I got the train and went to Leeds. I was worried about how long it would take me to find the hotel. Turns out I didn’t need to, it was about 10 minutes from the train station. I checked in, went to my room, had a shower and headed out again.
I went for a wander round town. I was looking for one place and found it. Apart from that, I just wandered, found my way round, took pictures of pianos and dinosaurs, stuff like that. I had a couple of pints, then headed off to see Mark Thomas.
Thomas is a stand up comedian who does political stuff. Very left wing. One thing he did for TV was set up a Catholic girls school as arms dealers.
He was absolutely hilarious. I really enjoyed the show. I was part of it. He was doing a bit about the fact that England doesn’t have a national anthem and asked if anyone had any suggestions. So, I suggested Flower of Scotland. Because, what better anthem for England than a song about how Scotland beat them in battle? After the show, I got him to sign my copy of his latest book and I got a picture with him:
Had another couple of pints, then back to the hotel.
Saturday was Slam Dunk day. I got up and headed to the bus, which picked up closer than I though. On the bus, I listened to a playlist of one hit wonders. I walked down to the entrance, showed my vaccine pass, showed my ticket and got a locker for my bag. Then, I waited.
They opened to doors and I decided to go get merchandise early. Everyone will be heading to the stages to get a good place, it’ll be quiet, right? Here’s the queue I joined:
When I finally got there, I got a Frank Turner t shirt, a tie dye Slam Dunk t shirt and a Punk in Drublic t shirt. Then I headed off to see my first band.
Now, one of the bands I was looking forward to was Days N Daze. Unfortunately, they had to cancel as they’d be flying in from a red list country and would have to quarantine. So, I went to see their replacement, a ska band called Buster Shuffles. They were absolutely brilliant. Here’s one of their songs:
I put my t shirts in my locker and had a look around the site. Then, I went back to the Punk in Drublic stage where I caught the end of The Baboon Show’s set. They are a Swedish rock band, with all that implies. I stayed there, because I wanted to be on the barrier for an upcoming act. As a result, I saw Snuff, who were excellent (warning, NSFW language):
I should mention that in between sets, there was a DJ. Who was wearing a tweed suit and bow tie. As you do:
Next was Capdown. A punk/ska band that I’m kind of disappointed I had never heard of before. The lead singer went a bit too hard and fucked his leg. Here’s one of their songs:
Next was Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls. Yes, that’s who I was hanging out at the barrier for. They were absolutely brilliant, as usual. Not sure how much security appreciated Frank encouraging crowd surfing. The whole set was a huge communal moment. Here’s one of the songs:
(If you pause at 2:06, you can see me in my denim hoodie hybrid jacket and a baseball cap.)
I went for a wander to one of the wifi hotspots and checked stuff online. I got myself a Slam Dunk baseball cap and a poster. Not having anything else to do, I went back to the Punk in Drublic stage and caught The Skints. They are a ska/reggae/punk band and they are absolutely the find of the fest for me. I am now a huge fan. Here they are:
I stuck around for Anti-Flag, who I wanted to see purely because of a t shirt I saw someone wearing:
I listened to a bit of The Alkaline Trio, just enough to discover they’re not my thing, got my stuff from the locker and headed to the bus.
I first off all decided to wander round town, then I remembered reading about Britains oldest working train station. What does every 43 year old need the day after being on his feet at a music festival the day before? That’s right, an hour long walk!
I got to the train station and bought a ticket for the train. A steam train:
It took me to a park. I walked through the woods and it turned out it was literally a lake and a visitors centre. I put The Skints on and headed back through the woods, got the train back, got a bus to the hotel and crashed. I then decided to go see Shang-Chu (which is excellent).
I checked out of the hotel, wandered round town and got the train home.
Overall, I had a great time. It was a much needed break.