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2006 August » cool as
cool as
Aug 20

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Despite the torrential downpour and guttural screeching of the surrounding plebs, I managed to get a few hours sleep. Nick was surprisingly chipper, that drip must have really sorted him out. After a hearty breakfast Adam, Nick and I made our way to the main arena to meet up with Pete and Kris. We headed to Cider sponsored dance floor and bounced up and down for a while, before deciding it was far too early for that kind of thing. So we wandered over to the second stage to witness The Dandy Warhols.

I’m a big admirer of a great deal of The Dandy Warhols’ back catalogue. Despite selling their souls to the corporate machine by licensing one of their songs to a mobile phone company, I was willing to give them a chance. I had seen their contemporaries ‘The Brian Jonestown Massacre’ (as featured with The Dandys on the documentary ‘Dig’) and had been blown away by the performance, one of the greatest gigs of my life. Whilst The BJM have yet to successfully capture the energy and amazing sound of their live performance on record, the complete opposite is true of The Dandys. Who proceeded to make even their best songs sound like ill conceived drivel.

Next up was a trip to the second stage for ‘The Feeling’ and their brand of insipid guitar pop. I’m not sure what it was that I was meant to be ‘Feeling’; nausea, hate, indifference. Who knows. The Preening, sorry Feeling performed looking like they had just walked out of a marketing campaign for a soft drink company, they subjected us to a very dull set of songs. The fact that they had spent far too long in front of the mirror practicing their rock star moves was plain to see. Needless to say the crowd loved them.

After the disappointment of ‘The Dandys’ and ‘The Feeling’ I was hoping to be blown away be a great performance by Hard-Fi. They played with enthusiasm and they have a few great songs, but their performance didn’t really do it for me. Maybe it was too early in the day, and the poor sound quality that let them down. I’ll reserve judgment and give them the benefit of the doubt.

Paul Weller was next up on the main stage. The Jam songs he played were well received, as were the hits. I felt my attention begin to drift mid set though, not being a big fan myself. Faithless followed Weller, and whilst I’m no fan of theirs, my friends and the rest of the crowd lapped it up. The atmosphere they created can’t be faulted and I found myself jumping up and down with the rest of the crowd.

Morrissey was the last act on the main stage, a strange choice for V(irgin) Festival. Which is usually very mainstream, as Morrissey himself pointed out ‘You wont hear this new single on Virgin Radio’. The Crowed Booed and hissed at the injustice of it all, and Morrisseys’ transition to pantomime dame was almost complete. His shameless plugging of the new single is probably just a sign of the times. All beside the point, perhaps, the music is what counts. I couldn’t really fault Morrissey and his band on that score. A great performance from the opening strains of The Smiths’ classic ‘Panic’ all the way through to the final crowd pleaser, another Smiths staple and one of the greatest songs ever made ‘How Soon Is Now?’. Morrissey was in fine form tearing off three shirts and throwing them to the adoring crowd during the set.

written by Allister \\ tags: , , , ,

Aug 19

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I met up with my friends Adam and Nick as we entered the festival camping grounds. For the last few years we had camped at a small unofficial site that had better facilities, space and, rarest of all, clean toilets. On arriving this year we were presented with an all too different situation. Official status had been awarded to our once small and friendly space mutating it into a sprawling monstrosity.

We trekked to the furthest part of the field in the vain hope that we would find enough space to erect our tents as the heavens opened in a short sharp downpour that soaked us to the skins. We found space for Nicks four man tent and decided to keep mine in reserve. After another trip to the car and another soaking we were safely ensconced in the tent and set about consuming one of the crates of beer and bottles of vodka we had bought as we sat out the storm.

We arrived on the festival site, laden down with alcohol smuggled past security, in time to see Kula Shaker do their thing. A welcome return from Crispin and the boys, although their new songs did seem rather insubstantial and throwaway. I’m hoping that they can produce another album as good as their first one, otherwise their return will be a short lived one. We headed over to the main stage and caught the end of The Magic Numbers and consumed the remainder of our alcohol. Adam and I moved our way to the front for Bloc Party, managing to lose Nick to the crowd in the process.

Bloc Party were on excellent form and played a great set, although it would have been nice to see them play for longer and in more intimate surrounds but this is a festival so you take what you can get. Bloc Party stand head and shoulder above the current slew of indie bands, justifying the hype that surrounds them with superb songs that they can actually play live. More than enough to persuade even the most hardend synic.

After Bloc Party there was still no sign of Nick. Adam and I stayed down the front for Keane, I got tired of their albums very quickly but they did put on a good show and the crowd were into them.

After Keane Adam attempted to contact Nick on his mobile only to have Nicks phone answered by someone from St Johns ambulance, who informed us that Nick was in the First Aid tent. Adam and I made our way there to discover Nick being nursed back to sobriety by some helpful volunteers. Rather appropriately Beck was playing the opening chords to ‘Loser’, as we walked in. I’m sure Nick will thank me if I don’t go into all the gory details. As Nick was in good hands, I decided that my time would be better spent back at the main stage watching Beck. It’s what Nick would have wanted, had he been able to form a sentence I’m sure he would have told me to go and enjoy myself.

Back to Beck, a great performance with puppets, bear suits, cutlery and even a few songs thrown in for good measure. Good to see Beck taking things a little less seriously and enjoying himself. After Beck it was the moment I’d been waiting for, the time had finally arrived to see the boys from my home town and possibly the most innovative band currently in action. I’d seen they supporting R.E.M. at Milton Keynes Bowl many years ago, and had been forced to forefit seeing them on my 26th birthday due to a knee operation. After years of waiting I was finally going to see Radiohead. They fully lived up to my hopes and expectations, pulling off one of the greatest festival performances I’ve ever seen.

written by Allister \\ tags: , , , , ,

Aug 18

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Although I have loads of photos to add to my site I haven’t been completely idle. I have added a new ‘Design Portfolio’ section to the site, showcasing my commercial design work from my last seven years of employment. There is still more to come. Cool As… has now been visited by over 9,500 people.

written by Allister

Aug 12

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A day out in Twickenham with the family watching the 12 Premiership clubs battle it out in the Rugby Sevens on the Twickenham turf. My Dad is a big fan of Rugby and invited me along, I’ve never been a big fan myself but I enjoyed watching England beat Australia in the World Cup. The Sevens games were very fast paced and held my interest for the whole day, which is something of an achievement in itself. It seems like a long time since I used to work behind the bar at the Harlequins Rugby ground in Twickenham whist studying graphic design at Kingston University. It was ten years ago, time flies. After the Rugby I jumped in my car and headed to Bicester for the annual beer and jazz festival with Pete, Kris and other assorted friends. I didn’t manage to sample all 23 beers on offer, but I gave it my best shot.

written by Allister \\ tags: ,