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Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Victorious days

Summer wouldn't be the same without a festival or two...and it's always good to visit somewhere different. And Victorious is certainly different to any other music festival around....

First of all, the location....

Well, we do like to be beside the seaside...beside the Warrior

..and listening to music in such a historic, picturesque place was great....

And as well as watching the bands, you could go on board such iconic ships as the Victory, the Mary Rose and the Warrior, or even have a tour of the harbour...all included in the festival entry price of £15 per day.

The music....

The joy of going to a festival is to see favourite bands and to discover new hear something different - here at Victorious there were 120 bands playing over the weekend...and 90 of them were local ones. It was an eclectic line up to say the least with everyone from Charlotte Church to Level42, from Joy Formidable to the Feeling.

On the main stage, for me, the best performances came from good old Maximo Park and Reef..whose frontman looks more like Jim Carey everyday (it's the smile).What a good festival band Reef are..and I really liked the Milk, who I've not seen before.

At Little Johnny Russell's indoor stage, one of the highlights were Kassassin Street, a Portsmouth band with a charismatic front man Rowan Bastable with a nice line in dancing. Cross Tom Vek, some psychadelic sounds, Primal scream, some great guitar work, more besides, and there you have them.

And at the acoustic stage , there was such a chilled, casual feel...sitting on straw bales listening to the likes of oh so likeable James Walsh,

Mark Morris and Tremain, a local soul band led by Leonie and her sister Amba. Such great voices..and really good songs.

And popping up everywhere around the festival , raising money for charity , singing with gusto and bringing a smile to everyone's faces were the Alternative Southsea Choir,

There was certainly a different crowd of all ages here at this festival..thousands of babies and small children, an army of men who camped out near the real ale, the beautiful people
and some unusual characters too....

But when I say crowd, I mean a multitude...apparently there were 50,000 who visited the festival over the weekend. That's a lot of people, who all need feeding, watering, facilities...and somewhere to sit.

And that's where something needs changing for next year - I'm sure I'm not the only one who spent hours queuing for food, for drinks, for the loos.....and dying for somewhere to sit.

No food or drink was allowed into the festival (similar to many others) ...our bags were searched on arrival and any drinks found were confiscated....but if you're going to do that you have to make sure there's enough food on offer. There was a good choice of food ...Spanish, vegetarian, Mexican, burgers, pizza , pancakes, etc etc...but many of the stalls ran out of food on both days. When you get to the front of the queue and queueing for half an hour only to be told there wasn't left wasn't the best feeling in the world. But luckily there were the Camp Cooks..

..who kept on serving with style and good humour and kept their customers entertained all through the festival.

The real ale festival ran out of many of their ales after the first day..and to get a bottle of water was a mammoth effort in terms of time and being able to find one. And while I'm in battle axe mode....more seating please! Thousands of us had to sit on steps and pavements around the dockyard if we could find a got away with it Victorious this year because it didn't rain....if it had, you'd have been sunk. In the Solent.

However, for sheer entertainment, the chance to meet up with family and friends,

 ..hear some great music and enjoy an invigorating weekend in the shadows of such beautiful buildings and ships, this was a really Victorious weekend.

Today's track is from Kassassin Street ...


Wednesday, 21 August 2013

The day of the Battle of Bosworth

What a week for true Ricardians and those interested in the times of the Wars of the Roses.
While a modern day battle is being fought over where the body of Richard III should lie, tomorrow  is the 528th anniversary of the Battle of Bosworth...the battle in which the King was killed and the course of British history was changed forever more.

It was on  Thursday 22 August 1485 that Richard was killed here in Leicestershire, near the village of Sutton Cheyney. He'd ridden out from Leicester the day before with around 12,000 men with the intention of cutting Henry Tudor off from his march towards London.

But this wasn't just another was the last fought by a King who died in battle and Bosworth is a site of national historic significance, being the location of one of the three most important battles fought on British soil.

And every year, this event is remembered and re enacted by hundreds of men and women who go back and live life in the fifteenth century at the battlefield, and last weekend I joined over five thousand other spectators to watch them.

The re enactors got ready for battle

They lined up waiting for battle, but unlike those men who fought in 1485, they knew they would live to fight another day........

And as the cannons boomed in the distance they watched....

Richard's army began to march 

As did Henry Tudor's men ...

King Richard waited....

As battle began

Until the end...when Richard was killed, his body slung over his horse for the ride back to Leicester, as Henry Tudor celebrated...

But the weekend at Bosworth wasn't just about the battle. It recreated the music and the times of the fifteenth century England, with authentic music

I met Paul Parker, a historical interpreter who was there in the guise of  Captain Mortimer...who was a barber surgeon...and with relish he told me the gory, bloody stories of injury and death on the battlefields of the Wars of the Roses

At battle camp, wood had to be chopped, fires lit ...

Some re enactors are highly skilled ...Stephen Pole is a leathstitch, working in leather and canvas. He makes authentic hand sewn leather bags and purses for other reanactors.During war, he would have been levied by the army, and would have had to leave his shop and go to battle as a camp follower, repairing leather harnesses on the horses, mending tents and soldier's footwear.

He's pictured below with with Ann Laken, who in this century is a gardener, but as a re enactor...she's a master fletcher, handcrafting authentic fifteenth century arrows.

For some , it's never too early to be immersed in the world of the Wars of the Roses....

Also present was someone whose career has taken a different turn because of Richard III...and that's artist Graham Turner. Formerly a motor sport artist, he's now carved out a career as a painter of mediaeval history. He's even become a jouster , wearing a complete suit of replica 15th century armour!

Here's his painting "Challenge in the Mist" ..with Richard at the Battle of Barnet in 1471.

But take a look at this painting, which was unveiled at Bosworth a couple of months ago. It's of Richard, on the field of battle on 22 August 1485. The detail, the colour is all so impressive...I adore it...

So all in all, a wonderful weekend for people of all ages, to not only learn more about Richard III, from experts from the University of Leicester who were pivotal in the discovery of Richard, and from experts such as Dr Phil Stone , Chairman of the Richard III Society ,

and also to become immersed in the world of the Wars of the Roses, both on and off the battlefield.....

Friday, 16 August 2013

A day of spitting feathers - more about Richard III

I'm spitting feathers today. Really.

But if you don't live in the UK, you may wonder what I'm talking about. Well it's a saying which has two meanings.  It can mean I'm very  thirsty -a metaphor for my  mouth being so dry, it feels like it's full of feathers.
There's another meaning too....we also say it when we're angry -like being so angry I'm foaming at the mouth. So which of those am I today?  Let's put it this way , I don't want a glass of water...

Why?  It's all about the King who was found in a car park..

 I've found out that distant relatives of Richard III have been granted permission for a judicial review of the decision to rebury the king's remains here in Leicester.

The Plantagenet Alliance, which includes fifteen of his relatives, want his body to be buried in York, saying it was the King's wish. So  they've  launched a legal challenge to the decision made by the Ministry of Justice that The University of Leicester could decide where Richard's remains  would be buried.

Now, Mr Justice Cave has granted Judicial Review proceedings against the Secretary of State for Justice and the University of Leicester .

I can't believe it! It all began nearly a year ago....and I've been following the story both here on the blog...and as a BBC reporter working a mere two minute walk away from where King Richard III was found...see below,

In February, the remains which had been found a Leicester car park were  confirmed as Richard's  by a team from the University of Leicester, led by Richard Buckley.

Now before the dig even began, a licence to carry out the dig, issued by the Ministry of Justice, gave the authority to decide where to rebury the king to the university. Quite rightly, in many people's opinion, it was felt appropriate that the King should be reburied in the cathedral just opposite where he had lay for nearly 500 years.

And where he has been remembered all over the city

In Castle Park Park Gardens, where you can smell where his statue stands before you see it....his statue is surrounded by the heady scent of nearly a hundred white roses....

 So, it seemed as if the matter were sorted....already thousands have come to Leicester, to the city where he set off on his last journey to the Battle of Bosworth, to see his resting place under the car park, to visit the temporary exhibition telling the story of who he was, and the now world wide famous archaeological dig to find him....

Leicester City Council's plans to build a £4 million  visitor centre are already well advanced and Leicester cathedral has already began a £1 million project to house the tomb of Richard III in time for his re-interment there next May. A  "significant space" is being created with a new floor, lighting and stained glass windows.

So what now? Who knows...but today the judge has said  the resting place of an anointed king is was a matter of "general public importance and touches on Sovereign, State and Church.".

So now it would seem there'll be a full High Court Hearing. I can imagine the urgent talks being held right now. Talks between passionate people  at Leicester City Council , Leicester Cathedral and the University of Leicester , on the legacy that the discovery of King Richard III has brought to all of us here in Leicestershire...and what it will mean if we lose the King.

I bet they're spitting feathers too...and when I say that, I wouldn't have thought that  they're all clamouring for a cup of tea ....

Today's track....well, here's Depeche Mode and "Wrong"...