Sunday, 26 June 2016

How much does it cost to get a terrible stomach, sunstroke, and sleep deprivation?

£228, plus £5 booking fee (according to the internet).

This weekend, an extortionate amount of people have been frolicking in mud and (probably) having the literal time of their life. I resent them all. In fact, I resent them so much, that I sent my friends (who are currently at Glastonbury) the screenshot of BBC's infamous typo before they went.

Yes, I know you should never joke about rape. But I'm bitter, alright?

I'm bitter because I tried, and tried, to get a ticket, but the internet Gods were not in my favour. I was so devastated, I actually cried. Although that could've also been because I was extremely hungover, my friends were making out upstairs (quite vocally), and I was just sat there, on my own, refreshing the 'sold out' page, again, and again. Honestly, I felt like more of a loser than the time I wasn't allowed into a house party, but the people I went with were. (I've never been cool.)

In hindsight, I was probably being a bit dramatic. But it's because I know there is nothing more euphoric than being a few days into a festival, watching your favourite band playing your favourite song, and carelessly dancing with your favourite people (apart from great sex, being naked in the ocean, and finding an estranged tenner in your pocket...obviously).   

I've spent a fair bit of time this weekend watching Glastonbury highlights, which hasn't really helped my bitterness. So I started to think about all the shitty (often literally shitty) parts of a festival.

First of all, getting to your campsite is terrible, especially if it's been raining. Seriously, it makes Frodo's journey to Mordor look like a casual stroll to the park. Your fingers start to blister from the bags you're carrying, and the bag on your back becomes more painful than listening to someone justify the need for Farage. It all gets terribly stressful, and there's a chance that a few of you (particularly if there are couples going) will argue on the way. Some people might even get left behind; it's a dog eat dog world after all.

But getting to camp, and setting up camp, is just the beginning. Because then (and this is probably the big one) you begin to face the toilet situation. For guys, I doubt going for a piss is too much of a problem. I know whacking out your schlong, and simply going for it, isn't really 'good for the land', but I doubt anyone cares about that once they're a few beers in. For girls, going for a simple piss can be quite challenging. If you're at a main stage (and you don't want to leave), you either have to accept that everyone around you is going to see what you had for breakfast, or you have to force your friends into forming some kind of vagina shelter.

Even if you do go to a toilet, especially one that's in a campsite, it's unlikely you're going to want your skin to make contact with the toilet seat. This is when shewees become the best thing since sliced bread. Although I would advise practising at home first; the first time I used a shewee, I terribly misjudged how to use it, and I pissed all over my only pair of shorts. I had been at the festival for half an hour, and I had four days left. It wasn't a strong start.

Also, if you're quite tall for a girl, using a shewee can be pretty awkward; you'll definitely make eye contact with the guy who's stood in the toilet opposite you. In that situation, I never explain myself. I simply give some kind of 'we're both peeing at the same time' nod of solidarity, and leave him questioning if I'm a boy or a girl. It's the only time I really blow anyone's mind. And I embrace it.

I also quickly discovered that it's a good idea to make sure that you've shut the door behind you properly. It's not a strong look when it swings open, and you're stood there in front of a crowd of 'ladsladslads' with your shorts round your ankles, and your arse fully out. I've always wanted to be the reason for people chanting at a festival, but 'get your shewee out for the lads' isn't really what I had in mind.

Now for the real issue - when it's not just a piss that you need. I've learnt that the best thing is to try and avoid it (easier said than done). If you're going for more than one or two days, beer is the biggest frenemy (unless your stomach is made out of granite). In all honesty, it's probably better to avoid beer completely. No one wants to be in the shituation where they have to go missing for a while because they're trying to sort out the fact that they've just sharted. I doubt anyone has ever felt particularly proud when they're forced to create a diversion, just so their friends won't notice a bag of ruined underwear being thrown across the me, I heard it from a 'friend'.

Going to the toilet without toilet roll can also prove to be a terrible decision. No one wants to be the person who went into a portaloo with both of their socks on, and then comes back out with one missing. It's not subtle.  And think about the blisters you'll definitely get.

Oh, and it's absolutely necessary to accept that you will be pissed on at some point. Hopefully not directly (although a guy did piss into my welly once - I can only assume he learnt social etiquette from a family of bin rats), but some sort of foreign liquid will hit you, and it'll be warm...real warm. You've just gotta hope that when it hits you, if it is hits your face, your mouth isn't open (somethings really are unforgettable, and unwillingly swallowing a stranger's piss is up there).

Moving away from the numerous amount of toilet issues, it can also get pretty physical at a festival. Seriously, I don't know if it's because I have a large face (and its surface area means there's a lot of potential for contact), but I always get hit. Sometimes it's with a rogue fist, and sometimes it's with a rogue elbow. Doesn't matter how it happens, but it always does. Genuinely, there hasn't been a festival where I haven't developed a fat lip at some point. Maybe it's because I've always been a sucker for heavier bands (a la 2006), and people think that violently swinging their limbs is a great way to show their appreciation. Luckily, I'm stubborn (and normally a few drinks in), so it doesn't really bother me too much.

Waking up each morning (I use the word 'morning' very loosely) is actually a lot more painful. Every day it gets slightly worse. The only real saving grace is that everybody smells, and feels, as bad as you. And misery really does love company. Although I highly doubt forcing my friends to watch me try and maintain my body hair (which is quite difficult when you're extremely pale and your hair is darker than Stalin's soul) makes them feel any better. It's probably one of the reasons, but definitely not the main one, why I haven't been invited to join any festival group chats in the past year or so.

And of course, there's the weather (gotta moan about the weather 'cas British). I've only ever been to festivals in England, so I've only ever experienced rain, mud, and occasional bouts of sunstroke heat. Thankfully, I've never been to a festival which has completely flooded out. So in my experience, as long as you never get off of the 'if my boss sees me like this, I'm most certainly fired' train, then it's possible to handle whatever the weather throws at you. (And if you're not too much of a princess about being outrageously dirty.)

But really, the truly terrible part of any festival happens when you get back home. Sure, you've been pushing your body to its limits for nearly a week, but you were also wrapped in a cocoon of kodak moments with your favourite people. When you get home, your body is broken, your bank account has been maxed out, and you're all alone. It's crippling.

Sometimes, the post-festival blues won't hit you instantly, but they will (don't get cocky - your time will definitely come). After the last festival I went to, they hit me when I was on my way to work. I was trying to park my car, and I was really struggling. A massive queue started to build up behind me, and as ridiculous as it might sound now, I honestly wanted to leave my car where it was, and jump off of the car park floor. But the car park was only one floor up, so it would've only been even more embarrassing for me. Eventually, I parked my car, went to work, avoided eye contact with everyone (post-festival guilt is also a thing), and tired to handle life.

But, despite the beer fear, the post-festival blues, and all the other terrible shit, I would fucking love to be at a festival right now. I'd even accept a mouthful of a stranger's piss, again.