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An Englishman’s knees

The main tent at the Wickham Folk Festival - welcome shade on a very hot day.

The main tent at the Wickham Folk Festival – welcome shade on a very hot day.

It’s August and the sun is shining (well – occasionally) and that means I am to be found on most weekends camping in a field listening to music with fifteen or twenty thousand of my closest friends.

I always know it’s festival season by the sudden appearance of that strange and rarest of creatures – the Englishman’s knees.

English women’s knees appear as well, but they really quite common and you will understand of course that I am predisposed to notice the male of the species.

The outbreak of knee exposing plumage is best witnessed in that sub-category known as the festival roadie. The festival roadie is a busy man, charged with providing sound and lighting and guitars and cables, glasses of water and the occasional pint of beer to the artists who perform on a stage constructed for that purpose by other festival roadies.

The ritual will vary according to festival – whether a tent is part of the setting and of course, rain matters. At a music festival, rain matters a lot.

As do the shorts worn by the roadies.

For some – pockets are a necessity.

The up-the-ladder roadie needs pockets for holding tools.

The up-the-ladder roadie needs pockets for holding tools.

Camouflage is popular, this helps the roadie, or indeed any shorts-wearing Englishman to blend into the background. Cut-off jeans are more likely to be found among the younger males. They have the advantage of being inexpensive and can act as enticements to young females of the species.

A style of plumage seldom seen among the elders of the roadie grang

Cut-offs and camo – popular plumage.

Dark plumage works best for the roadie, allowing him to remain relatively inconspicuous on a darkened stage. However, there are those for whom inconspicuous does not apply – in the colour of shorts or underwear.

Pink checks are not a good look - anywhere or any time.

Pink check shorts are not a good look – anywhere or any time.

In general terms, however, the bad-shorts roadie is a fine pre-cursor of the more common bad-shorts festival goer. It should be noted that both species are almost invariably cheerful, thirsty and songful.

Festival bar design, however, can negate the effects of camouflage

Festival bar design, however, can negate the effects of camouflage

They are the perfect accompaniment for the passionate and moody folksinger – a breed I have discussed on this blog on more than one occasion. Not to mention, a perfect excuse for me to spend time between acts taking photographs of men in shorts.

My favourite act of this particular festival - the fabulous Show of Hands

My favourite act of this particular festival – the fabulous Show of Hands

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Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence Finalist for The Wild OneColorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence Finalist for The Wild One
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