formation tour 2005 - uk
23 Nov 05 - Liverpool (Birkenhead) - Hex
24 Nov 05 - Edinburgh - Teviot House Student Union
25 Nov 05 - Newcastle - Legends
26 Nov 05 - Sheffield - Corporation
27 Nov 05 - London - Islington Academy
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Pretty much an abridged who's who of uk net.goths, really - Saiira, Tal, Suzi Brent, H Duffy, Avaritia, Marc Elston, Jynx Kat, Banshee, Loki and more. Plus all the resident Camgoths, of course. Enough to summon up that "party hard / emotional pressure cooker" atmosphere that you only usually get at Whitby and Slimelight, anyway. A mixed blessing, as ever. I think the Midlands contingent escaped more or less unscathed on this occasion, but the trauma and woe roadshow was definitely in town... :(
After this, he decided he wasn't going out for the rest of the weekend, which is pretty understandable, IMHO.
The rest of the usual suspects headed into Birmingham for the evening, to see a couple of bands at the Mercat. The bands (D.U.S.T. and Emma Conquest) were good, and the evening was generally entertaining. And reassuringly busy, given recent worries about the venue's future. melston, who'd driven up from Southampton, arrived late. As always. So late, in fact, that he entirely missed the band he'd turned up to see. Ooops. They then presented him with a jar of pickled onions, in tribute to this achievement. Anyway, Marc kindly offered a couple of us a lift back to Coventry. So we accepted. Then he pointed out that he wasn't entirely sure where he'd left his car - "er, Chinatown", he said. This is when the alarm bells should've started ringing.
My knowledge of Birmingham geography is not good. Normally, it doesn't need to be. I can navigate the centre of town, and I can find my way down to the Mercat (in the Digbeth area) and back. That's about it.
So Marc asked someone else - a couple of the local gothfolk - for directions. Very wise, I thought. At this point almost everyone had left the pub, the main doors were closed and the side doors were opened, and the bands were loading their stuff into cars. Our advisor glanced at Marc's scribbled notes, nodded sagely, pointed out through the side doors, and said "it's that sort of direction, about ten minutes walk, just off [name forgotten] street". Filled anew with confidence, Marc wanders out the side doors, says farewell to bands and other disreputables, and sets off in search of the car. With myself & Matt in tow.
"It's very quiet out here", thinks I - "Well, aside from the constant revving of engines in the distance". Digbeth is boy racer territory, and there's usually a few illegal road-races going on a Saturday night. Joy. But, oddly enough, there don't seem to be any cars actually visible on the road we're on, which is lined with back entrances to pubs, shops and warehouses. Strange. Oh, and there's a police helicopter overhead (fair enough, probably watching the racers) - but why is it now training the searchlight on us, and circling? Maybe they just picked us out by chance, it's not as if they're keeping the searchlight on us, after all. Oh, look, it's back on us again. Uh-oh.
Then we turn a corner, see a huge closed gate dividing us from the busy (full of boy racers and drunken spectators) road, and begin to understand. We're in a sealed-off area, for commercial use only, without public access. Ah. That would be why the police seem so interested in our presence, then. Still, there has to be some way out, the bands were coming this way, so...
A few turns later we lose the interest of the police helicopter and find the main gate. With a fussy looking security guard talking into his radio (presumably to the crew of that helicopter...) "yes, they're here now - no, no, they're just goths" (he looks up from his clipboard) "Got a permit, lads?" (much shaking of heads. He tuts.) "Nope, no permit. Not with the bands, then. I'll take care of it". We get a telling off. It's entirely possible that the Mercat subsequently gets a telling off, too, for letting loons like us loose in a "secure area". Then he lets us out into the big wild world. Onto a street lined with large unshaven drunks leaning on their cars, quaffing lager, and watching the cars race past. I think we've just found the "spectators pitch" for those illegal races.
A couple of police cars are discreetly parked, watching - but they don't seem to want to start anything with fifty odd drunks. Fair enough, neither do we. So we walk along, don't bite at the "Fuckin' 'ell, what do yoo look loik, yer posey poofter?" and "Oi goth!" comments, and go get lost in a better part of town instead. Eventually we find the Chinatown carpark, and all is fine. It was an.. interesting... end to the evening, though. Finally got home at about 1:30, to sleep at about 4:00. Coffee, breadsticks and geekery occupied the interval.
Quote for the day (unrelated):"I would rather die by my own faults than live strangled in the protection of others" (Soracia, the latest T&K)
Yet another Coventry goth night's just died (well, it's turned into a Nu-Metal night instead - so perhaps some sort of gangrene analogy would be more appropriate?)
So, before everything rearranges again, it seemed as good a time as any to announce the "In conjunction with Warwick Uni Gothsoc..." gig/event that we've been tentatively planning. Put all (or, at least, most of) the cards on the table and see how people respond. And make it very, very, clear that this is a one-off and not intended as competition for anything else that might be happening in Coventry come October...
I'm donning the asbestos trenchcoat now. ;)
One very awkward consequence of this delay was that when we finally reached the Losheim campsite it was 10:30 in the evening - and we had to pitch our (four) tents in the dark, aided by one small and feeble torch. Which went out after ten minutes. Oh, and we'd all assumed that someone else would bring a mallet. Ooops. As I say, really not the best start, although with hindsight it's almost funny.
From that point onwards, though, it was all pretty wonderful. Good music (my band review is on Usenet's uk.people.gothic, in the "Zillo" thread, if anyone's interested), friendly people, great atmosphere. One of the best weekends I've had in ages - even the bursts of torrential rain on Sunday afternoon couldn't ruin it. Perhaps they even added to the atmosphere, as the main result seemed to be an odd camaraderie - several thousand damp goths standing in ankle deep mud, cheerfully sharing umbrellas and alcohol with whoever happened to be standing next to them.
The downside of this was that returning to the UK, and then immediately going back to work, really wasn't much fun. Between exhaustion and the post-holiday blues (I find that everyday life always seems bleak, slow and generally worthless for a week or so after a really good holiday), I've been utterly antisocial - both online and irl. Especially this time, as I wasn't even in a very good mood when I left.
So, as ever, I apologise if I owe anyone e-mail! I'm now recovered, more-or-less awake and coherent again, so I'll try to catch up on everything over the next few days.