I was part of the ‘soft’ Security at the Mean Fiddler Tent and my task on the Saturday was keeping the backstage ramp to the car-park clear for the Stage Crew moving gear in and out. The ramp was a magnet for liggers and the differently-normal, so I was fortunate to be confronted by just one short chap with a wild beard and a pillow shoved down his front. He had a valid pass but didn’t look like the woman in the ID photo. I loved Reading but was already too old for the lack of sleep and decent toilets and maybe sensing this, the bearded Lady stepped back off the ramp and disappeared. Then re-appeared some time later; same beard, same pillow, same ID, same outcome.
Lo, thrice I shall appear unto you …
Come the evening and he stepped up to me, removed the beard and paunch and said, ‘look it was me all along!’ Well Mr Collins, you had me there. He left for his trailer, presumably to get ready as by my reckoning he was due on Stage in minutes. It got dark, I could hear some consternation front of Stage, but no Edwyn. More than an hour later I grab my torch and lead his party up the ramp.
Returning to my post, Stage Crew were getting worried about how late it was. The wind had already wrecked the Tent and the scheduling, the Festival had over-run the year before and the local residents complained to Reading Council about the noise. We had been warned that the Council had decided this year to fine the evil Management £3,000 for every minute past the cut–off.
Come the hour and the call went out to clear the Stage just when everyone had got settled in. ‘Shan’t’. The rest is legend.
Not Reading’s finest hour but I got the chance to briefly see Edwyn again on the ramp in ‘92 as part of the Rockingbirds Rolling Review and wished him better luck.
And so? I’m appealing for help in obtaining a legal and legitimate copy of the Phantasmagoria VHS, first because I think I’m in it and secondly because Reading (1987-93), Mud, Sweat and Beers, good and bad was an important and unrepeatable part of my life. Come every August Bank Holiday, the buzz still kicks in. Thanks, Rob.