Thursday, July 31, 2008

It lingers brightly too

Everyone's reading fanzines in the morning at the campsite, fried bread and baked beans, taking 20 minutes to walk 10 feet because of all the hugs, veggie burger and a cup of tea at the café, surrounded by friends, pretty Swedish girls hanging out in the toilets, Colin Clary's hips and Max's crazy barytone voice, David dancing, Stuart asks The Smittens to play one more song, Amy's felt badges (I bought a train-shaped one), Jo kissing my bottom, the slow road train to the festival site, everywhere you turn a sweet friendly face, Pete's choice of T-shirts made me smile, the Middle Ones harmonising in the church, the baby is moving, Julie Mai 68s is shitfaced by midday, Jeremy throws the drumsticks, someone nearly dies, shade and beer in the buffet car, let's run to catch Gregory Webster, the hottest train ride ever, Neil's face through the train driver's window, singing along to 'I'll Still Be There', tears are running, 'The Kids Are Solid Gold', I love my life, who's-playing-where confusion, the Manhattans playing the glorious 'Jonny Boy', Pete Horowitz dancing like he's about to take off, Rocker's keeping score, 19 minutes. "The Deirdres!", attempting to run to the outdoor stage, the first notes of 'Electro Magic', Russell acting like a Rock God, Gemma being a good kid, losing it during 'Fun to Pretend', this is all I ever dreamt of, Milky Wimpshake sends us into space, the happiest couple of hours of my life, it's overwhelming again, a train ride at dusk, it's quiet again, "Was it you that did that song about Dr Beeching last night? It was great!" says the train driver "Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!", you're full of smiles, KateGoes and balloons, Sophie shouting from the train window "We played 'Electro Magic' for you!", blowing kisses, platform singalongs once more, 'Don't Stop', 'Dylan in the Movies', 'Sparkly', 'You Can Hide Your Love Forever', holding back tears again, 'Decent', drinking vodka from the bottle, goodbye Indietracks, chip butty, whiskey from the bottle, tonieee's Socialist Republic of Indietracks, hiccups, suddenly all is quiet, "Talulah Gosh was a popstar for a day", I've never been happier.

I don't want to get up, tomatoes on toast, a jar of Nutella, thankyous, The Blue Minkies on the stereo, turn right, over Blackfriars Bridge, it's over.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

It lingers brightly

I don't know how we can get away with Indietracks. It's so removed from everything we know real life to be and even further removed from what escapist fun is to most people. It can't even be called escapism because there is no real attempt to create a separate reality. It just is what it is in the most effortless way. I guess I am answering my own question here.

There is no easy way to describe the three days we just had in meaningful prose. And no, don't worry, I'm not going to write a poem about it. Or a song. I guess the easiest way for me to do it, especially when I'm still so tired is to try and remember scattered moments that made Indietracks the dreamlike experience that it was.

Hang on, let me cut my wristband first.

OK, here we go:

Lentil bake in a breezy kitchen, a cat lazying in the garden, falling asleep on the sofa while reading A Wild Sheep Chase, a phonecall, a car waiting outside, the "Eeeeeeeeeee!" as we see the first sign to the campsite, setting up home on a tartan blanket next to Jono's blue 2cv, seeing the Steepletone dansette in Tony's carboot, wearing the red T-shirt with the words 'Those loyal to pop, come!', putting the tent up, meeting Colin, having a veggie barbeque at Neil and Sarah's campervan, Ray's vegetable pakoras, chocolate cake from Neil's birthday, walking to the Indietracks site and grinning as we get towards the entrance, the excitement of the new, Stuart, the sun is setting, hugging Liechtenstein and Jorgen, down by the platform for the first drink from the train carriage bar, watching Lola Pattison doing the indie kid, teasing Dan Pocketbooks, sipping vodka slowly and looking around, we are here at last. Dancing to The Sea Urchins on the platform with Renée and Naemi, meeting Viktor, he used to be in Dorotea, "I *love* your band and most my friends do too!", he doesn't believe it until I drag everyone along to meet him, funny photo of Emma and Dan makes us delirious, we don’t get drunk before the bar closes, straight to bed...

This isn't working. I'll be here forever writing about every single moment because every single moment of it mattered. Saturday was a strange experience because it started badly: I was overwhelmed. The merchandise stall (which I was responsible for) was chaotic, some of my favourite bands were playing and I couldn't see them (most notably The Just Joans), it was boiling hot and I didn't know what I was doing or where everyone was. Sitting on the grass for five minutes, I remember saying "Festivals are shit, aren't they?". Hey, what do I know? I'm a wimp, alright? Because then it was time to see Liechtenstein and as I was watching them surrounded by an appreciative crowd, it didn't feel that bad anymore and I was slowly finding my feet. As they sang their monochrome beauty 'Apathy' and put their guitars down, I grabbed Pete from Horowitz and we ran to main stage to catch Pocketbooks who had just started their set. We arrived halfway through 'Falling Leaves' and Pete said "What a song to walk in to!" and so we ran down the front and joined the sweetest bunch of people as they were swaying and smiling. Twenty minutes later I was ecstatic. I saw Pocketbooks' first gig a couple of years ago, it was shambles; and now they were being adored by a huge crowd of indiepop kids who couldn't stop dancing. It felt like everything we were trying to do in this little world of ours was coming together and it was time to stop worrying and start partying. It was just the greatest thing I could possibly hope for, to see my friends playing so beautifully, with such confidence and a glorious sense of the pop moment. Lardpony in the sweaty church were amazing as well; it was nearly impossible to keep seated during 'Zombie Bride' and I don't know why I stayed seated. These are the bands we've loved in sparsely attended gigs all over the country and now, in front of our very eyes, we are joined by crowds who get it as well. How did that happen?

The beauty of being able to jump on a train and let it slow things down a bit, and falling sweetly asleep as the sun was setting. This is perfect.

... as was catching Harvey Williams in the church. It's Harvey, you know? The man invented the indieboy and all his troubles and he was sitting there singing those songs as we were welling up because everything was how we imagined it when we first started getting excited about indiepop. I think Harvey felt the same way and when he did 'Anorak City' and 'You Should All Be Murdered' on the acoustic guitar and people were dancing and shouting out the words, I felt happier than I could ever hope to be. Until then, because Sunday made me even happier. It never ends. Fuck the Wedding Present and their stupid photography rules. Harvey Williams is one of the reasons Indietracks even exists and it was very very special.

Drunk, emotional and tired - the disco sounds completely perfect but it passes me by because my legs are breaking. I wander around the site, almost crying with a sudden feeling of loneliness and don't even think to look at the platform where the Just Joans are playing and I miss them for the second time. Gah! But I catch up eventually and I'm reminded once again that the power of what we have lies in the most simple things, the things we don't shout about, the crazy oxymoron of shyness and self-confidence that makes people pick up a guitar and play a few songs on a train platform on a Saturday night - this, again, is perfect. So perfect that it's almost impossible to take it all in.

to be continued