Eddy Says

Eddy Says: Learning to let go

By | Published on Friday 13 August 2010

Eddy Temple Morris

If you’ve ever lost anything at a festival, you’ll know the feeling that descends over you. First you wonder if you’re just looking in the wrong place. Next you realise that, in a space so vast and surrounded by so many people (even at a small festival), the chances of locating a lost item are low.
Then you start to think of those shady characters wandering around the place – somewhere that’s supposed to be fun and friendly – just picking up stuff and walking off with it. In this situation, there is just one thing you can do. Eddy here has the answer.

Friday afternoon, I was catching up with the work fallout after a difficult seven hour recording session for the Secret Garden Party 2010 highlights show, packing for Standon Calling and waiting for my girlfriend to finish work, having been strictly banned from packing on her behalf. During this mayhem I got a text from an old and dear friend, Danny McNamara, pride of Halifax and writer of some of the nicest tunes in my record collection, and singer with my son Tone’s favourite band, Embrace.

“Hello Edward. How are you? Doing anything cool tonight? I’m in London”.

This was typical. It happens several times a year. I’ll be on my way to a random gig away from London, and Danny will be at a loose end near my home, so, frustratingly, we nearly always miss each other. Even the last time I was in Manchester (where Danny now lives) I called to find he was on his way to London and was about to call me.

Realising this was likely to happen once again – as I’d be shortly leaving for Hertfordshire – I texted back: “Yeah… I’m DJing in a beautiful pigsty at a great little festival, wanna come?”

I’d put the last two words in more as a joke really. At this point, it was already four o’clock in the afternoon and we were due to leave in two hours.

My phone pinged straight away.

“Yeah, why the fuck not? How/where shall I sort accomodation?’

Bloody hell. “You serious?”

“Yeah, I’ve had a stroke of luck and I’m in the mood for a celebration”.

I was both delighted and slightly panicked. My guest allocation was long gone and I knew Saturday and Sunday were sold out.

I called Danny and we talked about it, I suggested buying one of the last weekend tickets, as it’s a charity festival anyway. He said he’d try to find someone to come and look at buying a tent or something. It was looking less and less likely until I realised I had a little festival tent in the loft at home.

“Dude, you can borrow my tent and come with us!”

Amazingly, Danny had the cohones to say: “Yeah, fuck it. I’m coming with you, I’ll get a cab to yours and let’s do it!”

I explained the fancy dress element, and offered my Tuxedo, which Dan accepted gratefully, and then finished my packing. For my own fancy dress costume I went for an amazing turn of the century green velvet smoking jacket that I’d bought, on a whim, in an antique shop, years ago. I was hypnotised by its incredible pink shot silk lapels and a lining that shimmered like holiday water.

I also packed some fun games, remembering that Standon is a very small festy and there’s not a huge amount of non-music things to do. Scrabble, boules, French cricket, all went in the bag.

We arrived around dinner time, in much better shape than last year, when I recall a torrential storm that soaked all our gear, duvet and all. Because I always support and help Standon, they very kindly put me up in a tipi, something the hippy in me always looks forward to. We got Danny’s little tent up in the tipi area, settled in and started hooking up with friends while Liars took to the main stage and did their angular, at best mildly interesting but often unlistenable thing.

I do love the site, and this year I’d never seen so many people on it. It was a benchmark year for Standon, as in the past it’s always felt like a posh, bonkers, fancy dress wedding, or something – an actual garden party – but this year it felt like a little festival for the first time. It felt to me like there were a lot more people, but there wasn’t a proportionate amount more for them to do. It’ll be interesting to see what happens next, I think Standon has come of age now, and has to step up. They must encourage more random people and organisations to get involved, so there’s a bit more madness, randomness and entertainment there next year, then Standon will grow exponentially and eventually become a lovely ‘medium festival’ like the Secret Garden Party.

My 1am set went well, even the rain that slashed down halfway through didn’t dampen the spirits of the packed Alcatraz themed pigsty-come-dance-area. It was interesting seeing the crowd reaction to dubstep this year. I’d featured it heavily in my deep Sunday set last year, and it had noticeably flummoxed most of the crowd. But this year, I’d say more than half of them loved it when I halved the beats and delivered some wobbly sub on the nice big woofers they have there. I played until 3am, hung out until 6am and slept until they started testing the main stage sound system with a Bjork CD around five hours later. Harsh. Still, could have been worse. If I’d been woken up by, say, Muse, my day would have started in a less positive frame of mind.

It had honked down with rain most of the night but the site had been so dry for so long this summer, that it just sucked it right down. It’s the opposite of Michael Eavis’ farm, that only needs a light shower in order to turn into cesspool. We had four seasons in one day, and during ‘summer’ in mid afternoon, I decided it was time for boules. I was excited about seeing Etienne de Crecy’s ‘Beats And Cubes’ show, and probably the most brilliant man in the UK record industry, Korda Marshall, had tipped me to go see These New Puritans. Given that the last band he signed was The Temper Trap, these were a must see. I was losing at boules.

Both Clare and Danny were deft players and I was getting hot and bothered in my antique, silk lined jacket, so I took it off and hung it up on the fence while we finished the game. Clare won. Danny came runner up. I didn’t really care, it was a lovely afternoon. I was relieved of work duties so could cut loose and drink in the daytime, and do the mad little things you do at these places. We were all falling about laughing, fuelled by a combination of cider, blackcurrant liquor and nitrous oxide balloons, when my feet felt hot in my big boots. I needed trainers, they were locked in the car boot. I went to retrieve my smoking jacket. Then I froze.

Shit. It’s gone.

FUCK. OK, keep calm, retrace your steps.

Back to the hanging out tree. “Anyone seen my jacket?” No.

“Um… OK… here’s the bad news… that jacket is worth a small fortune…”

“And here’s the even worse news… my car keys were in there… and my house keys…”

“And it gets worse… they were my ONLY set of car keys…”

The gravity of the situation sunk into the smiling throng of friends. The next few hours were spent hunting high, hunting low, talking to artist liaison, production, the security office. I filled in a form and walked around the festival again and again and again, looking for that familiar shimmer of antique velvet and shot silk. My friends were astonishing. As if it were their own baby, they searched every nook and cranny, cruised up and down the site looking for either a munted punter who’d just taken a shine to it, or some dark predator who’d secreted it about their person.

All the time, the horror of the situation was unfolding: It takes an AGE to get a new Saab key. They’re very security conscious. I’m supposed to be going on holiday to Wales for four days on Monday (today, as I write this), with my car. We’re stranded at this festival now. We bought a pop star with us. He’s now stranded too. Shit. Fuck. Shit-fuck. I saw lots of nice people, friends and colleagues old and new, all very sympathetic and helpful with ideas of things I’d mostly already done.

Then it got to a stage where we were all really bummed. Danny was getting all protective and northern about it: “If I see this guy I am taking him out. He’s gonna find out what it feels like to cross a northern man – I’m gonna fucking ‘ave him”. We’d built up a picture of this festival predator, someone out of kilter with this lovely crowd, who stalks about, preying on unusually relaxed and trusting people. The thought didn’t sit well, as it’s a nice place full of nice people, but we were in a real pickle and somebody had put us there by taking this jacket.

I could feel the weekend descending. Everyone was fixated by my loss and our predicament. We were all obsessing about it, and it was set to ruin what could have been a really special weekend. I made a decision. “I have to let go of this jacket… we all do. We have to stop looking for it. We’ve done everything we possibly could do, but unless we let go this is going to ruin everything”. One of my friends, Garfield, offered two of us a lift. Alison, another lovely old friend, offered to help by taking stranded Danny back to town. We were thinking positively and things were looking distinctly better.

We still had to flip a psychological, internal switch, to literally FORGET about this jacket, to let it go, and move into another (head) space, where we could relax and enjoy ourselves, free of this obsession. Somebody mentioned Deepak Chopra and his ‘gap’ theory, which made sense in this context. I knew that unless I put an end to all this well-intentioned-mentalness, all of our weekends would be ruined. I just had to embrace the fact that I’d have to hire a car to go on holiday, and put up with the massive pain in the arse of having to leave my own car in a place where they’re dismantling a festival, and coming back with a fresh key a week or two later. My record bag was locked in there, so this week’s show would be compromised, but fuck it, we have to let all this go, and there was only ONE thing left for me to do, that I hadn’t already done. I needed to get totally und utterly off my tits.

My friends liked this new theory. But we were all still a bit twitchy. Always looking around for a flash of green velvet, leering at anyone in anything velvet or anything vaguely resembling a smoking jacket. We saw These New Puritans, but were uncomfortable, still scanning the crowd for ‘this fucker’. The band were like a breathe of fresh air. Unique. The had a very British, dare I say English vibe about them. They had a woodwind section, rasping out throaty notes to augment the layers of synth noise and very Jane’s Addiction drums. I loved them. Half way through, I was shattered. Weary from lack of sleep and from the emotional drain of it all, I retired to the tipi for a disco nap.

Other friends had arrived, the Saturday massive, and we all congregated at 11pm to watch Etienne de Crecy’s mesmeric live show. I say live, it’s not really, but it’s an amazing experience, which most of us have seen on YouTube. Nine Japanese hotel room sized extended cubes, stacked like noughts-and-crosses, and hooked up with LED lights in front, and clever projectors, that filled the blank white muslin walls with light and a sense of movement, all synched up to the music. By the end of that set, I had achieved something. We all had. We’d let go. Nobody was rubber-necking, scouring, scanning, suspicious. We’d all got off our trolleys and were in synch with most of this festival crowd.

We ended up spending most of that night in The Story Yurt, a nice Mongolian tent where you’d pay for your shelter by telling a story. We must have stayed there for hours, going round and round, hearing great stories that each teller knew to be true. I remember proclaiming that I had now “let go” and honestly couldn’t care less about the jacket or the keys. “The only way I’ll ever get that jacket back is if I’ve let it go”. I went to bed smiling, albeit aware of the nightmare ahead, but knowing there was nothing more we could have done about it, and that literally forgetting about it, and just concentrating on having a good time with the little time we had left at the festival, was the most important thing by far.

The next day was beautiful. A perfect day. My mission in the morning was to locate my friend, Garfield. Garfield was an old skool festival nut and Maida Vale legend cut from the same cloth as Barry Ashworth. He’d been too busy to come to a festival for four years and was making up for lost time. Garfield had enjoyed a nutritious breakfast. On Thursday. That was the last time he had eaten, and the last time he had slept… it was now Sunday.

He’d offered me his car, to drive ourselves back to London. He could get a lift with somebody else, he said, and was clearly in no state to drive anything more than a bumper car. Maybe not even that. I told Danny the good news and we cancelled the various lifts we’d been offered.

I had to follow a weary and confused Garfield to find his car in the car park up the hill, a task that was made heartbreaking by the fact I could hear Mr Fogg playing my favourite song of his on the second stage. I begged Garfield to stay for this but he maintained it was a now or never situation as he was likely to crash at any moment, after three days of non-stop ‘flight’.

Mission accomplished. We found the car, mentally marked its place, asked Garfield how to work his satnav, things were looking up. A beer and lunch before leaving seemed right, we just had to ask for some help with all our stuff, as our ride was miles away, and my car was yards from the tipi. The lovely Standon staff said “no problem”, and Clare said, “let’s just have one more check at security. You never know…”

“I do know”, I thought to myself. “Why are we taking fifty more pointless steps to this portacabin?”. But Clare is an almost ceaselessly positive person, so I went with it.

“Just checking because we’re going soon, in case anyone handed in my jacket…”

Security guard looks up.

“Oh yeah, we meant to call you… it’s been handed in”.


Yeah, a security guy found it and brought it in cos he thought it would be nicked otherwise.

We could have hugged the security guard there and then. The keys were still there.

Our holiday schedule suddenly reset itself. All was right with the world. I went to find the security dude to give him £20 to buy some drinks. He refused, but I insisted and we agreed he’d buy a round of drinks for his security mates and thanked me.

Everyone was cock-a-hoop with the news, I’d already had an offer of several lifts and one car; Jim and Monty, two bosom buddies, even offered to come back and get my stranded car if I could get a key made while on holiday. But all was restored to normality, and most importantly that dark, lurking predator that we’d imagined preying on us was just a figment of our imagination.

It had been an over zealous security guard who had taken my jacket, not the shady predator we had built such a horrid picture of. The thought that such a nice festival could have a dark side like that never sat comfortably with any of us, so it was doubly comforting to have things end so well.

I was £60 down. £40 to a penniless Garfield and £20 to the guard, but I was, all things considered, up considerably. We’d had a brilliant weekend, recharged old friendships and ignited new ones.

Thank you, Standon Calling. See you next time!

Eddy xx

Picture of Eddy in the all important jacket by Jim Hanner

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