This weekendâs excursion is to Gillingham in Dorset for Puravida, a weekend festival of workshops and meditation and music, at Osho Leela, a big house in the countryside.
My mum would be proud of me, speeding out of London city, speeding out of my comfort zone, in the deepening dark, not knowing if I will face a bunch of smiling party people or the zombies from hell.
It turns out to be a bunch of smiling party people dressed as the zombies from hell, so well into their weekend away, and their dressing up and face painting that despite my best efforts I feel like the police man from the Wicker Man, fascinated and confused, led on like a lamb to the slaughter.
Thereâs a pre-party meeting. I am introduced and asked to announce what I will play. I say, truthfully, that I donât know, it depends on the feeling. The first tune is Thriller and the collected zombies and witches throw shapes.
This looks like a tricky one so I retreat to the fire outside, glad there is no wicker, and decide the only thing to do is go with it, get involved.
Eyes panda, blood dripping from my lips, I wait for my turn to spin. Emboldened by my new face I chat to community (permanent residents) and weekenders and watch as the nightâs revels unravel.
Now itâs less like Wicker Man and more like a grown up nursery; a highly charged bunch of kidults letting themselves go, dressing up, acting up, jumping, shouting, flipping and flopping, taking all escape routes from societyâs shackles.
There are social workers and care workers, IT consultants and full time fathers, feeling some kind of free, away from the numbers, out from behind the screens, far away from the everyday, having some serious fun in the countryside.
For this lot Puravida is an alternative family, another home away from home. And they donât seem too hung up on following the guru; and they donât seem to mind if you do or donât take part in the activities, as long as youâre fine and you have a good time.
And in the end, after the set, sitting on the sofas with two witches and a zombie called Gary, it makes as much sense as the real world – the financial crisis, facebook, two for one deals on car insurance and all the rest of the nonsense noise that is a constant in modern urban living.
And although I wish they had a better soundsystem; though I wish I could wear the green hair wig for longer without sweating; though I wish I could spend time in the yurt sauna without my make-up running; I feel lucky to yoyo out of London to places like this, see some bloody friendly faces and share my music with them. Because here is a place where the link between providing the service and getting the money is less obvious than it is in the city; where the question is more likely to be how are you than what do you do; a place less brutal and frantic and angry and uncaring than places I am used to. This is some kind of precious, a revellersâ return.
Now come here and give me a hug.