Mark E. Spliff

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About Mark E. Spliff

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    Festival Freak

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  1. I've accompanied a friend to the medical tent and seen some of the casualties and spoken with the staff - there's a conveyor belt of very desperate people coming through there, and it's a bit sobering to see. But to me that's just part and parcel of that many people having a good time in a field - the stats are probably no different to what you'd expect in any comparably-sized town. However... the real dark side of the festival has yet to manifest itself: the dodgy transport arrangements. It's only a matter of time before one of the vehicles which you see steaming along the railway line and other thoroughfares takes someone out. When it does, the festival will be prosecuted and this will have major knock-on effects. The festival requires a fairly lax approach to traffic management in order to keep the 'city' supplied, but their standards would be torn apart in a coroner's court. I'd say this is the biggest threat to the festival right now - anyone that thinks the South East Corner late night crowd management arrangements were a bit draconian hasn't seen anything compared to what's going to have to be done to make the vehicle movements legally acceptable. As far as the era of 300,000-plus attendees is concerned, we're still in the honeymoon period: it will only take one or two serious incidents and changes will be forced on the festival which will transform it beyond all recognition. Enjoy the current laissez-faire approach while you still can...
  2. I always hang around until just before 6pm on the Monday. From what I've seen, the traffic is usually pretty bad up until around 3pm although it's different every year depending on weather and who's broken down etc. After 6pm, they let all the traders leave the main site, so you want to be gone by then. I'm always frustrated by Worthy FM on the Monday - arriving/leaving is the one time a significant proportion of punters will be by a radio, and yet their traffic reports are just infrequent repeats of vague waffle. If they just gave an update from the traffic stewards every 30mins, people could decide whether there's any point going out and adding to the gridlock.
  3. Update on that tent I linked to above. After a long wait, they emailed me to say they've got supply problems and would refund, however the refund came in the form of a credit note for the store! No drama though - I emailed them and got them to instead refund to my card. The tent is still showing as available on that link though, so avoid.
  4. There's too much choice when it comes to tents. You need to think about what your criteria is. So far: you're looking for something that's good quality, is compact to carry, 2-man with a porch. That narrows it down to about 10,000 different designs! I'd throw in two other criteria to help narrow the choice down: 1. Not too much of an oven. Waking up with a hangover in a hot tent is hell. Therefore anything with multiple doors to allow a through-flow of air is good, plus being a reflective colour probably helps. 2. Cheap to buy. (I've got some expensive tents for biking/kayking but wouldn't want to leave them to the tender mercies of clumsy drunkards and canvas-slashing tent robbers.) (Don't get too anal about hydrostatic head - provided (1) the shape is smooth, without troughs for water to collect (2) you put it up properly and (3) you don't leave your stuff inside leaning against the walls, then any half-decent tent will keep the rain out.) I don't own this one, but it was highly recommended by someone on a sea kayaking forum, and I may give it a whirl: Might not be the one for you, as it doesn't really have a porch you can hang out in. Maybe someone can recommend a tent similar to this which does?
  5. I was wearing bog-standard-dunlop wellies throughout, and probably walking further and faster than the average, as I was working and trying to cram in as much festival as possible. Feet are absolutely fine. I've always been a bit frustrated by the wellies v. boots/gaiters thing on here as the prophecies of doom just don't chime with my experience. However, this year a load of my colleagues suffered badly with their feet. So I guess it's down to the individual - I've got big feet which must spread the load, and I walk a lot anyway, so I'm less susceptible. (I also wear massive socks, changed for clean/dry ones each day - which is a no-brainer with wellies.) I did buy a set of walking boots and gaiters this year, just because I found some heavily-discounted high-end ones, but they stayed in my tent as I couldn't be bothered with dealing with muddy laces or gaiters every time I wanted to get in or out of my tent.
  6. Forgot the name, but it was the one at the top of the Park Field, above the Rabbit Hole. You get your money back. The cups aren't really that fancy though - just has 'love the farm leave no trace' stamped on the base.
  7. It's always a very bad idea to take crowd-sourced advice on something like back pain. You need advice that is very specific to your problem. Example: over a year ago, I ended up with sciatica after stupidly trying to carry a pool table up some stairs. As my sciatica presented itself as a kind of inability to bend at the trunk without pain, I decided, like many other idiots do, to try and stretch my way through it. Bad idea - stretching your hamstrings when you've got sciatica is just trying to force a trapped nerve to move when it can't - i.e. you risk doing serious damage to that nerve. Thankfully, I found this video before I'd had a chance to do too much damage. Conversely, to prepare for a recent major kayaking trip, I did hamstring stretches to cure my back pain. This was different - my sciatica had already gone and I was just preventing the tight hamstrings pulling my lower back out of position as described by Davet84 above. It was incredibly effective. Get a diagnosis and expert advice.
  8. If you're going to try and blag your way into West, then you'll definitely need to reprint your vehicle pass in orange. There's no way you'd be able to sweet talk every one of the many people who's sole job is to make sure you've got the right coloured pass in your windscreen. We arrive via Pedestrian Gate D, but obviously there's no queueing etc. if you're arriving before the festival opens. For the John Peel tent , your nearest would be Gate A, but I've never used it so, although I assume it would be open, I can't guarantee it. With a bit of luck you'll get issued with an 'Easy Pass Out' wristband, which means you can enter and leave the festival as you please - you just use a staff entrance (which are either alongside the public gates or next to the vehicle gates - I can't remember.)
  9. I don't think you'll be able to get in the west side with a blue pass. The west staff car parks are orange - that's where I go, and you have to go through a lot of checks before you finally park-up. If you were feeling ballsy, you could have a go at messing around with a colour photocopier, but probably not worth the risk: presumably you're arriving on Tuesday or earlier, so hiking across the site isn't that difficult as the fields are pretty empty.
  10. Reviews like this are worth a thousand Google-search results, where you don't know whether its genuine or some advertising-in-disguise. Which gives me a problem: I love space-saving camping gadgets, and I like coffee, so although my Aeropress is actually the perfect tool for the job, it's now only a matter of time before I crack and order one...
  11. I didn't realise you could make 4 cups at once either, and didn't understand the point of the numbers 1 to 4 up the side of the thing. I finally sussed it out a couple of weeks ago. You put as much coffee as you need in, and then make it. If you've put in enough coffee for 4 people, it will be thick and black, but you then just split that between 4 cups and top up with boiling water. It tastes just as good as making a single cup, plus it's hotter. Re. the metal filter: I was going to buy one, but then heard about the link between Terpenes and Cholesterol. I'm sure it's just a typical Daily Mail style health scare based on minimal evidence, but I find the paper filters work well and can be rinsed/dried/reused until they fall to bits so the stack that came with the Aeropress will probably last me a lifetime.
  12. I'm also intrigued by what I've read about this thing. However, it just looks like too much faff to get one small espresso shot. If you use the thing, you're probably going to have similarly-intrigued new-found friends coming in to see what you're up to, and I'd feel duty-bound to make them all one. 3 hours later, I'd be sick of the bloody thing. If you haven't tried a 'mocha pot' then do so. Apparently, the Italians, who are famously fussy about their coffee, use these as standard. There are a few knacks to getting them to work properly (correctly filling/tamping the coffee, filling it with already-boiling water and taking it off the heat when it's only half-finished 'espressing.') However, I've been using an Aeropress for a few years, and I'm convinced it's the perfect festival coffee-maker for three reasons: firstly, you can make 4 cups at once - you actually put 4 loads of coffee in, to make a thick concentrate, then split that up between 4 cups and top them up with hot water. Secondly, to clean it, you just pop out the little round puck of coffee grinds, rinse the paper filter and the end of the rubber bung with a small amount of water, and that's it - clean. Finally, the coffee quality is absolutely excellent, but it's just coffee, not espresso. If you're a coffee connoisseur, you'll know that freshly ground, freshly roasted beans are the key, so make sure you bring a decent hand-powered burr-grinder. (I use the Hario Mini.) For the Aeropress, you need to set the grind almost as fine as for an espresso machine.
  13. Yeah, nice one mate. That's just ruined my festival. Now, I'm going to be standing slightly to one side of the Adele moshpit, unable to give it my all, because I'm worried about whether that milk has been used up or disposed of.
  14. Those things actually look like an excellent idea for throwing in your bag to deal with unexpected mud while you're out and about. If you've done a proper muddy Glastonbury, like 2007, you'll already know: in extreme conditions they'll be trying to escape with every step, so take something beefier too.
  15. I wouldn't have a clue how to tell whether they're any good. I have just found my work wellies on a safety site, and they're only £11! You could be extravagant and buy both and use the ugly green ones if the must-have purple ones let you down...