Multiple entrances, guarded by a battalion of old and young uniformed men and women warned everybody that we were actually entering "The Citadel Show," an open air music festival in Gunnersbury Park, not Auschwitz.
Acres of white grass spread before me. I strolled past an endless number of drink and food stalls. Then three very large canvas covered arenas came into view. The mamoth Citadel was straight ahead, the Big Top 100 metres to the right and a third, non-descript nameless piece of canvas looked on deserted way over on the left.
I began to feel uneasy. What am I doing here? My last outdoor show was Counting Crows riding in their Yellow Taxi. Yes and I remember, the Pinball wizard, Roger and Pete, were next playing with another silver ball. Who are you?
I begin to get submerged by the crowd. Dozens of heavy weights, short skirts, tattered jeans with tatoos galore and some glistening painted faces. The modern day mixture of young Britain on a day/night out heading for a midnight finish. My discomfort grew.
The noise begins to take over. What a racket!! Tinny sounds sprinkled with Bash Bash thump thump leave me deaf and speechless. The closer I get the more I realise that each stage is backed with screens offering full frontals of the stage performers.This of course did nothing to improve the sound. The noise levels were abominable, easily in excesss of any EU workplace sound regulations.
I notice that the current Citadel's performers are called. "Dream Wife." What a name!! After examination of the quartet I decided that non of the four were for me. Well sorry ladies, I have been hitched for over 50 years so no more nightmares. I suppose my reaction just goes to show how times and tastes have changed. It must be an age issue.
I pass the "News" tent hurriedly as the presenter's microphone appeared to be in difficulty finding non swear words. I was rescued by the painting and scribble area for four to six year olds. Thank heavens there were many there that shared my view of the surrounding action.
I approach the carousel ride and I got scared. I ultimately decided against taking the life threatening experience of a ride. Others filled it eagerly. They must have had better life insurance. "Dangerous" was the only description I can offer.
I wandered around the acreage aimlessly and then decided that it was time for me to disappear. The track to the exit was overflowing with the incoming "fans." I was overpowered by the masses. Survival thoughts came quickly. The population of Greater London is roughly the same as the whole of Portugal, 9 million, whereas the area of Portugal is some 5- 6 times greater. So that's it. Freedom No wonder I love the Algarve I need space.
Scrambling back to the tranquility of buses and Chelsea tractors I see some new advertising inviting everybody to return to the Park for the September bash, only another £90. I notice that the Catfish and the Bottlemen, Bastille Friendly Fires, The Coronas Fontaines and again Dream Wife will be performing. Oh am sorry ladies, I will be back home strolling along the beach - that's who I am.