Sunday, 14 September 2014

Electric Picnic

Photographer credit: Jamie Tanner
I was at Electric Picnic the weekend before last.

Electric Picnic is an important social event in Ireland. Primarily because it's the only thing of it's scale that we've got. There used to be another music festival called Oxegen which appealed to a younger more pop/rock oriented demographic, while Electric Picnic catered to the interests of a mature crowd, and those with interest in alternative music. But Oxegen morphed into a utopia for those that like to knife each other, and ultimately got knifed itself last year. Electric Picnic's organisers exploited this as an opportunity to make money. The lineup features some artists of little substance who will assist with ticket sales. The capacity has been expanded to meet greater demands for tickets. People who've been attending the festival for the past decade have had their favourite weekend of the year slightly destroyed by drunk eighteen-year-olds running around with flowers in their hair and manbuns.

It rained early on Friday. Enough that I got to regret my choice of footwear and that the ground around the campsite was reduced to a brown liquid. The sun came out later and burnt me gradually from then to Sunday.

For my siblings it seems twenty-five is the cut-off point for wanting to have fun. Because of this I spent most of the weekend alone watching bands while they found new places to sit down.

I had a lot of ground to cover over the three days. I printed the lineup from Clashfinder and highlighted the artists who I wanted to see. Strangers would request an opportunity to peruse my timetable every so often. An attractive woman at one point leaned in close to me to say something about it while smiling. I couldn't hear her over the trumpets of the Booka Brass Band, so I smiled and nodded, half in love with her.

I saw St. Vincent on Sunday. Whom I have been creeping out on Twitter as of late. Or maybe I haven't. I'm not sure if she's been paying much attention to the tweets I've been mentioning her in. She never got back to me on the haiku I wrote for her. She mostly played stuff from her new album, which I'm not that in to. But at one point she climbed on to the shoulders of a security guard and approached the crowd. I made direct physical contact with her. My fingers touched her arm. And her guitar. Then her arm again. Her dead skin was on mine and mine on hers. And her guitar. It could still be on there. Depending on whether or not she regularly washes her guitars. My greatest regret so far in life is washing that hand.

I ran into Dan Hegarty earlier that day. He's a radio DJ I've been listening to for years and who I really admired when I was younger. He was standing around the back of the crowd during Unknown Mortal Orchestra. I recognised him from images of his face I searched for online after finally making the decision to find out what he looks like a couple of months ago. Nice guy. We spoke about psychedelic rock music. We did a half high-five hand-shaking thing because I wasn't sure of which one he wanted to do as he started to move his hand towards mine. He told me about a book he's writing. I told him I looked forward to reading it. Then he left to go do important radio things that I hope I can understand some day. This was shortly after I hung out briefly with the lead singer of a band called Vancouver Sleep Clinic. Just starting out. Lots of talent and ambition. Obviously listens to Bon Iver, of which I approve. I high-fived him and then without thinking maintained my grip on his hand while leaning in to pat him on the back. He went along with it without questioning anything. He probably thought I was cool. Like his 'bro' or something.

Some guys came on to me over the weekend. A guy held my hand. A guy asked if I wanted to have sex with his friend. A guy asked me if I wanted to have sex with him and his friend. A guy asked me on a date. This whole thing is getting out of hand. I brought it up with my sister. She told me that if she didn't know I wasn't she'd probably assume I was gay too (even though I'm pretty sure she still thinks I'm gay). Her reasoning being that I'm not homophobic and in Ireland that means you're probably gay. Which is generally true. I'm starting to question my sexual preferences like Macklemore rapped about in that song.

I also got asked by two different people if I had any pills. The first time was Saturday night during SBTRKT. I got really into it. Like someone on pills. A woman asked if I had any or if I knew anyone that had any. I said no. I looked to my left and saw some guys who looked like they were having a really good time. Like someone on pills. I sent her in their direction. They did not have pills. She came back.

'Hey, have you taken something?'

'No. Why?'

'No reason. Just wondering.'

The realisation that she was probably a cop and that I nearly got some fun-loving straight-edge guys in trouble marred the experience of getting to hear Wildfire live.

It happened again at Flume. I was enjoying the feeling of the bass in my anus - a phenomenon I am not making up and which I will not explain. If you have experienced it you will know what I'm talking about. A guy who looked less like he enjoyed electronic music than the cop woman who clearly was not in to electronic music approached me from behind.

'Have you got any pills... or do you know anybody who's got any pills?'

'No.'

'Aw no. Nobody knows anybody.'

'Sorry.'

Nobody who takes pills calls them 'pills'. If you can't even provide a name for the specific drug you want to purchase then you're probably a cop/not somebody that would ever ask someone to sell you drugs.

One of the greatest disappointments of the weekend led to something great. I went to see FKA Twigs. The tent filled as guys with trumpets took to the stage. Which was weird because FKA Twigs makes trip-hop music. The crowd watched in bewilderment as they started to play. After ten minutes I went to the stage-side security guard to ask if he knew what was going on. She cancelled. Living in a field for the weekend with poor phone reception meant missing the statement which was released via social media. I left and started to make my way towards my tent. I was carrying around a small bag which contained my hand sanitizer and fig rolls. I wanted to drop it off before the post-midnight LSD-fueled raving went down.

On the way I passed the Other Voices Stage.

'Other Voices' is an Irish tv show/collection of gigs that has been running for just over a decade. It does an incredible job of celebrating music from a variety of respected musicians at different stages career-wise through live performances and interviews. This year for the first time they had their own stage at Electric Picnic where they planned to hold intimate gigs from performers who have been on the show before, as well as others who haven't but which they feel deserve recognition. Who would be playing at what times was not revealed until shortly before they performed. As I was passing, people started to make their way inside. I walked in to find the word HOZIER printed on a card by the stage. Hozier is an Irish musician currently making it big around the world with his depth. He literally packed out the main stage area earlier that day. I'm not a huge fan of his but seeing him in such a confined environment felt special. Like everyone else was missing out by not being there. Like me when I didn't see St. Vincent perform on the same stage the following night.

Overall Electric Picnic wasn't bad.

***

I can't remember if I told you this already because I've become detached from the internet as of late but my brother proposed to his gf. Which means I'm going to be an uncle and have a whole collection of new siblings-in-law. This could be awkward because I've already put off getting to know my brother's gf's family and now it's going to seem like I'm only doing it because I have to. Which is the reality of the situation.

He seems excited by the whole thing though. Which I'm happy about.

14 comments:

  1. You gotta watch it when strangers ask for drugs. A guy I knew who dealt very small amounts of pot was once asked by a guy at a party if he knew where to get pot. "How much?" he asked.

    "100 pounds"

    "Oh, man, I don't ever deal with big amounts. See that guy over there? Go ask him if he knows someone."

    And when, 6 months later, it turned out that the guy was a cop, he got rung up on conspiracy charges, just for saying, "I dunno, ask that guy". He went to prison.

    That's how stupid the war on drugs is over here.

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  2. Open air gigs /festivals, I admit, are my idea of hell. Give me a dingy pub with broken glass on the floor any day.

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    1. It's not for everybody, They often test your endurance thoroughly.

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  3. So Irish people think you look gay? Maybe that means you're metrosexual. Do they know you're not homophobic because you don't call gay men "gayers". I've seen that word used in a number of Irish blogs to imply a mild contempt of homosexuals. The high-five-handsake greating could be called a "low five".

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    1. They do think I look gay. Past experience assures me that at the very least Brazilian men think so too. The high-five handshake was definitely a low as far as meeting Mr. Hegarty is concerned.

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  4. I've never been to a music festival. I tried this year, but I kept having to work when they were on. My absolute favourite band headlined one of them this year too.

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    1. I never really saw myself as the kind of person who would enjoy live music when I was younger. The crowds and the dancing seemed unappealing. I've learned that those kinds of environments provide an easy way to let go if nothing else. I become less self-conscious for a little while. And then get hit on by men and asked for pills.

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  5. You're funny. You seem to have an interesting, entertaining time where-ever you go. What's your secret? I'd like to attract guys the way you do.

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    1. I'm the most optimistic person in the world. I find good in absolutely every situation. That's my secret.

      As far as the attracting guys thing goes: I look like a gay pillhead and I have no idea how or why. If I could offer assitance in this regard I would.

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  6. Hmm, I probably have better odds of looking like a gay pillhead - though I'd say I couldn't even come close, than being consistently optimistic, or optimistic at all. Good for you. I guess I'll remain a celibate cynic.

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  7. Congratulations for your brother getting engaged. And for you getting offered pills and gay sex. Rock and roll!!!!!

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  8. So...err....hand sanitiser and errr...fig rolls eh? That's like the new terminology for an ounce and a bit of Charlie right?

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