It was almost too much to hope for, but one of my favourite bands from the Isle of Wight Festival is back for a third time. The Arcadian Kicks play on Saturday 11 June 2010 in the Big Top, having played there in 2008 and 2009. It’s a bit tricky getting over to the mainland to see them on their regular Midlands circuit, so a third festival attendance in a row is a treat.
The group have now recorded an album, which is intended to see the light of day sometime this year.
Today is the first normal day I’ve had since September last year. J. went off to work, taking Jimjams to school, and abandoning me to my quiet and bizarre world of toy soldiers.
She was cleared fit to work starting from Monday, and went off to see personnel that day to find out what was left of her job after almost 12 months’ absence. It’s not quite over: J. still needs check-ups every couple of months.
Throughout the past year, family, friends and even strangers have helped keep J., Jimjams and I going. It’s been an undeniably dark and stressful time, made worse by knowing that J.’s father died from leukaemia when she was very young (the condition, however, is not hereditary). Medical treatment has advanced hugely in that time, and the leukaemia team at Southampton have been something special.
It may, of course, take a little while for us all to get completely back on the rails.
Now that Janet is on the mend, I’m beginning to take more care of myself. The result is that I’m currently off to Bournemouth once every 10 days or so to get my wretchedly stiff back and neck sorted out, something I should have done years ago. Jimjams has been seeing a chiropractor to sort out her skating injuries, with impressive results, and every six weeks or so she goes to get herself “cracked” back into alignment. Last time we went I decided to sign myself up for the same treatment, and I’m currently on the introductory programme where the various wrong bits of me get wrenched back into place.
In effect I’m paying a woman to have me strip to my underpants, lie on a bench, and push me about. Hmmm. All I can say is that my neck works properly again, and my back has stopped feeling like it has been stabbed. Even though the neck work feels more like I’m a poor rabbit about to have my neck wrung for the pot.
Ferry and train conspired to make me arrive horribly early, so I wandered off to Bournemouth’s seafront for a walk – and to have sand blown into my face by the wind. I’ve grown up with faded Regency or Victorian seafronts, decaying beach huts and the tungsten-lit warmth of amusement arcades, from Broadstairs, Ramsgate and Deal, in Kent, to Ryde and Shanklin on the Island. And in the scale of things, Bournemouth appears like a second-rate Brighton. Not entirely horrible, but a pretty desolate seafront with some grimly priced chain-eateries such as Harry Ramsden’s, which manages to charge almost nine quid for fish and chips.
I am reminded that very long ago in Deal I got thrown out of the sole amusement arcade for playing one game too enthusiastically: I had one warning and then the owner shoved me in the chest and told me to get out. And there passes my moment of teenage notoriety: the moment when as a nine-stone weakling I evidently presented some dark and dangerous menace. After that, dear reader, I regret that I turned to beer and pubs…
I was among the droves leaving the festival four songs into Neil’s set. A great and very talented musician, completely unsuited to the time of night, with a chill wind blowing off the Medina making standing doing very little an unwelcome prospect. We needed something to get us moving, but not in the direction of the exits. Got back to base and TV to discover Young had finished early, leaving vacuous ITV2 presenters Fearne Cotton and Rufus Hound only a deserted festival ground to show instead of the intended live broadcast.
If I hadn’t been trying to co-ordinate with Jimjams about meeting after the festival to get her home, I would have gone to see the Charlatans. Instead I spent over an hour in a car park waiting for her to make what should have been a 20-minute walk back into town.
After the awful Scum I entered a blissfully chilled time caused in part by a pint of real ale at the Kashmir Cafe – the only truly drinkable beer of the festival – and exhaustion from two late nights. It was off to the main arena in time for The Script and the Pigeon Detectives, both of whom were enjoyed from a horizontal position in the baking heat of the afternoon. Alertness set in in time for Simple Minds and Pixies.
I last saw Pixies at Reading in, I think, 1990. It was long enough ago to forget the exact year, but their great album Bossanova (the only one in my collection) was a must buy as a result. The IW set seemed comparatively patchy, making Simple Minds (who preceded Pixies on stage) the high of the afternoon. It was all downhill from there. Despite the promnsie in Sunday’s line-up, Saturday was the better day.
I hope I’m open-minded musically, but the shutters came down for Scum. Very posy lead singer, probably a love child spawned by Peter Murphy and a new romantic, noted for dropping the microphone, dancing in his socks, and trying to electrocute himself by spraying water over the stage and himself, spending the rest of the act looking somewhat moist in the trouser department. Senseless activity of lead singer countered by the immobile keyboard duo.
Doom-laden noise. We all make mistakes, and mine was walking in to see this lot.