Pick up the Sunday Tribune today and get me and Neil and Lili's coverage of Oxegen. It's on the cover of the Review section and three pages inside. You, see, I was actually really working down there last week. When I went to the doctor on Friday morning I said that I thought I got a cold from being at Oxegen. Later she asked me what I did and I said I was a journalist and she said "oh, so were you 'working' down at Oxegen then. Hee hee." Yes, yes I was. Just because my work sometimes involves chasing after Beth Ditto and trying to persuade Neil not to drink anymore organic 'cyder with a y', it's still 'working'. I don't know why people think that it's ok to take the piss out of this and then prompt me to say stuff like "ah, yknow, better than a real job" as if it's not a real job. I could've done medicine. I thought about it seriously at one stage. I could have done loads of things and made shit loads of money and gone on to examine journalists with chest infections in a surgery off Grafton Street. But I'd prefer to be constantly broke and chasing after Beth Ditto and thinking, maybe I should get a cyder with a y myself. I do think there's a trade-off between money and happiness. But money has never entered my head as a priority to be sought after (not that I grew up with much of it). Fun job - crap money. Not ideal job - loads of money. Most people I know are in either of these categories.
I was probably going to write about some of the trouble at Oxegen this year if I hadn't been sick and had to leave work. People ask 'why is there always mindless trouble at Oxegen'. There are loads of reasons, obvious ones; the age profile, the 'rite of passage' lark, the general scumbaggary of a lot of participants, the favouring of booze over drugs making it an agro lager lager lager experience rather than a stoned calm one. But mainly, any problems at Oxegen are not Oxegen problems, they are social problems. On Saturday night, we got the bus back into town from the festival and arrived on O'Connell bridge at around 3am. And as Neil remarked, the only difference from the behaviour of the people at Oxegen and the people on O'Connell bridge was the mud.
There is an acceptance of loutishness at Oxegen, as there in general in Ireland. One of the first things I saw on site on Friday was a thug walking around shirtless with a permanent marker scrawl on his back that read 'it's not rape if you say surprise'. On my way out from the festival, I was harrassed by an inebriated security guard who said he was not going to let me out into the bus car park unless I went "between his legs." These two markers - on one side the unprofessionalism of staff who are meant to provide safety and order, and on the other, the sick macho perversions of a drunken fool - are largely similar to the traits of the majority of authorities and the punters outside of Oxegen, on our streets. Oxegen is a forum, it just gives them somewhere to go.
The popular House of Holland rip off neon t-shirts from the festival's merchandise stall were everywhere in Punchestown over the weekend. They read 'OXEGENERATION'. It truly is.