... is frankly total bollocks.
What a blast - a pontins in Camber Sands, East Sussex (you do the multimap if you wish) taken over for the weekend (which really did start on friday night) by a bunch of freakishly tall people who enjoy ranges of music which I can only imagine have evolved so far into the future that you can only enjoy it if you have extra limbs and two brains to process the information.
I'm totally munced, this weekend has left me with a ringing in my soul (I wore earplugs the whole time we were within shooting distance of a stage - the PAs were huge!) - but I can guarantee that it's one hell of a way to put on a festival. The main stages (2 of) were within 3 minutes brisk walk of the warm, comfortable chalets we were in (although the inevitable plastic mattresses were a bit cold the second night) - one main room with a softbed, which was big enough to house our own 2 longditudinally-enhanced freaks Niall (the groom) and Steve (the organiser and best man), and one bedroom with 3 beds in, it felt a bit like you were stacking yourself in a warehouse when you finally decided you had to collapse for the evening.
We were in 551, and the remainder of our plucky 10 person band in 427, a short but ultimately disorienting walk across the totally uniform block structure of the site. It was a little like the Albany Park in St Andrews (gatty to those in the know) - but 2 stores high. You could have filmed a carry on film there and it'd have been perfect, provided you could get the 70s clothes and ensure the trees had no leaves on them.
While 551s kitchen remained relatively unblasted by the excesses of 5 psuedo-batchelors (Stuart and I bringing several packets of instant-pasta and smash style carbohydrates, plus a huge bag of pasta, dolmio a plenty and tortilla chips n dip), 427s sink was nicely clagged with whatever got shoved down there by Sat eve. Stuart and I had a hankering for pasta so we washed pots in the bathroom sink and then he slipped crushed chillis in while my back was turned (curse you Smurf), then beatifically asked if we should put the rest of the (slightly spicy) chili salsa dip from Tescos in. "Oh yes, that'll be fine" said I. And thus Stuart ritually spiked the pasta that most of us ate. There's a mean streak in that guitarist...
The 2 crates of carlsberg, plus the copious amounts of tequila, whisky and (undrunk) tesco value cidery drink (4% mind) - which we nicknamed weakbow - we bought ensured we never ran out of beer, but they also conspired to ensure we didn't realise how much Chilli Smurf put in the pasta sauce. I realised at 9am the following morning, when liquid noises from the region of my bellybutton persuaded me unconciousness was no longer an option. Toothpaste tube, I know how you feel...
Movies????.... but this is a music festival!
The bands varied enormously in quality over the weekend. In between them, we indulged in the ATP channel, which showed a variety of DVDs, often forgetting to put on the copyright notice, but not always. Highlights included the zombie fest night on Saturday (evil dead, zombie flesh eaters, etc) and some woody allen movie on sunday which seemed to have kenneth brannagh reprising the role of woody himself, presumably as he is now too decrepit to dissemble properly through the medium of celluloid. The inclusion of Famke Janssen, Wynona Ryder and Charlize Theron in this movie made me wonder if Ken and Woody had hand-picked the leading ladies which Ken's rather perversely f*cked-up "Alfie" character found himself knocking around with.
And the bands?....
Well, highlights for me included Throbbing Gristle (Niall now has a double CD of the gig, purchased immediately afterwards), Aphex Twin (who hung around the site for the full weekend, utterly out of his tree in the "Queen Victoria" theme-style pub saturday night) who was truly spectacular (even I danced), Bird Blobs (from Melbourne, Aus) who I thought would be a comedy act but who turned out to be respectably energetic black-clad purveyors of up-to-date retro punk rock screamusic, "And you shall know us by the trail of the dead" who had 2 drummers (I was impressed) and predictably trashed their gear at the end of the gig - but, as Stuart pointed out, didn't do an encore afterwards and have top retrieve the now sorry looking instruments and attempt to make noise with them(!)
What about these diminutively-challeneged (i.e. tall) freaks?...
My god, I've never had so much trouble seeing the stage. It's as if the music caused these people to move their heads closer to god or something... or maybe the long, dark hours spent listening to John Peel (cheerio john - he got several mentions throughout the weekend, inducing spontaneous cheers, and at one stage a longish section of one of his shows was played downstairs to great applause) caused them never to see the sun, and we know what that does to plants. They grow up tall, spindly and rather anaemic. Perfect!
I bought a couple of flashing LED wand things and then proceeded to spin them lots, which drew some favourable comments and several pictures. We took a lot of footage of spinning light wands... Stuart and I both had our little Mustek DV cameras. Fortunately with long exposure times they became quite entertaining. Actually, I had great fun with the flashing stick things, and they gave me a great idea. They did have a habit of exploding and turning themselves off though (not at the same time: something which explodes is probably not going to turn back on). I managed to repair one of the two which Niall accidentally managed to mangle :) The other will need more urgent attention with epoxy, I fear... Funny thing, I wore the dreadlocks, and everytime I spun the lightsticks, someone asked me if i had any pills - the police should use thaqt one with undercover agents! The real clincher seems to be if you can spin both of them at 90 degrees to each other and move them around like mesmerising plates.
Niall has a tattoo or two... and a pierced tongue... and yet, lip or eyebrow piercings somehow bring out a sense of revulsion in him. Someone forward me the address of a good therapist :)
Some top people on site. One of the chalets across from us had "YOU ARE WELSH" written on the window in toothpaste during the first night, and someone was reenacting an old freeserve advert on the lawn area outside, on a bike with truly hand-knitted 70s clothes!
More meanderings in a bit