Hi. I'm Akira The Don. 10 years ago I went to the V festval, and swore never to return. Now, a decade down the line, I am on a train, on my way to that very same V festival, where I have been hired to perform as Master Of Vibes backstage at the Virgin Media Tent. I am sat on a Virgin train, but I'm not using Virgin Wi-Fi as it costs an extortionate £4 an hour, and is slower than my dongle as it is shared by three first class carriages full of executives. My dongle is doing pretty good actually.
Anyway. As I said, it's been a decade since I swore never to return to the V festival. but things are different now.
Last time I went to the V festival I was a 21 year old web-superstar music journalist with a photographer in tow, both of us well paid and well prepared, pharmaceutically, at least. I was there to review the bands and Edd was there to take photos. With us was my good friend Jeres, also on reviewing duty. We couldn't have been there fifteen minutes before we blagged ourselves some VIP passes and into one of the many free booze tents to be found at what was then a festival on the cutting edge of commerciality. The V Festival created the template for all modern festivals. Every aspect of it was sponsored. Adverts covered every free space. The backstage was a multi-tired labyrinth of free booze opportunities. And we took as many as we could.
By the second day I'd found myself a plum spot in one of the many VIP areas on site. This one was holding a celebrity five a side football match, and had waitresses wandering around with trays of rum and energy drinks. I reclined on a deck chair, from which I could see the stage I was supposed to be reviewing, and smoked spliffs and drank rum until the Stereophonics came on, at which point I got up and had a wonder around my enclosure. The five aside match was being hosted by glamour-model-turned reality TV and trash magazine mainstay Jordan, now known as Katie Price, who clasped me tightly to her bossom as a crowd cheered for telling her I could introduce her to Travis frontman Frank Healy. It wasn't a complete lie. I had interviewed him a few months back, and he liked me so much he gave me a carton of 200 cigarettes.
Edd, meanwhile, had gotten access to the Bicardi Breezer tent, which was full of fridges packed with bottles of alcopops and spirits. Jeres and I helped him to get a lot of them over a wall, and we wandered around the site selling them for £2 each and used the money to buy drugs.
Ah, those were the days. Well, they were days, anyway. Interesting, strange, wild days, the likes of which might never be seen again, but I am not too sad about it. I swore never to return to the V festival as I objected heartily to its all encompassing commercialization, and now 10 years later it seems the whole world is that way, and am returning to Master The Vibes in the Virgin Media VIP tent, which is not a tent at all, but a purpose built house complete with kitchen, bedroom and garden, to go with Virgin Media's Our House motif, bought from a band I used to love when I was nine years old called Madness.
Who would have thought it, all those years ago? And what will the world look like in a another decade, and another still? I cannot begin to predict. Life moves pretty fast, as another of my boyhood heroes noted. If you don't take a job as Master Of Vibes at a British music festival when you're offered one, you could miss it.
If you're at the V festival in Stafford this weekend, do come and find me. I will be having a whale of a time, talking over the no doubt excellent music provided by the resident Clash DJs and special guests including Frankmusic and Ellie Goulding. There are going to be a load of big foam hands for me to hand out (hahaha. "hand out"), and othersuch fun fripperies. I wonder if I can get hold of a klaxon. Either way, you should definitely come and hang out. It will be fun. Many people predicted The Death of Fun by this point, but they were wrong. Humans will always find ways to have Fun, no mater how the world is organised. It is one of our purest purposes.