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Two Thousand Trees 2013 – A Review

This review is a touch late (by about 6 months), but here goes anyway.

It’s now February, and, after one of the wettest starts to the year on record, my memories of 2000Trees Festival last summer have faded into a happy, hazy blur.

2012’s festival was defined by mud. Mud, mud, mud. Mud in rivers throughout the site. Oh, and rain. That’s not to say we didn’t have a good time, but the weather made most things a struggle. Last year, however, was like some mystical force had decided – for the first time in the festival’s history – that it was about time that Trees didn’t have any rain at all. In blazing Gloucestershire sunshine; 2013 would be defined by heat.

But the weather isn’t the main reason you go to a festival; Two Thousand Trees prides itself on lining up the best underground UK bands, and that pride is not misplaced. Over the years I’ve seen a few bands play here who have gone on to enjoy greater success, Frank Turner being the obvious example.

The line-up this year included two sets from Frank on the Thursday Early Entry and Friday nights, but as a firm favourite here, he popped up unofficially too and for each performance was greeted like a returning hero. Thursday night’s solo performance was a personal highlight for me, especially as I missed his ‘secret’ set* over at Camp Reuben on Friday. There was a good reason for this though – wandering round the site, we’d bumped into Dave McPherson trying to find his way up to the new secret garden area, accompanied him up there and stuck around to watch him play his own secret set. Which was awesome.

Other weekend music highlights included InMe in the Cave (which left me with moshpit bruises, but was so much fun – and loud… really loud!), Stealing Sheep’s impressive and innovative set headlining the Leaf Lounge, which ended in an outdoor un-amplified performance with their marching band (a joyous thing indeed), Stornoway on the main stage (despite sound issues that delayed the start of their set) and an emotional Ben Marwood playing to an adoring crowd at the Treehouse.

Ben Marwood at 2000Trees 2013

Ben Marwood at 2000Trees 2013

And let’s not forget eating icecream from the Split Screen Icecream Company, basking in the shade of the tree with cider, playing on the busk stops scattered through the site, and the delicious freshly-made pizza.

There were one or two negatives – the heat over the weekend was intense (the temperature in our tent was 50°C at one point! Phew) and hard to cope with at times (not that I am knocking the sunshine, just not being able to take a break from it), the sound on the main stage had a few more issues than it has in previous years, and a few people that we spoke to reported problems with security.

For me though, 2000Trees is still a fim favourite festival and I am definitely going to return again this year for more of the same – great line-up, great food and great times.


*I seem to have a habit of missing Frank’s unofficial appearances at Trees – the first year we went, hubby and I woke up to singing in the middle of the night, thinking ‘that sounds like Frank Turner…’. Too tired to get up and investigate, we discovered in the morning that it was indeed Mr Turner, resulting in a now-legendary campsite sing-along, which we missed.


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The Hidden Art of Finishing Stuff

I am not a strong finisher. The final hurdle in any given task has always been the hardest for me, which may explain why I haven’t updated this blog since July. It’s not that I haven’t been writing posts – I have a heap of them in the drafts folder – it’s just that I haven’t been finishing posts.

And it’s not just blog posts – I have so many unfinished projects kicking round that I’ve lost count of them. The table I was up-cycling, the jewellery that I intend to fix one day, the sewing pile that isn’t getting any smaller… the list goes on. It’s a miracle that I even ever manage to finish a song… but who knows how many scraps of lyrics I have in various box files and folders in my studio.

I constantly write lists, and although they help, I often find myself procrastinating or doing something that isn’t even on the list but somehow seems more important right now (wait, that’s still procrastinating, isn’t it?). Even if I set myself deadlines, they are usually ignored if they are self-imposed and not dictated by something outside my control.

So what do I do? Is it beyond the realm of possibility to hope that I can change my ways?

To try to give myself (and you) a helping hand, here’s a few interesting posts on the subject:

It seems the most common problem is to make your goals too vague, leaving you feeling like you don’t know where to start, let alone finish. This sounds very, very familiar to me, so my first task is to break down my to do lists into more manageable chunks – I may not be able to tick off ‘sort out kitchen’ but I am much more likely to complete the task if I put ‘wash dishes’ and ‘wipe down kitchen surfaces’, for example. I’m going to give this a try, and to apply a few more tips from the articles above – we’ll see if it makes things easier.

Do you have any tips for getting through your to do lists? What makes you feel productive? Let me know in the comments!

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Things to do before I’m 30 Re-visited

Last year I wrote a list of ten ‘Things to do Before I’m 30’ – and then spectacularly failed to do any of them before I hit the big three-zero.

Never mind, I thought – why give yourself an arbitrary deadline? Why not do these things in your own time? And so that’s what I’ve been doing, and now seemed like a good time to re-visit the list to see how I’m getting on. If you want to see my reasons for the things on the list, the original post is here.

  1. Record an album – Well, it’s in progress… But I am gradually creeping closer to being finished as I now have 11 tracks recorded and close to being ready for mixing. Then I just need to get the thing mastered and produced! So a bit of a way to go, but I’m getting there.
  2. Improve my instrumental skills – I’ve started taking piano lessons again, and I’ve been working on my guitar skills. This is one that won’t ever really stop though, so maybe putting a deadline on it was a mistake in the first place…
  3. Go on tour – I’m hoping to start booking dates soon, but it’ll depend on when I can get the album released.
  4. Start learning Spanish – Yeah, this one’s on the back-burner.
  5. Travel – I went to Tunisia, which was ok, and I’m off to Spain in September, hopefully (hmmm, maybe I should make more of an effort with the above point before I go!). I still aim to travel more though.
  6. Get a tattoo – Done! I never actually thought I’d go through with this one, but here we are. Did it hurt? Yes. But not too badly, actually, and I’m really pleased with the result.625651_10151268490431890_1263217523_n
  7. Try something different with my hair – I dyed my hair black for the last Malmesbury Carnival (so technically, I did get this done before my 30th!), but it faded out really quickly and I couldn’t be bothered to re-do it. I’m still quite bored with my hair so maybe I’ll have another crack at it one day. I’m just not very good at making the effort with stuff like that though.
  8. Create a cartoon character that is “edgy enough to be alternative, but still cute enough to be marketable” (like Skull Panda) – Yeah, another one on the back burner.
  9. Write a non-serious song –  and another.
  10. Try snowboarding – and another!

Well, there it is – my half-arsed attempt at doing a list of things.

I might give up on a couple (like the non-serious song… attempts at humour have been poor. I’m just not naturally funny!), but I’ve actually achieved more than I thought I had. Maybe you’ll read this and think it’s not a very successful list, that I’ve failed in meeting my own targets, but it doesn’t matter really. What matters is that I haven’t given up, that I’m trying, and slowly working towards finishing the items that are really important to me.

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Post It Note Sketches

Post It notes – I love them… But we’ll get on to that in a bit.

First, I’d like to explain what’s been going on in my life recently. Of course, if you read my last post, you’ll know that I quit my job a while ago, and at the time, was not-so-patiently waiting for life to re-start when I’d worked the last of my notice there. Well now it has, and I have to say, the difference in my mood and personality has been amazing. It’s so nice to wake up in the morning and to decide for myself what the plan for the day is. Yes, it’s now completely up to me to get motivated and to get stuff done, but I can work on what I like when I like, and that has made me so much happier.

Financially it makes sense for me to look for another job at least part-time, but at the moment my priority is to get the never ending album project finished and that is what I am concentrating on.

So anyway, back to the point. When I was not so gainfully unemployed, I used to sketch little things on Post-It notes. It was kind of a coping mechanism as it gave my mind a small break from whatever spreadsheet I was staring at. Apparently doodling has been shown to help memory and concentration, but even so, my little sketch collection seemed to be frowned upon… yet I couldn’t bring myself to throw them all out.

Recently I was tidying up the studio and I found a stack of ones that I’d brought home with me, so I thought I’d share them:

And if you like those, here’s a tumblr dedicated solely to the art of Post-Its. You can even send in your own!

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In Limbo

It’s a Thursday afternoon and here I sit, in limbo. Having handed in my notice at work, it feels like I am just waiting for the end to start. And once that happens, perhaps I can begin anew.

I do feel better though, despite the nagging fear that there won’t be another job out there, or that I won’t be able to find the self-motivation to finish the projects that I am determined to make time for. In this limbo state, I can see more clearly that this is not a bad thing.

Change is important, and whether life after my old job turns out to be good, bad or even a complete surprise, I know that I would have regretted staying.

So, thank you to everyone who sent me messages or who I’ve chatted with since my last blog post . Thank you for your support, concern and advice – I appreciate your thoughts, both positive and negative (or sensible, as they’re also known :)). It’s good to know you’re there.

And the countdown continues…

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Snowballing Momentum and New Starts


There’s been this creeping feeling of wrongness in my life for some time now. And the longer it’s been there, the bigger it has felt – gaining momentum like the proverbial snowball down the slope – to the point where hubby and I came home after a really good night out and I just cried.

And cried, and cried.

I decided then – it’s time to stop it. Time to accept that there are things that I am not happy about, and to address them.

I seem to have spent most of this year questioning myself:  Am I happy with life? Am I getting anywhere with my music? Am I spending my time on the right things? Am I ‘good enough’? Have I made the right choices? Am I doing anything to make the world better? Am I doing something I believe in? Am I going in even vaguely the right direction?

These are the kind of questions that we do need to ask ourselves from time to time, but the constant drip, drip, drip of self-doubt has just been making me miserable.

In all this questioning, there is one definite answer. Things need to change – and at the top of the list is my job.

Those who know me personally will know that I’ve said this for some time, but now I really think that my happiness, time and mental health is worth more than the monthly wage that’s been keeping me there.

I need a new start.

I don’t expect this to magically fix everything – in fact, I fully expect the next few months to be pretty tough. There will be less money coming in so there will have to be cut-backs, but I believe that hubby and I will be able to get by, get through it, and hopefully come out the other side happier.

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Takin’ a Tiny Break

TreeFest is nearly here!

As a member of the 4014 team, I’m really excited to be part of the weekend of music, mayhem and family fun – but I am also facing the reality that this blog is going to be on the back-burner for a bit. In theory, it should be just over the bank holiday weekend, but realistically, I have other commitments over the next couple of weeks that may also get in the way.

Not that the blog hasn’t been neglected for the last couple of months anyway. I do realise that I have been slacking. In my defence, I’ve had a lot of other stuff going on, which I may or may not decide to post about at a later date… (going for mysterious there, probably came off more annoying. Whatever, it’s my blog.)

Basically the plan is to give the blog a rest for a bit, and then come back with a more regular posting schedule in September. And hopefully some interesting stuff to tell you all about too.

I would just like to say thanks to all those who have read/liked/commented – there are a lot of (better) blogs out there, so I appreciate the time you’ve made for mine. Thank you.

So, it’s ta ta for now. I shall see you anon.

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