“Jamie!” A southern accent, perhaps that of a cockney called out my name. I glanced upwards into the throng of people and then back down at my tool ready to carve away in the sand again. I don’t know many cockneys.
“Jamie!” There it was again, unmistakable this time and definitely a cockney. The caller was stood just outside the sand pit, he was an amiable looking man sporting a cowboy hat and shades and was looking somehow excited and enthusiastic. I popped my head up in acknowledgement and stood up to greet this Cockney Cowboy. “Hi.”
I was at Glastonbury festival working for the wonderful Zara Gaze. They had already made this great sculpture of a woman lying on her side before my arrival and the festival start. But Zara had come up with a great twist to take back our maidens delicate form layer by layer so that throughout the festival you would see her be reduced to muscle and then skeleton. A realization of what we are and a very new way of making sculpture in motion rather just in static display. I really like this concept a lot and take off my hat to Zara.
Glastonbury festival is a most spectacular and bizarre place. It is a totally unreal sight when you stand upon the hill of a rural valley and look down on the sheer mass that is 200 thousand people and their tents, gathered not to look at the cows but to simply to enjoy a week together in the pursuit of music and festivities.
What it is about music that can hypnotise people I do not know, but what I do know is that 80,000 people jumping up and down at the same time to the beat of Muse is totally incredible. Listening to Stevie Wonder ponder his thoughts with youthful charm, Florence and her pals rock the pants off everyone, Foals a band I had never heard off totally amaze me, Faithless having everyone point one finger to the air in the pursuit of unity and oneness, the Edge from U2 making an appearance with Muse playing the ‘Streets have no name.’ I was living in a world of joy. But the cockney cowboy had something to say that would top all that.
Once he saw me walking over to him I could see his face beaming with anticipation even behind his mirrored sunglasses. “Are you Jamie Wardley?” His hands were held open towards me, there was something unboundingly friendly about this person even though I had never met him before in my life, a kindness that you would never expect from a stranger.
“Yes I am.”
“You don’t know me,” perhaps he had read my thoughts, but I was not too put back by it. Often in this sand business people approach you who you do not know, “…Is your Dad called Roger Sutcliffe?” This on the other hand totally blew my mind on account that I had only ever met my father once before and so for someone to know his name and that I was his son is to put it mildly a little peculiar. It had only happened to me once before when a drunken fellow in a bar had recognised the face of my father in me when I was 18; commenting that I looked just like him. But this was Glastonbury, not Bradford, and what’s more I was wearing a hat and sunglasses. I gazed at the man and could offer only a simple answer. “Yes he is.”
The Cockney Cowbow gazed at me a moment, his mouth widened at my words in a grand smile, his hands had opened even more and with an expression of joy he gestured to the lady stood beside him who I had not even noticed and announced “………Well, this is your sister.”
The sun beamed down the full time that we were at Glastonbury, the girls made a great sculpture which I was fortunate enough to be able to tinker on, me and Mike, one of my greatest friends jumped to music so much in the night that we found it hard to walk at the end of the festival. But the greatest moment was looking into a face that was very much like my own and who until that moment I had never known existed.
I have a sister.
In true style I demonstrated my flawed listening skills as we exchanged phone numbers, her hands shaking. “Sorry, but what is your name again?” I had forgotten it as soon as she had told me. That evening I found their tent in the chaos of people and they welcomed me into their family, but the Cockney Cowboy who is Emma’s husband and actually called Neil had already done that, when he shouted my name he was not calling to a stranger, he was calling to his younger brother. After some merriment and tales of new families, Emma and I lit a lantern together that I made a wish upon and watched it float into the night sky; and then it disappeared. But that day another lantern was lit that will never go out and will never disappear. It was the day that my family grew.