Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Torrent of Humanity

As I write this the sun has set on another soggy, drizzling Reading day. When I drove to work this morning at 7.30 a.m I was amazed to see a clumped line of straggling anoraked refugees toiling with their backpacks up the main road to the Caversham bridge. So early!

The park to the left of the bridge, by the Thames, is the site of the Reading Festival which starts tomorrow.

This evening the same main road had become an extension of the Festival itself - pavements clogged with a two-way traffic of young humanity. Makeshift stalls had sprung up further blocking the pavement while the Plaza Hotel at the roundabout had an improvised sign on a blanket saying "Cheap Parking - £40 a Night".

My jaw dropped.

It's been quiet actually. Through the double-glazing I looked down to the towpath by the Thames to see festival-folk staggering under the weight of multipack cans of lager. Others were pushing provisions and each other in murkily-acquired supermarket trolleys. Will they get their pounds back? Do they care?

The raucousness has been focused at the Henries on their passing riverboats.

I shall be out of here early tomorrow, then off to Wells, returning Tuesday after work. The Festival will be over and packed up by then and I expect only a debris field of empty beer cans and discarded chip wrappers.

The music? I'll catch it on BBC-3.