Our House, My Nan, And Her Sisters

Brothers and sisters! WINTER IS COMING!


That's right, ladies and gentlemen. Can you feel it? I can. And I am glad, Balance, rudeboy, as my good friend Big Narstie likes to say, between tugs on his spliff and gulps of sugary fruit juice. I think this is the first year I have not dreaded the death of Summer. That means I am a bit cleverer this year.


Speaking of which, I had a flipping lovely time at V, thank you very much. It was hard work, but as we all know, hard work pays off, and we got out what we put in. And we put it all in. Me and The Legendary Clash DJs, AKA The Grant Morrison & Frank Quietly Of Serrato, AKA Mr Tickle & The Ballunatic rocked the purpose built party cabin called "Our House" to its foundations from 12:30 till 11 two days straight. As The Green Man said in the comments section of the last post, it "was amazing best part of v festival!!!! everyone was raving!"

It was amazing. Everyone was raving. Me, The Clash DJs, the security, the barstaff, and the good good people of V, some of whom did not leave Our House all damn weekend. Eminem and Rihanna couldn't tempt some of those people away. I could only post that picture yesterday because I hadn't the strength left to type. I was half deaf and horse, my legs felt like someone had hammered 12 inch masonry nails into the bones, but I was a happy human, because I had helped bring joy to a great number of people, and that is as you know a wonderful feeling.

What made the whole thing a truly memorable experience, aside from the fact that everybody (apart from one misery guts who history will forget) was really lovely, that the Clash DJs were masterful and brilliant, that the VJs were excellent and wise, that the security were friendly and effective, that the organizers had done their jobs properly, that the backstage fridge never ran out of beer, that the audience were amazing human beings that danced like warriors, engaged in Actual Dance-Offs and prayed to the giant disco ball when I told them to... aside from all that, what made the thing truly beautiful to me was that I was not staying in a tent, nor was I staying in a hotel, I was staying in my Nan's new bungalow in hsitoric Cannock, getting fed Crunchies and Spam.

Cannock is where my nan was born and the place to which she has now returned, after 20 years in Wales, to live in a beautiful little bungalow with a vast garden, in a close inhabited by her sisters. Her little sister Sandra literally lives opposite her. You could chuck a brick out of my Nan's bedroom window and it would land in my Great Untie Sandra's front room. She literally pops over with a cup of tea whenever she feels like it.

Sandra, who turned 66 on Staurday is the youngest of the 13 brothers and sisters my Nan's Mother and Father created, and my nan is the oldest. And now, after all their adventures, and all their years apart, they are together again, a mere brick-throw away from each other. It is  beautiful thing.

So, even though I was jumping up and down on a stage telling people to put their rap fists in the air and praise the almighty disco ball, I still got to hang out with my Nan and some of her sisters. I got there a day early, so I got to visit my Great Auntie Maureen, 5 doors down on the right, who is house bound with cancer yet still bloody funny and still smoking fags and still playing Second Life on her computer late into the night like a naughty teenager. Her house smells really nice. Like cigarettes and flowers. I could have stayed there all night, but after a can of beer and a number of intensely ridicuolous and hilarous anecdotes my Nan suddently decided she was going to wash my hair for me, as I obviously coudn't do it porperly, and off we went... but I insisted on a group shot before we went. That's my Nan in the middle, looking as happy as I've ever seen her.

What a difference eight months makes! Eight months ago me and my Nan spent Christmas together in her little damp house in North Wales, her too weak to climb the stairs without having to stop halfway up and have a sit down, her sisters ringing up every day worried. Now they are all together again, and my Nan is running up and down her vast new garden like a whippet, with people popping in and out all day long. On Saturday, while I was telling people to put their shotguns in the air and praise the Old Dirty Bastard, she was out shopping for an outfit to wear to a party they're all going to next week. A party! Eight months ago she thought she'd never go to another party ever again.

I was rather drunk when I got back to Nan's at one am on Monday morning. Matt and Rob who did all the organising backstage dropped me off, which was very nice of them. They'd given us a great big bottle of Jack Daniels at about 9:30, when we still had an hour and a half left to play, which was also very nice of them, albeit possibly foolish. Either way, we had spent a little too long congratulating ourselves on our excellence and toasting our fine achievements at the end, and there were far too many people trying to leave the site at once for me to be able to get to my taxi 2 miles down the road, like I had the previous night. I got back to find my Nan had made up the sofa bed for me, so I fell into it, into it and the sleep of the righteous. Next door my Nan was sat up worrying that I'd been kidnapped, or injured, or robbed, and that the click she'd just heard was robbers who'd taken her keys from my pocket and somehow worked out where she lived. Feverishly she completed crosswords and hoped the robbers would go away until she fell asleep.

The next morning we had children's cereal followed by eggs and I fixed the DVD player, which my Nan used to play her country and western CDs. She said the only reason she was watching Jeremy Kyle was "for the noise", and if only the DVD player worked she wouldn't have to, so she has no excuse now. Then I fixed her fences, which were too crooked for her liking, and hammered a nail into a wall, and cleaned some drains, and soon enough it was time to leave. Great Auntie Sandra drove us to the train station. My Nan told us about how during the war she used to jump the train from Birmingham back to Cannock, and as it approached the station, she'd jump off it and roll down the hill. I could still hear her chucking to herself as my train pulled in.