Ugly love

On Saturday, Cindy, Una, Chris (Una’s boyfriend) and I spent the day sitting around outside at the Appel Farms Music and Arts Festival. It started as a slightly overcast day, but while Aimee Mann sang to a transfixed crowd from the Grove stage, it shifted to clear skies and translucent sunshine. This was a major improvement over last year, when it rained all day, forcing us to cocoon ourselves in my big, blue concert tarp.

I have to take a side trip here to express my love for my concert tarp. I bought it three years ago for a Jack Johnson/Ben Harper show at the Mann Music Center and it hasn’t missed an outdoor concert since. It’s been with me through Dar Williams, the Indigo Girls, Guster, Ben Folds, Rufus and all the great acts at Appel Farms last year. Living as I do in an apartment, I don’t have a whole of space in which to clean my tarp when it gets dirty in it’s role to protect me and my friends from the dirt, bugs and other outdoor elements. Once I tried putting it in the washing machine, but all that resulted was a flooded kitchen. These days I’ve come up with a folding/bath tub soaking regime that works pretty well. Big, blue tarp, here’s to many more outdoor concerts together!

Listening to music outdoors is always nice, but the thing I enjoy most about day long festivals such as this is the opportunity to be with people, to watch people and to experience humanity differently than I do in my day to day life. People create little sections of private space with their blankets, tarps, chairs and towels that are respected by the others around them. Once we’ve marked our patch of earth, we become comfortable and relaxed in this manufactured personal space and start to do things that we wouldn’t normally do in public.

Like public displays of ugly love. I actually find ugly love endearing, it’s always nice to have the phrase “There’s someone for everyone” affirmed. But I don’t always want to see those someone’s caressing the other someone’s fleshy folds of back fat with hairy, stumpy fingers (HSF). I particularly don’t want to see those HSF delving below the elastic waistband of their partner’s turquoise blue jogging pants during a romantic line of a Rufus Wainwright song. And yet, it’s like viewing any disaster, it’s totally off-putting and completely mesmerizing at the same moment.

Ah, the perils of private behavior in public spaces!

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