Saturday, 25 July 2009

Saturday 25 July 2009

This morning awakening at 6.30AM there is some kind of relief in the air. The sun is out in force and I feel relaxed. Perhaps it is the manner in which the sunlight is striking and lighting my apartment but things just don’t look bad at all.

Not feeling tied into any kind of routine today (well, not a strict one at least) I finally unwrap my season two of Entourage box set and I begin the day watching that, a show that by rights should be a hell of a lot more obnoxious than it is but in earnest it is a pretty entertaining show, complete fantasy but somehow against the elements it is likeable.

I’m feeling resigned and philosophical today. Anyone that doesn’t value me (and the list is long) well it is their loss. Thinking of specific example I can’t help but shrug and write them off as terrible people, fuck circumstances you can’t act like a sociopath all your life, which they did to me. I’m feeling prickly.

As I pour my cereal today when I grab for milk out of the fridge for some reason I pull out a next to empty bottle. Why on earth did I put it back in the fridge if it was finished? Times.

Just after 9AM I head out on the Asda routine run. On the way I pop into the olds to grab a shirt for today (yup, mum is doing my washing). It is also to check on the dog and unfortunately when I turn up at Balkerne Heights the old man is walking Bobby. As I leave I do manage to see him and he is looking a lot more perkier than yesterday. He lets off an attention seeking howl at me and when I bend down to acknowledge him he gives me his equivalent of a hug. Sadly I cannot stay and hang out with him even though as I leave he watches me seemingly hoping that I am staying/coming back.

Asda is Asda is Asda. Today I am buying naff George clothes because mum wants me to get a top for dad (seems he don’t fit into L either). It’s a Private Eye fortnight so I get the latest copy of that and find Half Baked starring Dave Chappelle in the DVD sale. In this case it should not really surprise me when the bill hits me for £31.

Today is a hot day and I am slow moving with it.

Eventually I get the 12.29PM train sitting in the noisiest carriage in history. The table next to me look as if they are on their way to a sci-fi convention. This is a stark contrast to my silent morning commuter experiences. These fucking nerds drown out my iPhone.

Today I am heading to London on a Saturday in order to catch/attend the Ben And Jerry’s Sundae On The Common festival which today has SUPER FURRY ANIMALS headlining and TEENAGE FANCLUB just behind them.

As we pass through Stratford I take a couple of photos of the Olympic stadium and I swear the geeks begin taking the piss out of me for taking pictures of a building site. In a group of geeks there is always a mouthy/gobby one.

By the time the train is slowly winding into Liverpool Street my phone rings and it is my boss at work asking me about some papers on my desk. All week he had been subtly hinting/suggesting for people to come in and help him grunt desks from our makeshift office back to a normal one and without my biting now he appears to be chasing me on the phone. Seems the only other person he was able to rope in was the IT Guy.

My journey to Clapham Common is a relatively smooth one although it does involve too many middle age faux and former indie types stepping (literally) on my toes. Well done people for being so well adjusted in your Glastonbury souvenir shirts.

Emerging at Clapham Common I remember that I have run out of money and as a result I have to endure the longest ATM queue in history.

So this is Clapham Common, a part of London ordinarily too South for my liking (and comfort). It is a busy, buzzing area. The sights are interesting, with this ATM positioned next to a pub I see a genuinely eye popping sight of a tall chunky drunken goth lady in not the wisest of wardrobe choices/options. As her legs and arse resemble yoghurt in a bin liner it actually isn’t too repulsive. I blame American Apparel. As she gurns down her mobile phone I have expect her to swallow it.

Elsewhere while waiting I witness other great sights such as an Asian kid wearing a Mike Tyson t-shirt (face tattoo era Tyson, in other words post prime) with the word “supreme” emblazoned across it. Nice.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the rise in popularity of festivals is directly related to the ban on smoking indoors (at gigs) as pretty much everyone appears to be smoking today.

As big as it is would you believe that I almost have trouble finding Clapham Common and the festival. I trigger common sense and follow the noise but this only serves to lead me to the wrong corner of the site.

Eventually I trawl my way to the entrance where I find myself presented with something more resembling a corporate branded fun park as opposed to a music festival. Almost immediately I feel disorientated and with a distinct lack of phone signal confused as to how I will be able to hook up with Racton or Sharpy.

For a while I stagger around sussing the place out and sure enough there is more free ice cream here than you can shake a stick at. There are however enormous lines of people accompanying it coming away with ickle pots of Ben And Jerry’s suggesting the time spent in the queue does not quite equal the value of the returns.

Luckily I soon meet up with Racton and everyone else in tow and suddenly I have minor salvation. As some faceless/nameless act plays out on stage I find myself gagging for a drink so while the others hop a merry-go-round I do the honours.

In the distance onstage is MARINA AND THE DIAMONDS going through the motions. I have no idea who she is or what she is about, it is just good management that sees her on the bill here today. As a result we pay her little mind as we head for more free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

Today is a pretty good day to be out. Its not too warm but there is a delicious amount of sunshine accompanying the abundance of free mini pots of ice cream.

As more friends of Racton and Eleanor turn up we take up a spot in the middle of the field and look on at everyone else the event today. I actually see a The Family Cat t-shirt, which is something I never thought I would see.

By now onstage are KING CREOSOTE who also appear to have good management in order to wangle themselves onto this build because other than the name I don’t think I have heard anything about them before. They plough through a schmindie set of personality devoid songs. They can’t compete with our conversation or our minds. Shockingly it turns out they’re on Domino (a label with cred) when really you’d think they’d be more at home on a fake indie such as Deltasonic (a label without cred).

I AM KLOOT are really the first real band of the day and one that I have actually heard songs of/by. If I listened to them enough I feel the might sound like The Auteurs to me eventually. I pay them some attention in the knowledge that eventually they should be playing a song that I will recognise. Eventually it comes in the form of “To You” and a sudden realisation that while it is not a bad song it is neither an amazing song and that this is a band that should have been forced to hang up their instruments some time ago when the indie world’s brief flirtation of interest with them disappeared and died. In this respect they remind me of Thirteen Senses and countless other faceless “indie” bands that spent their career serving under borrowed time.

With the chaff out of the way we begin moving ourselves closer to the stage for the bands that we really came to see. Joining us now is Matthew and his girlfriend who equally find themselves stocking up on beer and ice cream in the prospect of seeing some of our indie heroes from bygone times.

When TEENAGE FANCLUB come out on stage it occurs to me that it has now been four or five years since I last saw them and fourteen years since I first saw them. With age naturally comes a heavy degree of laidback familiarity and today TEENAGE FANCLUB indeed play like a band that is being paid in ice cream.

They begin their set with a series of new songs which aren’t necessarily welcome in these festival times. Onstage Norman Blake these days looks like a combination of Ian Beale and Alan Bennett and when he jokes how his top usually costs £3 but he got it for free due to a deal with George of Asda you can’t help but believe him. Elsewhere Raymond looks like the IT guy where I work and Gerry is just looking shabby these days.

Soon with relief the hits begin to come eventually with a string of singles in the form of “Sparky’s Dream” and “Ain’t That Enough.” Surprisingly today it is the lesser known songs of their catalogue that really hit home as “About You” and “Your Love Is The Place Where I Come From” sound truly sweet in the summer sun.

Despite not being the best ever set I have seen from the band there is no argument as to quality of their material and they would really have to do something drastically wrong in order to fluff their set when there are so many riches to pick from. When “Don’t Look Back” strikes it is hard not to sing or mouth along to the most timid of sad songs before it all comes to a climax with their traditional closer of “Everything Flows” which possesses equally anthemic qualities. Despite all trends that will come and go TEENAGE FANCLUB feel like a band that will go on forever.

There is a sad element to the TEENAGE FANCLUB set as for the entire duration a group of day-trippers to our left proceed to talk their way through the music taking away from what we should be able to be enjoying on the stage. These people remind me of so many supposed well adjusted people now inhabiting music festivals in the summer because this is the thing to do. After the set a couple of them begin wackily falling about on the floor and when they bang into my legs I give off the kind of look that expresses “what are you doing?” when they field me with vague apologies. To my rejection they respond with the usual “what’s his problem?” in Noireen from Big Brother fashion/style just as I wonder whether it would really be so bad if I stomped on their heads.

Against expectations SUPER FURRY ANIMALS absolutely blow my mind. It feels like years now since they have been a true going concern and somehow I think their latter career has managed to pass me by although I think I may once have drunkenly stumbled across them at an ATP. Here today however they appear to be the British equivalent of the Flaming Lips crossed with a kind of Hawkwind sensibility with a glam stomp to power them through.

By rights they should be past their sell by date but they just aren’t as someone savvier than I sees it fit to correctly book and position them as headliners today. This most definitely is a set for the masses.

The SUPER FURRY ANIMALS pound out a set of weird sounding crowd pleasers that I get admonished for not recognising. Around us people are digging the set, even more so than the Fannies. Somehow this has become a family affair as people of my generation now scarily are bringing their kids to see their first band in the most safe of environments. Indeed as the SFA set carries on, in front of us our comedian friend finds himself faced by the sight of a baby sitting on his dad’s shoulders firing baby builder’s bum clevage straight in his face.

Eventually a song I know arrives in the form of “God, Show Me Magic” which stands out as a quick burst of energy during its mere two minute existence that gets fired into the ether.

Finally the set ends as the lo-fi Power Rangers close predictably with “The Man Don’t Give A Fuck” that seems to go on forever with its fat beats and hooks and endless message that the people are able to sing along to in a feeble last attempt and effort at being rebellious before packing up their kids’ pushchair and returning home to Saturday night TV. Ultimately it all ends in victory.

We leave Clapham Common with the night still strong and the air still possessing a warm breeze and the night light as day. The others hop aboard a bus to take them further south and some kind of stag event. I however endeavour to join the throng and masses in entering a tube station not really designed for this many people. As I waddle into the station I accidentally bump shoulders with a girl who tuts as I apologise to her. I shouldn’t have bothered.

Once away from South London eventually I wind up back at Liverpool Street and boarding the weird 9PM Lowestoft train. Tonight is the most amazing evening. Looking out of the window I find myself transfixed by the skyline of East London as it cascades with a beautiful dusk sky and slipstreams of orange and pink. This humbles me, reminding me of how vast the world is and how small and insignificant my existence is in the grand scheme of things. Not in a million years could I come up with something so perfect as this. This moment makes me feel young and excited, reminding that there are still wonders in the world, opportunities to flourish and feel happy. Nobody could ruin this for me right now, even if they tried.

That said my mind soon finds itself distracted by the whining couple sat behind me repeatedly kicking the back of my seat as they appear to do their best to upset me.

I get home just before 10PM, heading home on a still glorious Saturday evening which all ends with my watching Big Brother and Noireen’s confession to Marcus. This climax is anti.

Enthused with a current resurgence of interest in DJ Gram tonight I purchase the domain address. Hopefully I will find some time to use it.

Eventually I fall asleep watching Big Brother only to reawaken in the early hours with the TV still on to discover on the live feed that Tom is walking from the house. I’m not sure how great or important it is to be watching this unravel live as it happens but it does signify the kind of world that we now live it. I would rather take the sunset.

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