Yes I did TWO amazing festivals a couple of weeks ago. Both excellent for different reasons. One firmly established in a capital city with a great history of live music, and the other emerging in a town which has suffered through a lack of attention to an identifiable live music scene, or of and definable arts policy to speak of.
Oya festival is one very large event in Oslo Norway, which sees all manner of indies rock royalty mixing with exciting new acts both from Norway and all over the world. Add to this a special and diverse night time schedule in various bars and clubs across the city and an invited international delegation with a full programme of networking opps and showcases for new bands, and you’ve got the lot. So in the space of three days I got to spend some quality time with a whole raft of new faces in Norway who’ll no doubt become firm friends and work colleagues, but also it was cool to catch up with the UK bods and also the US/Belgian/Dutch/German etc etc folks who were there.
Business aside – I got to see Pavement, Yeasayer, LCD Soundsystem and loads more besides. For Norway bands: The Goo Boys and Simon Says No, as well as Erlend Ropstad – three different styles and yet very good all.
Early in Friday 13 I flew back to my home town of Rochdale where I had programmed a free festival with the council there, and this too had its moments of excellence. The Lightning Seeds, The Herbaliser, Kirsty Almeida, The Travelling Band, Ellend and The Escapades, Dead Kestrels, Oh Ruin, Karima Francis, Plank, Beat The Radar, Katherine Tyldesley, Red or Black, The Mysterons, Coupe De Ville, Dirty North and the students at Falinge Park high school all played their part in making the event an memorable one for a town which rarely sees an event on this scale. Having said that, you would be forgiven for thinking, if you read any of the messageboards and listen to what people say in the town, that nothing EVER happens. I have found there to be a good number of people making music, putting nights on, and going to them. More of this please.
Alela Diane at South Bank 2007
My friend Alex Highton has a song which starts “You’ve got the trees, right behind your eyes”. (it’s called You’ve got the trees) I like this line very much, it has immediate visual elements working on more than one level, so it opens up a whole host of possibilities. In some ways it reminded me of a poster Luke Insect did for a show we did with Alela Diane a while back (it’s there on the left). He hid the trees in her hair. It looked great. There are trees everywhere it seems but it’s more the eyes I wanted to write about today.
If you can get behind the eyes of people you’re supposed to be able to see all kinds of worlds (do they really mean it when they say they love me etc etc… and honest guvnor, I never done nothing…)
I’ve noticed this just the last couple of days in the way my mum looks when she isn’t aware that I am watching her/taking a photo. Her eyes look into the distance and she’s apparently deep in thought. She certainly looks wise in the way that older people do. Alex Ferguson looks wise when he dramatically interviews looking away from the camera. Ferguson has got a kind of gravitas (sorry if you’re not bothered about the footy – I’m sure it would feel the same if Scorcese, or Martina Navratilova, looked away from camera during an interview), and you know that he has a depth of knowledge about his subject that is up there with the very best.
My mum is about 7 months older than Ferguson, and has been suffering and deteriorating with Alzheimer’s Diseasefor that last maybe 9, definitely 6 or 7 years. We went for a coffee Saturday morning and I sneaked these pictures of her looking away and contemplating I don’t know what.
Saturday 7 Aug 2010
Saturday 7 Aug 2010
Saturday 7 Aug 2010
She looks very proud and dignified and I wonder what it is she is actually thinking. Whether they are lucid thoughts which she just struggles to communicate, or perhaps the thoughts themselves come in the hotch-potch way she tells them. Either way, I do like to think there’s a bunch of wisdom still going on behind those eyes. Trees, Grandchildren, Nature, Holidays, Sons, Nephews, Sisters, Parents, Friends… A whole life in fact.
Up to Rochdale. Down to Dorset. Down to Bexhill on Sea. All with returns to London in between. Lots of actual fun has been had. Brilliant. Plans continue for the Rochdale Feelgood Festival, and I’m pretty excited about that – Fri 13 and Sat 14 Aug – got loads of decent stuff both old and new and suited for folks old and young… I hope the weather keeps decent and loads of folks come out. I booked Dave Sweetmore the actual Rochdale FC announcer/DJ and I wonder if he’s the booking I am most proud of. I’m excited to be up in Rochdale for The Dale’s first match in League One this weekend, and then to be back the weekend after with a quick trip to Norway in between for Oya festival. I’ll be some kind of European Festival expert soon.
The Cedars at Folk Idol
Last weekend saw the return of Folk Idol to Camp Bestival, and it was a blast. Once again I was worried till about 5
minutes before kickoff, as the fabulous Challice Family of judges weren’t there yet, also a good few of the bands who had said they would play. After an announcement however a good numb
er of people chanced an entry and we had enough people to start the show, especially after the judges appeared, all resplendent in good old fancy dress. A pirate, a pocahontas (or similar), a flamenco
Chris Wimborne town crier - needs no false beard
dancer, and an I-can’t-remember-what. So the competition was fierce and included (among others) an actual town crier, satan, an eleven year old violin playing girl, the cedars, and skinny lister.
Brilliant. I discovered the power of giving out organic veg to loads of kids, causingmini riots with each potato/onion/cauliflower etc etc… See Folk Idol on Facebook if this seems just comletely weird. Or on MySpace. Gotta thank my Folk Idol Camp Bestival companion Uncle Scanny for his help over the weekend.
Rainbow in Crouch End
Anthony Gormley at Bexhill
So yesterday I had an almost actual day off. This is needed in my stupid sad over-busy life. Slept over in an excellent B+B in superb comfy bed, visited lovely shops (Bexhill has the ONLY Alzheimer’s charity shop in the UK – and it is excellent – I bought a super 8 cine camera, and some binoculars). Visited the Gormley exhibition at De La Warr Pavillion – very good. Strolled about, had some lunch, wandered about by the sea. Felt good. Day off. Gotta have them.
At the end of it I saw this rainbow in Crouch End. So bright at the bottom, the photo doesn’t quite do it justice.