4. “Mr. Craven had it shut when his wife died… It was her garden.”

In Others
July 24, 2010

Courtesy of the lovely people at Hendricks Gin, I’m spending this weekend at The Secret Garden Party festival in Cambridgeshire. I’ve never been to Burning Man, but I imagine it has this sort of vibe: a lot of weird and gorgeous costumes, strange art installations and more naked breasts than I’ve ever seen outside a women’s changing room.

I’m trying to think of some pithy insight or anecdote from the festival, but my mind is a bit blurred by all this travelling around, seeing things, meeting people, changing context over and over. I am missing my August project from last year where the ‘new places’ were much more low key, didn’t involve a lot of travel or seeing people’s bodies painted bright blue or covered in glitter.

Not that it hasn’t been lovely. We stood around at dusk this evening as hundreds of multicoloured balloons, and then lanterns were released and then they set a paper dirigible on fire. And Hendricks Gin sprayed us with pure oxygen, which made me giggle for about an hour afterwards, which the internet tells me is a known phenomenon. And I felt full of love for everyone in the world, even though I hadn’t taken any drugs and it’s not as far as I can tell a side effect of oxygen.

But lovely as it is, maybe insights come from small changes rather than enormous ones. Perhaps those thoughts which make you go “huh, maybe the reason I always do x is y” come when you’ve changed one tiny thing and can observe the effects it’s had on you. Like, you know, the empirical method of scientific investigation. Change too many things and you find yourself going “oh, everything is new and different now, huh, OK, I don’t know what to make of it.” So, it’s nice to inhale oxygen (although not, as I inevitably did afterwards, to look up the possible toxic side-effects of oxygen inhalation), and see various interesting things set on fire, but a huge set of new things just slip through your fingers somehow. It’s the tiny changes that stick around.

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