July 22nd, 2003

end of a decade

all bands should be like bands in cartoons (1)

Hairdye, trousers, hats and sunglasses, wineboxes, brie and three different real ales. Ice cream from the vicar and egg rolls from the Rotary Club. Comfy cushions for sale and unsuitable heels. Truck isn't really much like a festival, just a lot of bands playing for their mates at somebody's Dad's place. But they let the public in at £20 a pop and hey it doesn't suck. Nice cosy field. One stage on the back of a flat-bed, one in a barn, the other two in tents that are just not quite big enough.

We started off with loud stuff (tired from last night) and went into the barn. Spartacus didn't quite get the audience participation going (I am Spartacus!, he shouted. No reply.) but Smilex had it down to a fine art. I was too short to see anything except for three girls in turquoise tops giving a guy in a deck chair in the audience in front of me a lap dance, which actually looked quite dangerous (they did have trousers on too), but the music sounded nice. Oh, and the lead singer called us cunts. Or did we call him cunts? I forget. Cunt calling occured.

After that we ran! Like the wind! In order to catch Vic Twenty in the tent (I'm quite fast over short distances) who really are *just right*. Great clothes, smart tunes, rude words, very cute. I want to draw them (though I don't have time right now). Then I walked in circles for a bit. Even at the smallest festivals, the things you like clash with each other, and the things you don't, do too.

But after that there were sweet and dreamy Butterflies of Love followed by Trademark, the first of several bands to look rather dwarfed by the main stage. To be fair, the main stage *was* sprung on them; but the charm of flip-charts, OHPs, studded lab coats and maths breaks had problems penetrating out into a field-full of wind-swept haircuts.

What then? Oh yeah, heh. Lews Tunes & Nobsta Nuts, the Welsh hip-hop band. The only Welsh hip-hop band? Possibly. Certainly unique. One guy in a pink fairy dress with a mate in boxer shorts. Frighteningly talented DJ dressed in green shiny fat man's pajamas. Much crotch-grabbing. Wonder if hip-hop stars suffer a loss of sensation after a while?

Slow right down after that for British Sea Power. I thought I hadn't seen them, but I remembered who they were the moment I saw the plastic heron on stage. They'd also put bits of trees all over the place which slowly dissolved out into the crowd as the set went on. Towards the end, one of the band members made like a monkey and dangled himself off the cross-scaffold of the stage while a man in a red shirt scowled at him and protectively hugged his speaker stack. I'll probably forget that I saw them again, though.

After that the ex-lead singer of Ride had his set so we went and played with the video-projections that run in the tents after dark. The main tent was alternating between pounding beats and technical problems, the chill-out tent was trying to compensate with stuff from the dancier end of trance and video wall projections on the ceiling. But Boy Scout tents (even the big ones) are really too small to dance in, though they had an interesting cityscape/text thing going in the projections for a while.

I can't remember a bloody thing about the Brotherhood of Fish.

For the best results, read with these photos by mzdt.
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ecstaticplastic

all bands should be like cartoon bands (2)

Sunday I remembered to take a book. Unfortunately it was dull and annoying (Jonathon Carroll's Land of Laughs). The music wasn't especially cheering me, either; we'd arrived too late for Lesbo Pig and as far as I could tell Mr Duck had been rescheduled *completely*. Brillig and the Slithy Toves had an interesting name, and you got to wonder who was Brillig and who were the Toves (behind Niall, who was doing a William Burroughs impersonation, was a confused-looking person with a Moomin t-shirt on) but they were a Ceilidh band, and I have allergies.

Psychid were being tiny and gothy and shiny on stage, so I settled for that for a while, before doing another wander. I came back in time for Simon to point something else out to me (he does that a lot) but I cruelly carried on walking up the hill as Misty's Big Adventure had just started playing, and somebody was going to be the first one to go up to the edge of the stage and photograph their dancing thing and it might as well be me. They were great, of course. Except that the lead singer looked rather scruffy, which I thought was a shame, given the (anti?)style the rest were flaunting.

Who else? Oh yes, Electric Eel Shock. Tiny Japanese BIG ROCK band. So cool Damian came and got me to go see them. Which was fun even though I'm short because they climbed on things! Kid Samson, too good to be covered up entirely by the lead singer's mumbling (Sunday on a festival is it? Bit drunk are we?) though that did lead us to think that they were perhaps Fi-lo Radio after he incomprehensibly grumbled the band name into his collar. Turned out the noisy rock band on after them were Fi-lo Radio and Kid Samson were the clever electronica. Who'd have thought it.

After that it was time to collapse by the main stage for a bit. Fonda 500 were playing. I finished my novel. In fact, we had a right little book club going. What book would you take to a festival? We had Snow Crash, Lord Wimsey Investigates, an Andre Norton novel with a sword-wielding cloaked person on the front and some slender intellectual orange penguin or other. I whined about Jonathon Carrol for a bit then went to see if anything was happening in the tents.

In the chill-out tent, Twenty from Vic Twenty and three of her beautiful friends were dressed for school disco night and playing Frère Jaques on the transparent pink plastic recorders you can buy from Borders. That would be The Zoltan Kodaly School For Girls, then. They added a Casio organ and accordian forAll you need is love and Like a Virgin (at the tent flap, a tall guy in dreads and awestruck horror stared as if this were a sign of the apocalypse) before a challenging rendition of Girl from Mars with an almost walzy beat. After some (grrrowl) rude French stuff they finished on School's out for Summer! which was weirdly unrecognizable (though the recorder solos did rock). Extremely agreeable!

Back to the main stage for the BIG (local) NAMES. John Peel favourites Meanwhile Back in Communist Russia (say it as if it's all one word) doing goth poetry and guitars through cruelly unclement conditions (bright sunshine, birds, scudding clouds), with just the occasional howl from their depleted guitars and mumbled petulant bitter word-salad breaking through the wind .... blood .... bruises .... nail polish ... vomit ... black ... curdles ... shattered ... veins ....

I went for beer, Damian went for doughnuts. I started to drink a lot of beer. Dave the Am-goth (previously Dave the Anarchist) and tinyjo vied for worst sun-burn. The sun went down. KTB performed a hilarious big-band version of one of her folksy ditties (all it needed was Bruce Forsyth and dancing girls!). The bar closed. We went home. The end.

Interestingly, coalescent went to a completely different festival. Some sort of dimensional accident, I shouldn't wonder.
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