It’s like a dream, isn’t it? I had the same reaction when I first got here. Everyone calls me Wolfey, and you are..? Excellent. Nice handshake, by the way. You can judge someone by their handshake, you know. Limp fish handshakes rarely make it past the first tent. Come on in. Let’s get you a cup of tea or something, you look half frozen.
This way, mate. You can stare in a minute, I’ll take you on a tour once we get rid of your stuff. Nothing too valuable is there? Just pop your bag down there… Do you take sugar? Sweet enough already, yeah? Right, get that down you, sorry about the mug, it’s a bit chipped. They get like that after a while. What? No, don’t be daft. It’s free. Now, before we go in, I have to tell you.
Once you’re here, you can leave when you want. You are under no obligation to stay, and we’ll welcome you back. People usually stay for a couple of months and then move on, but there’s a few who have been here for years, decades even. There’s no time limit. Time seems slower here.
We move around a lot. That’s probably why you couldn’t find us sooner, we’re constantly on the move. So personal possessions have to be kept to a minimum. I can see that you’ve got one bag, that’s fine, but you’ll amass things along the way… You’ll find that the things worth keeping aren’t necessarily the most important or most valuable. Phones and iPods and books turn into broken watches and pressed flowers and an anonymous handwritten letter.
It’s very close living arrangements. It ranges from bed and breakfasts to sleeping in the trucks. There is no such thing as personal space, not unless it’s in your own head. If that’s not something you can cope with, you just have to man up and deal with it.
Folk keep themselves to themselves. Everyone has their own story, and sometimes people are willing to talk, but there are taboo words. Family. Home. Past. These things get lost here, you have to accept that. It’s a case of do-your-own-time.
You’ll change in here. Get new skills, meet new people, all the usual jazz. But you, your own self, will change. Every day, you have to be willing to lose a little more of who you once were and become something else. I can’t tell you who or what that will be. It’s not for me - or you, for that matter - to decide. It just happens. And the more you change, the more you grow into this new life that you have chosen, the more distanced you will become from the outside world. You’ll see things differently. The world as you know it now will begin to lose its flavour and there are only two solutions to that. You can absorb yourself even more into this new life, discover different ways to see things and more ways to live than you thought possible. Or you can leave. Travel. That’s what most people do after a few months, they go to other countries seeking culture and vitality.
The outside world won’t want you. You won’t have a place any more. And you won’t be able to change that.
Still interested? Excellent. No, there’s nothing to sign, no paperwork at all. Totally free environment here. Now, the show starts in a few hours. Can you do tickets? Front of house, all that? I’ll show you the ropes, don’t worry about it. But I think we should get some food first… Don’t know about you but I’m bloody starving. You can meet the rest of the crew as well.