Photoblog originating from Gloucestershire, England.

Today I went swimming, and I had the following conversation with the receptionist:

Me: Swim please.
Her: Child or Adult?
Me: Well...if you think I look young enough to be a child...
Her: You tell me.
Me: ...umm.....
Me: Child.
Her: £1.40 then please. [normal adult price is £2.80]

I don't usually do this. I don't actually ask for a "child swim" when I go swimming, I just ask for a swim, and they automatically charge me an adult fee, but if they're going to be stupid enough to ask me, fine, I'll pay half, see me care! Not!

Yes, I know what you're thinking, that last word was SO 1990s! Do I care? DO I F---

We interrupt this broadcast with some Breaking News! George Bush has been found dead in a hotel room, hanging from the ceiling, pair of ladies tights on his legs.

Oh. Um...

What is Ashton Court?

Ashton Court is a big country estate situated on some land immediately next to the City of Bristol (which is south west England's largest city, and the 2nd largest in the whole of the south of England, the biggest obviously being London, which is a lot bigger by far, but anyway, nevermind that).

What is Ashton Court Festival?

It is Bristol's best kept secret. Obviously, the most famous summer music festival in the UK is Glastonbury Festival, in the neighbouring county of Somerset, although Glastonbury Festival is HUGE and expensive, and is basically a temporary city of tents and mental people and stuff (and music).

Ashton Court Festival, on the the other hand, is much smaller. It used to be free (back when I first went to it in the mid-90s), but now it costs £6. It happens on the Saturday & Sunday around the middle of July. It contains several music stages, various stalls, several music tents, a comedy/performace art/dance tent, various other little entertaining things, hopefully lots of sunshine, and many happy people walking around or sitting around in the sunshine and happy atmosphere.

Here is the entrance, where you have to pay.

Looking back the way I came, here are people walking up the hill towards the festival. In the distance is the City of Bristol, although you can't see it very well.

One of the stages

Find Music?

Another stage

A stall that caught my attention

I must admit, this stall caught my attention too, and I did have a long look at what they had on offer, but then I remembered I had to drive home along the M5, which is a rather busy Motorway this time of year. No time to be hallucinating about pink sheep or whatever.

Early on in the day, a few people gather round the Orange Stage

The Fringe Tent, where this musical comedian sang a love song about Tony Blair

Also at the Fringe Tent, a Brazilian dance group entertain us with their grass skirts and karate-kick-style dancing. There were some VERY impressive moments when the more confident members of the group were doing flips, spins, handstands, and spinning fly-kicks, which got some good cheers from the audience.

A woman dances to some drumming, whilst a small gathering of people watch.

Two telephone boxes walk accross the festival, with two people holding signs saying "DANGER - RADIATION". Then a young boy pushes over one of the telephone boxes, breaking it, and the young man inside emerges looking shocked and angry. The young boy runs off. One of the women in white gives chase, but I don't think she caught him.

Here they try to put the phone box back together.

This was the most BIZARRE and SURREAL experience of the festival. These dark pictures were taken inside a red tent called The Cube, where nerdy looking men displayed really bizarre moving images onto the three screens, whilst simultaneously creating the most SURREAL sounding series of electronic beeps and bass rumbles. Some of the rumbling bass tones really shook the entire ground. Many relaxed young people lay around for ages, just soaking up the weirdness, and the smell of cannabis filled the tent. Sometimes the sounds were actually rhythmical though, and then some people stood up and danced a bit. When it was rhythmical, the odd pulsing bass notes (which seamed to happen almost randomly, just prodding at you every few beats) totally shook the ground and went right through you. In total honesty, the closest I've ever come to feeling like how it must feel like to take hard drugs, but without being on anything and whilst still feeling completely normal. The entire experience was a compelete and utter paradox, and beyond any words.

Back in the Fringe Tent, I briefly stop to observe a play about a woman with a giant purple strap-on penis.

People relaxing in the sunshine, listening to loud music.

A closer look reveals a small gathering of really enthusiastic people stood right next to the stage. Personally, they weren't my kind of music. Too much like teenage new punk kind of stuff.

At about 5pm, I decided to take a break away from the noise for a short walk through the nearby woodland, including a large deer park.

Back at the Fring Tent, they were starting a comedy session. One of the comedians was really boring, but 3 of the others (including the host) were EXTREMELY funny, and had great witty banter with the audience. Once of them was this rather butch looking man, who came onstage wearing nothing but a thong, saying all his clothes were in the wash. He has a pink mohecan, and said he liked to collect Care Bears and My Little Ponies (toys that young girls play with). He also said he was in love with Miss Piggy from the Muppets. Then somebody shouted out about puppeteers having their hand up a puppets ass, or something like that, and the comedian responded by saying, "Don't you dare insult Jin Henson, or after the show I will take you outside and wrestle you, which, considering my appearance, with be extremely humiliating for you, so just quite while you're behind!" The audience loved this and he got a great applause and much laughter.

8pm, making my way back down the hill towards the car park. Parts of the City of Bristol can be seen, a view which is even better in real life, as you can imagine.

Police have now said that the man that they shot on the tube train on Friday was not connected to the bombings.

There are two stances you could take with this. On the one hand, you could say that, in the light of recent events, the Police were only insuring the safety off innocent people, because they believed him to be a suicide bomber, and killing him was the only way to insure he didn't kill several innocent people.

On the other hand, the police were not in uniform, they were in plain clothes. He probably didn't know they were police. He might have simply thought he was being attacked by a British criminal gang. Isn't it instinct to run away when faced with danger? I for one know, that if three men were running towards me with guns, I wouldn't just stand still and remain calm, I wouldn't be able to, my instinct would take over and I would turn and run even before any concious thoughts went through my head.

On balance, I think that this was simply a case of mistaken identity. I hope that, in the future, the Police would shoot dead somebody they are 99% certain is about to blow up a train, because I would rather have that than have 50 innocent people dead. However, I think the Police need to rethink the way they went about this. I don't know or what they could have done differently, because I certainly wouldn't have been able to make that choice to pull that trigger. I wouldn't even have the bravery to chase such a person. That's why I'm not a trained armed Police officer. I don't want to be.

But let's compare two situations. On the Thursday, an innocent man was arrested by armed uniformed Police, and then later arrested. Sure, the whole situation was very tense and dramatic, and caused a lot of hassle. He didn't die though did he. The man lay down on the ground and gave himself up, knowing that they were Police, and knowing that because he was innocent, all he had to do was comply with orders and then eventually everything would be alright, they would realise he was innocent and let him go. On Friday's incident, it was not obvious they were Police.

In conclusion: It was a tradgedy that this innocent man died, and I think questions need to be asked about how they went about this. However, if I was ever on a train next to a man that Police were 99% certain was about to blow us all up, I would definately want them to shoot him dead. Extreme situations call for extreme actions, and sometimes mistakes will happen. I just wish we weren't in this situation in the first place, as everyone does obviously.

This is all a sign of the start of a new age of violence. The terrorists have moved west, and I fear that London may become just like those places in the east, with suicide bombings happening several times a week, and we'll all just get so used to seeing it on the news.

We're an easy target though. We're much closer than America. We're joined to mainland Europe by an underground tunnel.

Marks out of 10 for my new hairstyle. I did this myself using my hair clippers. 18mm on the top and back, 9mm on the sides, and then my dad trimmed my neck line for me. Then it was styled using a Fish MaxWax Styling Stick, to add some body and texture. My appologies for the odd facial expression on the front shot.

I'm tempted to just keep re-shaving the sides every couple of weeks, and see how long the top and back get before it irritates me.

Two pictures taken whilst trespassing on private land near where I live (don't worry, it's illegal to shoot trespassers in the UK)...

...and then here are some pictures taken in the Forest of Dean:

My Other Blog: Tell the Sky

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  • I'm Marcus
  • From Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
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