Monday, 20 July 2009

Bad Latitude.

I haven't blogged since last Thursday and I've missed it. It's a shame because I've got plenty to blog/complain about as I've spent the weekend at the Latitude festival. I don't like festivals, I've discovered. There's nothing fun about sleeping in a bag, walking in constant rain or watching 1500 people breaking Janeane Garofalo just by staring at her. Well, the last one was fun-ish but that's about it.

I've actually been away from my house since Wednesday. I went to a friend's wedding in York, a town that I've never been to before but, thanks to their "interesting" road system, have now visited 28 times. The wedding was fun and not without it's FUCKING HELL moments. I met a complete stranger who saw me getting booed off stage at a gig years ago and I spent an hour eavesdropping on the world's poshest fuckwit. He referred to food as "guys", said that he did what he did for a living because he wants to do what he wants to do and that's what he does, and when asked if he was ready he replied "No. I'm yellowy". Cunt.

The wedding was great, though. Very lovely people and York is a lovely looking town. I saw the most perfectly quaint, Dickensian looking porn shop and visited a public school with a very small garden that, by law, the head boy is allowed to graze a cow on. If you were allowed to do that, why wouldn't you?

Then it was off to Latitude so rain decided to get angry about everything and continue getting angry about it forever.

Why do people like festivals? They're awful. The weather is ALWAYS bad, everything costs too much and they're a Krypton Factor to get to. Firstly, the train was delayed. Then I had to queue up for my coach ticket from the train station because the ticket I had was only a ticket for a ticket not a ticket for the actual coach. Makes perfect sense. Then when I get there I realise that the free booze that will constantly be given to me any time I demand it was drunk by Johnny Candon the night before. Fuck it, I'll PAY for a drink like a fucking idiot. I mean, the drinks are only over-priced plus you have to pay £2 on top of the price of your drink so that you can rent the cup your drink is in. The festival claim that this will really help the environment. What a great excuse to rip us all off for lots of money. The fucking, fucking, FUCKING CUNTS. I still had two cups at the end of the festival but could I get my money back? NO. The festival was over and my money now belonged to the Latitude corporate fat cats. I then did what everyone at the festival did. Threw my cup away. The environment remains screwed.

Once I got my beer, after queuing up for a millennium, Johnny thoughtfully lummoxed into me and it spilled over my already wet clothes. I hate festivals.

£7 for a burger. £2 for a coke. £25 for a t-shirt. It's just not the peace and love thing that all music festivals make themselves out to be but, then, the people who go to festivals are all cunts so they deserve to be ripped off. Grown men in their 30's were playing with two sticks attached to string and spinning a cup in the air. Did they want to be beaten? Then there were people who actually wanted to paint their faces blue and voluntarily watch theatre in a tree that was surrounded by brightly painted sheep. This wasn't a dream. It really happened in real life right in front of me.

It was the families that mainly upset me. Firstly, families think they have have more right to space at a festival than the rest of us. They spread out a blanket and lie on it while you have to tip-toe round them to watch a tiny, tiny version of Thom Yorke who is on stage just three miles away from you. Plus, they seem to bring babies in prams to late night gigs so that they can ROCK together as a family. I know when I was a kid I'd much rather have that than have my parents make sure I was in bed and care about me and shit like that.

Was it all bad? Yes, but it did have it's moments. The gigs were good, especially late night Book Club plus I saw a lot of great acts. Grace Jones's 85 year old arse terrifying security is an image that will stay with me forever. Nick Cave, The Vaselines, Magazine, Pet Shop Boys and Jeffrey Lewis were all excellent and The Mystery Fax Machine Orchestra were just fantastic. Of course, the main talk (comedy-wise) was about Garofalo but to be honest it was just a bit boring. She came along, misjudged the gig, got off stage, ran to he dressing room and closed the door. It's a shame because I love her and was really looking forward to the gig. She went on stage and the first thing she talked about was Doctor Who. I thought "This is the greatest gig ever". Then, 12 seconds later, I thought "This is the worst gig ever". It was just weird that she made fun of David Caruso's acting as her opening gambit. It's not like she's tripping over her Oscars, is it? But she took it all really badly and sprinted to her dressing room to hide and, no doubt, phone her friend Sarah Silverman to warn her about British audiences. Bruce Dessau's review on Chortle offer's Ed Byrne's performance directly after Garofalo a whole sentence. Very generous. Ed was utterly superb in his slot and didn't just "fill time", he pretty much rock-solidly triumphed at a gig that looked to me to be pretty damned hard. If you were there I'm sure you'll agree it was an incredible piece of stand-up.

Pretty much the highlight of the festival and my life so far is being stopped by a very drunk John Simm to discuss the lack of merits of a band called The Gaslight Anthem. "They're not The Beatles", The Master wisely pointed out. But the big heroes of the festival for me were Waen Shepherd who's songs as by both Gary Le Strange and his Brian Wilson character (I'm an idiot and forget the name) were just sublime, and Robin Ince who is nothing short of a miracle. The Book Club tent was always rammed full anytime he was on and his reading of the Horrible Henry stories to a tent of a thousand screaming children is a sight to behold. Brilliant.

It was also good to see comedians terrified at Karaoke Circus. They had every right to be terrified. Singing is dead hard and remembering words, a tune and a key is practically impossible. Johnny and I shouted Come On, Eileen without remembering any of the words while other comedians went on looking like they had never heard of music before in their lives. Dave Gorman was visibly bricking it before singing Daydream Believer and his stage-dive was something that needed to be done. Not enough stage diving in karaoke. Not nearly enough.

So, that was that. My last ever festival. I'm glad I went despite the rain and Ben Goldacre but I'm not a festival or Ben Goldacre person really. Thanks to Robin Ince for inviting me and being brilliant and a lot of thanks to people who came to see King of Everything. You're very brave.

I haven't even mentioned how pointless Vivienne Westwood was or how I did a shit on another man's shit. So, that's tomorrow's blog sorted.


Paul McIntyre said...

I was there too - I spotted:

A poncho wearing man singing into his girlfriend's face at point blank range. He knew all the lyrics, clever boy.

A girl screaming: "NO, I WAS THERE! I SAID I'D MEET YOU THERE!!! YOU WEREN'T FUCKING THERE!!" to her soon to be ex-friend.

A man playing one note on a ukulele for 3 hours in the tent next to mine. From 3am. Twat.

A man with his face painted to look like a tiger, holding hands with his wife, who's face wasn't painted.

A man carrying a branch.

Michael Legge said...

Is there anything more depressing than a man carrying a branch? Fucking branch carrying twat.

Chris said...

'The Mystery Fax Machine Orchestra were fantastic', but can we trust the opinion of someone they dedicated a song to?

Without the kids there would be no book at bedtime with Ince which has got to be the best half an hour of every day. Shame he didn't follow through and repeat the donkey story from Saturday night on the Sunday evening.

Anonymous said...

I went on the Saturday and was left unimpressed. Was Ed Byrne good? Perhaps so but like most of the festival-goers I couldn't get anywhere near the comedy tent for people sat on the fucking ground eating up twice as much space as necessary. OK, so there are screens outside but, hey, the PA was so quiet you couldn't actually hear what he was saying.

Meanwhile the bands on the Lake stage played to a crowd of people eating their over-priced lunches.

Here's an idea, why not put the comedy on a stage/arena where you can get more than a couple of hundred people in. Missed Dave Gorman for the same reason. So I spent £60 (well, £180 for me, wife, daughter) to see only half of the things I actually wanted to see.

Won't be going next year.