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I Sing The Body Electric
The stars were aligned and and the sun shone at Electric Picnic. It was the least we deserved at the end of a long, wet summer...
Niall Stokes, 14 Sep 2012
Festival experiences are made of memories like these: of course they are. But they encompass so much more than that too. The human animal is a wonderful creature and, gathered together on a warm and festive afternoon at the end of a disastrously wet and in many ways gloomy summer, the 35,000 strong sell-out audience confirmed this in all sorts of unexpected ways.
It wasn't just the fact that this was the rock'n'roll tribe putting on a show, dressed for fun and frolics, letting it all hang out and looking full of sass and sex appeal (okay that was mainly the women but you know what I mean!). This is a country where people used to be so screwed-up about their bodies they wanted to hide every inch of flesh, preferably behind something grey. At Electric Picnic, there was colour and self-confidence and vibrancy in evidence at every turn.
It is one of the joys of being human that no two people will always agree on who or what is beautiful or attractive. Tall, thin, fat, slim, small, in between: there is usually someone for everyone in the audience and the more we observe humans as creatures, the better we can tune in to what it is that others see in those that might at first not seem like paragons of whatever it is that generally strikes a deeper chord or makes the earth move for us.
Besides, as any student of Walt Whitman (and Patti Smith) will know, it is often in their vulnerability that we can find the true beauty of people. And in the sun at Electric Picnic, there is so much of that visible, in glorious close-up, that it is genuinely fascinating: the sunglasses perched on the head betraying a fantasy self that only the wearer could ever fully explain; the mis-choice of short shorts exposing something unintended and not really flattering but utterly human; the suit worn in a particular way to disguise a hint of encroaching girth; the shaved, bald head beginning to show the effects of the sun when a little bit of factor 50 could have rebuffed the ultraviolet; the face with everything in some way flawed that somehow adds up to much more than the sum of its parts...