Wednesday, June 26, 2013

It's your festival and you can wear what you want

At the risk of being that arsehole who rubs the salt into the wounds of the unfortunate (or the arsehole who considers themselves fortunate over others..) I am going to Glastonbury Festival tomorrow. I mention this because when considering what I would wear I just wanted to find some source of inspiration that didn't require leafing through images of women in floral headbands and fringe tops. Any online retailer becomes cluttered this time of year with 'Festival Chic' features which are incredibly monotonous and actually not at all inspiring. All I wanted to find were some pictures of women looking awesome in a totally unique way. For me dressing for a festival isn't about being aspirational. Instead, here are a few things I consider. A big, obvious one is comfort. You have to veto from your packing any of those items that you regret wearing 'in real life'. A skirt that hitches up every time you walk? A jumper that brings out the worst in your sweat glands? An outfit that makes you feel like a third-wheel when you're completely alone. None of these things are allowed and that is final. Once you have figured out which of your clothes are the party-poopers then you can start deciding which great pieces to take. These are clothes that are like that friend you can always rely on for a good night. Even if everyone else bails the two of you can go out, drink fantastic cocktails and dance the night away as a pair. The clothes you want to take to a festival are the fabric equivalent of that friend. In essence, they make you feel like Carrie Bradshaw but better and more you. 

The other thing to consider is this; "if you can't wear it to Glastonbury, then you can't wear it anywhere." This of course applies to all festivals. Those were the words of wisdom my friend Gigi texted to me earlier. One of the most joyous pleasures a festival can bring is the chance to don a wig and wear that outfit that you wanted to wear to the pub last Friday but ended up chickening out of because it was 'too loud'. Gigi's mantra was justification for her persuading me to wear my beautifully vulgar snakeskin-on-snakeskin-on-snakeskin ensemble of hot pink items which all happen to match. Alas the skirt is too sweaty to dance in and therefore fails my 'festival comfort test' but it is indeed an outfit that feels too scary for 'real life' and therefore would otherwise translate really bloody well to a slightly muddy field. If I was to wear it out back in Manchester my friends would cock their heads, a look of confusion spreading across their faces. But wear snakeskin on snakeskin to Glastonbury and suddenly you're wearing your admission ticket to the Fun Party. Snakeskin on snakeskin at a festival says 'I came. And I came to dance.' It says 'We wanna be free. We wanna be free to do what we wanna do. We wanna get loaded. And we wanna have a good time. That's what we're gonna do. We're gonna have a good time."

And so for all of these reasons I will be wearing the ridiculous snakeskin boots that arrived from eBay just in time. There will also be anoraks. There will be the ever-faithful bumbag (hands-free is the only way to dance.) There will be the blue mechanic jumpsuit that will cause me problems in the portaloos but rewards in the longrun. There will be my comfy black stretchy pants with the tasselled hems which somehow simultaneously say 'comfort' and 'glamorous divorcee on Miami Beach' when I wear them with the matching tasselled top with the pineapple and palm pattern. These are all things I already own and that make me happy. No big festival shopping sprees (unless the £8 snakeskin boots count?) and definitely no dictating.  It's your festival and you can wear what you want to. 

Recent Adventuring

The weeks continue to race by and since I last posted I am now officially D-O-N-E with University. The other day I returned my last library books. I gave an actual lingering look over my shoulder as I exited through the revolving doors, as if I was in a film and waiting for the angsty soundtrack to kick-in. Or for the sub-title 'REAL LIFE... BEGINS' to appear across the screen. Neither of these things happened. Then I popped into the offices of my favourite professors to say goodbye and left having offered myself up as a cat-sitter to one and an open-day speaker to the other. At least I know I have my back covered if my employment prospects take a turn for the worst. 

Despite the slight bittersweetness of leaving the University of Manchester just as I was getting the hang of things (It honestly took me three years to learn how to write a really good essay) the past few weeks have been a ball. The sun came out fiercely and happily for a bit and finding an open body of water in which to swim within the city became of the upmost importance. We plumped for the lake in the Chorlton Water Park for the first outdoor swim of the year. We ignored the pondweed which flirted with our knees and the frogspawn and the swans and armed with determination (and a swimsuit which consistently flashed my tits everytime I did a breast stroke) I swam and swam. 

I've also managed a couple of trips. Last week me and Nanon went to Liverpool and wandered around the Tate and the Walker Art Gallery. At the Tate we mooched around the Chagall exhibition, though I think I actually got more enjoyment from the floor below which houses the 'Constellations' exhibition. There were Robert Morris's big mirrored cubes which created pleasing body contortions if you stood beside them. Helio Oiticica's Tropicalia 1966-7 was a playful installation that involved live parrots (caged, alas) and a pleasingly disorientating beach hut which offered a surprise following a blind entrance. One of my favourite parts was a chance to sit and chuckle whilst watching John Smith's The Girl Chewing Gum which is too good not to have a place here: 

An especially sunny day saw me, Charlie, Rose and Gigi cycling over to visit the Salford Lads Club. This was in a last-minute bid to 'do the things we said we would always do' before most of the gang leave Manchester. We spent a long time inside being showed around by Leslie who was fantastic and completely patient amidst the cooing and exclaiming of 'cooool!' everytime he showed us a new room. Of course the outside of the club is super-iconic thanks to the The Smiths and the video for 'Stop Me If You Think You'd Heard This One Before'. (And on the surface this was the initial vanity behind our visit) But once inside the boxing rings, gymnasiums, billiards tables (complete with the outlines of little willies drawn into the dust, natch) and wall-to-wall photographs of every club camping trip since the early 1900s were incredible. I sincerely recommend a trip to anyone who has an interest in the culture of instituions like the Scouts or Brownies (or hell, any Moonrise Kingdom fans would be down too) as this is the place that Baden Powell visited when considering the notion of setting up the Scouts. 

A faithfully fantastic Chic concert with the Mr Nile Rodgers, lots of time soaking up the sunshine in the park, a fruitful house hunt (I plan on remaining in Manchester for now... who knows how long, but for now at least) and some shifts at the Gallery cafe all passed the time until the inevitable move-out date came. Most of my friends will be leaving the city, and there are some that I'll really miss a lot but the past few weeks have been good for hanging out, whether all squeezed around the table and sharing homemade thai curry or sweatily dancing to Donna Summer at an incredible set by Horse Meat Disco at 2022NQ. Onto the next stage..