So, going by my many postings there, you can hazard a guess that day 1 of the Hartlepool Dockfest is now complete. Time to write up a review, and post pictures wherever necessary.
I headed off to the Marina, slightly annoyed at losing one of the rubber earbuds for my phone’s headpiece. That wasn’t a good start to the day. It meant that on my strut from Mercuryvapour Towers, to the afore-mentioned Marina was spent only half-listening to the music. The other half was spent trying to keep the earpiece in without having my head tilted to one side. Grrr.
Eventually, I arrived, and had planned to meet Andrew there. I phoned his mobile to see where he was.
“It’s me, where are you at?”
I got some crypic reply back, along the lines of “If you’re calling for my brother, he’s out”.
Eventually, the call fizzled out. I must have been in a position where he couldn’t understand me, or didn’t think it was me. I moved location and rang back…
“It’s Jamie, I know you’re out, you asked me to ring you when… oh.”
It had currently dawned on me that instead of ringing Andrew’s mobile, I’d rang his house phone. It was indeed his brother that answered, who must sound very similar to him on the phone, which means that Andrew’s brother’s brother was indeed out, and awaiting a call on his mobile instead of the house phone, as he was not in, as described in the initial call answered by Andrew’s brother’s brother’s brother. If you see what I mean.
So, I eventually get in contact with Andrew, and we meet up at the Wingfield Castle. He had his camcorder, needless to say, I took my camera.
The first “treat” of the day was the “Community Cavalcade” Now, I didn’t really know what to expect from this. Turns out, I should have expected very little. Best way to describe it was a town-wide school play, with kids singing in between. Of course, I didn’t realise this, and thought it was the opening ceremony. WROOOONG.
I could have cried. We started queuing at 11:30, didn’t get in there until 12:21. For the 51 minutes, we were in the blazing sunshine. My sunburn is back with a vengence. I wish I’d actually read what it is we were queuing up to watch.
I only took interest in part of it, and that part was when the music CD malfunctioned.
Despite the relaxing shade of the large entertainment tent, we abandoned the “cavalcade”, and by chance happened tofind one piece of “street entertainment” from a guy called Turbo Jonez. As you can guess by my “heartening” description of the cavalcade, it should now be clear that I don’t have a cynical bone in my body, in the same way that I don’t have a sarcastic one.
OK, I’m sarcastic and cynical, but when I say that this guy was one of the best street acts I’ve ever seen in my numerous years visiting these “maritime festivals”, I really mean it…
It takes a lot for me to laugh at stuff like that, but this guy was awesome. After his show had finished, I even went up and shook his hand, and had a quick discussion about the records and equipment used in his act. An all round nice guy.
There was a performance immediately after, next to the Wingfield Castle, about punishment in the middle ages…
I think there’s one of those every week. At this point, one of Andrew’s camera batteries had died, so he headed off to a top-secret location to put the battery on charge. While he did that, I took some photoes of the Thundercats…
OK, I could have said speedboat, but I didn’t.
We walked back in the general direction of the tents, and happened to stumble across the “FoodFest” tent.
As well as containing an oven, this place also behaved like an oven. I was dismayed to find that the recipe he was cooking contained smoked fish. Ugh. Oddly, I stayed in my seat, without running out of the place like a screaming girl. Turns out all of the savoury dishes being prepared over the weekend actually contain fish.
The guy running the workshop also had to teach this recipe to a bunch of children at the same time, something which he CLEARLY had never had any experience with.
COnsider the following paragraph as “Citation needed”, as I can’t remember the exact order of events, but one of the little kiddywinks, asks if the thing he is cooking it on is “hot”. The chef replies “Yes, that’s why it says ‘Caution Hot Surface’, pointing to a sign laid flat on the table in front of the hotplates. Slight issue with that, is that the child was too small to see any sign laid flat on the table, or understand the words, and was only asking the question because the chef turned over something in the pan with his fingers. Oh, man. I hope Andrew got it on tape, but I doubt he did, so I may have made the entire last paragraph up.
We walked out of the cookery class, and decided that refreshments were in order. I ended up paying Â£1 for a bottle of water, followed by Â£2.50 for a tray of curry and chips.
We then watched a juggler with the worst sound system known to man, and then decided to head off to Navigation Point. This was to be my place of departure, as I wanted to go home for a bit or a rest before the music section started good and proper.
Daddykins picked me up, and I did certain tasks as take plenty of fluid on board, and examine my fucking sunburn in greater detail. Why is it, now, that when I was a kid, I could be out in the sun all hours of the day (well, yes, up until 6PM, Chad.), yet these days, my skin incinerates the second a bit of sun hits it? If that’s not evidence of a depleting ozone layer, I don’t know what is, or we may have just had shit summers in my childhood.
OK, back on topic.
I had arranged to meet Andrew again after I’d returned. By this time the weather had taken a turn for the worse. Cloud had spilled in from all directions, and by complete coincidence, Daddykins was heading off to the Marina by means of a taxi. I asked if I could jump in too. He answered affirmatively, and I’m glad he did, as the heavens opened whilst on the way there.
I got dropped off, and attempted to reach Andrew via the mobile airwaves. His phone was switched off. Bugger. Oh well, I was on my own for the night. No matter, but it would have been nice to not look like a Billy-no-mates all night.
The first couple of bands came on, and they were both… erm, “not my scene”, despite the fact I’d made my way to the front of the audience area, and now only had a 4-fit railing between me and whowever was performing. It was then, I came across a fear of dread, or maybe it was dehydration. I’d realised that if I was at the front, I’d be there for the long term. One of the bands finished, and the crowd dispersed slightly. I had to do it. I had to head to the bar. There were several reasons I was putting it off. Mainly the price. A “pint” of lager for Â£3.50
Of course, the reason why they charge through the nose for your beer, despite the fact you’ve been queuing up for 25 minutes before eventually receiving a plastic glass full of luke-warm piss, is that you’re receiving top-notch entertainment for nothing. If you’re thirsty, pay for it, like the freeloading whore that you are.
After queuing for 25 minutes before eventually receiving a plastic glass full of luke-warm piss, I head back to the front of the stage. Phew. There was still a little space. At this point, Andrew texted me saying that he also returned home for a bit, and will be there shortly.
He turned up in time to see the John Power Band. Now, I’d personally never heard of them. For some reason, I was expecting some type of large brass band number, thinking it would be a bit odd to but them on before the Lightining Seeds. Turns out, they weren’t. In fact they were another normal band. SOmething, somewhere mentioned that he was the lead singer out of “Cast”. My word, that was blast from the past, in a way.
It started off with several new tracks, or songs that were John Power Band only. Although enjoyable, it wasn’t something I was familiar with, or could enjoy, despite certain members of the female audience attempting to force themselves next to my perfectly reserved spot. Note to females, should you attempt to push your 4’10” frame into a space occupied by a 5’x” fat c*nt, you’re not going to succeed. It is likely that person will class it as the biggest sexual encounter he’s had for several months.
Something awesome happened during this. John Power announced that he was going to play some of his old stuff for the first time in years. Yes, all of the old Cast hits came out, including “Walkaway”… a song that is hard for me to explain. It’s one if the songs that made sense while I was going through puberty, but for no explicable reason, took no notice of it after that period.
I still knew every word, sang at the top of my voice, and for a short time, after the song finished, stood there shaking, as if some type of chemical bubble had burst in my brain… I’d never expected that I’d be singing that song, mere feet away from the person who brought it into my life in the first place.
Next up were The Lightning Seeds. Had my life been reaching up to this beautiful climax? You may remember my (clearly drunken) analysis of the song in 2004. I couldn’t imagine how good it would sound live.
Apparently, Hartlepool was their first gig for 10 years. They must have read my blog, and made sure they played on one of the nights I was off work. Thanks guys. Unfortunately, you might want to stop reading here…
… I thought it was, on the whole, awful. They really sounded like a band who had not practised together for 10 years, never mind just played a gig together
Technical difficulties marred everything they did, from squealing feedback, to whole guitars cutting out for no apparent reason, to the point where Ian Broudie closed his eyes and just realised that nothing was going his way. Many vocals were out of key.
If it really WAS ten years since the band last played together at a gig, I’m sure that the last thing they’d want to hear is constant chants of “It’s coming home, it’s coming home, football’s coming home” every time there’s a break between songs. Unfortunately, that particular fact wasn’t relayed to the audience by the “Real Radio” DJ who encouraged the audience to “ask” them for the song.
After several poor efforts by The “Seeds” to get audience participation, the finale was about to come. “The Life of Riley” was first. Unfortunately, this caused a crowd surge that caused anyone in the very front row (i.e. me) to be bounced around like a turd in one of those choppy up things for when you don’t have a real sewer line thing…
The finale, an all acoustic version of “Three Lions”, went down an absolute storm. As the crowd dispersed, the chant of “It’s coming home, it’s coming home, football’s coming home” grew ever more quieter. It’s one of those odd moments, like when the band James used to close their gigs to the chorus of “Sit Down”.
Unfortunately, after getting the front row, I realised (long after it was possible to make any difference) I have been included in many, many photos. Some I posed for, some I didn’t. No doubt I’ll be in the mail again. Whooppee…