Goat Inn 2010

Water Water Everywhere - A Story of the Great Unwashed

Time has blurred the memory a little, as the conflicting demands of sloth and childcare have eaten into the daily round to such an extent that here we are approaching Christmas and the report is still not up!
In a nutshell – you should have been there. You really, really should have been there as it was the best Ashes yet, and besides a great line up, compliant weather and a super venue, it was also a feast of the unusual and the unlikely...
The venue was The Goat, at Skeyton, a few miles north of Norwich in an area rural to a degree. The venue boasted a semi-permanent marquee, with bar, wooden floor, and all comforts, toilets, showers, and a children’s playground between the marquee and the inn itself, in which lots of food and drink were to be had. Have we set the scene?
Oh, we forgot the rain. On arrival on the Friday it absolutely tipped down while folks were arriving and putting up tents – really, really tipped down, to the extent that tents had to be bailed out with mops and buckets. Quite a large amount of rain, in fact, round about lunchtime, although this cleared up and things began to dry out as the cricket-hungry worthies began to arrive and populate the seven-acre campsite.
By the time the hired stage and PA were set up, a good number of people had arrived, in fact some had been there since the day before.

Proceedings were opened onstage by Mourning for Autumn, unburdening themselves of some deep and mystical moments, followed by Pog, Cracktown, and Wob – all of whom were interrupted to greater or lesser degrees by the power supply to the marquee – which sadly comprised one single socket, which was powering the stage, the PA, the lights, the bar, and the enormous suite of hair-dryers, curling tongs and other electrical goods all provided to ensure that Cracktown’s Silver Fox looked his best when they took the stage. We would like to congratulate the make-up girls on a gallant attempt, and would point out that given the extravagance of these preparations, it is only just that the power tripped off more times in their set than in anyone else’s. He did look rather magnificent though.

Some of this preceding paragraph may be untrue. What is true, however, is that everyone was jolly splendid, and a wild night of rock was had by all, hosted by the one and only Jon Beast, who had come south to engage with mankind and to scare their grandmothers. Not too wild, of course, because we had been advised that a previous event had been so loud that complaints had been received from a village two miles distant, and as a consequence we were on probation. Needless to say, being grown up and sensible, we were jolly well behaved all weekend and didn’t upset anyone. Bambi even cleaned out the toilet block on the Saturday morning – a task many were hoping to see Mr. Porter do as a penance for his execrable guitar playing.

Saturday morning the water ran out. No, honestly – it really did! With the campsite filling up, and a lot of people weeing, pooing, and wanting showers, the well simply gave up the ghost. The Goat is not on the water mains, and a previous dry spell had resulted in very low water levels in the reservoir. Clearly Cracktown’s incessant toilette had proved too much, and there simply wasn’t any left. The bare essentials to keep the pub open had to be husbanded, so everyone rose to the occasion and made do by the following means:
1. We didn’t wash. Well except Annie, with the kind assistance of Mr Pog, who seemed to enjoy tipping freezing water over her head more than one would expect.
2. We drank selectively (i.e. beer etc.)
3. Mr Porter and Jah Glee – an icon from our past history and a fellow traveller – made several trips to the nearby village in the hire van, filled up with water barrels and large bottles, to where the Landlady’s son had left a hosepipe hanging over his garden fence for our use. This proved a popular move, although in the overall scheme of things provided barely enough to wash hands after using the Portaloos that had been rapidly brought in as soon as the crisis arose. The management would like to apologise if some of the water was a little greasy, but the enormous empty cooking oil drums borrowed from the kitchens never did quite get clean. We can confirm it was vegan though.

On top of all this fun and frivolity, the event carried on with the children’s gazebos erected and face painting, clay modelling, painting, and all kinds of demonic craft/mess being made by the next generation. Meanwhile the galaxy of stars paraded across the stage in the marquee, and everyone seemed to have an enjoyable day. The sun shone, the Portaloos got smellier, we all got smellier, and only Cracktown – who we suspect may have been harbouring a secret cistern – remained fresh and well-groomed. Curse them for their youthful good looks and buoyant charm...

Acts on the Saturday included Mr Porter, Verbal Warning, Deacon, Gob Dylan, Alcohol Licks, Tres y el Ingles (that’s not a mountain in Wales), The Lovely Brothers, Eastfield, Anal Beard and finally Blyth Power, with the customary pause for cricket in the afternoon. Blyth won this year, possibly due to the foul odour emanating from the Ashes themselves, which dissuaded anyone from really wanting to win them. It also helps if you bat second, as you end up with a never-ending team, as passers-by stop and join in. Don’t tell anyone though...

Blyth did their thing and wound up the evening’s proceedings. Highspots were the dancers on stage, and at one point we really were cast back in time to the heyday of Top of the Pops, with a line of shimmering teenage girls across the back of the stage, clearly havin been misinformed, and under the impression that they were, in fact, on stage with Cracktown. They did seem to leave abruptly at one point – no doubt the distant sound of Fox opening champers in his Winebago reached their youthful ears...

By Sunday morning we all stank – either that or were all greasy with heavily diluted cooking oil residue. Yum yum! Sunday kicked off with the promised hymn practice, with a good turnout of young and old who spent half a precious hour of their lives learning the silly words to a rude hymn about Mr. Jessi Adams’ nose. This was then performed to him as he basked outside his tent in the morning sunshine. We would like to thank everyone who participated in this event. It was a defining moment in Mr. Porter’s songwriting history, and one that none of us will forget. The performance can be viewed on You Tube HERE, should you feel so inclined.
Intermittent showers, wind, and some nice sunny spells carried us through another splendid day of music, clay modelling, mayhem, and not washing. The children’s tent was host to the clay competition to ‘model Jessi out of air drying clay’ and by Sunday afternoon there were dozens of hideous little clay goblins all over the place. Faces were painted and the music...
Oh what transports of delight. Music ran from lunchtime until 11.00pm – the agreed curfew, lest we upset the distant village. The water van did a couple of runs. No one washed. Even Cracktown began to show slight hints of dishabille. Memo to self. Should I ever be the proud owner of a beard, and find myself on a campsite with no water in the middle of nowhere on a sunny August day, do NOT get my face painted.

Music on the Sunday was courtesy of The 5 Man Army, The Lying Scotsmen, Chris Butler, Boy in the Cupboard, Unicorn Power, Amateur Ninja Club, the New York Scumhaters, Scumbag Philosopher, Jammy Sammy, The Charlies and, again, Blyth Power, who took us up to the close of proceedings and off to our now quite ripe tents, to sleep, to dream, and in some cases, to ferment.

So it was that we packed our bags and left in the light rain of a Monday morning. It was a cracking do – thanks to The Goat for having us, they were brilliant. Thanks to all the artists and performers, they were brilliant too, and special thanks to everyone who came and made it special again, triumphed over adversity, didn’t wash, made clay models, drank, sang and danced, painted faces, were crap at cricket (or otherwise)and who proved that we can run the show over onto the Sunday night, and we will do again next year.

See you there.