Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Leamington Peace Festival: A Load Of Old Cock

You’d think with me working in the building that is situated right next to where Leamington’s Peace Festival is annually held I’d be a Peace Festival veteran. That I must surely go to it every year. That I must positively sweat scented joss sticks and have a Matrix style overcoat made entirely from hand-woven friendship bracelets.

You’d think that with the weather good for once plus the possibility of meeting a fellow blogger I’d make more of an effort to go this year.

Negative on all counts (sorry, Laura).

What with the eldest boy’s 9th birthday, Father’s Day and a top secret meeting at work that I had to take the minutes for but can’t talk about here my Peace Festival weekend was effectively kiboshed.

However, I must confess that even if all of the above hadn’t been hitting the fan this weekend it would have taken a wild horse indeed to get me to the Peace Festival (though I daresay a combination of my wife who is rather partial to the Peace Festival and the opportunity for a blogger meet on my very own doorstep may have dragged me there kicking and screaming. Not – and do quote me on this – that either my wife or Laura are horses).

So what is it that I don’t like about the Peace Festival?

a) Although I was never one of the cool people in my youth I was also never quite alternative enough to be alternative. I was the diet Coke of Goth. Not quite suicidal enough.

b) Despite a passing interest in Wicca, hippydom and all things “yeah man, let’s have a bong and talk about it (or rather slump onto our backs in a totally incommunicative state and not talk about anything),“ I soon grew out of it and started having baths again.

c) Crusty festival goers selling cheap tat annoy the bejasus out of me.

So to save myself an attack of the spleen I usually avoid the Peace Festival, immerse myself in my own cynicism and become rather jolly in my solitude.

This attitude has not changed with the passing of this year’s Peace Festival due to the Peace Festival residue that was spread around the building when I returned to work, bushy eyed and bright tailed, on Monday morning.

Some enterprising hippy had decided to dump a horribly chintzy yellow sofa in the skip that I had hired last week to offload some of the detritus that was clogging up the building’s storerooms. It’s horrible. Urine yellow and with horrible tassely bits furring the seams of the sofa cushions. It’s plainly obvious that on the hottest day of the year this example of 1970’s bad taste was not hoofed down from the outskirts of town. Instead some crusty stall holder had decided to free up some bong space in the back of his camper van by offloading his granny’s old divan into my skip. Git. Still, at least they put it into the skip and didn’t sail it down the river.

But worst of all – worst, worst of all – some moonfaced yoghurt weaver had obviously set up a stall selling chalk in order to encourage the kids to express themselves graphically on the paving stones right outside the building. Among the traditional icons of flowers and love hearts (I do hope Baz & Shaz will be happy together) there were 7 – count them – 7 depictions of cocks complete with monumentally hairy balls. Cocks of every different colour and persuasion. Most of a size so eye-watering that they cannoned their way across 5 or 6 paving slabs at a time.

Ah bless. A phallocentric mating ritual had evidently taken place outside the auspices of Leamington’s defunct Tourist Information Centre (yes, it is still closed).

These new additions to the world of pavement art meant that yours truly had to patrol the building with a bucket of water and a broom on a day when he had far too many other things to do in order to rid the town of its unwanted chalk cock-dom.

Give peace a chance?

Peace off!


35 comments:

French Fancy said...

I'm not one for hippy love-ins or CND symbols adorning my clothes - that's not to say I'm pro-war or anything, just that I hate all this 'simple way of life' that involves leeching of others and not getting down to the harsh reality that we all have to face sooner or later - that of washing and getting a job.

I sound like Mrs Angry here and when young had my hippy kind of moments (although about twenty years too late) - but so many of these tossers are just past it and hopeless and irritating.

As for phalluses on the pavements - I thought the UK was the centre of CCTV-dom. Can't the perpetrators be found and made to scrub those paving stones clean? Balls to them all.

The Dotterel said...

They're just in touch with their inner Neanderthal, you know... not that far from Cerne Abbas, Leamington, after all.

Steve said...

FF: sadly it is a common fallacy (phallacy?) that CCTV cameras catch crime as it occurs... I have it on good (local) authority that they are mostly used to target known troublemakers and follow them around, keeping an eye on them. I'm pretty sure I could flash in front of a CCTV camera and the only being that would notice would be the dog taking a pee at its base...!

The Dotterel: for some of them their inner Neanderthal is barely skin deep...

Kelloggsville said...

it's only chalk man!!!! You would get on well with my neighbour : http://kelloggsville.blogspot.com/2010/05/chalk-it-up-to-experience.html

Do you remember the kid that drew the huge cock on the roof of his parents house? Well maybe these 'street artists' are simply aspiring to....no....ah...I'll just scurry back to my hole shall I..

Steve said...

Kellogsville: on the roof of his parent's house...? Well, it's fine if it's on your own doorstep but not when it's on mine!

Seriously though, I've nothing against innocent chalk drawings of mythical beasts, cars and matchstick people... but frighteningly hirsute genitalia littering the ground like shrapnel around a bombsite when we have lots of young kids and toddlers about... no, no, no! ;-)

Heather said...

it is sad that they couldn't think of anything more original than giant cocks, isn't it? Were they even well drawn? I doubt it.

Nota Bene said...

let's hope there isn't a drought...

Kelloggsville said...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/blog/2009/mar/24/penis-drawing-roof-google

Seriously this is what they will progress to.
Perhaps you can tell the kids it is a new layout for hopscotch?!! Anyhoo must run need to buy a new couch, mine seems to have disappeared...

Steve said...

Heather: well drawn?! You make me smile - I've just had an image in my mind of some priapic young buck posing in the nude while a little group of artists hold up their chalks to take measurements and get the angle of ascent just right...!

Nota Bene: I'm very tempted to make a joke about "hose pipe" bans... but I won't!

Kellogsville: hopscotch? Don't you mean cockscotch? Just followed the link... now even I have to admit that is funny! And it's visible from space too...? Ha ha ha!

Suzanne said...

Wow what a post to be able to leave my first comment on - yes your instructions were perfect and I am now able to follow! Not quite sure what to add, but very well written and I feel your pain (tempted to say "man", but best not, way too peace festival and hippy).

Steve said...

Suzanne: you are most welcome. I can honestly say that, hand on heart, this post perfectly encapsulates my entire blog and is also indicative of posts to come (no pun intended). ;-)

EmmaK said...

I know what you mean about peace festivals - encouraging kids to draw their 'visions for world peace' while playing a yukelele - makes me want to scream. Kids should be kids, I'd rather see them poking each other with sticks frankly its nature's way.

Steve said...

Emma: next year I might open my own stall selling sticks so that kids can do precisely that. I wonder how long it would take for the H&S brigade to close me down?

Löst Jimmy said...

It was the latrines at these things I could never be arsed with (pun most definitely intended)

Löst Jimmy said...

Mind you I do like the smell of patchouli in the morning, I really do.

hampshireflyer said...

As if it's not bad enough they do it on school blackboards (or smart boards these days I suppose). We had a bit of an epidemic of them too in Feb or Mar...

Suburbia said...

I know I shouldn't laugh but....
;)

I take it you're not at Glastonbury this weekend then?!!!

Gina said...

Um no peace festivals are not my thing either.

My children are big chalkers. They once chalked across our road "Road Closed" in big letters and every car that approached reversed up and parked and walked down the road thinking it was really closed. So funny. But totally delinquent of them I suppose.

Chalk can take a lot of washing to get it off. Our latest batch is German and takes a lot of rain til it goes.

Steve said...

Löst Jimmy: they had numerous portaloos deposited by lorry the day before and then flown out to Afghanistan the day after...

Hampshireflier: my God, you don't think they're... breeding, do you?!

Gina: your kids are very enterprising... they're on the cusp of a great parking scam with that one. Not that I'm trying to give them ideas or anything.

Suburbia: Yes, I am actually. I have my own stall. Selling sticks. (Please see my reply to Emma above.)

The Poet Laura-eate said...

A somewhat violent attitude to a Peace Festival Steve!

Sounds like you need to take a chill pill man! ;- )

Seriously I am about as far removed from hippy as it gets and loathe drink and drugs and tattoos and piercings in strange places, but I do love Leamington being transformed into a magical place of peace and lurve for two days with lots of free bands and weird and wacky stalls.

Citizens 1 Hoodies 0

The atmosphere really is tremendous and non-threatening and even hilarious in places. Of course you want to punch the smug sermonisers on the state of Outer Mongolia and how it's all your fault, but that's part of the fun.

And you wouldn't be a happy man without plenty to whinge about now, admit it!

Visit with your tongue firmly in your cheek and think of it as material-gathering and I promise you will enjoy yourself! One can still have an open mind but keeping a door on it!

the fly in the web said...

I went to a hippy festival once. In the Dark Ages. Because my mother wanted to go.

She went for a cuppa, ate pot cakes, went missing and was found in a teepee chatting to someone stoned out of their mind about buying a pair of puce harem pants.

She then wanted to use the toilet and proved she had prehensile qualities by not falling off the pole provided over the chasm.

No one was chalking anything, though, so you should insist that next year's event take place somewhere on grass...no...not that sort...

Vicky said...

Peace festivals are a waste of time. It is the Politicians who decide on WAR!!
Oh and just for the record here in Australia we just had a coup and now have a female PM.

Being Me said...

Since the dawn of time, I would take a bet that testosterone-charged male youths have drawn ill-proportioned, oversized doodles (pun most definitely intended). Why is that?

Steve said...

Laura: I feel suitably admonished for my uncharitable attitude... but, what the hell, I like having them!

The Fly In The Web: "puce harem pants"? How many times do you get the opportunity to drop those in a conversation? Er, let me rephrase that...

Vicky: beware the ghost of Maggie Thatcher!

Being Me: wishful thinking...?

Annie said...

Thanks Steve and your friends for all making me laugh so much!!

Gosh my friend and I used to chalk willies, bottoms and poos on to pavements when we were younger lol. Mind you at 8, I didn't know what a willy looked like....

Steve said...

Annie: I'm not sure that these jokers know what a real willy looks like either... my own certainly isn't 4 ft long with the girth of a ship's cannon. Alas.

Previously (Very) Lost in France said...

Don't talk to me about bloody hippies! I spent hours sweltering in the car trying to get home past Stonehenge on the night before the Summer Solstice. Not being hippily inclined this fact has escaped my notice. To me it was just June 20th. As for the Leamington Cocks, are you sure they weren't vuvuzelas?

Steve said...

Previously (Very) Lost in France: do I have to blow on one to find out?

the fly in the web said...

A thought occurs to me...too late to be useful, of course...
Couldn't you have explained to the powers that be that these cocks were a modern representation of the phallic objects placed before every home in Athens to protect it...from what I don't recall....so their presence was something to be respected as a cultural link with antiquity?

No?

Steve said...

The fly in the web: so truly a load of old cock...? ;-)

English Rider said...

No photos? "You got spleen,I got bile" catchy tune, No?

missbehaving said...

LOL, it sounds right up my alley. I shall add the festival to my list of places to go, should my UK road trip ever happen, I can just see me and the boys, building our yurt... I will come, I will hunt you down and will drag you there...;)

Steve said...

English Rider: wasn't that a song by The Mamas & Papas? No photos - my hands were shaking too much with contempt.

MissBehaving: hunt? Don't you mean you'll forage for me or "gather" me? ;-)

The Sagittarian said...

I just love your posts Steve! You made this sound so bad, I really wanted to be there!!!

Steve said...

Amanda: just doing my bit for local business...

Nice to see you back.