Saturday, 26 July 2014

Just So 2014

This morning, our tickets to Just So 2014 arrived, causing much excitement. We chatted about last year's festival, flicked through the programme, and debated our choice of tribe.

Arthur had so much to say about it all that I thought it might be good to do a little Q&A with him. Over to Arthur...

What did you like most about last year's festival? 

I liked the music and the disco. And I loved staying up late! I like that there are no rules at a festival. I liked making the fairy houses and the acrobats in the trees. The pirate area was fun and exciting.

Did you enjoy camping?

Yes. It felt quite nice to sleep out of home and to have some fun hearing all the animals outside. It was cosy in the tent.

What are you looking forward to doing at Just So this year?

I can't wait to see Arthur's Dream Boat. I missed the Gruffalo in the woods last year so I'm looking forward to finding him.

Are we going Friday, Saturday AND Sunday? Yeah? YEAH!

What tribe shall we choose this year - lions, foxes, frogs, stags, owls or fish?

I don't know. I think Ted would like to be a lion.


If you'd like to see more from the festival, have a look at the post from last year or watch the video below. And book your tickets now as they're selling fast. See you there!

Image: Just So/Tell Tale Hearts & In Situ Circus with the Wind & the Sun

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

ctrl b

About six months ago, I got my first tattoo.

For years, I'd thought about having one, never sure what to choose, never quite brave enough. When I changed career it felt right to mark this immense turning point in some way, and one day I woke up brave. I chose a symbol that's been in my life for as long as I can remember, one that reminds me of my childhood, and that has relevance to my new work.

I booked the appointment. I told no one. I went alone, nervous but excited. It hurt, but not as much as I'd expected. What surprised me was how fast the tattooist worked; it was all over in about five minutes.

I lived with it for months, just a black outline on my arm. Not particularly loud or conspicuous, it sometimes surprised me; I'd forget it was there.

Last week, I went to have it changed, filled in, made bold. That hurt a lot more than the first time, and took longer, but it was still not an intolerable pain.

Since then, more people have spotted it and commented. Perhaps because it's bigger and darker, perhaps because it's summer and I don't have it covered up - who knows? Most people are curious about the symbol and what it means. Some want to know if I think I'll regret it, most of all my mother.

'You'll regret that when you're in the old people's home,' she said to me on Monday. Perhaps she's right... The way I see it, if I make it to an old people's home I will have a. retired (unlikely, given my poor pension provision), and b. not died young. Both of these things should and would make me lucky and happy, as would memories of a life well lived. If I'm moping around there, regretting my tattoo, please remind me what's important.

Please remind me I was bold.


Tuesday, 8 July 2014


I've lived in Bristol pretty much my whole life, centrally, close to the heart of this city of beauty and grime, of wealth and extreme poverty, of utter delights and contradictions. Memories of Kingsdown, my childhood hood, are of a creative enclave perched on top of the hill, the smoke and colour and messy charm of Bristol spilling out before us in a jumbled, thrilling expanse.

This was back at the start of Thatcher's reign. The St Paul's Riots took place when I was three-and-a-half and I remember clearly the feeling of that neighbourhood being one of notoriety and danger. Driving through was a necessity, getting us from home to the bottom of the motorway and out to the rest of the country, and I would peer out of the window, fascinated by the people and the places I saw as we whizzed past.

St Pauls still thrills, on no weekend more than carnival weekend. Heading down at midday to catch the procession of kids from local schools dressed up, alongside bands and dancers, the kids were awestruck at the sights but most of all the sounds. Loud samba bands and passers-by blowing whistles were deemed 'too noisy!' by both, until they got their hands on a whistle of their own.

Heading down to the main stage, through the stalls and food sellers, slices of watermelon and cans of Red Stripe along every street, you could see a kind of mesmerised delight in their eyes, both boys enjoying the music and the excitement of the new.

One of my children enjoyed himself far more than the other (regular readers will be able to work out which one I'm talking about!), and I caught a glimpse of what might be when T's energy is channelled in positive ways. Is this wayward child of mine harbouring a major creative spark? Reckon he could be a performer. Actually, what am I saying? Already is.
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