We lie down among the kebabs and tell the tutting night sky we are never getting up again

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Indy Lifestyle Online
I don't know what the guy put in my drink and I don't know who he was, but I wish he hadn't. The kebab-strewn tarmac of the Phoenix festival is perhaps not the best place to enjoy one's first designer drug experience. Later that night, Nikki and I will walk for miles trying to find a cab back to the hotel, grinning and admiring the gravel. For a pair of miserable cows, this is a novelty. We feel huge Carly Simon smiles inching across our faces, which we trace with our fingers, trying to catch them, like trying to see the backs of our heads in the mirror. At times we laugh so hard that tears roll sideways out of our eyes and we have to lay down among the kebabs and tell the tutting night sky that we are never getting up again.

But first we lose each other, somewhere between the backstage area and Bjork. To start with, I don't really worry. I have pounds 15 in my bag and a big straw hat pulled down over one eye. I sip Lemonhead, an alcoholic drink that tastes of nothing except zinging lemonade like the kind you'd have grown up with if you had lived in The Grass Harp by Truman Capote. I have a floaty little black flowered dress and heavy calf-length boots. On the train up I decide it's Bianca Jagger meets Julia Roberts meets Modesty Blaise. Later, in the cab home, I will realise I look weird.

As night falls and Nikki still isn't anywhere to be seen, I start to get nervous. I've spent too much money to get a cab back by myself and, besides, I want her to hold my hand. I want to hold anyone's hand. I sit down in a plastic chair by the bar but a security guard yells: "Please, everyone, move away. Bjork's stage act involves a large firework display." My ears feel fuzzy and I think he's shouting, "Please clear the area, Bjork is about to explode." There is absolutely no one in sight I know and only one face I recognise - Damon from Blur.

He has on a little floppy hat and thick blond stubble. For a minute he reminds me of one of the San Francisco musicians I used to like before I liked him - a slide guitarist in Jefferson Airplane or a Crosby, Stills and Nash session drummer. Until I was 16, that was all I listened to. I remember, GCSE year, bunking off lessons for the morning with Deja Vu on my headphones. When I boarded the tube at High Street Kensington I spotted an incredibly pretty, but hung-over, blond boy in bovver boots and a skinny flannel suit. I didn't know his music but I recognised his face from Smash Hits. "Are you Damon?" He nodded, glumly.

I didn't know what to say - "I claim my pounds 5"? His eyes rolled in the back of his head as I thought of something to ask. "Can I have your autograph?" He looked at the Biro and whispered, "How does it work?" I showed him which end the ink came out of and he scrawled his first name with a dot in the centre of the "O". It was before Blur found real fame and I found real friends, and though a few girls were vaguely impressed, it didn't make them like me any better. But after that I got interested in modern music and not long after Blur were household names and my sister Lisa wanted to keep the signature in her room.

Now I watch him, hopefully, and wonder if he will hold my hand. I watch him so hard that he has to turn away from his football mates and nod a polite hello. He tries to think of something kind to say to a bug-eyed journalist who, in her infinite sophistication, has recently described him as looking like "a seasick Nazi". He points at my straw hat and giggles, "You look like you're going to Ascot." The tube scene flashes before me and, in one second, I am crying and clutching his sleeve. Please Damon make me have been more popular at school and make me have worked harder and not bunked lessons. Please don't let me ever have traded in Jefferson Airplane for Britpop. Please don't let me have said you look like a seasick Nazi. Please don't let my sister be the age I was when you gave me your autograph on the Circle Line. I don't recall what it is I actually say but I know that a security guard ushers him away and I spend the next two hours looking for Nikki.

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