After sleeping really in and then starting slowly, I finally started functioning at 1 in the afternoon. This is 4 hours after I’d planned to meet friends for a train to Brighton, a beach town near here. Fatboy Slim was throwing a free concert; last year, it attracted 35,000 people. Mike and Joe stayed behind (something about wanting to actually stay in London for a weekend), but I jumped on the train around 5:00.
The train was crowded enough that it stopped taking on new passengers, but that was nothing compared to Brighton. If I had wanted to buy beer, I would have had to wait in line for the better part of a city block; one off license (distributor) actually ran out of lager! Cellphoneless thanks to some Spanish jerk, I stopped at a payphone to call friends who had come up earlier that day. It took 10 tries, but I finally got through to one of them. He was in the middle of the crowd, so I was searching based on “we’re about halfway between the water and the camera stand.”
Needle in a haystack is an understatement; I was looking for about 4 people out of what one security guard claimed was 100,000. While wandering, I figured out my odds: to have a 1% chance of seeing one of my 4 friends there, I would have had to look at 250 people! Needless to say, I couldn’t find them. It was still pretty cool, though: wandering through multitudes of people dancing on the beach. Some apparently started early: they were fast asleep on the rocks in spite of the loud music and occasional kick from a passerby. Really smart visitors rented boats, avoiding the crowds and gaining seats closer to the stage than people who arrived that morning. Some swam, but I don’t know how: the water was a Loch Ness level of cold. I got interviewed by some BBC1 radio guy, but don’t know if it’ll get on the air. He let me use his cell phone afterwards, but the network wasn’t too fond of having 100,000 of extra users on it and stopped accepting outgoing calls. I was still grateful, so I gave him a Heineken for free when he asked to buy one. People are a little strange about “footie” here: some guy climbed a light pole to show off his club’s jacket. Yeah, it was some popularity, but there were definitely security people planning to arrest him upon his descent.
After a few hours of fruitless wandering, I headed back to the station. The music was decent, but nothing amazing: I didn’t want more than a few hours of it. A decent time on a chilled day.