Back from the End of the Road

18 September 2007

Back after a weekend away at the End of the Road festival, and what a weekend it was. Wonderful weather, great company, and only the briefest hints of rain. It felt pretty special: a small festival (only 5000 tickets), lots of families, great food, wonderful music, and a schedule that never felt too crowded, but always yielded serendipitous discoveries wherever you looked. Highlights included:

  • Bumping into a musician practicing on the piano in the piano garden, and being his audience for a while
  • The peacocks! (Larmer Tree Gardens has several resident peacocks, who would happily wander around the paths)
  • Finding that friends I wasn’t expecting (Ben-Rizla, Tim) were also there
  • Discovering Midlake in their wonderful 90-minute set
  • Darren Hayman + co’s impromptu secret bluegrass gig in the piano garden
  • Hush The Many playing a lunchtime set like it was a headline show (and subsequently chatting to Nima from HTM the next day – November 9th, at the 100 Club if you want to see them again)
  • The fantastic burritos at the Mexican place – their breakfast burrito was a triumph
  • I’m From Barcelona‘s hilarious, uplifting, ecstatic afternoon show – crowd-surfing-on-a-lilo and all
  • Jim White‘s humble, delightful songwriting
  • Cooking breakfasts and lunches on our Trangia
  • Architecture from Helsinki – at times bewildering, and then just as I’m about to leave, they bring it around with some dirty four-to-the-floor. They battled poor sound to give a good show
  • Finally getting to see Salter Cane perform (congrats, Jeremy!)
  • The stage invasion during SFA‘s The Man Don’t Give A Fuck
  • Standing around the fire at night with some particularly fine hot chocolate
  • Kurt Wagner’s majestic, delicate closing Lambchop set

There were many others, but that should give you the idea. Alex and I spent a while trying to describe what tied all the acts we saw together, given they felt so disparate. But in the end, there was definitely one thing that brought them altogether: a shared sense of humility. The organisers were thanked in practically every set; the festival lauded similarly. So many musicians and bands just seemed so thankful to be there, and would always inform the audience of this – usually prior to thanking the audience themselves. And they all meant it. It felt wonderful to be at such a gentle, honest festival, which made up in heart what it lacked in bravado.

Already, I cannot wait for next year.

So, this blog (for its sins) is running on WordPress 2.0.5. That’s a bit out-of-date. The main reason is because it has all sorts of jiggery-pokery to make it work the way I want – a tagging solution based on Jerome’s Keywords that was modified when I moved to 2.0; all sorts of template hacking to make the beautiful breadcrumb trail at the top you see work.

I’ve resisted upgrading due to the hell that was hacking plugins and templates into future versions of WordPress. Until now, that is. WordPress 2.3 (finally) introduces a proper tagging solution – entirely separate to the “categories” system. Well, not quite, as we’ll see – but it finally means that the architecture of is now entirely possible within WordPress itself.

Of course, now you’ve got to convert your custom tagging solution to the new schema. I’ve written a small script to do this for myself – only took about an hour, and that’s mainly because I was exploring the schema, and my PHP is a little rusty. Of course, now I know a reasonable amount about how tagging is implemented in WordPress 2.3, and felt I should write this up properly, so that anybody else converting custom tagging solutions might save themselves some time.

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