petite anglaise

August 15, 2005

Cure for migraines

Filed under: good time girl — petiteanglaiseparis @ 9:04 pm

I have come to the conclusion that music festivals and migraine headaches do not good bedfellows make.

Tadpole safely deposited with Mr Frog for the long French bank holiday weekend, the time had finally come to accompany my Lover to the Route du Rock music festival, held in an eighteenth century fort near St Malo. I hadn’t been to a fesival since Glastonbury in 1995, and was no longer sure I had the required stamina, but it did sound very tame indeed by Glastonbury standards, and the Lover can be very persuasive when he wants to be.

We arrived early Saturday evening, and pitched our brand new Decathlon tent. Time to pitch tent: 2 seconds. My scepticism when examining the instructions was unfounded: all you have to do is throw it into the air and watch it spring into shape, as if by magic.

I thought back to my Glastonbury experiences, where, by a combination of bad planning, inebriation and stupidity we often ended up trying to put up devilishly complicated tents in pitch black fields, with only a cigarette lighter or a box of matches to guide us. I have a less than fond memory of waking up and realising that I had pitched my tent on/slept on the deep imprint left by the treads of a tractor tyre. But pitching a tent in the dark and swearing/giggling a lot is what festivals are all about, so Decathlon are making it just a little bit too easy with their magic tents, in my opinion.

Headliners at this year’s Route du Rock: The Cure. It was their only date in France this year, and if you have spent any time in France at all, you will realise that The Cure have always had an ENORMOUS following in this country. So this was quite a big deal. In fact, for the first time in the festival’s history, Saturday night was sold out. All 12,000 tickets.

I was rather excited myself. I must confess that I did go through a Cure phase of my own, in my late teens and early twenties, and a black and white Boys Don’t Cry poster adorned the wall of my university bedroom (later to be replaced by Kurt Cobain). More recently, whenever I have indulged the ipod and let it have a little shuffle, it has shown an alarming prediliction for Cure tracks, so albums like Faith and Disintegration have undergone something of a revival in my household. I’d never seen Bob and Co in concert, however, hence my eager anticipation.

There were Cure fans everywhere. It was a fantastic people watching opportunity. Hours of backcombing. Litres of hairspray. Metres and metres of black satin and lace pulled tightly over bulging thighs and middles. Brides of Dracula. Rather rotund Robert Smith clones. Official and unofficial band T-shirts in every direction. Clearly the unwritten, tacit rule that one does not wear a band T-shirt at the band in question’s own gig is not one the French are aware of.

The other bands played, and struggled to make much of an impression on me, however enjoyable the general festival vibe. I rarely get into a band at a festival, unless I am already familiar with their music. Otherwise, it tends to wash over me a little.

And then The Cure arrived, and launched into… an album track. A long, swirling hymn to doomed relationships and depression. Followed by another, in a similar vein. Or an obscure b-side. These gave way, occasionally, to catchier, crowd-pleasing tracks. But it was a self-indulgent set, which seemed to be aimed more at the brides of Dracula than the festival going public at large.

After about an hour, I realised that a flashing red bicycle light, which some considerate person was wearing on his head, was bothering me. In fact, now that it was dark at the festival site, all the stage lights were vivid and glaring, and I was actually having trouble focusing my eyes. People moving through the crowd suddenly loomed in front of me, appearing out of nowhere. I was confused, disoriented, and wondered, idly, if one of my drinks might have been spiked with something chemical.

I struggled on, valiantly, for a while, but the visual disturbances were getting worse, not better, and the Lover and I retreated back from the standing room to a place where we could sit down. “It feels a bit like the aura I get before a migraine attack,” I mumbled, brain addled by too many lagers to realise that it wasn’t “a bit like” a migraine; it was a migraine.

When the feelings did not subside, we decided that heading back to the tent would be the best course of action. The headache struck just as we were zipping our sleeping bags together by the backlight of a mobile phone. Indescribable pain, which made me claw and clutch at the right hand side of my head in futile desperation, rocking forwards to wedge my head between my knees to stave off waves of pain-induced nausea.

Through a veil of throbbing, pulsing pain I heard my favourite tracks. A Forest. 10.15 Saturday Night. Boys don’t Cry.

I realised I was crying.


  1. Oh How Horrible. Being ill at a festival is supremely grim. I was with a friend at Stonehenge in 1986 when he came down with gastroenteritis… no no no, it was too vile to describe! I hope your migraine didn’t last too long.

    Comment by Zinnia Cyclamen — August 15, 2005 @ 9:31 pm

  2. oh, poor petite. i have an entire routine when the aura raises its ugly head. 1 tylenol pm, 2 sudafeds, a red bull energy drink and hot bath. alas, it rarely works.

    last i saw bob, he seemed himself like a rotund robert smith clone ;)

    Comment by brando — August 15, 2005 @ 9:50 pm

  3. Migralieve ( think thats how its spelt). It’s magic

    Comment by Ellie — August 15, 2005 @ 9:51 pm

  4. It sounds terrible. I don’t want to be cruel, just sympathetic, but when I sufferred from migraines it was because of the detached retina… did you say you wore glassess? Maybe you should have your eyes checked as soon as possible. I really hope it’s nothing serious.

    Comment by madpole — August 15, 2005 @ 9:52 pm

  5. Ah The Cure. I was never Dracula’s bride but I did have my phase. Ironic that a band with such a name should aid you in getting a headache, not in getting rid of it.

    Comment by Sammy — August 15, 2005 @ 10:13 pm

  6. The best cure for headache I know is orgasm. It sounds silly and it doesn’t work for men, but supposedly a woman’s brain is flooded with oxygen-rich blood at the moment of release. Reading your post title, I was hoping that your cure would reside in the arms of your lover (please, please give him a different name). Maybe next time give it a try on onset. It really works for me.

    Comment by Leslie — August 15, 2005 @ 10:25 pm

  7. Oh dear, I feel your pain. And at the worst of all times! Sounds like my terrible luck.

    I know you’re going to get a terrible influx of advice, but I can’t help myself, so take with a grain of salt: There’s a headache medicine called Pentalgine that helps me quite a bit. Apparently it’s got caffeine in it, which helps to do the trick. I pop two of those suckers, and soonish (it seems like eternity at the time, but it’s not) the worst symptoms are fading.

    Comment by ViVi — August 15, 2005 @ 10:46 pm

  8. Definitely poor Petite—what a terrible misfortune. :(

    I swear by Imitrex. It’s the only thing that has helped me.

    Comment by theinsider — August 15, 2005 @ 11:33 pm

  9. Ahhh, Crystal Palace Bowl, 1990
    The Cure headlining, supported by All About Eve, James and Lush.

    “The Forest” seemed to go on forever – that bit where the bassline just repeats on its own. My arms were aching from clapping along above my head. My friend warned me not to start clapping too soon – he knew it would go on for ages.

    I had that poster on my wall too…

    So sorry you couldn’t enjoy it

    Comment by anxious — August 15, 2005 @ 11:50 pm

  10. My mom gets migraines–crippling does not even begin to describe it. She has missed family weddings and vacations, she has to wrap her head up so that not an ounce of light or cold air touches her, it’s awful. Imitrex has helped a lot. Sorry you were so sick at such an inopportune venue!

    Comment by Coquette — August 15, 2005 @ 11:51 pm

  11. Alas, the Cure have become more of an enterprise than a band since the 90s. Being myself a hardcore fan of the EARLY Cure (till disintegration), I’ve been disapointed by the fact Bob could fire band members so easily and be so disrepectful with the past. But yeah, the show in Orange (Southern France) in , what? 1985? wa already a must-have-seen and France had always been a destination of choice for the band.

    Comment by shellorz — August 16, 2005 @ 12:04 am

  12. I hope you are feeling better! Take care of yourself.

    Comment by Flavia — August 16, 2005 @ 12:14 am

  13. My own only Muscia Festival experience was Glastonbury 1986.
    The Cure were playing then too…

    Comment by sam — August 16, 2005 @ 1:54 am

  14. hmmm and a special *two thumbs up* for the lover who seemed to have been supportive and did not mutter about him missing a nice festival…

    la classe

    Comment by stephan — August 16, 2005 @ 3:52 am

  15. Petite, sorry you have been unwell.

    However this is a very moving post. It brings back similar memories of youth, the Cure songs evoking all sorts of strong images that I had thought were long forgotten. Thank you :)

    Comment by Alan — August 16, 2005 @ 12:21 pm

  16. Klipal tablets (codeine) dull the pain and make me feel nicely spacey…

    I reckon it was 10:15 On A Saturday Night (“and the tap drips – drip drip drip drip”) that brought it on!

    Comment by Antipo Déesse — August 16, 2005 @ 1:07 pm

  17. petite,
    Perhaps you need to get some medication. Imitrex works wonders for some people. I can’t bear to have migraines away from home, so I decided to go the medication route. Works fabulously for me.

    Hope your headache didn’t last too long.

    Comment by Elle — August 16, 2005 @ 1:18 pm

  18. Hi Petite Anglaise.
    Been reading your blog for a while. First comment. Migraines are terrific. one thing that really works is : DIERGOSPRAY. you inhale once then it immediately stops the pain.

    Comment by Acidinmyfridge — August 16, 2005 @ 1:27 pm

  19. I second the orgasm vote. That’s the most natural help and what my friend who went to homeopathic school learned to advise first and foremost. I can’t imagine wanting to in the middle of a migraine, but if you can stave it off at the beginnings….

    Comment by Cloclette — August 16, 2005 @ 2:23 pm

  20. I think Imitrex is the US brand name for what’s called Imigran in UK. Don’t know what it’s called in France. The generic name is Sumatriptan. Works for me too. Painkillers short of morphine do not. Poor you – hope it didn’t go on too long. Not at all surprising if recent upheavals temporarily exacerbate your susceptibility to migraine.

    Comment by Jean — August 16, 2005 @ 3:34 pm

  21. How awful. I hope it doesn’t put you off going to a festival in the future.

    ‘A Forest’ is my favourite Cure track too.

    Comment by stressqueen — August 16, 2005 @ 7:59 pm

  22. So sorry to hear of your spoilt visit but the fact that your site visitor total is about to reach quarter of a million deserves many congratulations and should cheer you up. Best wishes for the 1,000,000!!

    Comment by John Golding — August 16, 2005 @ 9:48 pm

  23. There is no good time for a migraine is there? They seem to ‘know’ when it would be most inconvienent to hit. I am so sorry.


    Comment by Kismet — August 16, 2005 @ 10:28 pm

  24. Blimey Jim, you’ve only been together a couple of months and she’s already trying to fob you off with the old “not tonight, I’ve got a headache” line !

    Comment by Mancunian Lass — August 16, 2005 @ 11:27 pm

  25. My cousin has Robert Smith’s autograph! A friend of his met Bob after a concert and said “you have to give me your autograph for my friend Richard, he loves you, he looks like you, he dresses like you!”

    The autograph says:
    To Richard
    Who is Me

    Comment by the_editter — August 16, 2005 @ 11:42 pm

  26. Poor you! It must have been the weekend for migraines as i had one just as a friend I hadn’t seen for 40 years (!) had come to stay for a few days. Fortunately it didn’t last as long as usual and went off soon after I stopped being sick and was able to swallow some Nurofen. Used to take Imigran yars ago and it worked but it’s powerful stuff and I don’t like taking strong medication.
    Never considered orgasm as a ‘natural’ cure but can’t think of anything less likely when you are feeling sick and the slightest movement is unbearable!

    Comment by Sandy Bootman — August 17, 2005 @ 5:30 pm

  27. I tried to access your page at my Virgin gym today. It wouldn’t let me. In fact, your site was barred, stating “Weighted phrase limit exceeded”. You hardly have one of the more profane blogs around, and unless the “phrases” of which it speaks are French phrases, it’s a little mad!

    Comment by Dr Jim — August 17, 2005 @ 11:23 pm

  28. Are you getting dragged to Rock en Seine too? Can’t wait to see Baby Shambles and Queens of the Stone age !

    Comment by Anne — August 18, 2005 @ 9:53 am

  29. Well.. I must admit that i stopped going to see The Cure after the show they gave a few years ago at the bataclan where they played the first 4 albums, and only these, every single song of them. That was probably my best Cure concert ever, and I prefered to stop on that.

    Comment by Negrito — August 18, 2005 @ 11:43 pm

  30. Dr Jim – virgin gym?
    Imagination runs riot! :)

    Comment by Lucy-Jane in Rennes — August 19, 2005 @ 10:54 am

  31. I have plotted a graph. On one axis the number of Petite posts per week. The other axis a dateline. There is a clearly visible fall in the number of posts right about the time Mr Lover came along.

    I wish he hadn’t.

    Comment by Germain — August 19, 2005 @ 1:40 pm

  32. PLEASE give that man another name!! Lover sounds so–high school.

    Comment by Sasha — August 19, 2005 @ 4:26 pm

  33. So, it’s official. The Cure don’t.
    Well, not migraines, apparently.
    What bad luck. Hope your migraine did not spoil the rest of your tented love.
    Still, at least it was a Soft Cell.
    I know. I’m rubbish at puns…. ;)

    Comment by LukePDQ — August 19, 2005 @ 6:29 pm

  34. Germain – I think it’s quite healthy to blog a little less and live a little more. I am a bit busier at the moment, but most of all I find it harder to blog from work (as my boss has been on the warpath).

    I’m on vacation in the UK right now and all has been very hectic but I will be back next week – I promise – and normal service will resume.

    And what to call my new flame? I like Lover because it quite rightly implies lots of time spent, well, you know how… but just as soon as I can think of an alternative, this will change.

    I’m open to suggestions, naturally.

    Comment by petite — August 20, 2005 @ 11:54 am

  35. How about ‘Grande Francais’ to your ‘Petite Anglais’?

    Of course, it’s for you to decide if he is ‘Grande’ or not.
    So if you don’t use the nickname everyone will assume that he’s not.

    I don’t see that you’ve got much choice.

    Comment by Mr. Andrew — August 20, 2005 @ 7:44 pm

  36. Take some topamax. I have a head-ache every morning, I take one and i am good to go.

    Comment by Cellounge Admin — August 21, 2005 @ 12:15 am

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