16 August 2012

PridStock 2012 - "The poetry of the earth is never dead."

PridStock 2012

Are you part of the epidemic of inactivityDo you have "Nature Deficit Disorder" or "zoo human syndrome"?  You do? Then you need to get yourself outside and go to a festival.

*John Keats once wrote, "The poetry of earth is never dead."

My old mate Brummy Jon (BJ) is a musician, a sound engineer a very good friend and is an all round top fella and all his chums will agree. He’s from the Birmingham area and his real name is Jon Priddy and he turned 50 at the weekend and when tvc sound system were doing their 2011 NYE Party at the Share and Coulter pub near where we live, in the morning the guy in charge, Trevor, was showing me his new diary for 2012. “Ah, all pristine and not one entry; yet”.

“Turn to NYE 2012”, I suggested, and he did. “Now put in tvc” I said, and surprisingly, he did. 

He looked at me straight in the eye, in an “are you taking the piss?” kind of way before saying “OK”.

“Oh, while you’re there,” says BJ, who just happened to be in the vicinity and was witnessing the aforementioned scenario; “Can I book a date for my 50th birthday party for August?”

“I don’t see why not”, says Trevor.

“For the whole weekend?” suggests BJ.

Trevor ‘ummed’ but didn’t ‘aah’ for too long; “I don’t see why not”, he says.

And so “PridStock 2012” was born. An enterprising young(ish) man, an open minded landlord and a crisp new diary conspire to produce the weekend we all just finished enjoying.

“Already planning next years” said BJ with a laugh as the last gasp of the mini-festival burnt its last embers.

The tvc rig, of course always the loudest element, was confined to the pub but what a confinement it was; electricity on demand, an excellent VJ set up from EyeSaw, DJ’s coming out of our ears playing all styles of music to a full dance floor day and night and day and night and day. The bar always open (within licensed permitted limits of course) for ice cold refreshments; the restaurant even open for Sunday lunch – “The best Sunday lunch service ever”, said Trevor.

The worse thing about being inside? Not being outside.

All outdoor locations are associated with positive feelings of enjoyment, calmness and refreshment. It must be something natural, built up over millions of years, but you can't beat the feeling of wind against your skin, the sun on your face, and the body travelling across the landscape.

Outside, of course, always outside, the beautiful outdoors, where we belong, where we came from, the sun over our heads warming our skin, the joy of perfect friendships old and new unrolling and unfurling on the green grass of our temporary, surrogate home of tented heaven; sipping cocktails and sharing laughter and experiences.

Researchers Marc Berman, John Jonides and Stephen Kaplan found memory performance and attention spans improved by 20 per cent after people spent an hour interacting with nature.

“Attention restoration theory (ART) provides
an analysis of the kinds of environments that lead to
improvements in directed-attention abilities. Nature,
which is filled with intriguing stimuli, modestly grabs
attention in a bottom-up fashion, allowing top-down
directed-attention abilities a chance to replenish.

Just being out in nature does your body, mind and soul some good. Eye contact improves and smiles swim with cotton wool layers of alcoholic spin. Being outdoors and having awareness of the world's beauty before you makes you feel energized and alive. We want to connect, to be with people, we’re social and we need to love each other. Going outdoors has unseen therapeutic effects that actually increase your energy levels, and no one can argue with that! You make new connections with people that would have never been possible. You learn more about someone from one hour of playing outside with them than you will in a year of working with them.

Of course a little preparation would help here. My friends are sick of my tent erection antics at festivals whereby I bring a tent and don't set it up and end up going home enjoying the comforts of a dark, cool bedroom, shower facilities and clean clothes. The term "biophilia" literally means "love of life or living systems" and I am really in touch with the biophilia hypothesis and am well aware that there is an instinctive bond between human beings and other living systems. But one can have the best of both worlds. Even I advocate the positive aspects of taking some time away from TV and computers, kicking the old socks off and walking barefoot through the grass.

According to a 2009 study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the closer you live to nature, the healthier you're likely to be. The study took an objective look at 345,143 Dutch people's medical records, assessing health status for 24 conditions, including cardiovascular, respiratory and neurological diseases. The records were then correlated with how much green space was located within 1 kilometre and 3 kilometres of a person's postal code. And what did researchers find? People who lived within 1 kilometre of a park or a wooded area experienced less anxiety and depression than those who lived farther away from green space.

Most people I meet, including myself, have Nature Deficit Disorder. Frank Forencich refers to this as likened unto being aliens on our own planet. Erwan Le Corre calls it the zoo human syndrome. Various governing bodies call it the “epidemic of inactivity.” That’s just a fancy way of saying we don’t get outdoors much, and are not in-tune with the natural world we live in. What better way to get in touch with the natural you than spending a weekend rolling around on the grass with your chums?

Because sunlight is a natural source of vitamin D, it only seems logical that spending more time in outside would increase your vitamin D intake. We just keep learning more and more about how important vitamin D is for health, including preventing cancer, hormonal problems, obesity, and inflammation, and having a strong immune system. Because sunlight is a natural source of vitamin D, it only seems logical that spending more time in outside would increase your vitamin D intake.

Being in a natural setting can also help increase your quality of sleep, as studies show that natural sunlight helps set the body's internal clock that tells us when to eat and sleep, and normalizes hormonal functions that occur at specific times of the day. And we all know how important sleep is not just for our health, but even for our weight loss!

Enjoying the outdoors also gives us a break from technology and the on-the-run lifestyle to which we're all so accustomed. When we're outside, we have a clearer, more focused mind-set to hang out with friends, or spend some quiet time alone.

And perhaps most important of all, we get a chance to clear our heads and break from the stress we all have each and every day.

Psychologists often talk about ecological validity - the need to make sure that we assess thinking in the light of man's normal, natural surroundings. Well, what more ecologically valid than to re-experience the pleasure of stumbling between tents, across fields looking for music, friends, love or a festival toilet.

Outside at PridStock we had 2 marquees one for live bands and the other, Geoff’s Mess tent, for a nice chilled out cup of tea. DJ’s, of course played wherever they could, the musicians played together, separately, in hastily convened and spontaneous huddles, even on the stage. Local bands and DJ’s under one banner one and all and all playing for free and loving it. A lovely big fire ensured the chilled and chilly early morning hours were warmed and Tanya’s bacon butty’s in the morning ensured the ‘early risers’ we well fed.

Jon with his brother and mum
So, happy birthday dear soul brother; we all love you dearly and hope you realise that and we really, really look forward to gathering once again next year to celebrate you 51st birthday.

The world is always in movement. – V. S. Naipaul

*John Keats: On The Grasshopper And Cricket

The poetry of earth is never dead: 
      When all the birds are faint with the hot sun, 
      And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run 
From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead; 
That is the Grasshopper's-he takes the lead 
      In summer luxury,-he has never done 
      With his delights; for when tired out with fun 
He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed. 
The poetry of earth is ceasing never: 
      On a lone winter evening, when the frost 
      Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills 
The Cricket's song, in warmth increasing ever, 
      And seems to one in drowsiness half lost, 
      The Grasshopper's among some grassy hills.
Justin Sparry DJ set  
Frarnie Grant DJ set 
Oz Mess Tent Mix 
Oz PridMix
Mike and Si