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The Country Rant
I love yoga. I’ve been doing it for ages but I’m getting much worse at it. Not the physical bit. I can do most of the advanced poses and hang around in them for a short while, but no, it’s the mental side that’s letting me down and it goes like this:
- For some reason I only feel happy in the corner near a wall which necessitates getting to class early and staking a place which I know is pathetic.
- No amount of chanting is going to make me love my fellow yogis. There are certain girls who just send out terrible vibes – I’m probably one of them – and that becomes competitive. Almost every teacher intones at the beginning of class how this is not about seeing how much further you can go than your neighbour, but I’m sorry, it is.
- Clothes envy. In the good old days of yoga at work when we cleared the conference room at lunchtime and all set to this was not a problem. There was a slight amount of item 2 beadiness, but as my workplace was the Guardian, the ethic was very much negative chic and holey t-shirts and old shorts abounded. It was much more restful. But out in the world of the dedicated yoga studio, clothing counts. Top designer de nos jours is Lulu Lemon, an eye-wateringly expensive Canadian brand previously hard to find in the UK but now here. This has overtaken Sweaty Betty, and some of the tops wouldn’t look out of place on the red carpet.
- Accessories. These multiply by the day. Besides own mat and carrying bag, strewn around the studio are strange non-slip socks with individual toes that make the wearer look like a platypus, eyebags and little resin things to stop hands slipping.
- Pedicures. An obvious one seeing somebody else’s feet are usually right under your nose.
So that’s an awful lot of distractions to begin with before I even begin to assess hair highlights, engagement rings, possibility of bad fillers or total face jobs. I have done yoga in India and tried really, really hard to be at one with the universe and my fellow man, but my concentration was completely destroyed by the gunshot farts that were the local norm. So there is absolutely no hope for spiritual enlightenment for me until I learn to rise above and conquer all of the above. And you know something? I don’t really want to!
‘Sorry sir, you can’t take drinks into the auditorium.’ WTF? I’m about to be subjected to two hours of mind-numbing corporate rock courtesy of Snow Patrol at a soul-less West Country arena and I’m not even able to slightly anaesthetise the experience with a pint of corporate lager. Woodstock this ain’t…….
The UK’s live music industry is worth around £4 billion, there are literally hundreds of outdoor festivals every year and something like 37% of the population attend live events on a regular basis. Literally everyone is doing it, but, ask yourself this, is it really any fun?
As we trudge sheep-like amongst the crowds of middle-aged, programme toting fans it feels more akin to exiting an Andrew Lloyd Webber play or perhaps, a Christmas pantomime. Alcohol free, atmosphere free and FUN FREE. No moshpit, no dancing, no interaction, nothing…..
Do you really want to be herded by hi-vis personnel into a field, arena or theatre to stand amongst thousands and thousands of people and watch music played at a nice safe decibel level? Do you?
A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to have been offered VIP tickets to the legendary Bob Dylan. When I told my wife her response was, ‘to be quite honest I’d prefer to have a bottle of wine and listen to him on the Ipod.’
That got me thinking. Sure we might yearn for the nihilistic bacchanalia of the Nineties, the freedom of the free festival movement and the hedonism of the club scene that Britain was once revered for but frankly it’s hard to recreate that in an ‘enormodome’ when you’ve paid forty five quid for a ticket and curfew is at 10pm. Let’s face it going to the O2, Wembley Arena or The Plymouth Pavilions has more in common with catching an Easyjet flight than a brush with youth culture.
Next year there will be a billion live music events in support of the Olympics. No Glastonbury but we’ll have V Festival, Hyde Park Calling, Wireless, Isle of Wight, The Big Chill, The Radio 1 Big Weekend and a sold-out arena tour every week for every artist new, old, legendary and over-the-hill alike. Packed audiences, people standing like morons, filming on their phones so they can tell their mates how much fun it was.
I, for one, am over it. Next June there’ll be a party round mine. Bring a bottle and we’ll put The Stone Roses on.
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Stewart Lee’s a very funny man, I’ve always been a fan, until recently that is.
In his current series, Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle (BBC2), he takes the piss out of thirty something people who move from London to the countryside.
Well Stu, let’s dissect your life and try to make some sense of it all. You are in your mid-forties (generous), you live in Hackney and have this misguided image of yourself as ‘street’. You live on the ‘edge’, in the fast lane, on the frontline. Stewart let’s be serious, you are forty-six and wearing the clothes of a teenager, you don’t fit in the ‘street’, what you need is some fresh air to get your life back in perspective. read more