff think you are pop star!"
Fat Reg: "Which one of us?"
Manager: "Him." (Points at Dan)
He tries not to look too disappointed as he realises that we are in fact just ordinary smelly punters, and not smelly celebrities. perhaps we should have said "yes, we're just off to headline the main stage."
We're cracked up with laughter all the way back to the camp-site.
Once there, we decide we really should try and see at least on band, so we trek in to see Supergrass, who look like the best bet of the day, and they're playing a "greatest hits" set, which is promising. Sadly, they're a bit dull, and we head once more for the familiar territory of the camp fire, lager and talking rubbish. We know where we are with those things, after all.
I just wish we'd seen The Rasmus and Fifty Cent being bottled off-stage, but you can't win 'em all and we've had a fantastic day as it is.
So, not a classic year, but it had its moments. Will we be back? Oh, I think you can count on it...
|Click on pictures to see them full-size|
|Bands of the day
None. Zero. Zilch
|Quotes of Reading 2004
"WASP!" - everyone
"Dan's never grumpy - he's a little ray of sunshine. " - Karen (must be some other Dan, then...)
"My staff think you are pop star." - Chinese restaurant manager