My bucket list has all gone a bit pear shaped. You all know the idea of a bucket list; a list of all the wonderful things that you want to do before you finally shuffle off this mortal coil. You do one of the things you tick it off the list and move on to the next one. Here’s mine:
You’ll notice that three items are ticked, and that’s where my problems start, because the idea of a bucket list is that you tick something off and then move on to the next item, right? So, by now, I should be getting on with spotting otters and watching eggs. (I’ve tried several times with the hatching-egg thing. My best friend raises chickens from eggs in an incubator, and every time she has a batch on the go I get excited, only to find that they’ve all hatched overnight and I’ve missed them. Or I sit beside the incubator for ages, watching while nothing happens, and the minute I have to go home, out they all pop. They know, don’t they?)
But, the problems start with the things on the list that I have done, and it’s just happened again. This weekend I went to the Radio One Big Weekend, just to take the kids, you understand, because none of this was my kind of music, and the kind of music festival I had in mind for my bucket list was more the kind of hippy, folksy, dancing barefoot in the fields kind of festival. Everyone would wear flowers; there would be jugglers and someone would play an acoustic guitar beside a camp fire …
The Big Weekend wasn’t going to be my kind of thing at all. It was all going to be music for the kids, and I’d be stuck at the back of a huge crowd in the rain, forced to listen to all the kinds of music that I hate – you know the kind of thing. Rap, screaming guitars, DJs with mixing desks, all of that … Why couldn’t I be listening to some nice girl with flowing hair and an acoustic guitar whilst I ate strawberries and wore flowers in my hair?
We get through the gates, some of the first in. The field is our oyster. “Where do you want to go first?” I asked my daughter, while my son went off to meet his friends.
“Great!” I said, with a fixed smile. “Are you sure you wouldn’t rather go and hear Mumford and Sons?”
I was comfortable with Mumford and Sons, because they have acoustic guitars; much more my kind of thing. But I was here for the kids, after all, so Stormzy it is, who, I was informed, is not merely rap, but grime. I sighed. “Well, as we’re early, lets get right down the front …” So we did.
And I loved it.
Not my kind of music at all, but the atmosphere, the intensity of performance, the crowd, all of it … it blew me away, and it went on from there. Very little of the music was what I would have chosen for myself, but I don’t think I heard anything that I didn’t enjoy. From new acts like Rika, (who I’m sure will be a big name in the future) through superstars like Billie Eilish, (who was breathtakingly good) to local-lad-made-good James Arthur (who I’m SURE was playing with tears of pride in his eyes on a packed main stage).
By the end of the evening, I’m in the middle of the crowd with my daughter, I’m surrounded by people half my age and I’m dancing and singing along with Miley Cyrus! Yes, me. Yes, dancing. Yes, Miley Cyrus. No, I’m not quite sure how it happened either … A music festival, and a tick off my bucket list.
Only it isn’t, is it? Because now I’ve done it once, I find that once isn’t enough. I even suggested to my daughter yesterday that maybe she needed to go to another music festival, and, as she’s only fourteen, I would just HAVE to take her, wouldn’t I?
And it was the same with Disney World, and it was the same with the novel. Once just wasn’t enough. I’ve now got about three writing projects on the go at once, and I just want to write all the time. All the time! Except, of course, when I find that I may be forced to take the kids to another music festival …