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Alex James' "The Big Feastival"


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https://thebigfeastival.com/feastival-from-the-farm-the-movie

Alex James looks to have out on a bit (a lot) of weight in lockdown. I was vaguely aware he ran a festival with Jamie Oliver but I didn't know it had become an annual thing. It really doesn't look like my cup of tea at all, but fair play if he has established it and pulled a crowd. Has anyone here been? Is it as white and middle/upper class as it appearsūü§£¬†ūüė¨? (Skip to 38 mins for some of Alex's chat with Jo Whiley - he is a big charmer as usual.)

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27 minutes ago, xxialac said:

Sorry for superficial comment but it's really shocking to suddenly see a fat Alex James.

He's been lanky ever since the late 80s when they came on the scene.

No I agree it's quite jarring.  Even compared to the clips the wee film includes of him DJing with Jamie Oliver in (I'm guessing) 2014 or 2015 - he looks very different.  Perhaps he has health issues.

I'm interested in the point at which, as a band, you start to take bookings for these kinds of events.  Chic can probably afford to do whatever the hell they want, but I am surprised that Lewis Capaldi or Rag n Bone Man signed up to this sort of thing.  The Manics doing things like Camper Calling, as another example that's fresh in my mind, looks weird to me.  I know that by 1997 they were kind of Oasis' support band, but they are still an act that's had UK number 1 singles and you'd think they would want to protect their status more.

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23 minutes ago, Johndenis said:

No I agree it's quite jarring.  Even compared to the clips the wee film includes of him DJing with Jamie Oliver in (I'm guessing) 2014 or 2015 - he looks very different.  Perhaps he has health issues.

I'm interested in the point at which, as a band, you start to take bookings for these kinds of events.  Chic can probably afford to do whatever the hell they want, but I am surprised that Lewis Capaldi or Rag n Bone Man signed up to this sort of thing.  The Manics doing things like Camper Calling, as another example that's fresh in my mind, looks weird to me.  I know that by 1997 they were kind of Oasis' support band, but they are still an act that's had UK number 1 singles and you'd think they would want to protect their status more.

I think it's almost certainly happened since Covid. Pretty sure he was quite trim as recently as a year ago.

Seems a lovely man and hope he can shed a few pounds.

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Read these hilariously dramatic posts expecting him to be about 23 stone but he looks exactly like a fiftysomething millionaire who lives on a farm and lives a good life eating cheese and drinking wine. I'm sure he could slim down for a tour if he wanted.

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1 hour ago, jannybruck said:

Read these hilariously dramatic posts expecting him to be about 23 stone but he looks exactly like a fiftysomething millionaire who lives on a farm and lives a good life eating cheese and drinking wine. I'm sure he could slim down for a tour if he wanted.

Maybe. It is still shocking though to see someone who always looked (very) young for his age suddenly look a bit old for his age, if anything.

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1 minute ago, FloorFiller said:

Switching from playing gigs and banging out lines of cocaine to doing fuck all except boozing and eating cheese will do that to a man.

And a skinny rake of an indie singer wouldn't be a great advert for 'The Big Feastival'.

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1 minute ago, xxialac said:

And a skinny rake of an indie singer wouldn't be a great advert for 'The Big Feastival'.

To be fair, he‚Äôs been living the lavish lifestyle for a long time. I‚Äôm surprised it‚Äôs taken this long to catch up to him, cause like you say, he looked pretty great until very recently. Must‚Äôve really been putting in some effort to keep the pounds off and recently just thought ‚Äėfuck it‚Äô.

Or like many of us, maybe lockdown/COVID just caused the wheels to spin out a bit. Easily done.

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Josie Long on Blur:

JL: Dave Rowntree is my favourite member of Blur. Ask me who my 2nd favourite is.

Colin Murray: Who is your 2nd favourite member of Blur?

JL: Graham Coxon. Ask me who my 3rd favourite is.

CM: Who is your 3rd favourite member of Blur?

JL: Damon Alburn. Ask me who my 4th favourite is.

CM: Who is your 4th favourite member of Blur?

JL: I haven't got one.

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This transformation does seem to have happened rather rapidly. Almost exactly 3 years ago I almost walked into him as he was hurriedly exiting a restaurant post breakfast. He looked like he has had a rather large night previously but still looked exactly as you would expect Alex James to look. 

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15 hours ago, efcfanwirral said:

Don't know if anyone has read his first book but it's hilarious. Especially when he talks about his "fat elvis" phase and how his mate got him running til he threw up to get him in shape 

Yes it's a great read.  The stuff about how epic his hangovers were getting ("lasting for days on end and featuring special effects") is amusing.  He is very discreet about what the other members of Blur were or weren't involved in (girls, cocaine, booze, errr heroin).

Getting back on topic, I am surprised by the gigs some bands sign up to...you would think being on the bill of The Big Feastival would hurt your future bookings.  Maybe not.

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1 minute ago, Johndenis said:

Yes it's a great read.  The stuff about how epic his hangovers were getting ("lasting for days on end and featuring special effects") is amusing.  He is very discreet about what the other members of Blur were or weren't involved in (girls, cocaine, booze, errr heroin).

Getting back on topic, I am surprised by the gigs some bands sign up to...you would think being on the bill of The Big Feastival would hurt your future bookings.  Maybe not.

For me you can play a frivolous sounding festival like Big Feastival or Ben and Jerry and it's all good...so long as the rest of the line up is small credible bands not filler or MOR bands.

Big Feastival is the latter, Ben and Jerry was at least the former. 

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41 minutes ago, xxialac said:

For me you can play a frivolous sounding festival like Big Feastival or Ben and Jerry and it's all good...so long as the rest of the line up is small credible bands not filler or MOR bands.

Big Feastival is the latter, Ben and Jerry was at least the former. 

Blimey - Ben & Jerry's festival, that takes me back...

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1 hour ago, Johndenis said:

Getting back on topic, I am surprised by the gigs some bands sign up to...you would think being on the bill of The Big Feastival would hurt your future bookings.  Maybe not.

Can't see the logic there.

No festival organiser, anywhere, is going to look at an act and think "well our audience would enjoy them / they'd sell tickets, but they did play Lets Rock last year and so therefore I can't book them". If an act is a good fit for a festival, the scheduling works, and they're prepared to do it for the right price then they'll get booked. It really is that simple.

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22 minutes ago, incident said:

Can't see the logic there.

No festival organiser, anywhere, is going to look at an act and think "well our audience would enjoy them / they'd sell tickets, but they did play Lets Rock last year and so therefore I can't book them". If an act is a good fit for a festival, the scheduling works, and they're prepared to do it for the right price then they'll get booked. It really is that simple.

I should perhaps be more precise - hurt the value of your future bookings.  I have no clue how much the Manics are getting paid for headlining Camper Calling, but presumably any booker putting an offer together for 2022 will say "you played Camper Calling, so we're not giving you more than X, or a slot higher on the bill than Y".  A bit like if you're a 90s act that starts showing up at the britpop revival fests.  You're kind of condemning yourself to mostly playing a certain circuit thereafter? 

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25 minutes ago, Johndenis said:

I should perhaps be more precise - hurt the value of your future bookings.  I have no clue how much the Manics are getting paid for headlining Camper Calling, but presumably any booker putting an offer together for 2022 will say "you played Camper Calling, so we're not giving you more than X, or a slot higher on the bill than Y".  A bit like if you're a 90s act that starts showing up at the britpop revival fests.  You're kind of condemning yourself to mostly playing a certain circuit thereafter? 

You've got a point, but it is mainly about the life cycle of a band and the kind of decisions they want to make as they get older. For someone like the Manics, doing 'B list' regional festivals is probably a more reliable (and potentially more enjoyable) way to earn income every year now rather than holding out for larger festival bookings that maybe won't come.

It's the same with bands like The Coral, Stereophonics, Embrace etc ‚Äď they're twenty+ years deep and still have decent sized fanbases and can still do their own (quite sizable) tours ‚Äď mainstream festivals aren't clamouring to book them because they've aged out of certain demographics, but they can still sell tickets and be a strong recognisable name on a lineup.

In a time when record sales make most bands fuck all money I don't really blame them picking less cool events. These festivals are a laugh, probably treat the bands well compared to the larger ones, and I'm sure it's a nice way to spend your summer too.

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22 minutes ago, Johndenis said:

I should perhaps be more precise - hurt the value of your future bookings.  I have no clue how much the Manics are getting paid for headlining Camper Calling, but presumably any booker putting an offer together for 2022 will say "you played Camper Calling, so we're not giving you more than X, or a slot higher on the bill than Y".  A bit like if you're a 90s act that starts showing up at the britpop revival fests.  You're kind of condemning yourself to mostly playing a certain circuit thereafter? 

I don't see it. The Manics will know how much they're prepared to accept, and if one festival isn't prepared to meet it then someone else will. There's literally dozens, probably hundreds of places that'll happily book acts.

The only time I can see it being a consideration is amongst the bigger acts and festivals where there's more competition and comparisons being made - for example Reading might not want to book an act to Headline that subbed at Boardmasters the previous years just for the relative perception. But that really only affects maybe the 8-10 biggest festivals and even that largely resets itself to an extent after a couple years so maybe a couple dozen acts at any given moment.

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