Our much-vaunted quiet weekend at home turned out to be anything but – Friday night’s Offline turned into something of a session, although the editor and I did seem to rather rock the joint by the end (Surely Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters doing ‘Don’t Fence Me In’ sealed it?). But Sunday was much much more unexpected..
Get Loaded in the Park was part of pisspoor London free-sheet the Metro’s Weekender in Clapham Common, and it turned out to be all I expected and less. We only went along because some friends were, it looked like it might at least be a laugh and because The Slits were playing (and we got some cheap tickets)..
Comrades, it was horrific. Long queues, a characterless site and a line-up which was either a carnival of inevitable mediocrity or artists struggling to crush any talent they had to fit in with the mediocrity that surrounded them. Add to that, being forced to drink cider because there was no way I was paying £3 for a can of warm Carlsberg. However, my trusty biker boots managed to conceal both a 40oz of vodka and a hipflask of rum, so it wasn’t all bad.
Let’s start with the good stuff – amazingly, after witnessing some dreadful gigs in the past, De La Soul were in great form, working the crowd and playing stuff off 3Ft High & Rising that STILL sounded fresher than almost anything else on the bill..
Which brings me neatly to Lilly Allen. Jesus fuck, she was atrocious. I was suckered by the summery sprightly loveliness of LDN, and even though I thought Smile was a bit weak (Digital Soundboy mix notwithstanding) I thought she might prove fun – the sun was out, I was a bit pissed, what could go wrong?
Truly horrible. I hope for her sake she ends up in rehab (“Gak!”) and then slips away quietly so the true paucity of her talent isn’t exposed. She’s funny in the tabloids but she’s awful on stage – zero presence and less voice. The whole Lilly Allen thing is so self-reflexive and, I guess, so much based on her being one of the kids. Not being one of the kids myself (but entirely surrounded by them) I slipped to the back of the crowd away from the drunken yelling teens, lest my name appear on a Sex Offenders Register for inappropriate proximity with alcopop-swilling kiddies. My desperate hope that her dad might come up for a run through Sex, Boots & Dread came to naught.
It was around then that I realised The Slits weren’t even appearing. Instead, on the main stage, it was The Scratch Perverts, slipped in between the other acts and phoning in a lacklustre mix of indie-hits with none of the energy and style they normally offer; Goldie mugging like crazy and playing about 2 tracks (which were both ancient) with a really really poor MC utterly failing to work the crowd; and some twunt from The Cuban Brothers who made me so angry I can’t even bring myself to say anything further.
And the rest of the event followed suit. As the teens became increasingly pissed and the adults increasingly disheartened, we drank ourselves stupid and found some bloodboiling rave drugs to help things along. But even then, it seemed all the shits and giggles to be had were decidedly retro or ironic in nature – the studied girl-group moves of the Pipettes, an underpowered and under-attended dance tent, and the prospect later of the old (The Buzzcocks) and the wanna-be old (Babyfuckingshambles and Graham Coxon). if the Slits had appeared, they’d have been the most contemporary act on the bill, 30 years too late.
i was most stunned to see not one but FOUR official stalls knocking out nitrous balloons(“hippy crack”) – didn’t realise this had gone quite so overground and I assume it’s therefore only a matter of time before the law gets changed. Nonetheless, we got stuck in like the fucked up drugpigs of the rave generation that we try and pretend we still are and sucked our way to joy. Some of the braying, implausibly-sunglassed Cla’am filth had no idea what to do – they’d buy a balloon, inhale nonchalantly, breathe out, chat, breathe in oxygen, get zero effect and then moan about it. So somehow I managed to persuade a stallholder to give me free balloons in order that I demonstrate to the aforementioned twunts quite how to do it.
The day finished in the Guilty Pleasures tent, of which more in another post (a rant is brewing) and by now my brave band and I were fairly wankered, to be fair, which just goes to show that hardcore yoot like us can have fun anywhere..