Sunday, 10 May 2009


Awakening in the grubby double bed of ATP this morning it is with relief that Racton appears to have climbed out of his grumpy mood. I have to admit/concede by the end of last night I felt wholly responsible for the bad/dark vibes of the evening but apparently this is/was not the way.

After some positive chat soon it becomes apparent that there is someone else awake in the chalet and upon emerging from our slumber it turns out to be Pauly who is tidying up the chalet like a legend. Fucking hell I am a domestic ignorant.

Once more this morning there is little indication towards any of us having hangovers which suggests we have not been taking Andrew WK’s advice to Party Hard. Getting old and healthy is ruining our lives it would seem.

As ATP TV is slipped on it is to the sight of the first episode of Freaks And Geeks. I remember seeing this on a download once and not wetting my pants. Instead I head out and do a paper run, seeing if anyone wants anything in the process. It always tickles me to buy the News Of The World at ATP because generally it is so frowned up by the masses in attendance when really those hypocritical fuckers love a look at it.

When I get back a huge whopper breakfast is being prepared and I begin to feel like a spare tyre when not contributing to its birth (the guilt stricken offer is there). Instead as concentrate is redirected towards ATP TV the second episode of The Century Of The Self by Adam Curtis is on. Racton and I settle down to attempt to take it in but at this hour but ultimately baked this is a bridge too far at this time.

Slowly people begin to saunter out on various adventures while the lazy backbone of us remain behind and indulge in a true English breakfast. This ultimately is the best food I experience all weekend.

The next thing on TV this morning is the On The Buses movie. This is one of my favourite throwbacks to the seventies, a better time generally. As I indulge, subtly hinting and pointing at the TV in Mosley style I attempt to whip up some support for my opinions and make people laugh at the un-PC manner in which the jokes are delivered. Compared to the currently climate of sensitivity these jokes would appear fearless were they not being performed/made by our parents who see nothing wrong and no irony in this stuff. For me this is the same sort of humour as Neil Hamburger, its about punching in existing and accepted conventions and if this involves insulting and offending people along the way then that is their problem.

I feel it is the Russian that gets with this concept least, especially when she requests that we change the channel to Formula One motor racing. I never have and never will understand the appeal of this event, its not even a sport and don’t you even dare suggest that it is one. Real sport is football and with that in mind Pauly (a Manchester City supporter) makes good with his suggestion to go watch the Manchester derby in the sports bar.

Soon we are hooking up with his brother as a futile set of circumstances appear to be facing City. Someone gets a pitcher and the day’s drinking officially begins.

We fail to get a good spot and I end up finding myself draped uncomfortably over a gumball machine with an OK view of a bad screen. Not long after the game starts along trots my old Gringo Records cohort looking miserable as sin and as a result of this presence I begin feeling miserable as sin myself. The solution to this: drink through it.

Eventually we move to get a better view at a smaller screen and as we tuck into our second pitcher in quick succession certain people’s voices rise and the game begins to get fun – this is how the game should have been yesterday.

As my old friend leaves there is an uncomfortable second as we spot each other but plastered I just quickly start a conversation in another direction.

Soon we find ourselves on our third pitcher as further friends turn up and all points towards WIN. Except of course Man City who go down 2-0 to the future champions of England.

After the game it is noted that the readings are still going on at Crazy Horse so in the hope of catching LYDIA LUNCH we quickly head over there.

The timing is perfect as the penultimate reading makes way for LYDIA LUNCH herself. She is astounding, having plenty of presence and is truly still amazing to look at. Her reading isn’t a million miles away from the one I saw at Latitude three years ago, a obscenity filled narrative of a couple at war with themselves and external forces and influences (chemical and otherwise). Her delivery convinces you that she is speaking from experience recounting a sticky drama from some point in her past. We’ve all been there, bored and desperate whilst strung out and feeling violent.

As a result of hearing of these tales a right thinking person then wants to meet LYDIA LUNCH. It is in the element of danger and the way she appears to abuse the audience with an attitude that if you think or see differently to her, you disagree – so fucking what. She truly is a dying breed in a movement/scene that is far too apologetic for its own good these, too polite and eager to please, as with the Teenage Jesus And The Jerks set at Christmas there is a real sneer attached to the performance. Sincerely I genuinely/truly believe people need to be abused in order to feel and experience emotions with a real purity (of course limits have to be respected). Her reading is all too short, I could have listened to read a whole novel.

Sat already watching the readings I spot Baldwin and I head straight for him and give him a drunken hug upon arrival. Evidently I am happier to see him than he me.

After the readings I head back outside to the now verging on oppressive heat of early afternoon Sunday. While we mingle and catch up on events the authors begin to gather including LYDIA LUNCH. Being somewhat smit I gawp with genuine wow and Pauly begins prodding me once more to get my photo taken with her. Shy I leave it to him to approach her on my behalf by saying “hi, can we talk to you and piss you off” to which she responds “you can talk to me but not piss me off.” In I utter the very clumsy sentence “hi, I’m a very big fan both physically and mentally can I get a picture with you?” and happy days she obliges, twice! The lady turns out to be completely friendly briefing indulging me in conversation as I act all goofy like a schoolgirl with little boobs. With pure professionalism she is soon telling me how she has to get back to her people and with this I shake her hand with more thanks. What was I saying about people in the scene being too polite?

This represents a true win for the weekend. I needed a new Facebook profile picture and now I have to hope and pray that it turns out ok.

High on times we regroup and head to the beach in search of ice cream but not before we all climb over some statue of a beer. This represents the pinnacle of joy for this weekend.

It doesn’t take long before we come across some ice cream outside the complex. As I jokingly impatiently press the bell for service the girl in the kiosk equally jokingly refuses to serve me.

In the bright almost summer sun we walk along the beach like proper tourists, with Pauly going right up to the sea as if he is about to take a dip. We hold back and look on in horror (through beer goggles).

Back in the game we return to the complex where we reunite with the music at FUTURE OF THE LEFT. I don’t think anyone ever really like Mclusky so expectations so far of FUTURE OF THE LEFT have been generally pretty low level and I guess that has worked to their advantage as they have in effect been able to start from fresh again, weeding out the fat and bulking up in the process.

In FUTURE OF THE LEFT here appears to be a band that has genuinely managed to tap into that dark American sound and manage to deliver it caked in that dour, poker playing cynical sense of humour.

It all begins early as the bass player turns over his instrument to reveal “ATP” duct taped underneath – this is how you win when playing festivals. Then after the first song he cuts through all the bullshit and coolness by shouting “who likes sweets you fuckers” before throwing handfuls into a skinny crowd. FUTURE OF THE LEFT know how to work a room.

As the crowd begins to warm to the Welsh wonders in a big way we get the song that sounds like Shellac, the song that sounds like Jesus Lizard and all kinds of wicked sounds in-between smothered in purposely stupid lyrics and sick jokes. Onstage FUTURE OF THE LEFT look very comfortable and very accomplished on the horrible Pavilion stage, serving as a beacon of what would be cool to be at the forefront of some kind of UK scene/movement that sadly never seems to come together. Dirty and nasty sounding, ultimately the band do not sound a million miles different to Penthouse or Superstar Disco Club from back in the day. Damn, if only there had been ATP when there were bands and a UK scene, acts such/like that could/should have cleaned up. Regardless the set just leaves me with a warm tingly feeling and I am not alone.

Afterwards we head upstairs where !!! are performing and who now appear to have turned into some soppy disco band. Its all far too camp and too early in the day for Studio 54. I always thought this was a band that sounded like Battles – what happened? Did they discover ecstasy and happiness? Is that what happens to people when they have sex on a regular basis?

Uninterested I head back down into the Pavilion for PARTS & LABOR where I find myself already flagging, far too early in the day than should be acceptable. At this point I have lost all my friends and family and on the Pavilion I just collapse to the floor while it is still voluntary.

I think I see Baldwin in the distance but its just a replica of him. Luckily by the time PARTS & LABOR arrive I have reunited with Racton but spirits aren’t high.

PARTS & LABOR sadly disappoint too. With such a great name I would envisage a really earnest, hard working band with a strong ethos and heavy degree of seriousness. Beforehand I had also been told that they sound like Husker Du but after macking the lady in the band for an extended period as the music goes through my third ear filter suddenly it just sounds like We Might Be Giants with a slight blue collar sneer. Today this does not work for me.

With some reluctance it would seem I reunite with Racton and we split the scene and head back upstairs for KILLING JOKE.

The KILLING JOKE represent something of a wildcard. Memories still linger fresh of the horrible mess that was The Damned from the Nightmare Before Christmas and how despite being truly awful and a generation beyond their sell by date there was still enough enthusiasm behind them to make a bad set even worse to unbiased ears. Would this mean KILLING JOKE were destined to repeat this?

It is with a huge welcome that the KILLING JOKE hit the stage as they plough into a pretty unique sound away from the remainder of the festival. They also do look very old and out of place at this festival, especially Jaz Coleman when he hits the stage looking like Alice Cooper. Luckily they tear into the “hits” immediately and much to my shock (and probably chagrin) Racton gets into them. Personally I just wanted to see what they looked like and hear like for a song or two.

There is always a real risk attached to choosing an innovator of their field for the festival once they reach rock pension age. As bands grow old generally they move towards becoming more Kerrang as it is the more loyal fanbase/crowd with the more forgiving lifespan and to see the KILLING JOKE now suddenly turn into some hybrid of Ministry and Motorhead is now necessarily a very pretty thing.

Also immediately I begin to get twitchy and whining making numerous physical gestures towards heading back to the chalet. I think if I had left him Racton would have stayed for the entire KILLING JOKE set. We leave before “Eighties” and/or “Millennium”, if they even played them at all.

Back at the chalet and in the comfort of our temporary home our merry band of six all give off the physical symptoms of “feeling it.” Some people are cooking and some people are eating, unsurprisingly I am the latter.

Looking to ATP TV for the answers Martin and Pauly appear somehow transfixed by a weird Russian movie called “Stalker.” Having a Russian in the room doesn’t help explain it but people persist in watching what appears to be a foreign snuff movie version of Last Of The Summer Wine directed by Shane Meadows. Kind of.

As the pace slows and almost grinds to a halt at 10PM on the Sunday night of ATP the majority of us (the males) head to bed for a quick nap for THE JESUS LIZARD. What happened to us? Where did our enthusiasm and stamina go? Quite frankly we should be ashamed and embarrassed. If only we had the energy.

An hour or so later we slowly reappear one by one in the realisation that we are paying premium for this privilege. And it is probably a good thing that ATP TV is poor at this time thus we feel inclined and obliged to head back to the music.

Briefly we head to Reds where we attempt to regain consciousness as the MAE SHI storm onstage. Annoying we arrive at the arse end of their set as they pummel through the close of one of those keyboard punk sets where from somewhere these guys seem able to muster up some energy at the close of a long long weekend. They remind me the Rah Bras and slightly of Men’s Recovery Project only with better Facebook profile photos. As with Dalek at the Nightmare Before Christmas, we just got there too late.

With the four of us now reunited we head upstairs to the final slog of the weekend that will be the second THE JESUS LIZARD set. Rather than hit the throng of the stage we hang back towards the end of the hall where we can be seated with a pretty definitive view of proceedings even if the sound is destined to suck. Somewhere at some point I suspect one of our team had a bad experience at the hands of David Yow this weekend and they have purposely steered us as far away as possible from him.

Shortly before the set has even begun Racton throws in the towel and dies, heading back to K8 defeated and destroyed. It saddens us all.

When THE JESUS LIZARD take the stage, from our perspective it is as if we are in the pub watching football on a big screen, the distance is not favourable for any of us. This very much makes us armchair music fans this evening.

The band open with “Here Comes Dudley” which is the perfect opener for THE JESUS LIZARD, it does the business on “Goat” and it does the business here tonight. Again Yow does his twisted pervert dance seemingly doing his own impression of a real jesus lizard, the kind that walks on water, much like this band does when it comes to music.

With this second set THE JESUS LIZARD solidify their place as music legends. From a distance watching Yow you get to appreciate his movements and gestures in a whole different capacity and one that serves him, David Yow is the last great frontman in rock as no one in music seems capable of leading a band with any authority these days. “Puss” hits mid set and once again floors all and everything around it.

As he repeatedly throws himself into the crowd it appears he is going for it more this evening. When addressing the crowd he asks “who saw our set last night?” before commenting “well that one was homosexual in comparison” adding a different kind of intensity to proceedings. When did ATP stop being PC for long enough to make a gay comment? Good, I hope it offended some (preferably someone white and straight).

The show does not end there as Yow moves onto joke telling by asking “what’s the difference an erection and a Maserati? I don’t have a Maserati.” Even though he doesn’t get his cock out at this festival (unlike the Slint ATP in 2005) you still believe him.

Halfway through the set Pauly disappears also leaving Martin and I to carry to torch for the festival. As the set draws to a conclusion the weekend reaches summation as my old Gringo Records partner (tailed by some gimp that had an awful record released on the label) walks past us looking tired and grumpy himself at which point we are both rendered equal as two arseholes not having a whole lot of fun. We’re both flying and high on life it would seem.

THE JESUS LIZARD sent eventually comes to an end and it is almost met with a sigh of relief from many quarters. I feel at this time I failed to fully appreciate just what I had in my hands but then again there will always be the Saturday night performance.

Without hesitation Martin and I head straight back to the chalet, not passing “Go” and not collecting £20 neglecting the option to see SLEEP for a second night running.

As we walk back Martin begins telling me about his experience in Pizza Hut that afternoon and a little incident with the bill and the teller. He basically says “I don’t want to sound racist but I think people around here might be thick” as he relays the event of the pizza girl acting anal and jobsworthy. This is the West Country though with its notoriety for incest and lack of thumbs. This truly is a remote part of the country, for all the fresh air and beautiful greenery you have to trade it off against a fast pace of life and surplus entertainment and education for a more simpler life. There is no right and there is no wrong it is just how it all is, a Somerset thing.

Back in the chalet ATP TV is the saviour playing Wings Of Desire feeding my Berlin obsession from summer. I love this movie and it turns out the perfect way to unwind the weekend.

Slowly the remainder of our chalet returns home and the weekend ends up being me and the Russian watching Flight Of The Conchords. As she plays with her phone she doesn’t really seem to get it and eventually she goes to bed and I win the Cold War!

When I eventually go to bed I crash atop of the bedding and do not snuggle. This is a low.

This was supposed to be the highlight of the summer. Oh dear.

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