Bluedot festival day 3

The weather finally dried out enough to enjoy the day and we set out to see as much as possible for the last day, it definitely felt quieter in the main arena until at least mid afternoon.

We started out with a wander around the Science stuff again, I made a badge with the Manchester Museum which was fun – based on these positive plates that have been found at the museum (56,000 of them!) there’s some enlargements hanging in the photo above. Then we checked out what Extinction Rebellion were up to – printing on t-shirts was the answer (ok they were also having deep discussions but we didn’t hang around), we didn’t have any spares so headed to the Oatly tent and pledged to not drink normal milk for 3 days and got free t-shirts, however at this point we’d forgotten about the printing so just headed to see Abbie Ozard.

Extinction Rebellion tent
T-shirt and bag printing with Extinction rebellion
Abbie Ozard at Bluedot Festival 2019

We had no idea what to expect but like most of the bands we saw on the Nebula stage over the weekend, a pleasant surprise – she was part of the BBC sounds introducing stage, and played guitar laden dark lyrical indie pop songs, apart from her newest single which sounded way too upbeat and happy for my taste.

Bluedot arena wanderings – 99th Garrison doing photo-ops

Then after a lounge around and lunch in the main arena (this time not involving halloumi), we watched Talkboy – omg so good, infectious guitars and  can we just take a minute to appreciate the amazing vocal ranges? check out this video that actually doesn’t do them justice

Talkboy

Next up we caught the end of Binkbeats, reminded me of a much more upbeat and dance version of Nils Frahm – so many instruments all the bells and whistles, ok so all the bells and pipes and xylophones and maybe not whistles. I wish we’d got here earlier, or rather that he’d been given a later slot to appease me.

Binkbeats doing his thing

Last off we went to watch New Order, one song in and it starts raining but not too much, they played at least 3 Joy Division songs which was ok but without the deep vocals it doesn’t have quite the same effect. HOWEVER I actually enjoyed their set, well what I heard because we did dip back into Nebula for a while, although I forgot who for.

And the next morning, the sun shone and everything was all right in the world and we decided to do it all again next year.

(yes, we’ve booked our tickets already).

Bluedot day 2

More rain, it will be evening until we can be sure the worst had passed. We start the day with the Luminarium – if you’ve never been inside one they sort of look like a weird bouncy castle from the outside, inside there is a space created from the same sort of fabric as a bouncy castle but not bouncy, of various shapes and the light inside is created by transparent panels and the natural light. There’s also calming music playing which didn’t seem to be having an effect on the kids who kept getting told off for running- it’s a delicate space.

Next up was an activity that had been foiled the day before due to tech issues, the Makers space from Blackburn had a laser cutter onsite and by inputting your date of birth or other important date a solar map of that date was created and then laser etched into wood for a necklace – very cool, it even left a space for a bluedot to be inserted.

The weather has perked up a bit so we next as a bit of Henge in the main stage with their extraterrestrial line up, a fantastic band who claim to be from outer space and seem a bit silly but their songs are actually about the environment and the damage we are doing to the planet – educational and entertaining, we’ve seen a lot of henge merch today. We followed this up with Liines who were on as part of BBC introducing and sounded promising from their bio but didn’t wow me that much.

next up was more chilling by the main stage with the Easy Star Allstars performing Dub Side of the Moon ~ a reggae dub version of the Pink Floyd classic in case you hadn’t guessed.

We also saw part of Rob Newman’s comedy show which we’d already seen on tour but we had to leave early for a loo break – it was incredibly popular so no point trying to get back in for a seat.

Back to more music we saw a bit of Spill Gold and then the highly anticipated TVAM, it pronounced Tuh-vam or just TV- AM like the 80s breakfast show? Either way he was very impressive with cool visuals on an actual telly hooked up to a VHS which was then replicated on the big screen and the music was good, guitars and layers of sound – the pit photographers couldn’t get enough of his face, they literally spent several songs ensuring every angle of his visage was covered, even when the other guy who I assume is also in the band but does the keyboard electronic stuff got no look-in.

We finished the evening with Kraftwerk, we even got 3D glasses! But I’ll be honest it was a little underwhelming? The graphics were ok but other bands have smashed that out the park here at Jodrell Bank and if you’re like my husband who 3D glasses don’t work for, you just got slightly blurry versions of the same imagery.

Of course a few of the big tunes were played but not until much later such as Trans-europe Express and Autobahn but it wasn’t enough to hold us and back to the tent we went for the night.

Bluedot day 0 and Day 1

We arrived around 1:30 on the Thursday- an additional day to start the festival (a standard weekend ticket starts from Friday hence day 0), after a fairly uneventful 3hr drive, it was clear on arrival that more people were turning up earlier each year just by where we had to park. The queue to get in appeared massive but it turns out the WiFi has gone down which meant tickets couldn’t be scanned and wrist bands allocated. After a few minutes though a cheer went up from the front of the queue as everything went back online and after that we were in pretty quick. We took a punt this year and camped in …. rather than the catch all quiet/family camping area (trust me there is nothing quiet about a children’s camping area) this means being closer to everything and we though close to decent food vans. However the food choices of previous years for the campsite were not yet fully set up and I could only see one place open so I took a chance on their loaded fries. Cheese and bacon loaded fries with spring onions and chives, sounds pretty nice. Seriously the most disappointing food I’ve had in a while. So much salt it took almost a pint of water to eat half the portion. It was basically a cheese sauce with bacon bits sprinkled in. So so gross.

Thankfully I had more beer to wash away the taste. Later this evening we went and saw the Hallé orchestra performing a series of sci-fi film scores such as Star Wars, Star Trek, 2001 A Space Odyssey and ET etc

Friday

Friday we awoke to the potter patter of rain on our tent around 7am and it didn’t stop until around lunchtime. Typically we were ill equipped footwear wise having forgotten our walking boots which were still in the hallway at home. The downpour was so torrential that I got soaked in the 2 mins I spent outside re-pegging the tent so it didn’t drip inside. Despite the weather and subsequent quagmire the site became we still managed to get a good look around the science stalls although a few were suffering tech difficulties with lack of power etc.

One of the exhibits that stood out was about whales and included previous uses of whale ones such as scrimshaw and learning about the brush like material in their mouths that was used in corsetry. There was also a damning reminder of the pollution still happening in the form of a bottle top chain collected in just a 3 month period.

Later on that evening after more rain, I managed to get out and see Squid, who were described in their festival bio as:

 a blend of driving motorik rhythms, psychedelic pop and the more polished corners of late 70s post-punk

They didn’t disappoint and neither do their fans a group of whom turned up in squid costumes!

The lead singer and drummer reminded me of Ian Curtis (albeit the version from the film Control), the my started off very moody with driving drum beats.

After Squid there was a 20 minute gap before the final band I was planning on seeing so I stepped outside and caught a bit of Hot Chip’s set, seems I know more of their stuff than I realised.

Blanket were last up and until about 3 minutes before lift off I was the only person in the tent. They were pretty ok band and reminded me of For A Minor Reflection if they had vocals, (if you do t know who they are then you should look them up)however if just wasn’t enough to keep me from my bed and off I waded back through the mud to sleep.

Review: Knitlandia – A Knitter Sees the World

Knitlandia: A Knitter Sees the World

Knitlandia: A Knitter Sees the World by Clara Parkes

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Full disclosure: I’m a crocheter not a knitter, and not as ‘into’ it as much as a lot of people, for example the people who will apparently queue for hours in hot sun to buy yarn at a fibre festival. However, I chose to read it during my knitting & crochet group’s summer retreat which is a very different to the retreats mentioned in the book, in that there are no professional demonstrations or lessons or meditation, just lots and lots of booze (we’re not called the Oxford Drunken Knitwits for nowt!), some occasional yarn craft and a hot tub with friends.

Summer Retreat, ODK style


So not being a knitting nerd, I still enjoyed this immensely, I think the travel aspect was well written and that’s what drew me in. I didn’t notice the ‘name dropping’ that this book has been criticised with having, because I don’t know the names? (I’d not even heard of Parkes before being recommended this book). In fact I only recognised one person because I’ve seen her patterns on Ravely, however I enjoyed learning more about that person and how they got to where they were in the ‘Knitting World’. The stories involving people I didn’t know, I still enjoyed – the fact that these stories are mini essays mean you can choose to just skip to the next one should you choose.

I felt that Parkes’ previous experience as a travel writer shines through in her lifelike descriptions of the places she visits and the people she meets. I can almost smell the barns of the festivals or feel the heat of the conference centres and hotels of various events – she really brings the places to life, which to appeal to a wider audience is no mean feat.





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Quick snippet from the Faroes

So last month for my birthday, we took a very special trip to the Faroe Islands. Somewhere I’ve wanted to go for a couple of years, due to it’s outstanding beautiful nature. It’s going to take several weeks (maybe months tbh) to plough through all my photos, so I thought I’d post a few of my phone camera shots as a taster..

Although we didn’t do any of the popular hikes that people travel to the Faroes to do, I think we still saw a lot of the Islands and their amazing nature (not exclusively Sandavágur, Sørvágur, Miðvágur, Syðrugøta, Vestmanna, Gásaladur, Klaksvík, Svínoy, Runavík, Tjørnuvík, Gjógv, Kirkjubøur and Tórshavn) and it was so unlike anything I’ve experienced before. For the first two nights we stayed in a hostel, then moved North and stayed in an AirBnB which was described as a ‘traditional fisherman’s house’ and was amazing. When we arrived the keys were just on a hook outside the house – its the sort of place where people don’t lock their doors or cars, and the village had no shops or cafes etc. We managed to take a helicopter to Svínoy and the ferry back. We saw (and heard) a LOT of the national bird, the oyster catcher, slammed on the brakes for sheep numerous times, walked a lot steep hills and had surprisingly good weather for 5 out of 8 days we were there (dare I say, it was warm.. I caught the sun on my face).

If you want to see more photos, for now check out my flickr album which I’ll be updating as I go along, if you want to hear more stories then subscribe to the blog to be notified of the next one.