Greenbelt 2012

Last year I blogged that we attempted ‘Greenbelt lite’ as we went for a mere two days.
But this year we just went for one.
Yes – one.
So even lighter than lite.
I wonder what the technical term for that is…?
Up at 6am, arrived at 9am… left around half past midnight, home at 2am.
Fifteen and a half hours of pure Greenbelt!

Highlights, of this, my twelfth Greenbelt?
Well, kind of you to enquire.
Let’s see…

The Rising – I’d never been before, but have a friend (the lovely Lori) who goes every year, so thought it was high time I accompanied her. Was a big fan of Martyn Joseph back in the early 90s, and he didn’t disappoint, even now. His ‘mates’ on stage included a reasonably angry/political lesbian (Grace Petrie) a disillusioned (yet highly talented) American (Willy Porter) and the woman from the band Paper Aeroplanes. I know nothing about music (or less than nothing, if such a thing were possible) but favoured the latter, hear her here. Also enjoyed Willy’s clever ‘How to Rob a Bank’.

Food – This is of paramount importance to me, in life in general, but also quite specifically at Greenbelt. In this one day, I managed to stuff in: fried potato and sausage stuff (my absolute fave) from French stall ‘The Grande Bouffe’ (The Big Nosh), a freshly-cooked doughnut, a smoothie, a Shmoo banana milkshake, steak n stilton pie with mash and gravy (Higgidy pies, as no Pieminister there this year), a posh hot chocolate from the Tank (while waiting for phone to charge there) a flapjack from Pru’s cafe (woman in front of me had the last of their famous brownies, but I wasn’t outraged… not one bit) and finally a mug of ‘chai’ from the Tiny Tea Tent, which was divine. So divine, in fact, that I’ve just purchased the Twinings version, and am sipping at it now. It’s not QUITE Tiny Tea Tent-esque, but hey.

The God Particlethis was a play, and a most superb one at that, written by James Cary, who writes for the TV show Miranda (as well as for the only slightly lesser-known magazine – Third Way). Such a fantastic fusion of faith and science, all presented with much hilarity. I particularly liked the extended reference to ‘The Prisoners’ Dilemma’, which I’ve been studying very recently, as part of some general philosophy stuff I’ve been ‘consolidating’ during the Summer holidays, in preparation for forthcoming teaching practice.

Wandering around – Considering the 15 and a half hour restriction, I managed to clock up a satisfactory amount of this activity. The VAST amount of rainfall meant I was glad of my wellies, and that yes… I threw superior looks to those in flip-flops, who clearly weren’t cut out for festival life. G-source suited my wandering tendencies, although I fear there were less freebies than usual this year. Invariably, I ended up at G-books (bookshop); I shop (well, browse) books like other woman shop for shoes and clothes. I’m well-aware of my unhealthy obsession with books, which I suppose is something, but it doesn’t prevent me from attempting to find a cure. Why would I? Books are ace! About 15-20 caught my eye and yelled “Annie – buy me, buy me now!” (Dr Dolittle heard animals talk… I hear books shout). Finally left with just two, a Dietrich Bonhoeffer (bargain at £3, down from £12) and the brilliant Dave Walker’s new book of cartoons, one quick glance at which produces instant LOL-ing, even in those far too old to be throwing around the acronym (me).

Last Orders – New presenters, but just as good as ever. Managed not to fall asleep (which I have done there in the past, due to extreme tiredness combined with the late hour, and not to boredom)! Loved Mike Wozniak’s stand-up re ‘conception’ – hilarious! Rev Gerald Ambulance always deserves a mention – he shared some profound thoughts re church student youth workers… and I chuckled. There was a bit on ethical wedding dresses, which really ought to be ‘my thing’ (due to the ‘ethical’ bit, and not because I obsess about wedding dresses) but really wasn’t. There was also some ‘magic’ that was clever, but somehow not as entertaining as I felt it ought to be. Ruth Gledhill (Religion correspondent for The Times) got a bit of a grilling (from presenters and audience alike) which was awkward and unpleasant, I felt. It ended with ‘Folk On’, who, in the past, have annoyed me rather… but clearly my day had gone swimmingly well (perhaps due to torrential rain) as even they seemed ‘fun’ and a jolly way to end the day, bless ’em.

Had they not clashed with The God Particle, I had very much wanted to see/hear
Rev Richard Coles (ex- Communard: Don’t. Leave me this wa-a-a-ay!)
Frank Skinner
and Sir Diarmaid MacCulloch (Church history bloke).
Never mind.

Finally (yes, almost about to pull the plug) it was great to spend time my own fantastic family, with good friends (from our church) and to catch up with some ‘Greenbelt’ friends.

Only took a very few pics, but if you’re interested (or just very bored) you can view them here.

I do wonder if the fact that I wasn’t ‘doing stuff’ (as part of the programme) contributed to a more ‘chilled’ time at Greenbelt. I wasn’t stressing about where I had to be when, and whether I ought to brush my hair one last time, etc.
For more about my ‘stuff’ during previous years, see here, and scroll down.


  1. Leanne


    Thanks for this,I was in last orders too and shared your feelings exactly! I also make a point of visiting the grand bouffe every year and bought Dave walker’s book of cartoons despite being shouted at by loads of others(I hear them too!) Just a few things that are confusing me though:
    1) I was in The God Particle and really enjoyed it,but was also in Sir Diarmaid McCulloch’s and Frank Skinner’s talk. Was I perhaps in a time loop??
    2) I bought a pie from Pieminsters-definitely time loop territory! Maybe I went back to last year’s festival!
    3) how could you go to tiny tea tent for chai? Everyone knows chai is best from chai chapel-plus they have drummers! All the time. Constantly.
    Glad you enjoyed your greenbelt ultralite! I was full fat (in more ways than one!)

  2. Katherine


    Yeah Pie minster were there but surrounded by the great marsh of 2012! Glad your top 5 match mine! Food wise I’ll add the gorgeous oriental place which do red thai curries, tempura and sweet & sour chicken. Good warming food.

  3. annie.porthouse


    Thanks Leanne – great to know I’m not alone!

    Ah, well in my defence, Sir D.M’s talk looked as though it would end at 3:30 which was when God Particle started, and I aimed to get to Big Top in good time to queue, which I did!

    And yes… I see now that Frank Skinner followed on from The God Particle… so it’s probably more accurate to say that Frank clashed with my ‘urgent need for food’!

    Pie Minister was there?! The friend who misinformed me re this will be swiftly erased from my Xmas card list. I won pies from there once, in connection with Greenbelt, which made my day. See here:

    Chai chapel. Yes, I remember taking the kids there when they were younger and they spent AGES on those drums. Thanks for the tip and I’ll bear it in mind for next year.

  4. annie.porthouse


    Hi Katherine

    Ah, now a friend of mine had some tempura this year. I tried a bit of his leftovers and was most impressed. It may have to go ‘on the list’ for next year!

    Again, glad to hear you have a similar top 5… makes me feel slightly less crazy (but only slightly)!

  5. Leanne


    Oh. I am disappointed I did not experience a time loop – thought for a minute I was actually in God Particle!
    Pieminster was like the holy grail, across,as Katherine says, the ‘great marsh of 2012’! Would you have crossed it, Annie??

  6. annie


    Sorry to shatter your dreams re time loop; I agree that the play did make it look like a whole lotta ‘Tardis-style’ fun!

    Would I have crossed the great marsh for the sake of one single (but delicious) pie?
    Is the Pope Catholic?
    Is Nicky Gumbel a fan of the Alpha Course?!

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