Stories from 1996. A Britpop Journal Chapter 24


18th August 1996


What an absolutely perfect day.  We woke up bleary eyed after spending the night before on a variety of Ellie’s furniture in her house in Chester, Maisie lucked out with a bed while Erin and I struggled on the springy sofas. But no one cared, even the ‘more than we intended to drink’ amount of alcohol last night could not dull our excitement or energy for the fun packed day ahead. Our bags were packed with lipgloss, disposable cameras and half bottles of vodka. This was the day we were going to see PULP!!!!!!!!!

The train journey to Warrington was a disgusting squash of armpits and crotches but once at the park it was all worth it. The sun was shining beautifully over Warrington, so much so that we all got a bad dose of festival sunburn: dodgy strapmarks and goggle eyes. The day started with a bang as Longpigs blew us away. Gorkys were fun, Numan was a legend and a great opportunity to play spot the ageing goth and, of course, SFA made some proper Welsh noise. Supergrass were the only slight disappointment – lack of atmosphere and far too serious. Lighten up Coombes.

Pulp,on the other hand, exceeded our expectations. They had obviously gone to town on the production; their set was excellent, wall to wall classics. Jarvis’s banter and prancing made us all fall head over heels for him once again. Then fireworks and an exploding portaloo to top it all off.

It was so cool to spend a wonderful sunny day with likeminded people watching brilliant bands, drinking vodka and Virgin coke from Pamela Anderson shaped bottles. A day of boiled burgers and best mates. A day to remember for ever. We all arrived back late at Ellie’s on a real high unintentionally slaying Pulp tunes. Shouting and screaming through the streets until we collapsed in a sun, vodka and good time induced heap at her door. Knackered but happy.

I am pleased to say that Erin, my cousin from the States, has immersed herself seamlessly into our group. She loves what we do and is enjoying our quaint British ways. She hadn’t really done a festival before V96. Well, not a festival like we do a festival, no halfs of lager here thanks. Erin absolutely devoured the whole experience. We had educated her with numerous Shine CDS and copies of NME on the train up North and she is in full acceptance of her new role as Britpop ambassador when she returns to the States.

We are all having such a carefree, silly time away from everything. Cardiff seems a long way away as do the emotional ties and impending adult responsibilities. Maybe if I actually bought a lottery ticket I would win and could live like this forever. I am not bothered about Lear Jets and diamonds, just tickets to see the best gigs and time with my mates would make me eternally happy.

Today is day 3 of our Up North Trip and we are all in need of a mega fry-up. I hope Ellie has some recommendations.


Then a big chill out before hitting the shops in Liverpool tomorrow. Quiggins, Quiggins, Quiggins, we haven’t graced your doors for years.

Will need some energy for that. I am going to try to stay off the booze today…….


Stories from 1996. A Britpop journal Chapter 23

Super furry animals tank

August 9th 1996

A brief recount of my experiences (those that I remember) from Eisteddfod Llandeilo 1996.

The 1970’s orange and brown triangle tent failed dismally in the West Walian wash out. It has been consigned to the bin, never, ever to be seen or, thankfully, used again.  It survived 2 nights of pills :), thrills (thanks to a beautiful boy from Bethesda) and bellyaches (over indulgence of K cider, vodka and green Pot Noodles), but it was the miserable, relentless rain that finally saw it off.

There were good times – the brief periods of glorious sunshine, like fools gold, teasing us out to play. The amazing bands we were honoured to see including the supreme Super Furry Animals and their fantastic blue tank. We managed to squeeze into their Pabell Roc (Rock Tent) performance and were given a songbook to sing the English words for them as English is banned from the stages at the Eisteddfod. The above mentioned Beautiful Bethesda Boy. The guitars around the campfire. The CD player continued to work throughout our stay even though it was left out in the rain. The joyful banter and idle chat of a close group of friends with nothing better to do.

There were bad times – the dark clouds that persistently spat out rain that slowly, yet painfully, dissolved our resolve. That we managed to drunkedly fall asleep in the only afternoon sunshine we had and slowly burnt to a deep red. The country folk who still thought it was acceptable to pinch a girl’s behind as a chat up line. My beautiful new Adidas Gazelles destroyed by the acrid mud.  Ruddy faced idiots who thought the dancefloor of a gig was the perfect spot for a drunken brawl. The snoring….bloody hell the snoring…….the fucking snoring.

At this early stage of my return I am unsure of whether I enjoyed myself or not. I need a week of uninterrupted snore free sleep, a detox, some proper home cooked food and the company of civilised city folk.

‘Never again’ has been uttered in true come down style. My lowly airbed seems ridiculously luxurious and I cannot help but marvel at the invention of an indoor toilet.

I need to sleep this off.

The next day.

I did actually sleep for 15 hours yesterday. I wouldn’t admit to being sprightly but, some small resemblance of my former self has returned. Still cannot imagine drinking alcohol again and the thought of a Chicken and Mushroom Pot Noodle makes me want to vom, a lot. Ventured out to develop our photos from last week. We were concerned about the water logged cameras but luckily, or perhaps unluckily, the photos survived.

Well time to plan the next chapter of the Summer of ’96 Love Adventures. Up next is a two week visit from my Wisconsin born cousin Erin. She arrives tomorrow. We will be giving her a brief, but valuable introduction to Britpop via the V Festival. I hope she is ok, it could be a horrible few weeks if she is into Celine Dion or some such crap. Cross fingers for a cool cousin.

SFA leaflet

(The song leaflet from the SFA Eisteddfod gig).

Stories from 1996. A Britpop journal Chapter 22

Aug 2 1996

Shine 5

The summer is here and I have found the perfect album to get it started, give or take a few strange inclusions. Myself and Maisie have been listening to it over and over whilst drinking Dennis the Menace cocktails in the garden. Aren’t holidays brilliant?

This is where I am at for the next couple of months. My best mate in the world and her just as cool boyfriend have offered me their spare room for the summer. Considering the only other option I had was to move back to North Wales and be constantly harassed by parents into a holiday job – this feels like winning the lottery. Once again I am in awe at such kindness and feel ridiculously lucky to have such super mates. I have landed on my feet again and can bounce into a summer of madness in Cardiff.

Many people have left the city but there are still other cling-ons who refuse to face reality and get a grown up job just yet. It’s the Summer of ’96 and I am free, single and loaded up with credit cards. Where to begin…..

Well, other imminent exciting plans involve a camping trip to the Eisteddfod for some Welsh culture and drunken carnage. Then a visit from my American cousin, Erin, who will join me here in Cardiff for a two week stay. There will be a  few days visiting my school friend in Chester and then the climax of the excitement being the new V festival in Warrington with Pulp headlining. Some people travel the world after they graduate, I am doing Carmarthen to Warrington via Chester. Exotic it may not be but, we will put our own stamp on it and make these trips to remember. The reality of job hunting can wait. This is time off well deserved.

I now have a couple of days to chill out here until Dai comes down from Bangor for a night out in Cardiff en route to the Eisteddfod. I have found my amazing ‘looks like it’s from the ’70s triangle tent’, have bought a portable CD player from Argos with a view to taking it back after its week of use and have secured a lift in Maisie and Rhys’ Mini Metro. All set.

If I allow myself time to reflect and if I compare the above plan for this Summer with what myself and Him had intended a few months ago, I am left shocked at the immense changes in my life.  Our plan was to rent a flat together, get work and probably be engaged by the Autumn. Instead, I am sleeping on an airbed in a borrowed room. My recent life a trail of empty one night stands, never to be seen again friendships and more debt than I can bear to begin to imagine. I love my friends for putting me up and for putting up with me but, when I witness their love for each other, I do sometimes ask myself What if? I feel a little tiny bit lonely.

Everybody needs somebody and beneath the ‘I’m happy being me’ facade and the ‘Where’s the next party?’ bravado I must admit, to myself at least, that I do sometimes feel sad and I do miss Him…………..

I have just reread the above after wandering outside for a smoke. I can’t deny it but I can remedy it, I must get out more. Nights in on my own only result in self pity and ridiculous romantic notions.

Drown the heart in wine.

Brilliant kid

Aren’t holidays brilliant?