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  • Writer's pictureCaleb Parkin

Green Man Gripes & Shambling


Shambling at Shambala 2017

It’s been a busy couple of festival weeks! And I’m just starting to return to the so-called ‘Real World’…

The weekend before last, I was running my Petty Protest workshops at Einstein’s Garden, Green Man Festival. Some excellent, witty griping went on – here’s some pictures:

I now have a MEGAPHONE and will be planning some projects in which I can use it again…

And then this weekend, I went to Shambala for the first time. It’s a really wonderful festival, full of generosity, creativity, appreciation, energy, and downright silliness.

It’s a very free and friendly event – some of my highlights being Power Ballad Yoga and Oh My God, It’s The Church! My quick description of the festival was ‘The 1960s fed through Google DeepDream’…So to document my first time there, I wrote a poem gathering some of the moments that stay with me – here it is.

NB: This is a poem for adults! Contains psychedelic imagery and reference to specific body-parts!

Shambling (v.) – To attend Shambhala Festival (2017)

When the floor is your wardrobe. When the sky roars from 30,000 eyes. When you knock on your neighbour’s tent of rainbow hair. When your toes are doused in dahl. When the urinals branch and billow. When there’s sexy sequin soup between the pods. When you meet bacon roving the woods, but nowhere else. When Sexy Jesus reaches up yo’ ass all the way to yo’ heart. When the flamingos form a Union. When you’re at the urinal, blowing bubbles. When you realise being Upside Down and Inside Out might not be a nice thing, Diana? When bacon sees you’re holding a spatula. When the lipstick misses your mouth so far you think it’s a scar under your chest hair. When sauna chat rehydrates tardigrades. When there’s glitter under your foreskin. When you’ve no idea how you’re going to get out of this outfit, but it’s entirely worth it. When you meet a family of fellow gold-winged beings and they give you a medal. When you discuss seriously the toilets with which you’ve formed an inappropriate bond. When you grasp the spiritual plectrum and, when ready, expel. When Jimmy Big-Top becomes real. When Ship Out becomes his catchphrase. When Shidney the Slow Loris Pirate finger-puppet becomes his sidekick. When you convince the first person of all of this. When the pyrotechnics make your eyes overflow. When everyone sits down. When I was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar. When you were working as a waitress in a cocktail bar. When it was Dad’s Night tonight but Mum’s Night tomorrow. When I wasn’t born a vegetarian! I want a burger! When you can just come and put me on the helter-skelter, but you don’t have to watch. When the Snow Queen grew like a luminous shroom. When we laughed so much we let out a little bit of neon. When we found Helen on my hat. When there’s an injury, then ice in every crevice. When the Cuckoo Clock strikes two glittery boobs. When a squatter in the corner of the Herris Fencing says in broad Northern Irish, Solidarity with women! I’m just trying to understand their experiences. When you blow your nose and Annie Lennox’s face comes out. When you shout to a friend, but she’s a cloud and floats away. When the trees are bioluminescent and living for their gig. When Glitter Largesse gives it all away. When you become Dispatula. When you realise it’s got lights in too. When you meet the stuffed dog in the cone of shame and hear its backstory and stroke its nose, because it likes it. When you adopt the beautiful unicorn people on the dancefloor. When the woods flutter Spanish poetry from its million Monarch wings. When you leave the womb as Red, Red Wine. When you grow bright yellow tail plumage and shake it, shake it, shake it. When all bodies are beautiful. When queues are quilted & sawdust scented with sharing. When play is a not a privilege but an Element. When you receive free hugs and a free shrug. When the security van rumbles through a sunrise sweet as a perfect grapefruit, meep-meeping: You, sir, look *fabulous*. When the Segway Grannies grind on their trundle buggies. When movement is in everything and the trees are punching the air and look: the infinite tundra of our soles.

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