Dylan Jones

Reading Festival 2011

We've seen The Human Centipede. We've even been to a sauna in Vauxhall. But nothing could prepare us for the men's toilets at Reading.

Approximately three minutes after arriving at Reading Festival we ran into a nice young man we kissed a lot in G-A-Y a few weeks ago while the Girls Aloud Megamix was on. It was a little bit awkward and we couldn't remember his name but he gave us a bite of his posh gruyere on rye bread sandwich, so that was nice. Approximately ten minutes after arriving at Reading Festival, we dropped our phone in a puddle. Luckily it only cost £9.99, but said nice boy's e-mail, and a reminder of his name had just been added to it, so that was annoying. Actually talking of e-mails that reminds us, we e-mailed our grandma a while ago saying we were going to "The Reading Festival" and she thought it was something very bohemian involving lots of cushions and reading lights and leather-bound books.

Despite epic torrential rain and the hot-boys-in-wellies quota suddenly skyrocketing, Friday was decidedly underwhelming. We were quite excited about My Chemical Romance because we remember getting drunk to them aged 15, and everyone taking poppers and kissing in someone's parents' bed. As it was, the most constructive thing we can remember saying about their live set was that Gerard Way looked like he'd probably be quite good at performing fellatio. Over at the NME tent there were a few less Vans and a bit less eyeliner, and Patrick Wolf was being his usual nonchalant, ethereal self with actually quite flawless renditions of lots of his old and new stuff. Later, fuelled by Strongbow and eye-sex with an attractive young man in a bandana, we went to the dance tent to see D/R/U/G/S. Much like their audience, they were sweaty, ridiculous, oblivious and wonderfully phrenetic.

There was also a nice little interlude in which we went to see an unknown band because one of them was a friend of a friend. They were called The Bronze Medal, and they were three boys with guitars who were a bit like a cross between Friendly Fires and Jack Wills. They all looked very handsome and English and like they probably lived in Buckinghamshire and had Land Rovers and ten spaniels and unresolved sexual tensions with distant cousins.

On Saturday, we had our first experience of festival toilets. We’ve seen Hostel, and The Human Centipede. We’ve even been to a sauna in Vauxhall. But nothing could prepare us for the men’s toilets at Reading. By Saturday night there was so much vomit that people were vomiting just looking at the vomit, the end result being a kind of endless soup of sticky expulsions. At one point two goth lads slunk from a cubicle, necks sporting hiccies, noses sporting a dusting of unidentified white powder, Doc Martens scuffing the brown/green sludge congealing on the floor. Apart from that though, it was all very hygienic. The rest of the day was a little less putrid, and we saw Pulp, Jimmy Eat World and The Madness, the highlight definitely being the latter, who behaved like someone’s drunk dad at a wedding, in a good way.

Sunday kicked off with urinating in a Pringle can, followed by a lovely little surfy/rock girl group called Best Coast. Frontwoman Bethany Cosentino has impressive eyebrows and an even more impressive stage presence. Another interesting stage presence that day came in the form of Panic! At The Disco’s Brendon Urie, who halfway through their set took his clothes off and spent a good twenty seconds French-kissing his very much male guitarist. Suddenly the eyeliner and red skinny jeans made a lot more sense.

While Muse were moaning away at their finale, a friend and I snuck over to a little tent in the corner to see Pete Doherty. We hate ourselves a little for saying this because it makes us sound like a teenage girl in extensions and Ugg boots, but the little acoustic live gig he did was one of the most emotive live performances we’ve ever seen. Dedicating the entire set to Amy Winehouse, he crooned through the best of Babyshambles and The Libertine and, most powerfully, finished with Amy’s Tears Dry On Their Own. By the end the air was thick with smoke and heartfelt whoops from the crowd, and Pete flung his guitar with the abandon that recalled old school rock in the best possible way.

The last Panic At The Disco album we have a new found respect for.

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