'If you're list-en-ing/Woah-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh/Sing it back/Woah-oh-oh-oh-oh.'
(Yeah, thanks for getting stuck in my head Jimmy Eat World. It's only been three days of Sweetness on repeat...jeez.)
One of the weekend's many rainbows, but this one made an arc over the whole site. Ooh, magical.
This year's Reading festival was soundtracked by some great bands, plus the rustling noise of waterproofs being taken off, then put back on, then taken off, then put back on again. Yes, the weather was playing silly buggers, and yes, I was a little perturbed to discover on the very first day that my waterproof leaked - at the neck seam no less - but I wasn't going to let an iddy bitty drop of rain
dampen my spirits* interfere with the serious business of band watching.
*Sorry, just for a second there I thought I was writing for the Daily Mail.
This year was a strange one for acts, with a mixture of old-school established rock behemoths and freshly exploded from the womb newbies, and Friendly Fires. (No, credit where credit is due, the sight of their coterie of hula girls shimmying in the rain to 'Hawaiian Air' did actually brighten up the drizzly Sunday.) As usual, my eardrums and limbs have not quite recovered from the battering they received over the past few weekend, and neither have my eyes, from the sight of a million pasty legs and bum cheeks poking out of too-short denim shorts. More like denim knickers, or even denim thongs, some of them were that high cut. Eurgh. Kate Moss and Alexa Chung have a bloody lot to answer for, that's all I'll say on the matter.
And now, in true music magazine style, here is the full Reading breakdown: in the form of a list, naturally.
Most exciting band of the weekend: letlive. Frontman Jason Aalon Butler spilled his guts onstage, exploding like a wildcat as he ricocheted around, jumping into the crowd, smashing into equipment, punching roadies and any band members that crossed his path of self destruction. He was like a ball of angry noise. Mindblowingly good.
Noisiest band - Crystal Castles. I thought my eardrums were about to explode. However, a note to festival organisers: please don't book Crystal Castles as the second to last band on the Sunday night of a festival. Teenagers + camping for four days + total lack of deodorant + having an arms-in-the-air rave-up to 'Baptism' = Gbird almost keeling over, knocked out by a cloud of over hormone-drenched B.O. Yeesh, it was bad.
Best scream - The Bronx frontman Matt Caughthran. That should probably be best roar. The man is a TANK with lungs.
Olly Sykes: good tattoos, pretty good scream-ability too.
Best stage dive - Bring Me The Horizon guitarist Lee Malia set the bar high on Friday afternoon, jumping into the crowd then surfing all the way to the back, before reappearing to 'play' the rest of the song hanging off the smugly named 'Vodafone VIP' viewing tower. Pretty darn impressive. Apparently they tried to recreate this event at Leeds, but he ended up simply disappearing into the crowd. Ah well, everyone knows Leeds is never as good as Reading *oooo, controversial*.
Best outfit - Jared 'leather leggings' Leto. Mr 30 Seconds to Mars, what I wouldn't give to spend an evening gazing into those baby blues of yours, but seriously dude - a skirt/dress/cape combo? What were you thinking? As soon as Jared appeared on stage via a smoke filled rising platform, you kinda knew he was going to be maxxing out his rockstar persona. What with the aviator shades reflecting the sparkling lights, the (probably) Burberry spiked leather jacket and the custom in-ear monitors featuring the 30STM logo, it seems no expense was spared when it came to costuming this particular extravaganza.
Best crowd interaction - Enter Shikari. Cup throwing, crowd surfing and getting the audience to crouch down and sneak about, just before Rou shouted ' You creepy bastards...' These nutters still know how to have a good time.
Best frontperson - Jarvis - who else?
Best banter - Taking Back Sunday. On the main stage: "Guys, look, I estimate that there are at least 20 more people out there than there are on stage, so let's rock the shit out of them with this next song!".
Biggest disappointment - The Strokes. Next time Julian, could you at least pretend that you are remotely bothered about headlining one of the greatest music festivals in the world? Mumbling doesn't really come across that well when you are talking to tens of thousands of people.
Coolest girl - I can't decide, it's too hard. Bethany Cosentino was just about the best thing since sliced bread, while Alison Mosshart is just so much cooler than Jamie Hince it's almost unfair. But I think Alice Glass still holds the crown. Although overall, there were not enough girls on stage in general. Sort it out...
Alice Glass: nice t-shirt
Best show - Muse. Come on, no one had a hope in hell of beating the kings of killer riffs and even bigger pyrotechnics. Forget Bonfire Night this year - Muse have used up the nation's supply of fireworks, sorry. What a night though, a moment to remember forever.
Best encore - My Chemical Romance, duh. Yeah, it was cheese on toast, and yeah, wheeling out Brian May to do We Will Rock You is a somewhat guaranteed crowd pleaser, but when he carried on playing for The Black Parade - which I've never seen them do live before - I was crying my eyes out, like the massive emo that I am. What of it?
Ah, Gerard. My tomato-haired, leather-clad dreamboat. Not to be confused with Gerard Butler, like my pal Ruth did. Verrrry different people.
Most irritating bits - Moan moan moan, oh, there are always bad points about festivals. I won't bore you with gory details of the sanitation facilities ('tis amazing that we pay £175 for the pleasure of nearly vomming every time we go for a wee) or the lack of veggie food (we can't eat falafel every day, y'know?!) The most annoying thing about Reading 2011 was all the STUPID FANCYDRESS. Please, for the love of God, leave your Morph suits, monkey onesies and silly headgear at home next year. Wearing all that crap doesn't a) make you look Crazy with a capital C! or b) make the opposite sex think 'oh, I must have sex with that quirkily dressed character, sharpish!' It just makes you look like a knob.
And finally, on a happier note...
Most romantic moment - when a little plane flew over, bearing the the banner 'Sarah I love you will you marry me'. We are still waiting for confirmation as to whether her answer was in the affirmative, but either way, it made every girl in the field go 'awwww', so well done to you, lover of Sarah.
Reading: it's been emotional yet again, every bit of me hurts, I'm too old to deal with this, but like all unhealthy addictions, I'm pretty sure I'll be relapsing next year. Until then...
Images: top, GL, all others, BBC