DAY 7: GUILFORD ENGLAND

KING MIDAS IN REVERSE

 

Guilford Festival. Martin Elbourne in a cowboy hat. The Waterboys. Hobbits. Corn Circles. Bland British cooking. Boiled chicken, jacket potatoes and a field of suffering Teabags who are a good fifteen degrees out of their comfort zone.

Whoa, it's hotter than shit up in this piece. We end up three hours late. Stuck in Putney with a flat tire on the rental van. Stuck in Putney with the shot hip blues again.

After some static from security, we arrive to an open field with 20,000 people. Sunburned beauties making their rounds, 17 different kinds of Vegetarian Burgers, kids on leashes, dogs running free... The Stranglers are on an opposite stage. I'd kind of like to hike over there.

Kids on leashes while the Stranglers play. Who could resist?

A geezer on a motorcycle with his daughter in the sidecar says to Dan, "I'm a Green On Red fan and my daughter's a Chuck Prophet fan". It makes my day. There is a dog. We need dogs. Dogs need dogs.

We've come a long way to spit on a Hobbit.

But of course -- if you could spit on a Hobbit just any old where, who'd ever leave home, right?

Yeah, right.

The gig doesn't look dodgy on first glance to the naked eye, but on closer inspection, there are THE SIGNS. First clue? The bloke behind the monitor desk sports a lobster rash that can only be brought on by three days direct exposure to THE SUN. The dark side of the sun. It's THE SUN or THE RAIN. Never anything in-between at these festivals.

There are also empty crates of cider with cables tangled like spaghetti spilling out everywhere. It's a conspiracy of electricity.

Why are the monitor man's cut off's down around his ankles? He's got a lit joint hanging out of his mouth. Only it's not lit—it went out an hour ago somewhere in the middle of a an Irish folk act's set. Is there some genealogy to this shit I'm missing?

Remember, ultraviolet rays from the sun will damage the skin but can also create vision problems.

Fact is, they've got a good crew here but they are only so strong. After so many bands and more pints, they start to wilt. Wilt like a good old fashioned sex scandal, Christine Keeler, blowing us a kiss. They lose their power.

Yep, it's every man for himself. Some babies never learn.

Turns out there is some confusion and a Piano Keyboard we requested is not there for Chris in time for our set. An oversight.

The Waterboys go on after us, so we attempt to work the GOR charm to cadge a keyboard from Mike Scott and his middle class gypsies. It's a shoe-in as two of the Waterboys crew were once somehow employed directly or indirectly by GOR. We reach out for assistance but are given the thumbs down. Shit, they've got like three of them (pianos).

Didn't the same charm got us down into THE PIT in Greece? GOR ain't got the mustard to cut the custard today. Learn something everyday. Like never trust a man with two first names, and vitamin D and ecstasy don't mix. And something else, I forget...

Mike Scott, Mark David Chapman, Sarah Jane Olson.

With no piano the set goes a bit wobbly. It goes pear shaped as they're wont to say here. I'm staring down at Excalibur having to remind myself where to put my fingers, and Chris? God knows what's going through his head. But he's playing that organ twice as hard to make up for no piano. The set ventures out to the edge of the cliffs and studies the rocks below, and before we know it, IT'S OVER.

The crowd love it. LOVE IT.

It really wasn't that bad of a show. Danny was singing his tits off.

The sun goes down and my mood lifts. We stand off to the side and watch the Waterboy's overblown, melodramatic piano filled set. They're not bad. Pretty damn good, to be truthful. Inspiring even. So good we forget their precious bullshit from just an hour ago.

Self-sacrifice has it's values. Lost on many.

"There's always tomorrow". And there's also a good dog crap analogy out there somewhere.

I could use it right about now.

Nah. This is The Sea. THIS IS THIS. SEE THIS LINE, MOTHERFUCKER? THAT WAS THE RIVER! THIS IS THIS!