SOMETIMES it’s hard work not enjoying yourself.
With Glastonbury on hold this year I decided to trot off to Sheffield city centre to have a gander at the Tramlines Festival.
More than 60 venues, 900 acts and best of all for a stereotypical tyke- it’s free.
And with 150,000 people thronging into the city’s parks and pubs what could possibly go wrong?
The unreality set in on Saturday afternoon when the first hint of sunshine for months permeated through the clouds.
With three fellow cynics I sauntered up towards the main stage area at Devonshire Green.
There was a queue about 400 yards long so we had a good complain about that and thus set the scene for an afternoon of discontent.
Everywhere you went, music and jollity filled the air.
We were welcomed into our first pub by a jovial bouncer, at which we bristled uncomfortably.
The next grumble of the day was voiced when we were served our pints in plastic glasses. “Don’t they trust us,” we chorused, “It’s a travesty.. blah blah.”
Not wanting to excite the ire of the bouncers as we left, we supped up and deposited the flimsy receptacles on a table.
“Bye fellas have a great time at Tramlines,” beamed the security man as we set off down the street. We nodded awkwardly.
We soon realised there were hundreds of people drinking along the whole main drag - from plastic glasses.
So we watched another band in another pub and looking over our shoulders for policemen, we gingerly walked out with our drinks. We saw a copper eating a Subway as we cradled our ale. “Having a good time chaps? - I’m having my dinner me!”
Outside the Washington pub we were politely finishing the dregs when another joyous bouncer collared us.
“You can’t drink those outside here lads..Bring them in and finish them off inside!”
It was like being enveloped in an alternative universe of reasonableness and civility.
There were thousands swarming everywhere but despite our best efforts, ignorant and unfriendly folk were nowhere to be found to annoy us.
Moving up to Division Street, we were just happy flotsam, wandering around and happening upon anything. An African musician sat on the floor playing a crazy multi-stringed instrument, being cheered on by rugby-playing types wearing wedding dresses. Hundreds of beautiful lasses were milling about in denim shorts like a herd of Daisy Dukes.
One of us made a last ditch attempt at moaning: “I shouldn’t have brought my raincoat, it’s a bit muggy.” He offered gamely. Later as the afternoon wore on, we started to realise that a strange, unfamiliar contortion had gripped our faces.
We were all smiling. And the music was great.