3 July 2011

Penny’s Big Fat Summer Beach Party

The plan. Have a hot, lazy, summer sunshiney Whitstable day; sitting on the beach listening to great music with close friends, eating food, sucking on an ice cold beer and reading the Saturday papers whilst waiting to witness a fantastic sunset. Well, that was the general idea; that was the plan but the best laid plans and all that provide an interesting twist on all things unexpected.

Up at 8am with a spring in my step. It’s a brand new day and its Saturday. Woo hoo!

The inaugural yearly outing of Penny’s Big Fat Summer Beach Party had a gorgeous start; the sun was hot, the sky was clear, anticipation was high. Was for me anyway, till my wing-man, a terrible sufferer of an objet-petit-a priapic plus-de-jouir form of jouissance, pulled out on me at the last minute too wary to tell me had other things on that day. In retrospect; who was I to complain about a, cough, good friend getting 10 passess to The Hop Farm festival to see Morrissey and, heaven forbid, not inviting moi? Not part of the cabal no doubt?

Well, at least he helped me set up, thank god, because if he hadn’t I don’t know what I’d have done. It’s been so long since I actually had to do ‘all of the work’ my organising brain atrophied into a mum dabbing, sobbing mess by midday.

Laural and Hardy style we parked up and humped gear along the long beach promenade to the party site and through an ankle splitting shingle beach obstacle course before realising we could actually drive part way up and save our withering, aging bones some expenditure of energy.

Penny and Sonja were already there putting up love cabbages and bunting and spreading rugs and blankets out. Decks, mixer, speaker and generator were set up in a thrice and the genny chord pulled…

Yay! Generator started first time. Then spluttered to a halt after 5 minutes causing the first tune to slowly grind to a halt. Remembering that Monsieur All-day, who I had borrowed said genny off (cause it was all lickle and tiny and whispery) had said, after I had parked up in the High Street and caused a traffic jam of some not inconsiderable length and unnessecessariness  (first 18 letter non-word of the review there) for the DFL’s pouring into town, that it “might need some two-stroke oil and fuel” I dispatched myself on the first mission of the day.

Upon return with said accouterments I discovered that in my absence the, er, that big wet thing, we set up next to, the sea I think it is called, had doused the genny with a, er, what are they called, oh yeah, a wave, and, despite that the prompt administration of said two-stroke and fresh fuel, it had decided, not unreasonably, to give up the ghost. For the rest of the day.

People began to arrive, set up their BBQ stuff, cook, eat, socialise for the whole of the afternoon, watch the sunset then leave to not one single note of music ever being played. Apart from the North American Indian flute and a didgeridoo. All day.

The throwaway comment “Needs some WD40. That might dispel the water” propelled me yet again off site to purchase an expensive and, as it turned out, unneeded can of spray oil, because it didn’t work; another fruitless attempt at repair.

“We need to get the spark plug out and dry it. We need a 21mm spanner” meant another drive off site and another expensive and unnecessary purchase only to find the genny still wouldn’t work.

My wing man, now at The Hop Farm Festival, was sending me regular, and hilarious, updates from the site: (when stuck in traffic jam on way to site) “Traffic jam. I’m not enjoying this summer.” (40 minutes later) “Not moved. My life is ebbing away from me day by day”; “Think I’ve run out of serotonin”; “They’re a nightmare”; “You got the genny going?” (answer – no); “Patti Smith was good”; “Rosie threw a quiche at me”; “Moz on, great”; “Murder getting out of the car park here”; “have 2 wristbands for you for Prince tomorrow”.


Dismantling the genny and leaving it out in the hot sun to dry "for an hour" would hopefully solve our problems. It didn't. Still no joy. Steve Court, bless his little cotton socks, was right on the case and gave it his best shot for a hour. Suddenly out of no-where it starts and everyone cheers like in a pantomime. Yay! 

Then it stops and everybody in unison goes awww! We all laugh together at the brief moment of hope and despair. Steve tries again; the starter cord snaps and my musical dream is over and bitter hot tears of frustration and disappointment remain hidden behind my sang-froid.

I retire to the Hotel Continental; grab a table on their terrace overlooking the sea for moules mariniere, a cold pint and a smoke on some British made Benson and Hedges Gold. What a treat. It was nice to be out of the literal and metaphoric heat. For a while.

18 hours after I get up, at 2am, I start getting texts to come down to the West Beach to play a set at HutStock. I presume their generator worked but by this time I was back home, ruminating, reflecting and chilling down. I turn my phone onto silent and go to bed for a read of the paper.

Up at 8am with a spring in my step. It’s a brand new day and its Sunday. Woo hoo! I have a free ticket for Prince at the Hop Farm. Surely nothing can go wrong today?


However, after dropping the kit off and getting back home I stuck the Wimbledon tennis final on, had a big fat green one, a can of lager, put my organic chicken in the over and before I knew it Top Gear was on the telly.


What the fuck is happening to me? Anyway, there's always Lounge on the Farm next weekend. isn't there?

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