In July, I’m thrilled to be playing, I mean cooking, the gig at Camp Bestival. I have a long association with music: starting out as a teen rock photographer for the NME. In fact I was so young and ignorant about how to be a proper photographer, I just turned up one day at their office with a bunch of 10 x 8 glossy prints in a plastic carrier bag and dumped it on the desk saying ‘here is my portfolio’. But it seemed to do the trick.
Unfortunately, my first job for them was a live gig with Screwdriver. I muscled my way to the front where I befriended an NF skinhead named Hector. The minute the band came on, the entire venue rose in a mass upward pogo. By the time I hit the floor, I was covered in gob, had lost a shoe and my flashgun. I managed 5 shots before Hector pulled me up by my belt and passed me over in a humiliating ‘crowd surf’ to safety at the back. Not an auspicious start.
To dine at The Underground Restaurant at Camp Bestival is to get a taster of the supper club trend, a back to basics food movement which attempts to combat samey high street chain restaurants by providing home-cooked fresh food. Supper clubs celebrate individualism and cooking from scratch. It also demonstrates, via the punk DIY philosophy, that you don’t need permission to form a band, start a restaurant. To paraphrase the famous punk poster: ‘Here are three chords: now start a band’: here are three ingredients, now start a restaurant.
The Underground Restaurant is also, at a festival, a chance to have a nice sit-down, be pampered and eat well, a little respite. It’s also why I have decided to put on a midnight sitting: much as we love to party at festivals after the groups have finished playing, you need to eat.
With my background, I’d like to feel I’m continuing this tradition of those involved with music whose career has morphed into the arena of food. Chefs nowadays are like rock stars; but the fans aren’t screaming, their mouths are too full!