22 July 2012

Whitstable Oyster Festival burns bright.

Great start to the fabulous Whitstable Oyster Week. Once I got into town that is. It was cracking right back up Borstal Hill to the Long Reach roundabout; rumoured  haunt of local celeb Gregg Wallace. “What’s he doing here?” says little girl to her mum. “Shh! He’s having his lunch just like everyone else”.

The GF - girl friend - had a Gregg Wallace encounter as she was coming out of that road on top of Borstal Hill – the one the locals use during WOW to avoid aforementioned snarl ups into town – Grimthorpe Avenue.  By the way, if you want to miss that queue drive past the Long Reach roundabout turn off and carry on down the A2999; take the next left. No problem; no traffic right in to the centre.

Around 10 cars didn’t let the GF out of the junction but one very courteous gentleman, in a sports car in a beautiful shade of red, slowed down and waved her out. That man was the "cooking woman's crumpet" Gregg Wallace now henceforth known as Courteous Gregg. 

Let me know if you spot him around town. Being courteous.

I thought I’d let the crowds and the heat die down a bit and head into The Bub around 5pm. The town centre was a tad rammed from 10am but by 5pm the snarl up was on the out of town road. Locals used the back streets as is our wont.

Keam’s Yard is a fluffy, loveable, wooden gallery right on the sea front and is getting some great artists in there. Head right to the back to look at some of Sadie Hennessey’s work. She does controversial art that is political and challenging; clever, almost offensive, close to the mark. Her small show at Keam’s is about dead icons such as Jimmy Hendrix and she does, now I’m no art critic OK, limited lino prints on water colour paper in blue ink; limited in the fact that if Kurt Cobain died when he was 27 there are only 27 prints. Anyway, they’re cool.

Clare Tindall is an extraordinary artist of exceptional talent - can I have that £10 you promised me now, please? – and I do have to confess, here and now, that I live with her and she is my GF and she would absolutely kill me if she read this sentence and thought I was taking the mickey out of her. But I’m not and she is. 

Bruce Williams, the magnanimous owner of the gallery, kindly invited me down to play a few tunes for the sunset. It’s always a privilege to play on Whitstable beach and what a great excuse to get a few more people down to the opening of her show.

We bathed in the sunshine, looked at art, ate crab sandwiches, shucked oysters from Wheelers and washed it all down with a few bottles of fizz whilst watching a great sunset.

After the sun sank it was up to Deco 5 to catch the ZedHeads who were satisfactorily funking it right up to up a grooving full house of fans; all on the dance floor. Social moth that I am it was only a quick jaunt up to the Labour Club for a quick listen to band called Centurion Sect play some "garage punk" fun whilst waiting for our takeaway curry to cook. 

According to their own publicity The Centurion Sect was created by Jimmy Saville shortly before his death. Sir Jimmy spent many years helping at Broadmoor, but some of the inmates were even beyond his reach. Lead singer, Centurion Brendan, AKA Lurcio, fondly recalls the famous meeting.

“Yeah, well Jimmy came to see me in solitary. I had been on a bit of a flesh frenzy 
bender with my chainsaw. He tried reasoning with me, then let me have it in both eyes with his cigar. As my retinas fizzed Jimmy said "Man, that's one mean scream you got there, almost soulful in a dangerously psychotic way". After that it was pretty much a numbers game, checking through criminal records and mug shots to find the rest of the band.

Next arty outing in the calendar for now will be Sam Cox, a brilliant young artist, who, nepotism alert again, went to the school where Clare works at and you simply must support his talent by going to the show. It is from the 1st August to the 7th August at The Show Off Gallery, on Harbour Street, CT5 1AQ.

music from A Drop in the Ocean gallary view;

18 July 2012

Lounge on The Farm 2012

It is a festival after all and if you can’t get drunk and roll around giggling on the grass at a festival then where can you do that apart from your own living room carpet?

Well, for a start we couldn’t hide in amongst the gangs of marauding, drunken teenagers, loudly hollering swear words at the ineffectual security like we could last year. Really, we’d unfortunately camped in the wrong spot in 2011 and never went to sleep. This provoked a reaction similar to some apotheosis of teenage-hood-ness-ism’s basic premise of “I say good fellow I have sat my examinations as dictated by society and one is now letting down ones hair in the deified fashion of all youth the world over and getting ab-so-fucking-lutely bladdered. So fuck you!”
Now, amidst all the current cultural hatred of all things teen LOTF’s rather warm attitude of welcoming our younger brethren and indeed supplying them suitable artists that they consider cool enough to support was yet again another great plus in the exuberantly feathered cap of the LOTF team; whoever they may be.
I quietly supported the fact that instead of getting some more bloody headliners, yawn, or indeed paying local bands and DJ’s cash money they spent it all on security. At one point early on Thursday evening when I arrived there was more security than punters on site. They all had the determined look of a well oiled machine determined to stop the teens rioting. And they did. They were still mashed, drunk, wasted and staggering around the site like they owned the place but then again all security do that at festivals (ba-dunsch). I of course meant the young people but so were us, ahem, more mature responsible adults. It is a festival after all and if you can’t get drunk and roll around giggling on the grass at a festival then where can you do that apart from your own living room carpet?
Great that the meadows bar of last year was now the Lounge Originals Bar and mainly devoted to local DJ’s who had graced the dance floor of the Farmhouse and various guest DJ’s that had tickled ComfyPorns fancy or had played in that area in previous years; just a big old family meeting up at Christmas. All very nice of course and right next to a big bar and loads of outside seating too.
At approximately 1pm on Friday the rain stopped for 12 hours and the sun came out then went back in again but it stayed dry. Around 1am Friday night it started raining and rained all night. In the morning the sun came out for 12 hours. It was almost like we being blessed by the rain gods and given decent weather through the day. Sunday was a different story but 2 out 3 isn’t bad in anyone’s book.
We loved Friday daytime because we were DJing.  They do say that it is not always about you but when you are DJing you are the centre of the world. Warren provided the great warm up set. It was still raining outside and the tent was packed at midday. Me and Si went on and sun came out and the tent emptied but rather than blame our mediocre DJ skills and poor choice of tunage it was the weathers fault. <Shakes fist at sun> “Damn you sunshine”. Deep as yer like-ness-isms continued with our favourite deep outfit from Folkestone -  Sideways. How all 27 of them fitted on that stage with only one cowboy hat between them I will never know? Standout is Thom Norton whose look, to me, summed up the whole of that afternoons deepnesses; a quiet contentment as his head nodded in appreciation to the beats.
What else? Ooh yes, loving the new compactness of the site with even LOTF’s ‘Babylon crossroads’ area remaining relative mud lake free for much of the weekend due to the high ground and chalk composition of the festy site. Nice.
Grub wise I sought out Rob’s Farmhouse Kitchen and a dose of that old Steak and Ale vibe before dumping the GF (well, not really dumping more choosing not to go and catch the Wombats) and heading over to join the queues of middle aged drunk rockers at Al’s Hog Roast for a taste of pork. “I see you are no longer a vegetarian” says Nick ‘I’m not a violent revolutionary’ Dent to me as he spots my bulging sandwich and I spot his big fat green spliff. If fact it’s exactly the same thing he has said to me for the past 10 years whenever we meet at a wedding/BBQ/funeral etc and he sees me eating meat. It’s like we are stuck in this loop and because we used to be mates but don’t see each other anymore we go through this rigmarole of having exactly the same conversation every time we meet at a wedding/BBQ/funeral etc. OK, here it is; I used to be a vegetarian for 17 years but have not been one for 10 FUCKING YEARS since my ex-girl friend of 17 years, Nicky Wilson, decided to fuck off the Isle of Wight with some fucking twat without telling me!!!! Oh, she did tell, but in a little note left on our coffee table. Phew, got that off my chest.
For me, yeah, Emeli Sandé was a mildly interesting pop cultural phenomenon to observe in the flesh and it was a bit of a coup de grace for the LOTF team to bag but for me she was no headliner and her though provoking testaments to freedom, female individuality and emancipation left me somewhat emotional and philosophically  bereft gasping for a bit of stand up comedy and some real analysis of what makes life tick. Which I didn’t get with Howard Marks. He’s a raconteur not a stand up. I love this geez; shambling on stage stoned off his tits, drawing you in slowly with his posh reminiscences of getting away with it - apart from that 10 year jail sentence in the States that gave him time to write his book - which he endlessly plugged. Fuck you coppers! Good on him. His Welsh lilt soporifically drawing you into his world of brushes with the law, his time in prison, hanging out with Mick Jagger and bringing gentle smiles to the old iffy boatrace of a packed tent indulging him somewhat. He’s a gem and a true folk hero in the evolution of a world that does not accept the solid evidence of a world that needs to embrace the positive points of a natural plant we could all benefit from. Ooh, whilst I’m here in this tent I want to talk about the next night and Terry Alderton who did a rare gem of a set too. A triumph of ad lib audience interaction and craziness. Loved him. He hated us. He was heckled to fuck and just rode with it.
Outside the theatre tent we bump in to Macca and his oven shelf on two bits of string. He made the GF hook the string round her two index fingers and put them in her ears. He got a stick and as the shelf swings in the air he played that old oven shelf like a harp. It’s a classic. “Ooh, lovely”, she says.
Get a text from Sideways saying they’ve blagged the decks in the VIP area tent behind the main stage so went over there for a bit to listen to some nice music which I found the atmosphere totally suitable not only to me or the general vibe of the area but also to the artists and crew chilling out having a beer before or after their gig and to sample a free bag of crisps from a stack of open boxes at the back of the tent. Now that’s what I call rock and roll.
Both Friday and Saturday night I went home as soon as everything was over. Nice. A shower, clean clothes, a shave, a fry up the next morning after a lovely sleep on my firm orthopaedic mattress and back to the festy refreshed around midday. I really truly love festivals that one can just go home from every time it rains.
Andy Murray lost on Sunday; what a waste of 3 hours of my life. Oh look, it’s started to rain; I’m off home because I’m scared of the mud; sorry Niles Rogers looks like I’m going to miss your set which I heard was great. Respect to the great man. From my sofa at home.

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