10 October 2009

the excellentnessness of it all

The revolutions we've experienced in the last few years in telecommunications, media, intelligence gathering and information processing, have coincided with an unprecedented sense of disorder and unease, not only in societies, states, economies, families, sexes, but also in species, bodies, brains, weather patterns, ecological systems. There is turbulence on so many levels that reality itself seems suddenly on edge. Centres are subsumed by peripheries, mainstreams overwhelmed by their backwaters, cores eroded by the very skins supposed to protect them. Master copies lose their mastery and everything valued for its size and strength, finds itself over run by micro processing's once supposed too small and insignificant. It is against this backdrop that the free parties are currently being held with many such groupings of people all over the country/world, whose radius of activity is mostly confined to people in the know, often performing in unknown spaces. The atmosphere is intimate, convivial, almost private. Everyone seems to know each other; a network of clandestine societies in which the electro acoustics involve the post processing of other peoples material; where the record has become the instrument; where the sound is all about the mixture of other peoples work; where the aim is that of transcendance. True, great music should achieve this, making one transcend, and in doing so honouring the spirit, by taking you somewhere beyond, to a world you may not be familiar with, and freeing us from the unpredictable or the all too predictable realities of modern day life. Last summer, music took us on many such journeys, to many beautifully unusual worlds, and this is last summers story.

Having been thrown out of all available licensed premises, there was only one thing for it if we wanted to have any parties of any description at all and that was to kick arse on the free party front. Which was not a wholly unwelcome side effect of our banned status. Only two things seemed against us; the weather; and the small problem with our bass bin's being blown and being unable to be mended for 6 months. Still, no matter, we'd already bought another pair of subs and were awaiting delivery of said subs any day, or so we kept reassuring ourselves, over the 13 months wait that did eventually ensue. So despite being a sound system with only half a rig and no venues, we decided not to let small things like that hold us back, and got stuck in, braving the elements in the great outdoors. Shaun was sent out on reccys with various ordinance survey maps of the area. We must have had some sort of divine blessing to go with the inspiration, as the incessant rain, that had been hammering the countryside non stop, miraculously cleared up each evening of the party, only to return with a vengeance once all partying, sundry related social interactions and other partaking activities, had ceased. Spooky!

First party of the season honour was taken by the 76 buoys, who just slipped one in there (missus) in February, in an oft used venue in a dilapidated hotel. (No, not the Woodpeckers.) Unfortunately, it was too bastard cold to do fuck all other than grimace or drink yet more beer (so no change there, then) in the vague hope it would provide much needed insulation from the elements. Not so. It was also the party that Scarlet O'Hara like, I vowed against the rising of the dawn that "never again" (fist raised in silhouette against the pink sky) would I be car-less again. You see, when you get lifts to parties, 'Friends' have this annoying habit of scoring with their dream love boat before informing you of their undying love and strong drive to consummate their relationship immediately and then fucking off before the party ends. Or, if they fail to do this, they instead fill the car with tripping loonies who are trying to steal your ride back to civilization. 'I'm not moving', or, 'It's nice and warm in here', or, with just a little whinge, 'But how am I supposed to get home?' or even 'who are you?' permeates the dew ridden ether. This scary experience developed the theme for the summer; Transport, and the getting of it, forthwith. It does seem relatively pointless to think of oneself as this great pioneering party frontier type person pushing the frontiers of the free party network when you can't even get to the effing site let alone get home. Oh yeah, there's always a way to get the equipment there, there's always space for decks and stuff, but nothing if you happen to be a poor party promoter with loads of even poorer chums with not a car between them.Cue one reasonably rich chum (he's got a job) with two many cars and a generous penchant for saying 'have one of mine!' Now we were sorted for keys and wheels.

The next party was in a disused fruit storage farm, somewhere outside of Canterbury on the last weekend in March. In a room rather like a youth club pre-fab building from the fifties, Shaun had spent all day lifting vast apple boxes on their sides to make dancing platforms, and clearing up hundreds of pallets. It was an amazingly sultry night as excitedly we began unloading "the stuff" in pitch-black darkness. 'Put the genny on,' someone shouts, 'so we can see what we're effing doing.' A scramble ensues, trying to find the genny, then the leads. Disaster. The lights were on but there was no one at home. The genny ran but wouldn't produce electricity. Shit. A quick pikey phonecall confirmed our worse fears, the "brushes" had gone and there was no way this "ol' gel" would produce anything tonight. Cursing technology, bitterly, we none the less remembered to put the sick genny safely in a van, remembering Macca's non too pleasant experience of failing to baby-sit non-working, just-run-out-of-petrol gennys. Pissed off we started clearing away, there was no way we could get a genny at 9.30pm on a Saturday night. As we walked across the 100,000 square feet plus of warehousing space over the yard from the room we had been planning to use, we were to discover, as we explored, that it didn't matter anyway. Flicking half heartedly at an ancient rust encrusted light switch, we were gob smacked on discovering that the previous owners were really rather decent sorts, and had neglected to get the leccy turned off when they had vacated the premises. This seemed too good an opportunity to miss. With enough free electricity to power Canterbury, we kicked off, forced to party in a lovely little room off the main warehouse with walls, radiators and windows, doors and toilets, a linoleum floor and strip lights in the ceiling. Wicked. There could have been a snowstorm outside and we could have just reached to the thermostat on the wall and turned the heating on. However it was very warm and an extremely convivial atmos was quickly achieved and maintained for a whole evening's enchantment. Out in the vast warehouse, to the side of the dancing mayhem that now erupted from the main room was the Eclectic Loony Lounge (due to make many scheduled appearances through the summer) which was doing a roaring trade.

Unfortunately the roaring was Rosie-ette shouting at poor frightened punters for trying to buy cups of tea under the mistaken belief that her cafe was actually a café which you could buy tea from when required. With Nick monopolising one speaker, as a safe and inconspicuous place to sleep (so no change there) and Penny reaching her advanced state of liquidity quite early on in the proceedings (see above), peeps quickly became reassured that, yes, they were back in the bosom of the tVC family of music. All this and Brad 'Sheep Dip' Toohey, too, one of Australia's "top DJ's", who was later heard to confess that this party was the best night out he'd had since coming to Merry England. He did live in Chaversham though, so say no more. Yes Timo, Oz and Jes did play with each other again, yawn, but they always find such new and unexpected ways to put together their inches, and for this they can only be admired. A couple of adolescent PC's strolled in as morning broke, and just as casually walked away after being reassured that the music was stopping "in a minute". A totally chummy, yummy, bummy kind of party, that reminded us all of what we'd been missing, but left us right up for more. It rocked; a veritable snorter of an experience.

We repeated the episode a month later, on the first weekend in May. And yes, the leccy was still on. We took this to be another chance too good to miss. The night was breath visibly cold, an indication of the unusual weather to be flung at us all summer. Strange things were afoot in the jolly japes department. Memory of the night has to be or good 'ol chum Scouse looking for 'meek caar'. Some wag, a young monsewer Edwardo we believe, relieved him of the ownership of his shiny red car, long enough to park it up in a vast, redundant fruit chiller. Then a few cars were 'accidentally' parked in front of the fridge door by other people, totally unaware that the old cooler contained a car. There everything stayed for the next few hours. Come morning though; cue a worried, even more stressed Scouse. Instead of looking for his marbles on the dance floor with a torch, where he'd lost them hours before, he proceeded to go around asking anyone and everyone if they'd "seen meek caar". Classic. Guest DJ's included Warren, and Tom and Kier who graced us with their presence's, as well as all the usual deck divas. Macca and co did the by now infamous bar again, allegedly to raise funds for the genny stolen last year, but really as an excuse to sink shit loads of piss and make lots of history. The Erotic Libido lounge lived up to its reputation, with Lady Ochs (she fucking rocks) reducing a further few would-be punters to tears over not-allowed beverages. Others of us watched as Shenny had to be literally poured into the car by Porn. It looked as if he were trying to pick up water. I sat in the car for twenty minutes watching as she slipped through his fingers, from his grasp as it were. A deeper, darker, edge to this party but again unsullied by the presence of our boys in blue, apart from a few minutes at the end as we were clearing up anyway. 'It's Shenny's birthday', lied Porn, non too convincingly, with UFO eyes. "Dare we returneth again?" was on our lips as we bade each other the fondest of farewells chuckling contentedly to ourselves all the way home.
This was a question that was being pondered somewhere else too, and two weeks later another crew moved onto the now electrically impoverished site. Putting far more effort into the setting up of little strips of fluroed netting side of it all than we could be arsed, they were there all day clambering up forty-foot ladders to display their fluro offerings. Unfortunately, once, twice, three times a lady was not to be allowed on this occasion as 'the boys' finally cottoned on to the situation and turned up mob handed, literally. Setting up hastily manned roadblocks they took great delight in prowling the lanes till the early hours, chests puffed out in self-congratulatory masturbatory pride. Single handedly Da Boy's in Blue had smashed the free party network in East Kent. Or so they thought.

We, meanwhile, oblivious to all this, had sat up in a local house waiting out those distinctly dangerous few hours around midnight when, you know, there is a chance that the ol' bill may turn up. We cracked open a few bottles, span le tar disques and rolled a few big ones. The prospect of any house music being played at this party was distinctly remote so we were topping out as they say in polite circles. The first thing we knew about our rather busy busies was when 600 people tried to cram into one tiny house. Party people 4 Local Constabulary 1.
The week after was to be a collaboration between us and our very close chums 'the Dover lot'; and as anyone knows when the Dover 'lot' actually get up off their arses and stop drinking, communicating and enjoying themselves (in Dover) long enough to do some 'organising' (ie 'werk') the results are always mind bending. Unfortunately not heeding the lessons of the week before, another oft used venue was decided upon, probably more because it was semi covered and the ground was too wet for erections of the marquee variety. Unfortunately, when going along to set up that evening we were set upon by a police ambush. They lay in wait, cunningly concealed in the shadow of darkness. Turning on their lights in an orgy of excitement as we drove in, they leapt out of the darkness brandishing their new length batons. I thought it was width that was important boys, not length. They were taking names, numberplates, breathalising would be suspects and generally harassing, searching everybody and making us all a little miserable. 2 parties in 2 weeks, stopped before they could even get started, one before any equipment was even set up, and a very smug police force. Party People 4 Pigs 2.

Two weeks later. It has been pissing down with rain all day, as it had been doing most of year so far. We're doing a party, somewhere in Chaversham that night. Where we don't know. All we know is it's in a 'barn' and it's for 'a group of people'. We follow the directions and end up at a beautiful barn (eventually) deep in deepest Favland. We peek through the windows at the stripped pine floor as we wait for 'the bloke with the keys' or at the very least someone with the faintest idea of what is going on. We duck inside the thoughtfully erected marquee to escape the rain and slip in the mud as we try to unload the equipment. Just as darkness sets in 'he' turns up and we begin once again the timeless routine of moving all that fucking bastard twatting equipment, with the barest minimum of help. So no change there then... mustn't grumble etc. At least we had some bass bins now, as the ones we were waiting for to be re-coned had been. Still no sign of the others though.The barn is spectacular and it is decided to open up the top floor with the afore mentioned stripped white pine floor. Ol' One Eye appears and his rented Equipment is whipped out and erected before you can say 'Oo er'; whilst downstairs the beers are carefully 'hidden' from all the blagging bastards, i.e. they're drank. The rest of them are hidden so carefully in fact that we can't find most of them for the rest of the evening. Oh well, as long as Louie didn't drink them all again.....The first DJ on blows the speakers. Or it just sounds that way.Upstairs that is.Downstairs the vibe kicks off rapidly in fine style as within half an hour the face is pull to bursting. Sound pumps relentlessly from the speakers as smoke and lights strobe the already hot and sweaty atmos, and that's just in Nick's armpits. Her new deodorant, tested to the max, breaks down into its constituent chemicals and is immediately flushed away in a river of moisture. Polly and Dick, loves young dream, (snicker) pow(d)er up the sex quotient and proceed to perve perversely and actually do give a credible performance of two people who actually like each other (for now). Emily and Steve (loves' even younger, better looking, and far more credible dream) and Rosie, in Ria's fuck me pants, all start gyrating en masse and all at the sane time. Ooch already coming up on his scroungings bungalows it up, and proceeds to throb unnecessarily. Some arty types pose and vogue exhaustively for a short while before they realise it's useless, as no one is watching them. Every one in one sweating, heaving unison. It's great. Then disaster. Oz discovers, for some reason coming out of his green haze, that his record bag has 'gone missing' and decides to confide in Nick. Nick charged up by Barry's profferings has to be persuaded by DJ Detention not to stop the party, immediately. She retires to the corner and moans to who ever will listen to her for the next five hours about the 'theft', especially when she realises that one of her bags of wine and beer has also disappeared. Indeed she could still be heard in the morning just before the party ended moaning to some poor cornered bastard about it. Getting carried away by the emotion of it all she flings out her arms and bangs them against a black bag of records, next to a carrier bag of wine and beer. It has been sitting, on a chair, in a room of 250 people all night and no one has even nicked a bottle of beer. One can never cease to be amazed at the excellentnessness of it all. Cheers to Rick, who won bladder on a stick of the night award, and Julia and co for a top night, and to everyone for being so damn fine. Good to see John Ayres, back for the evening who played John type stuff in the main room between the house, which made a nice change if we don't say so ourselves. Not so good to see all the muddy footprints across the previously stripped pine floor, now totally mud encrusted. And still so apparently. Another venue fucked.Party Peeps 5. Everyone who hates parties and wants them stopped forever 2.

Not a week later and the best party night of the year dawns, the solstice. With not altogether fond memories of last year spent clinging to a cliff-top at Abbots Cliff while the wind and rain and thunder and lightning did their best for 10 hours to suck us all off from the crest of the headland and batter us all on the rocks below. Thank fuck for the marquee we wheezed gratefully as we watched the top lift by two foot as yet another gust ripped along the underneath of the canvass. It may be a bastard to put up, but it has saved our collective arse on many an occasion. That solstice was so treacherous, weather wise, that we had to go home without the rig, as we only had an open topped, half-sided trailer to put it in and it pissed down solid for 3 days either side of the party. Luckily these very kind people who we didn't know from Adam let us store our rig in their house till the weather quietened down. It's just whenever we went back to pick it up they were never in.... No, cheers for the party Dean and letting us store all our manky bits in your house till they could be picked up.

This solstice was not looking too attractive an aspiration either. It had been raining all week. All month really. All year on and off. January was mild and wet. February very mild, generally dry. March mild, wet and cloudy. April very wet and rather cool and May warm and very dry. June for a change had been very wet, cool and cloudy. But we had a site to die for. Nestling behind some vast Kentish woods was an enormous valley of such immense beauty and grandeur it hurt the back of your throat to look at it. It made you want to trip your tits off and go for a wander through the collective conscience. It made you feel like this even in the pissing rain. Anyhow, we remembered the previous years rain and thought if we couldn't get collectively sucked off on a cliff we could handle anything under the fond auspices of the love tent, so decided to forge full ahead. We need not have worried. That weekend saw the most spectacular break in the weather, for Saturday night. For one night only we were being offered a sultry 98 degrees heat. It was so hot man, you could wear a T-shirt all night. We could have been in San Fran man, it was so hot. And the sunrise man; was just the best. Clear and pink and yellow and beautiful. Because we heard that it wasn't so good towards the west, at Stonehenge it was misty and cloudy and the moon and sun couldn't be seen. Apparently. But in deepest Kent it was just so. For a few hours we were transported out of red neck county to a place where the vibe is never bummed out. It brought out all that is good in you and everyone. It reminded you of the things that you sometimes forget about when you're caught up in the relentless sameness of it all, when the desperateness of this constant pursuit of happiness and enjoyment can become a tad tiring, especially when energy is being used but not replaced. It reminded us of why we choose to party in a beautiful valley with 200 like minds.(?) Nourishment for the soul. Sustenance for the spirit. The hazy twilight hours melted into a quadraphonic sound diffusion of sine-smothered disco glitterbeats, as we rejoiced in the bliss of sanity temporarily disappearing in the frenzy of the dance floor.The bloke who looked after the land turned up in the sultry mid morning sun. He chatted in a most friendly manner and then proceeded to search for 'something to smoke'. In the background people lay sprawled outside their tents, the music pumping enticingly, enclosing us in a warm, caressing audio slurry whilst a large posse of various ages but only one sex proceeded to play a rowdy game of football. Luckily the ball went in a small overlooked, rather stagnant pond, where it stayed. Those that weren't playing football, appreciating the music, throwing up, snogging or crashing cars, were frantically looking for their car keys which hadn't seemed quite so important when they were coming up on that extremely strong acid the night before and had relinquished control over the lure of all material things. They had relinquished control, quite willingly over anything in fact. A lot of people (Ads) spent the morning after stumbling around, frantically wandering over the forty acre field looking hopefully but helplessly for these car keys. Some had been sensible enough to stash them in their ignition, others less so. Cagey spent most of the party asleep in a line on the grass, he had been vomiting out of Polly's car window on the way to the party due to his usual over-indulgence. Macca and Kev continued their stand up routine, which is now nearly honed to perfection. Kier played without Tom who was sunning himself on some far away beach with the Lovely. Lindsey stumbled around, eyes wide, celebrating the recent passing of her Shiatsu exams, in the way she does best. Turtle had a snog. Sally was fluffed to the gills and fluffing everyone up in her own inimitable style. Emily extracted vast sums of money from the unsuspecting hordes.

This was the last party in an age of unrecognised innocence. The innocence from 'the evil' that was lurking in our midst's that would be horrifically unleashed at the next few parties via the Sid James of the party scene himself. No longer would people be able to stagger around drunkenly without the stagger being reinterpreted as a sign of partaking of 'the evil'. No longer would anyone be able to innocently roll around on the grass losing all their money and marbles, whilst pissing themselves and narrowly failing to avoid those lovely near death experiences without it being assumed they had indulged in 'the evil'. Yes, unfortunately Techno smack was to rear its scary head, and partying was to take a new and lurid twist. Big pink merry-go-rounds in a pink candy floss world. Or loads of lost-it-losers lurching around, stinking of piss and frightening everyone. (So, no change there then.) Depends how you look at it really.Yes. Over the years many weird pharmaceutical concoctions have reared their may be glamorous heads on the party scene. Some are catalysts for whole new worlds opening up closed minds. Some are throwbacks to a bygone era of sticking flowers in soldiers guns and clouds with Lucy and diamonds and, er, stuff. And some are just plain not very attractive to look at but lots of fun for those being so unattractive. This was party of the summer for me.

Party peeps 5. The authorities 2.

We had a lull for the next month. July dawned cool, dull and rather wet. Those who were stupid enough to go to Glasters were drenched in mud and shit all week long, and battled bravely to pretend to enjoy themselves. Some even admitted that actually it had been fucking awful. Those of us who had been too scared, old, or sensible stayed in the Bubble and developed our alcohol habits, courtesy of Bitburger German lager on draft or Bitch Bugger as we have grown fondly to call it. Surely the most wondrous alcoholic beverage in the world. Ever. Come mid July we were all itching for a party, and the next one was held, again on a spectacularly nice weekend, in a farmers field, somewhere near Stelling Minnis. Tracey and Bod were the first people to turn up for this party, in fact before any of the equipment had arrived, and were caught by the farmer entering his land and pretended they were looking for somewhere to have a shag. "You can't camp here," he intoned remonstratively, and they fled. Luckily he didn't come back. However the same farmer was heard talking about this party a week later in the pub, by 'some ones' dad. "But you know what?" he could be heard asking his chums, "you couldn't see a trace of where they'd had their rave. No rubbish or anything." Now if that's not an endorsement, I don't know what is.This was another gorgeous site. The only trouble was that many people couldn't find it, due to a small problem with the maps. But those who did find it found it and partied till they lost it. Proceedings were opened up by One Eye, playing a chilled D & B set, punctuated by some choice deeper stuff. The marquee was erected although not needed, to provide two separate environments. In and out. Then using the opportunity of taking a meticulously and lovingly created environment, and fucking it up, Cagey and Sid proceeded to stitch everyone up with vast lines of Techno smack. Most notably a young Welsh chap who lolled on the ground for a few hours looking 'rather ill'. Nick who lolled on another patch of ground, dropped all her money and was telling anyone who would listen (mainly Tracey) how much she loved them; and Lighthouse who proceeded to wet himself in a most satisfying manner in front of the whole party. Again. There was no show from her Maj.'s boot boys, probably because it was too long a walk for their lardy arses. Why do they all have such horrid bottoms? A pre-requisite for the job? Anyway party lovers 6 big ones. Arms of the state 2.
A mere week later and another mad one dawns, in deepest Sturry, a collaboration between KAK sound system who played a massive range of music for the next three days and nights, and us. Another fortuitous weekend where the rain stopped pissing down just long enough for us to have our wicked pleasures. Two marquees, one London and the other us. And a huge bonfire fed through out the night by various drug-crazed loonies. The site was a clearing deep in the woods populated by a transitory population of a few hundred people who tuened it into damn fine times. This was a strange one though, but aren't they all in a way? Half the field, the London end, spent the night lying down in vast heaps on techno smack and beer. Whilst up our end (oo er) Mr. and Mrs. James and she who used to be Gap could be seen to be embracing it remotely whole-heartedly, involving spending much of the night glued to the marquee pole, pretending in vain to be drunk. Set of the night had to be Jes with his spine-chilling bricolage of double-time snares. Cheers to Kirsty and her dad for having us. Police presence? They showed briefly in the morning when most of the madness had died down, and shoved off when reassured that we were 'just finishing'. Free people 7. Tools of capitalism 2.

August dawned, not wet! Surprisingly it was rather dry and sunny. We had our big annual August bank holiday spesh sesh to look forward to, and to still find a site for. Strange things have been afoot in the county of Folkestone. Not content with erecting vast concrete 'dragons-teeth' barriers to prevent us from partying in our spiritual birthplace, the Warren (due to the activities of party crews who don't even live in Kent) the 'authorities' have now declared Abbotts Cliff a 'no go' area, due to the same reason. Stories abound of government agents hiding in the bushes, jumping out at the poor woman who rents the land to graze her sheep. Asking her what she was doing. "Well, I'm feeding my sheep, actually…". Apparently she had no problems with the land being partied on, it was the MOD who put a stop to it all. Because as had happened with the Warren, after the successful collaboration held the previous August bank holiday, the site had been used every week by various London crews, arse ripping away. So no site for the annual three-day mash up of the year. Yet.

However the week before another collaboration was achieved between us and Off Yer face sound system from Norwich. The site, another one of those effortlessly beautiful Kent valley's surrounded by spectacular woodland and gentle rolling fields. The people, like-minded souls from the eastern counties of the country equally as up for a good, right on time. Two marquees, one a vast circus tent, with light shows galore and Andy Tull doing the rig, that's when he could break free from all the toss tissues he had collected on his dash board, which threatened constantly to overwhelm the whole site. The other, us, doing what we do and taking too literally the name of the other crew as a call to arms. Dee and Scotty turned up after Aaron and Joe's wedding, and Dee was the most off her face anyone had ever seen her. Top entertainment. Flat on her face more like. It was at this party that rumours of Russell began to circulate. Firstly he was 'in prison' and then we heard he was 'dead'. Not really wanting to believe it was true, we tried to put it to the backs of our minds until we could find out properly. But there was a horrible feeling that refused to go away. And as we were later to find out, it was true. Dead from an overdose of that fucking drug Heroin that is laying waste to millions of lives and devastating towns and cities all over the country. Dead at 32, you daft bastard Russell. You are sorely missed.The only moans heard all night, were from chums who'd been unable to get into the 'free' party, despite being told one ticket would let a car load in, but finding otherwise and having to pay a fiver each to the people on the gate to get in.

The week between that party and the annual 'big one', was spent, instead of in prone, resigned contemplation of exhausted funds and the mourning of the death of already severely depleted brain cells, searching frantically for a site for the weekend. Well by Macca, Macca, genny knacker(er), anyway. We already had a site on hold, but the soft Dover sorts decided that they couldn't bear to be away from the sea, from whence they came. But as already mentioned all our lovely coastal sites in that area have been fucked (and we don't want to start off about that one again). So Macca and his faithful psychic Kev went on jaunts along the more promising areas of the Dover coastline. It's the channel Tunnel that's fucked it all up apparently. We can't party on the land because it actually runs over the tunnel (about two miles over) and it's considered 'a security risk'. A risk to our security it should be with all the goings on that happen when you get a few hundred like-minded souls in a field for 3 days. When you have to put up with Sid, Cagey and Ooch for 3 days more like. However, as Friday night loomed, we decided to go with the site we already had as there was seemingly no chance of finding a lush sea side site for our free fun frolics. So a site of previous renown was commandeered and it was full steam ahead. Shit, where did we leave the marquee? Another quality night, weather and peeps wise beckoned on the Saturday, the night of a highly localised distortion of the space time continuum. The love tent looked quite spectacular, with the end opened high onto the stars orbiting the heavens and visual impulses exploding intermittently, behind the DJs. One of the amps was down, so a quick bodge job enabled the rig to run in full but in mono, by-passing the dodgy channel. As dusk set across the straggle of trees, we started to relax and welcome old chums, not so often seen, Pam, Austin and Ramsden all unexpectedly showed. Austin grey-faced clung to a flea-bitten sofa for the whole 3 days, feigning unconsciousnesses in a most practiced manner. Pam looked healthy and well, it's a shame we couldn't say the same about Ramsden. Macca and co were firmly ensconced at the further end of the clearing with about 2 warehouses of booze, and that was just his and Kev's personal. As darkness hit proper and the area filled swiftly with hundreds of people things really began to buzz. All these eager souls, drifting, seeking enchantment, collided then exploded, then got caught in a repeating loop of time. With the particle accelerator on full power the distortion field began fluctuating, and it looked a long way down to the bottom of the warp core, so we remained locked in a temporal causality loop, all of our own making, rejoicing in our haunted lives of stunted and protracted adolescence. Locked in a bubble we remained cocooned for the next 48 hours as things got messier and messier, (well Tim did) and a few of the (?) chaps decided to dress up as very strange looking women. The Geezer Birds. Ads entered into it in the most suggestive manner, but it was his birthday, Jes donned a little lilac twin-set, that had that slightly stretched look, as though he'd worn it before, and some of us just cringed and hoped it would all soon be over. The day was spent in not so peaceful contemplation of all things that begin with an E, as the sun beat down on our under nourished party bods, whilst we lay in small piles drinking all of the Dover 'lots' seemingly inexhaustible beer supply. Temperatures and moods hotted up. Smasha borrowed Polly's company car 'to go for a drive' in the woods, yes we know she can't drive, and crashed into a tree, went through the wind screen and spent the next few hours stumbling round the woods with concussion (not much change there then) hiding from Polly. Luckily Poll had handed her notice in and was leaving her job to go to the good ol' US of A, because otherwise she might not have had a job to go back to. Oh we do so love Blighty in the summer time. Let's start the hunt now for next year's site, hopefully back to by the sea just to stop the Dover contingent feeling nostalgic for the beach. Havin' it large in paradise as our ol' mucker Charlie C, remember he, would say. Except it really was and we really were.

And so ended our last outdoor free party of '98. The weather took a turn immediately after the weekend, as autumn was missed out and winter seemed to appear. However, there was a freebie in the form of Dis-connect. A queer and homme production at Trenz, the Krays former stomping ground in mid October that continued the summers tradition in glorious fashion, easing us back inside nicely, and warming us up for the last ever Woodpeckers two weeks later on All hallows Eve. Featuring a 'live performance' from Big Hair who are on Kontraband (one of our fave lickle labels), which was better than imagined and the usual exemplary mixing skills of the collected turntablists on a rocking system, it was just what the doctor wouldn't order.

The Woodpeckers, well what can I say, except you will be sorely missed. It was Pat, Ted and Ed's last big adventure, Tony's welcome home from his brief sojourn courtesy of her maj, and really just a wonderful excuse to have an en masse hug-a-thon with all our favourite peeps. Maurice put back his 65th birthday celebrations a week to partake of his pleasures more lustily, and spent the evening retrieving his bus pass from the heaving bosoms of various infamous beauties. That was when he wasn't horizontal in a vertical position, with his eyes rolling spectacularly in the back of his head, in front of his mortified daughter and her friends, who stood watching him in stunned, awed silence. "Please don't give him any more drink" they pleaded, before bringing him cups of coffee to sober him up for the van drive home. These children of the sixties, they just don't know when to stop….The hotel filled tres rapidly with the ever-effervescent party faithful. Nick abdicated her door responsibilities to go and give some poor chap some well deserved abuse of the oral variety, whilst Emily and Smasher took over, remorselessly extracting every last penny from the unsuspecting hordes of clubbers, friends, locals and strange Aylesham girls with all their clothes undone and one side of their faces and bodies covered in mud. Don't ask, we were too frightened. And this was at 11pm.Oz dutifully manned the decks at that god-forsaken hour that no DJ ever likes playing at, first. Ever the pop stars, the other tVC DJ's saunter in the wrong side of 12, casually asking when they're 'on'. So once again despite doing all the work, carrying all the equipment, having all the hassle, Oz played too early on in the proceedings for most of our liking. Dob tried in vain to get any images from his spluttering projector and Louie blagged extremely ineptly. Austin hung nonchantly around the entrance trying to pretend he wasn't excited and waiting for his 'famous' friends. He'd already consumed that night's consumerables in an orgy of impatience on the sofa in our flat whilst we were waiting for the van to turn up, so had peaked and crashed quite publicly whilst carrying all that bastard heavy equipment. She-ra held court expansively in our room, her stimulated coat swathed around her shoulders frightening away all the young lads that kept scurrying in the room for a quick line of posh. Turtle held court with the Canterbury gels who are notoriously easy to please and I knew I'd seen everything, when a young chap came in, went in the bathroom, pulled his trousers down to mid thigh level, put the soft, fluffy white towel between the crack in his arse and proceeded to rub it enthusiastically. Boys. By now the main room was a heaving maelstrom of sagging bosoms and wobbling beer bellies as Rick DiY (sans Pete) took over the reigns and whipped us into a laid back frenzy, if there is such a thing. He exited the deck area to huge cheers from the assembled throngage, leaving everyone desperate for more. The next day was spent in ever more drunken confusion until sleep thankfully beckoned. Suits us, sir.

Party people 10 Law and order? 2