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BABYLON IN AVALON (PART 01)
BABYLON IN AVALON (PART 01)
posted 20 June 07 ___ Tales from Alabama 3's 2007 UK Tour
"Without Cruelty there shall be no Festival" - Nietzche
The first alarm bell is triggered by the wristband;
www.familygathering.co.uk. The second goes off when we get to the gate
of the festival and a cropped yellowjacket with moari tatoos and
connect four-counters in his earlobes stops the van and says in a
serious voice: "I just need to ask you a few questions. The first one
is the most important question. I'm going to ask you all day... Are We
Having a Good Time?!!" The answer to this question is No. Not really.
We've just spent four hours in an overcrowded, overheated minibus,
driving from London to play at a lame Hippy Festival, and we're being
interrogated by an Orc. In a perky way.
"Can i ask you gentleman, do you have any drugs on you today?"
Doh. It's a festival. we're the Alabama 3.
The interrogation continues; "did you hire this van?" "Where've you
guy's driven from today?" "How long are you staying?" The bells are now
ringing like its Christmas morning in Strangeways. I don't want to off
like Paris Hilton, but when you're the headline act at a thing like
this, it doesn't really help with the Woodstock Spirit when you're
treated like a criminal on the way in.
Finally we disembark, and after a paper plate of cold beany slop, I
stroll off to explore. On site it's business os usual; The Bong
Emporium, The Brain Machine, The Oxygen Bar (That's a good one: selling
air at £1 a pop from Flash Gordon - type cannisters... 'Increases Blood
Flow to the Brain!' 'Available in Four Exotic Flavours!' 'Aids
Respiration!' I know where you can get that shit at a considerable
Some of it's alright tho... Wandering further afield there's a squatter
advice centre in a small tent, there's a tiny cinema showing films
about the evils of globalization and Neocon expansionism, theres a
strip of burlesque sideshows and turning a corner i see my old friend
Jo Piece setting fire to himself in front of 400 people in a silver
jockstrap, as usual. Wandering back with Eddie we pass an inscrutable
wierdy beardy advertising Gong Baths; for £5 you can lie on a Futon
while he skips with a mallet striking said gongs and bathing you in
cosmic resonances, thereby cleansing your aura. Which is
Returning backstage, the band are being ushered into a Yurt. This is a
cylindrical construction made from paper and twigs, decorated with
oriental hangings and heated by a temperamental wood stove. Anyone got
a fag? We do the gig and its alright. All the hippies jump up and
down like they're supposed to, despite the fact that the mixing desk is
so near the stage that half the audience can't see what we're doing.
We're all wearing brand new white suits in attempt to generate a
dubious early seventies M.O.R. vibe. This look suits some of us better
than others; The upright Rock Freebase (slide guitar) resembles an
Austrian Oil magnate, whereas D. Wayne (MC), with slicked back
hair and a big, big belly festooned with silver bling looks like the
corrupt mayor of Buttfuck, USA. I, of course look rather fine, like the
Titty-bar owning, coke-dealing slimeball from an early Scorcese movie -
the kind of chancer who gets a bullet in the eye socket in at the end
of reel two.
Fast Forward a few hours (maybe 2, maybe 20)... as custom demands,
we're off our faces in the crew bar (the best watering hole at any
festival). As usual, I've missed my ride home, so I've resigned myself
to whatever phantasmagoria the Spirit of Avalon decides to throw at me.
A festival, (at least a good one) is a cocktail of the divine and the
infernel; inside the autochthonous bubble of freedom that such
gatherings conjure its all too easy to believe you're in Heaven... or
So I'm having a nice chat with an ostensibly meek librarian who has
mysteriously transmogrified into Lady Chatterly, complete with top hat
and riding crop, when Jo Piece appears, with some interesting news...
our lead singer Larry has been kicked off site by security, along with
some other guy...
Here we go...
Continued in part 2
© Orlando Harrison 2007