Simon Kelner: Bubbles are the new rock'n'roll, and I'm blown away

Kelner's view

Share
Related Topics

I don't know whether food is the new rock'n'roll or it's the other way round, but when you see Jamie Oliver playing drums with Frankie Goes to Hollywood, and Alex James of Blur packing them in for a cooking demonstration, you quickly realise that, in an age of cultural cross-dressing, you don't have to wield an axe to become a rock star.

In one corner of a field in Oxfordshire at the weekend, Razorlight were pounding through a high energy set, while, in the other, the celebrated chef Bruno Loubet left his crowd yelling for more after finishing one of his greatest hits, ploughman's lunch with vegetables baked in hay.

The Big Feastival, jointly presented by Oliver and James and which takes place – literally – in James' back yard, is a curious phenomenon. It's much more than a music festival with a bit of posh food thrown in: in fact, judging by the predominantly middle-class profile of the audience – I guarantee that no crowd at a similar event would sport fewer tattoos – and the queues for a chocolatier which advertised itself as "creative, sustainable, and ethical", I would suggest that most people had come for tea rather than Texas.

They were happy to pay a fiver for a cup of coconut water – does wonders for your immune system – and queued round the block for Alex James' cheese. Mark Hix, i's very own chef, was there too, selling fishdogs from a vintage van.

They were so popular that he had to post a "sold out" sign midway through the afternoon, enabling Mark to continue his exhaustive research into organic wine producers. It was a very particular Cotswold scene: children rolled around in hay bales – who says that they need PS3s for entertainment? – while parents wondered where they could get the Japanese breadcrumbs recommended by Monsieur Loubet. And everywhere, people were blowing bubbles.

This led me to my most startling discovery: bubbles are big business these days. Samsam Bubbleman (not his real name) is the country's foremost expert on bubbles. He has nine Guinness World Records (including having 50 people inside a bubble), and was responsible for the bubble extravaganza at the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics.

His stall (www.bubbleinc.co.uk) was one of the busiest at Feastival, and his trade in every form of contraption to create bubbles spoke of a man who saw a gap in the market and has, so to speak, blown the competition away. "People love bubbles," he told me, "because they are 98 per cent water, just like us."

It seemed odd to me that he could talk about having a career in bubbles, but who am I to burst his...well, you get the idea.

And this is how seriously he takes it: his father's dying wish was that his ashes should be mixed into a bubble solution and then floated off over the cliffs at Cornwall. Beat that, you rock'n'rollers!

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sustainability Manager

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...

Graduate Sustainability Professional

Flexible, depending on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: T...

Business Project Manager

£350 - £400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Project Manager job vaca...

Business Analyst (Agile, SDLC, software)

£45000 - £50000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Day In a Page

Read Next
80 per cent of Commonwealth countries discriminate against LGBTI people - will Salmond speak out?  

Alex Salmond must speak out against the Commonwealth's homophobic countries

Peter Tatchell
 

Commonwealth Games 2014: Speak out against homophobia, Mr Salmond

Peter Tatchell
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor