Day of cigarettes and alcohol at Oasis gig as Gerard Seenan mixes with vodka smugglers and whisky guzzlers

SHUGGIE is sitting on the back seat of the bus shooting up. He pulls the skin taut between his fingers, inserts the needle into the flesh, and slowly injects the clear liquid. He turns to his girlfriend, raises his hand, and says: ``Yesssss.''

This is the length Oasis fans are prepared to go to avoid paying #2 a pint for Tennent's lager at Balloch Country Park. Shuggie has around three pounds of oranges, half a litre of Smirnoff vodka, and a handy hypodermic. Probably a lot easier than a six-pack to smuggle past the fluorescent-yellow wall of Rock Steady security guards but it must have been a a little more tricky to consume.

The rest of the bus is too busy singing tuneless, and mercilessly continuous, renditions of Wonderwall, passing round bottles of Buckie, banging the bus windows, and shouting abuse at pensioners passing in their Volvos obliviously heading for a day trip at the lochside with a Thermos flask and pair of matching deck chairs in the boot.

After about two hours of rising testosterone levels, the bus finally crawls its way into Balloch. Every pavement, verge, siding, roundabout - in fact every stretch of land longer than 10 feet - has been peppered with a liberal sprinkling of bright-yellow ``No Parking'' traffic cones.

Residents of the main street into the town obviously decided that these cones were not sufficient to deter the 80,000 concertgoers, so they interspersed the yellow cones with their own, origin unknown, red traffic cones, denting the ``follow the yellow brick road'' effect that the police had so meticulously prepared.

At the bus park on the edge of Balloch Country Park, it is impossible not to have the feeling that you have stepped into some sort of surreal parallel universe populated by people with feathered haircuts. Almost to a man, males are dressed in a standard uniform of Adidas retro trainers, jeans, and blue-checked shirts - the only variance comes from the size of the check.

They all seem to communicate with each other in a bizarre slur of ``nice one'n'at'' repeated ad infinitum at varying volume. Probably something to do with the formidable carry outs consumed.

It's 2.30pm, around 15 minutes after the gates have officially opened, and there is a sprawling snake of people moving in shuffled half-paces towards the entrances. Every so often a boy - and it invariably is, average age 15 - passes against the flow, draped between two mates, with a tiny sliver of sick at the corner of his mouth. They seem blissfully unaware just how long the day is going to be.

Inside there is an unfeasibly large queue for the Oasis poster tent. Here, five-foot renditions of the faces of the Gallagher brothers and the rest of the comparatively anonymous band members sneer down in unfortunately realistic glory. The fact that the 60-inch by 40-inch poster for which they have just parted with a fiver is going to end up a torn mess within the next hour does not seem to put a dampening effect on anyone's buying frenzy.

The dodgy-food tents around the outskirts of the park probably reveal as much about the band as the music they play. In other festivals, such as Glastonbury, the tents are usually populated with people selling wholefood, vegetarian burgers, and Japanese noodles. At Balloch, it was ``Meat Feast'' and ``Bacon Bonanza'', with enough burger sellers to keep the owners of Bedlam rubbing their hands with glee for the next few years.

Oasis's support bands seem to come and go as more and more pints from paper cups are consumed. On the grass around the park, eyelids are getting heavier under the weight of alcohol and cigarettes are being smoked with increasing regularity - which is probably the reason the midges, along with the rest of the residents of Balloch, opted to stay away for the day.

Backstage, Chris Evans and his resident bevy of admirers are mingling with Patsy and Liam, the engaged couple. It seems strange that the man who opts to come to Scotland and then bemoans the lack of ``top tartan tottie'' should turn up at a rock festival dressed like the tourist hillwalker from hell in a pair of skimpy red and white shorts and a royal-blue waterproof Berghaus jacket.

In the VIP tent, Bells' whisky is being given away free. A plethora of record company execs and Scotland's trendiest youngsters seem to be doing all they can to disguise the taste of the spirit with whisky margueritas - whisky, Cointreau and sour - the favourite.

By the time Oasis come on stage at around 9pm, the back of the VIP tent is crowded with beautiful people being violently ill, ruining the seriously cool image they had spent the whole day trying to cultivate.

Live, Oasis are spectacularly static. The only movement on the stage came from the enormous bank of television screens which provided the backdrop as Liam Gallagher hid beneath the hood of his black duffel coat like a recalcitrant toddler.

The whole concert was a bit like a scaled up version of singalonga-Val Doonican, with everyone competing to see how loud they could tunelessly screech the lyrics to each song. Noel Gallagher's ``This is what you've been waiting for, the new stuff'' missed the point somewhat. These people weren't here for the music, they were here for a sing song. Doesn't do a lot for the bad boys of rock image.

After a few repeated pleas to come down to at least 50 people who decided it would be a great idea to climb inebriately to the top of a 100ft lighting rig, Oasis did a few more songs and they were off. Heralded out with some fireworks.

As the heaving mass made its way from the park, leaving a sea of squashed white paper cups and ripped posters, some smart alec struck up ``Today is going to be the day . . .'' and Wonderwall continued relentlessly during the two-hour wait for the train.