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Notes from the V Festival

August 22, 2011
Eminem at V

Shady rocks the party

Fresh from the V Festival this weekend, I talk about the Slim Shady and why I now feel my age.

When I heard that Eminem was going to be shuffling his little white trainers on Essex soil last year, I was overwhelmed with excitement. He hasn’t toured in the UK for years and Nick and I had tickets for his tour that was cancelled in 2006 when he was fighting his demons. Marshall Mathers was at last coming to town! And not just any town – Chelmsford, just a couple of miles away and a long way from Eight Mile.

So Slim was announced as headline act at the V Festival and I was lucky enough to get tickets in the online frenzy. I’d heard rumours about the event being a ‘teen bender’ before I went but yesterday I truly felt my age and I hate to say a little on the prudish side.

All I can say about V is that it is ‘all the worst things about Essex’ very well cordoned-off into 600-acres of Essex country estate. Tweeny girls dressed in dangerously high-cut, infertility-inducing denim shorts and skinny, bare-chested boys with bum-fluff stubble parading in groups. Most are there with the sole purpose of ‘pulling’, boozing and drugging themselves into oblivion. Well, at least most of them.

There were many sights to behold. The young guy raving on his own to the fairground music next to the bungee jump ride – maybe he missed the huge 4Music and Virgin sponsored stages in his haze. The string of lads peeing along the fencing and the sea of Perma-tan dancing to the pied piper of chavs, Rihanna. My low point was seeing a group waving inflatable zimmers along to Manic Street Preachers (depressingly my era of music).

My friend Rachel’s son, Joe (aged 14), put it all very succinctly in his question: “Mum, why is everyone here orange?” You can see why the oddly out-of-context God Tent might make a killing on conversions at V. “Help me please God, I’ve taken too many drugs and need my Mummy, now.”

You have to tread carefully at V and after a couple of hours I could why Rach (a seasoned V-er for the music) had worn her sturdy hiking boots. The ground becomes a refuse sight of discarded munchies – squashed burgers and discarded curly chips – with the odd condom thrown in for good measure. Nice.

Then there’s the flying ‘cocktails’. Every now and then the crowd gets dowsed with an airborne plastic pint glass of either wee or Bacardi Breezer – it becomes more of a ‘Pee’ festival during the big gigs.

But it was all worth it when Eminem made his comeback on stage with his genius work and we remembered why we had really braved the day. Although I’m disappointed that the sound engineering was on the ropey side, especially for his haunting rendition of Stan (Eminem, a perfectionist, will not be happy about that). Thank ‘God Tent’ we weren’t camping!

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