Primal Screaming


it was tramlines festival in sheffield. we had been out all day, a big group of us, new friends and old friends running around together being half wits.

i was on a high, no drugs yet, just pure energy borne all from freedom and a can-do sunnyside upbeat demeanour, the sort that just pours out of you

when ya with ya mates.

i was dressed like a tit in running shorts and knackered converse, a vest with a billowing plaid shirt over it, and around my neck draped three bead necklaces, green, blue, purple.

it had been raining all day on and off but it made no difference

primal scream were headlining and my little brother and I had set off ahead of the others in a taxi, and we arrived outside the main stage grounds and, finding the queue empty, we sprinted to the front, where two stewards were standing

we slipped in the mud, and a bunch of other girls ahead of us had slipped too, and we were all covered head to toe in mud

yes! mud! rain! and so, so much energy!

grinning from ear to ear as we ran

but we reached the stewards and they said we couldn’t come in.


i was very drunk, and I was very angry all of a sudden

i told them we had paid for our tickets fair and square

but they said no, its too late, last entry was 8.30

i said look, theres hardly anyone here, we wont be noticed, we have waited all year for this

they said it makes no difference

and I saw red

people piled up behind us ready to get in, all being turned away

we all clustered around and I said im not having it

my brother said calm down

i said nah, no way, its not happening,

its not happening

and I jumped through the middle of them and they went to grab me but missed, and I passed them by

i turned to my brother and shouted for him to follow me

and he did

and so did everyone else

and the stewards couldn’t do a thing, there were too many people

we ran across the field, the stage was in sight, the music in our ears

but the bag check was ahead, with bouncers now, not stewards,

and this big bald bastard saw us coming and stopped us

said ‘whats going on here then?’

i didn’t answer

he said you wont get past me, so don’t bother trying

and i thought

fuck that

fuck this whole festival for trying to stop us getting in

I ran past him, tried to sidestep him

but he caught me and wrestled me back, his big bastard arms around my throat, hoisting me away, swearing at me

‘i told you not to fuckin try it’

i said stop, stop and we will talk – ive paid for this, just let us in

he wouldn’t and I realised I was wasting breath, and he slung me out even as everyone else poured in behind his turned back,

my little brother stuck with me, told me to calm down

i was thrown out on my arse in the rain with the music so close

i can hear the hits playing just a hundred metres away and i wanna dance and im out here

i shouted and swore that id be getting in, and the big bald bastard just walked away

come on jack, come on, we’re getting in

he told me to chill and keep my head but my adrenaline was up and my pride was kicked and that bouncer was suddenly everyone that ever pissed me off

we sprinted off around the perimeter fence, scanning for weak spots,

we found the fence to some bullshit VIP zone at the back, and we hopped it without a seconds hesitation

and dropped down inside the arena

we passed through the VIP section and breezed out past the stewards there, and as we passed we couldn’t help but burst out laughing

started sprinting down to the crowd, down the muddy hill, laughing and shrieking as we ran, hugging in the rain, the whole stage ahead of us

everything opening up

we slipped in the mud again but bounced back up spattered in it and didn’t care, bounded into the thick of the crowd whooping and screaming,

right to the front of the stage in time for the last song,

in time to see everyone soaked to the bone, arm in arm, smiling and grinning and waving arms and singing, hugs everywhere from strangers with the rain dancing across smoke beams

the two rowdiest bastards in the arena, unstoppable,

fuck that bouncer and fuck the stewards,

and fuck everyone who tells you what you can and can’t do

stood all the way back behind us thinking they’d won,

but five minutes later we’re down there at the front, primal scream,

gospel choir, hands in the air,

lights, smoke, lasers,

i was a little kid again

and i just felt like i could do anything at all

grinning ear to ear and hugging my brother



it was so beautiful.


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