Friday, 1 September 2017

Shamblestories 2017


“Who wants to be in my band?”  Asks the Singer/Guitarist.  “There’s only one rule: you have to be naked.”
“Do you not have to be able to play?”
“Well, that’s a bonus, but you definitely have to be naked, that’s the main thing.”
“Well, it’s a flip from the normal thing, isn’t it?  Well done you...”
An enthusiastic drummer is on board from the start.  During the first song, a bassist, unknown to the other players, surprises everyone by running from the crowd to disrobe and join in. 
A keyboard player runs in from behind the venue, also meeting the first requirement of the band.
“If anyone has a problem with my nudity, they can leave”, says the Singer, his penis poking out from beneath the guitar.  Most blokes would probably loosen the guitar strap to cover their genitalia while playing naked, but this isn’t seaside-postcard nudge-nudge-wink-wink titillation.  (Despite the big pink wig.  Well, maybe it is a little bit pantomime…)
Still, The Rapper, last night, said “We’re so ashamed of what we look like in public, it’s a crime to be naked in public – don’t you think that’s fucked up?”  Maybe the Singer and his bandmates are trying to normalise nudity and be unashamed/less ashamed of their bodies, perhaps even all bodies.  There is a lot of partial nudity at the event…. 

There is also a lot of acid.  Everyone’s talking about it.

The Big Crew Of Mates get to see The Moulettes, Ed Keene, Pete The Temp and their very own Bombs, Little 
Thief, Jimi Needles and The Ephemerals.  All are very talented and great fun is had.  Some of the mates get right off their faces, others chill.  Many do a bit of both.

On Sunday night there is a Clayton Blizzard & The Girls From Marketing set which starts out in a most Shambolic fashion (the bad kind), but turns, over the course of 45 minutes or so, into a real Shambles (the good, Shambala kind).  

On Saturday night there is (possibly) the best ever Clayton Blizzard & The Boys From Marketing set.  The Rapper feels that sometimes, things just fall into place.  Sometimes, everything is perfect.  Sometimes nothing more need be said.

A preacher comes into the Front Room, during packdown, on the Monday, as the festival closes and everyone is going home.  The Preacher begins a Homily.  It’s not the fire and brimstone kind, but is equally passionate.  Eyes are now tight shut, now burning.  The Preacher is extolling the virtues of The People’s Front Room, and finds a willing audience.  This is what we do.
One crew member is detaching a parachute from the walls, another is carrying a sperm-shaped bar out of the place, a third is packing away microphones.
And YOU!  The Preacher calls, honing in on The Rapper.  The Preacher reminds The Rapper that She has his CD, that it was indeed She who leapt forth to grab the proffered prize on which she alone had her eyes.  Firmly fixed.  The Preacher grabs The Rapper, point well made, and continues the sermon in a stirring manner.  We, the crew, are transfixed, now simultaneously humbled and proud.  We have done our job well this day, my friends.
Go forth and spread The Word!

The Bus is about to play a gig he will not remember – to the extent that, tomorrow, he will ask others who accompanied him during the set if they saw him play.  He will be told it went pretty well, considering.

The Barman took ill, so other crew members stepped in to keep things going.  TCB, y’all.  One good thing about working behind a wee bar is that you get to talk to everyone, they come to you.  Another good thing is that some of them buy drinks for the barstaff.
Na na na na nan a
Na na na na na na
How’s your Father?
Pissed up!

The Rapper landed back in The Real World™ to see an advert about the hotly-anticipated upcoming fight between Perry and Swift.  He assumed the loud-mouthed gobshite one that was way out of their depth got a hiding, but wasn’t sure which is which.  The Real World™ is awful at times, isn’t it?
Still, none of that occurred to anyone in The PFR on Sunday night. 

The Sunday night closing jam was astonishing!  A sonic, visual, spiritual explosion!  Every time I thought we couldn’t last at this high level, it went UP a level!  The beatboxing fella, he was amazing.  Did some stuff that must be a cheat, no one can make those sounds with their body, some thought. But it was him, it really was – I could see him.
And then, near the end, OB joined him and got right involved, and it was a two-hander with double beat-boxing and beatbox-MC combo.  Which was exciting.
And then other crew members jumped up right at the end, first The Drummer, stealing in at an absolutely blistering pace, then The Guitarist, The Bassist, The Pianist all got involved – and “exciting” became utterly inadequate.  Perhaps nothing could describe it.  It’s an experience.  Sometimes, nothing more need be said.
Now: Go forth and spread the word!


The Band are back.  And they’re introduced by The Rapper, who is also, obviously, back.  The Rapper,  in his introduction, makes reference to a Spinal Tap line, saying: “I remember being blown away by their energy, their haircuts – and their punctuality.”  The Band are on form, and have brought a horn section.  Oh Yes.  It’s a great night.  And The Rapper guests on a song as well, getting to show off the knitted bling.


Phots by www.phoebemontaguewarr.com
Bling by Jez

Baby E is in the place, for his introduction to The Family.  He is entertained by music, food and a sock puppet with a squeaky tongue that sings a selection of songs from In The Aeroplane Over The Sea.  He also has a rave up at the Junior Jungle, and tries once or twice to unplug the stage monitors.  #babypunk #minirocknroll

The Spoken Word Artist tells his audience he doesn’t need to be funny, since it’s not stand-up comedy, and assures them he has noticed – “observed”, if you like – nothing about their lives.  The set, however, contains a piece called Jokes That Require Prior Knowledge Of Other Jokes For Context.  An audience member describes herself “vaguely worried” about The Spoken Word Artist, and offers a hug. 
The Spoken Word Artist reads aloud form his A Thousand Brilliant Band Names list – although, in truth, this list overgrown from the original thousand.  Surplus.  The best of this new list include Mutton Dressed As Spam, Pete Loaf and The Eric B Attitudes.
(Although Gary Krishna, which is possibly the bestest yet, is given to The Spoken Word Artist two days late – and will need to make do with honourable mention here and now.)

The Spoken Word Artist will later take part in the legendary Shambala Poetry Slam.  The right person will win, in The Spoken Word Artist’s humble opinion.  (No, not Himself.)

The jams will be off the chain, and The Rapper will be happy to be invited into the fray – as well as the sets of Bombs, TDF, Mr F, The Flatpack Horns and The Ephemerals.

Back in Real Life (patent pending), someone asked me how the festival was.
“Cathartic”, I replied “and yet, paradoxically, inconclusive.”
“Like your blogs…?”
“Fuck off.  But….yes, like that.”
All will (presumably) be grateful for The Experience.

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