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

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

 

Ed Miliband's conference speech must show Labour has a head as well as a heart

Patrick Diamond
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments