“We’ve Got the Whole of Rotherham in the Boot.”

Yesterday’s journey to Glastonbury was smooth and trouble-free. Remarkably we were able to get through security and into the Festival itself despite my tics going into overdrive the moment we got to the entrance. There’s a list of things you’re not allowed to take on site, which includes:

Glass bottles
People without tickets

As the security staff checked our car and asked if we had any of these banned items, my tics announced:

“We have a Springer Spaniel in the boot.”
“I have a bomb in my bag.”
“We’ve got the whole of Rotherham in the boot.”
“We have a glass bottle collection in the back.”
“I have a nine bar.”

Fortunately the staff were good humoured about my unexpected array of contraband, and my support team, Olive, Claire and Sophie, managed to stay composed – at least until we’d got past the check-point.

My team are crucial in helping me have a good time, stay safe, and keep moving. I’ve been so excited about the Festival that I organised their rota months ago. We quickly put up the enormous bell-tent I borrowed from work. It’s lovely, and tall enough to stand up in, if standing up’s your thing. We have a second tent too, just for my wheelchairs. We’re camped in the Theatre and Circus backstage area which is well placed and a lot less hectic than other parts of the festival.

We were soon joined by Captain Hotknives (AKA Chris) and his friend Kev. Chris and I haven’t performed together since Shambala last year, and we were both excited to be getting on stage together again. This happened more quickly than expected because we our sound check within a couple of hours of arriving.

Over the Festival weekend I’m doing seven shows, all in partnership with Chris. Leftwing Idiot first introduced us three years ago and it was immediately clear that our brains were a good match. You can listen to the result of our very first meeting below. (It’s definitely not suitable for work)

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/60930296″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

My tics regularly crash strange ideas together, something that’s often exacerbated by music. Chris is really quick at incorporating these ideas into songs, so together we take the audience on an unusual and unexpected journey.

We’re performing on three different stages and venues – the Sensation Seekers Stage, the Gateway Riser, and Mavericks, a late-night cabaret tent. We did our first show this afternoon on the Sensation Seekers Stage. We were both quite nervous beforehand, but the stage crew were amazing and made us very welcome and the show went well. After that we quickly got into the swing of things, and the sun even shone.

Photo: Kevin Zen

Immediately after we’d finished our first show we headed to the Gateway Riser for the next. This stage was about twenty minutes walk away at the top of a massive hill. The view was absolutely amazing, but it’s an outdoor stage and by the time we got there dark clouds were looming overhead. So instead of doing the show on stage, we performed from a gazebo to one side. This created a much more intimate-feeling show and lots of people who were hurrying past stopped to watch.

It was great to get the performances under way, and I can feel our confidence and ideas growing with every show.

The scale of the festival is overwhelming – the site’s absolutely vast, and just as thronging with people as central London. Despite the overcast sky and intermittent drizzle the mood is electric and I’m enjoying absorbing the atmosphere. But I’m trying hard not to absorb too much mud.

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