The man in the high-vis jacket is resolute. He is not for turning.
“Ye cannae get in here with that wrist-band. Ye need a Production or a Security pass. I cannae let ye in wi that.”
“Ah go on will ya”
“No way pal. If ye’ve no’ got the right wristband ye’re no’ gettin in”
The Electric Picnic organisers have taken the clever step of using Scottish and English security guards to man the fences. Statistics – which I have just made up – show that “Ah go on will ya” is only 15% as effective on out-of-towners as on locals. I try a different tack.
“But I’ve got an artist’s pass.” I say in pleading tones.
“That’s a day-specific pass. It’s only valid for yesterday. Ye’ll need another artists pass for today.”
My artist’s pass looks crumpled and useless. For my third and final approach I dredge up an old favourite from the past.
“But my friend is in there!”
Surely he can’t be unmoved by this. What human being would keep two friends – one of whom is imaginary – apart in such a callous way?
“Well gi’ him a ring and tell him come oot”
Cursed logic. I’m defeated as I pretend to ring Mr Friend. “This is ridiculous.” I say as I muster up some indignation.
It is ridiculous because I don’t actually need to get in there. ’There’ in this case is a VIP area at Electric Picnic with a little bit of extra V. There’s nothing special on the other side of the fence – some slightly better toilets and some funky-looking chairs. I was in this exclusive zone the day before and left quickly enough. But now that I can’t get in it’s become attractive again.
Of course, there’s no point in getting inside if everyone is there. It is a deep-seated human trait that enjoyment of any situation is accentuated by exclusivity. A few years ago, a friend of a friend was opening up a new nightclub. I was not a regular night-clubber normally as I found the music too loud for conducting anoraky conversations about the decline of Nottingham Forest after the departure of Brian Clough, but when someone offered me a VIP ticket, everything changed. A new jumper was bought specifically for the occasion. Some ‘product’ was put in the hair. It was important to look the part. Imagine my chagrin to find a long queue of people all carrying the same piece of silvery cardboard. We all looked at each other in disgust. It appeared the affair wasn’t as exclusive as we thought. As each new person arrived to join the queue, the prestige of those already there was diluted until it was effectively worthless. Like having shares in the banks.
Obviously I blame Bosco for this skewed obsession with getting to the other side of things. For many years, the minds of a number of successive generations were moulded by the daily journey through The Magic Door taken by the wool-haired hero of indeterminate gender.
The Magic Door had a powerful impact on a nation. I would contend that its red-brick façade and Edwardian door subliminally caused tens of thousands of thirtysomethings to pay over the odds for terraced houses in ‘up and coming areas’.
It appeared Bosco’s production team had made only a couple of field trips over the course of the series 386 episodes. One was to the zoo to watch animals such as snow leopards drive themselves to distraction in their Victorian-era cubicles while classical music played in the background. And there isn’t an Irish-born person over the age of 27 who does not know how they get the sausage meat into the sausage. Wikileaks is suggesting they have video-evidence that Bosco may have been to the Jacobs factory to see figs being put into rolls but so far they have kept their counsel.
Nevertheless, Bosco sent a strong message that wherever you see a door, wonderment is guaranteed on the other side. You see its impact in all sorts of situations. While in Dublin at the same time as the Queen’s visit, I noticed a curious phenomenon at the security barriers which snaked around the city. People were walking out of their way to in order to be blocked. They didn’t know they wanted to get to the other side until they found out they couldn’t.
The other side is not that special. My limited experiences of VIP zones have been tense. My clothes are never cool enough. The place is full of people scanning everyone else to see if they are important enough to register. Anyone scanning me will get an “Unexpected Item In Bagging Area” message.
“There’s no much goin’ on there pal.” Says the man in the Hi-Vis jacket
He’s right. Time go to back to my people.