diary [Roskilde Festival 2008]

somewhere sometime sunday

i think i've broken my sleep. i may actually be going delirious. i figure i may as well take advantage and see how long i can go without it. without hallucinating (please). the sky has already turned to a funny colour. odd. maybe it actually did. but i have experience of this. and either way, the last 24 hours have been some of the most ridiculous and unrepeatable (please).

actually, tell a lie. sometime after the sun had risen i'd curled up over my backpack and tried to sleep. it was a sleep or death moment. and it probably wasn't even a minute later when i woke up watching emil somewhere above me doing a beer bong. nooooo. then i shouted some too vicious words at a photographer, calling him a vulture, and rightly so, but then he let me look through his lens. brave man. and then i noticed the extra bags we'd acquired, containing four tents (or so i thought at the time) and a camp chair. we'd also picked up a tape player but only the radio worked, and the only annoying thing we could tune that into was classical music. it was totally unnecessary to drag it along with us through the queue, but at the time it was imperative. free emergency tents.

but let's get this straight, that was no fucking queue. fuck that. we arrived around 9pm, hanging around with some friends by the entrance road, taking a beer. jolle already way drunk. then we entered the mayhem, finding some new friends along the twisting path and sitting a while with them. sheltering from the rain under their tiny blue and red umbrellas. everywhere spread grey tarpaulin. we played some loud avril lavinge through someone's cd player, probably our own, and the masses of people slowly passed by, heading for the front of the line wherever that was. all i could see under my hood was very little, a few mouths and a mass of greyness. that was the worst of the rain, we were lucky in that respect.

sometime around midnight they were supposed to start handing out the wrist bands and letting people into the waiting area. here they wait and get ready to run to their desired camping spot when the gates finally open at 8am. there was only eight hours to go. and all this should be highly unnecessary. did i say that already? there should be space to camp for everyone, but there's not. by midday the next day nearly all the spots were taken. tradition it may be, but it doesn't do anyone any good, being here like this.

an hour into the crush and we couldn't get anywhere, not even backwards. it almost came to blows when someone needed to piss so bad they had to go in a can, but missed. i grabbed the guy's fist, which is a reaction i was happy with. i felt his pain, i really did, no one wants their leg pissed on, but what's a boy to do? we ducked out before it got worse, finding ourselves a small unpopulated triangle that had created when the barriers had been pulled apart by queue jumpers. one of its corners was in use a toilet, except when people came along and sat there (it didn't stop jolle, the girl was either infinitely stoic or completely oblivious, right up until the point it started to soak through her jeans). we must have stayed in that spot for about six hours, chatting to random people who joined us, people who also couldn't take the abusrd queue. that's where we found our radio, and jolle kept finding beers. too many. i spent a lot of time standing on crates watching the crowd not moving, watching a horse approach and pass us at the speed of about three meters and hour. painful. it's the most stupid thing i've ever seen. excluding the vege burger i had earlier this morning. if it was the morning. i have no fucking clue anymore.

the vege burger. it was their standard burger but without the meat. no replacement. it was impressive, don't get me wrong, but only because it was the size of your head.

back to last night, or rather the early hours of this morning, and we've just discovered kenneth was ahead of us. he could even see us. at that point he was about five minutes from getting in. what the fuck had we been doing? it still took him another half hour to pass the gates though, but once he was in emil ran off with our gazebo to throw it to him over the fence. he could save us a space. some plan like that. and this was the tent we were so proud of, the one we found at the recycling dump, and we thought we'd be the only camp who had one. what a laughable pressumption, every camp has one. and there was no room for ours after all that anyway.

that's the story of how we lost emil. it was now just me and jolle with something like four bags each. dragging them behind us and pissing everyone off. no, apparently we're not all in this together. this last leg of the queue was just hellish. pressed up against everyone, tripping over discarded junk all over the floor, dehydrated under the quickly rising sun. but we made it. we paid our dues to the queue. it took us fourteen hours. we nearly died.

we met up with kenneth and found his camp, luckily nearby. jolle's on the phone and he just falls over backwards, continues to talk. i set up one of the spare tents and filled it with our stuff. then i got jolle to a safe place, which was no easy task, trying to find a camp its inhabitants didn't even know the location of. the next task was finding emil. i called him, waking him up, and the first thing he asked me was what day it was. at least he had a vague notion of where he was.

oh, all so fucking stupid. and now i have a tent up i'll be fucked if i'm moving my stuff and putting up another one, not since i've found myself a reasonabley chilled camp to stay at. right now i need no chaos.

vege burger - 45kr

apparently tuesday morning

i slept. twice even. and not too badly. now i feel covered in magic. and full of dried apricots. i wish the toothpaste worked. but at least i found water. i really didn't want to brush my teeth with sangria. and i can't believe i've kept hold of that orange juice carton. it is also magic. it refills itself. evidently.

but where are we now? days have lost meaning. i'm not sure they can be put back together. new people keep getting up. where did they come from? the night, somewhere. i think.

we're camped between what i thought would be two unbearable and horrible groups of people. they are all beer bongs and megaphones. it turns out everyone around here is. but now they have chilled out. unlike the metal camp that woke me up this morning at 7am with kittie. they were playing loud music all night, which is to be expected, but the fucking kittie album? it's probably because we were plaing their album last night at jolle and emil's camp. and everything comes in twos. like the the group singing teenage mutant hero turtles. it was funny at the time. like the metal band who kept singing "duck rape". but that was yesterday.

first i sat around the camp trying to not offend the rather proper girls i'm sharing it with. it was great until they got coffee and cake (not in my budget) and went into their tent to play cards. i went to the cinema instead. sitting there watching sigur ros, all strobes, fjords, mountains and tea rooms, drinking rum and trying not to cry. trying to not get annoyed at the people laughing at their funny icelandicness, their funny hats, expressions and pronunciation. blinding.

a while late i found emil and he couldn't inflate his airbed. i wanted them to come and sit around the bonfire (surrounded by sand and currently being taken care of by two girls we'd met in the queue) but the airbed came first. so i went off on my own in search of garlic bread, but got lost in the pizza tent instead. my pizza completely covered in the awesome chillis that come with the nachos and no one eats. if only you could survive nine days on them you'd be sorted. along with the congealed cheese, maybe. i might try it. i'd be better off than with those vege "burgers".

actually, on my walk in search of breakfast yesterday i found a mexican with full vege options. i had fruit instead, by necessity, ripe and surprisingly good. that's where my juice came from (the wine came later). but back in that pizza tent a guy shoves a huge frog in my face and asks me to kiss it. but nothing happens. maybe he meant with tongues. unlike those guys offering free kisses. jolle quite pissed them off. but what's the point of a free kiss if there's no tongues? some other dude obliged him anyway. further down that road a huge mob had climbed all over a huge dumspter and were beating the hell out of it. a spontaneous and communal drum jam. but i'm not sure why they want to do it on the urinal.

then there were a couple of girls tinkering around with an upturned bike. i didn't want to be patronizing, but i couldn't resist trying to help. and they needed it too, their bike was totally fucked. someone had given it to them so they could get to a party on time, a story that makes no sense, but that doesn't matter. with one of them sitting over the back wheel they'd managed to put the axl out, something horrific like that. it wasn't just that their chain had jammed, which was what they thought the problem was. i have no idea how that works (doesn't work), their wheel wonky and rubbing against the frame, but i got it back in line. another drunken moment of magic. and without getting too much grease all over me either. what i should have done was tell them not to ride it, it was clearly destroyed, but we were all too full of win (and wine). they thanked me profusely and wished they had beers to give me as thanks. i wished there were more bikes. and they were gone. i was even wearing my "one less car" tshirt.

looking around i'd lost jolle. he'd gotten bored when i'd fought him off the bike, stopping him from making it worse. he'd gone and sat down with a crowd singing radiohead songs, one guy with an acoustic guitar and one with the most amazing spanish drum instrument - a big box. fucking ideoteque. and jolle got into a fight with a big white van. the asshole was trying to barge his way through the crowd. he chased after it kicking and punching like how i wanted to.

i love festivals, and all this was just me trying to get back to my tent. and then getting jolle back to his. and now he only has one shoe, he lost the sole somewhere along the road. ouch. then it was playing kittie too loud, "sit on my face", religion, and then finally some garlic bread. after that i had to go to bed because the dew was going to kill me. at least that night it didn't rain. the night before the bottom of my sleeping bag had got a little wet, but only because it was pressing against the door. my airbed doesn't really fit inside the tent. not being able to stretch out fully is a real fucker. my legs ache. how does jolle cope? i don't know.

but i like this. i feel festival hardened. i should though. and fixing tents and bikes. playing nanny. and it's great having two camps, the drunken trashed one and the civilized girly one (they've showered already). i could live like this. but i can't believe how many nachos people are eating.

in my night stories i missed out a day. yesterday. it was spent mostly in one field, the arena. the music doesn't start properly until thursday (apparently it's now tuesday but i'm not sure i believe that yet, you need to be careful who you trust), but there's one stage open and a few bands playing each day. it's mostly trash, and that one wildly entertaining "duck rape" metal band. and i met some interesting people. a dutch brother and sister who i had a conversation with about why psychology/socially doesn't work. "it's what's between the numbers", and all that pi primer stuff. then we hung with jolle's "younger brother" and some canadians.

all this time wishing i was carrying around my notebook. all those lost details. like the greatness of coffee, tequila and triple sec with too much cream.

i need to get myself an english programme. i would have got one in the way in but i had my ticket in my mouth at the time, my hands all full with the bags i was tripping over.

if a song you could save your life i guess we'd all live forever. we'd all be old and wrinkled and covered in goosebumps.

it's not so smart making the sinks (pretty much the only place with running water) look like urinals. and it doesn't help that someone has stenciled a pissing man on them either. actually there's a big pissing problem at this festival. there's not enough urinals, even if you include the sinks. not in number, but in distribution. but maybe it's because everyone would just piss everywhere anyway, men are like that. the whole site must be irrecovably poisoned. it stinks and people talk about the "piss dust". what annoys me the most is that i can't lie in the shade, it's all pissed on.

where is everyone now? it's a slow day. maybe they burnt out. maybe they went to buy new shoes. earlier the girls went off site to fakta, buying food etc, and they invited me along, as i was hoping they would. it was the perfect opportunity to stock up on vegetable juice and replace my beer which everyone else has drank on the way in. there was half-eaten food all over the store.

photo: jolle's new shoe - a bit like the emperor's new clothes. a torn piece of blue sleeping matress gaffa taped to his foot and the remnants of his shoe, a flap of fabric and a few ringlets held together by a lace.

photo: the spunk trail of suncream left squirted across the blow-up matress beside emil's head just after jolle pretended to rape him, his foot landing perfectly on the wrong tube.

photo: people drinking bottles of bright green filth. left handed guitars. even more nachos.

coffeetail - 40kr
wine - 70kr
garlic bread - 35kr
orange juice - 20kr
fruit - 12kr

must be wednesday

then a bottle of jack daniels and a bottle of jagermeister appear, which is nothing i can condone, stealing from a passed out camp (perhaps they did them a favour). i can still taste the rum, but want the taste of free and good alcohol. tasting the moment where you can feel everything spiralling out of control. everytime i see lilly she is surprised i'm still there. so after the third time, i do actually leave. it's too cold, horribly cold. so i stand around the bonfire and talk to some dutch people who don't believe me that i'm not high. drink some more rum, but at my pace, not the pace of the bottle. i get lost in the festival, rather than lost in the camp, reverting to petty theft.

almost too lost. i met two groups of people who insisted i'd met them the night before (everything comes in twos, even twos), including the girls whose bike i'd fixed. yes, it had broken down again 100m down the road. she'd run up to me with a deluge of danish. they were off to campe van dam. it was her birthday. what i should have said was "hey, is it ok if i come with you?". that's what i was supposed to say, but it was not the role i wanted to play.

i'd also met a great spanish guy who had fascinating things to say about spanish culture. and kubrick. and we were sitting in a circle around a guy who had passed out on the floor, his arms and legs now gaffa-taped together. passing out in camp duck rape, he had it coming. but the jokes not on him when he wakes up desperate for a piss and can't stand up and run to the bushes. ugly. but not as ugly as emil reciting some hothothot lyrics to a dude who was half sudanese. he managed to see the humour through the offensive bullshit, luckily. and also their anarcho-syndicalist flag was hung upside down, of course the spanish guy had noticed this too, but it really isn't important.

after all that i slept terribly. 3am was too early. i kept all my clothes on and was still too cold. it had been a long day though. so it must have been tuesday. we'd gone to fakta, and when we got back i felt bad for encouraging the girls to talk about all the interesting things they've been studying. the things they've come here to forget. i wandered off with my wine and newly acquired english programme.

i saw some terrible danish hiphop followed by a band rocking out some incredible harmonized chanting and gentle guitar noise. it was a stage full of smoke, and when the breeze came it lifted and carried the smoke outside. it looked like the world was fading away. like we were trapped in a bubble, a small moment of clarity.

i met up with jolle and the studenterhuset group, went to play guitar hero. how is that for clarity? it makes no sense. kids sitting around playing counter strike and unreal tournament. did you not come here to get away from all that shit? i sat outside on the fake sand, hypnotized by purple and bronze, really wanting to cook something. for everyone. and watching a large column of smoke rise in the distance somewhere in the direction of my tent. that is a moment of disaster, but it was only a tower that was burning, far away from any tents. a fire like that could consume a whole camping section here, the tents are so tightly packed. it's funny because their security is so tight in every aspect but that one.

and fuck the guys with the "anal rapist" caps. wankers.

later we saw casiokids, old friends of jolle's. great show, huge heads and all smiles. then we sat around the cocktail bar, found some beer. ate some nachos off the floor (nothing to do with me). things are so hard to explain when nothing is lucid. and a girl in my camp pissed on her phone. it's funny how all the 'best' stories involve pissing on things.

earlier today i was going to have a shower. a cold one, because the hot ones are 30kr and not in keeping with festival ethics. or my budget. so i queued for one of the two showers. i waited about twenty minutes before realising i wasn't getting any closer to getting wet. i went for a swim instead. it's crazy dangerous having a lake at a festival, but it was incredible. sure it was horribly busy, but mainly just on the beach area, once in the water you were plain sailing. and under the water you can hear music. it scared the shit out of me, a reminder that there are things hiding beneath the waves. and fear of the unknown is a strong fear. it's as if there's a secret disco happening at the bottom of the lake. why did belly never play under a lake? anyway, now i feel clean, hardcore, and complete.

all over people are trying to trick you by placing tempting cold beers on the paths. everyone knows they're attached to string, you can even see it, so why do people still go for it? it's idiot fishing. i pissed off some guys by treading on the string first, only to find the can was full of stones. and not at all as cold as they'd claimed. i played swing ball with them but was destroyed. the guy had his bat attached to his hand and i was forced to play left handed. so no surprise. no tasty cold beer for me.

and free frying pan smacks. gratis pik. why is that guy making fart noises? why do some camps have their stereo systems cranked up so high it's distorted. it's 4am and they're not even there. or maybe they do it to block out everyone else's noise so they can sleep. escalation. it explains everything.

i love festivals, they are all what being human is about. fuck everything else.

beer and food, fakta - 100kr
beer - 70kr
food - 60kr


i just had me the worst sleep of my life. freezing and sweaty, woken up at 4:30am by daft punk, the song stuck on repeat. after the third i was ready to die. after the forth i actually meant it. my head numb but pounding from too much sun and wine and complicated questions.

but if you'd come in to rescue me, to take me home to a warm bath and the comfiest of beds, i'd have driven you away with whatever energy i could summon. i'd send you packing with a barrage of sunflower seeds and dried apricots. or not, i actually need those.

where are we even? yesterday. we sat around a long time at camp. everyone wasting away, either sleeping or wishing they were. we started drinking and the party slowly started rolling again. then it was kick started by the arrival of kenneth, katrina and the norwegians - more really nice people. the girls started rating guys, always with a 10, which was amusing for a short while. until it started involving us. until i started to fade out. complicated questions.

so me and the k went to meet up with jolle, and we ate amazing brocolli and feta pancakes with bulgar salad. festival food pure punk rock.

back at camp everyone was ready to hit the road and katrina was suddenly inexplicably drunk. and we were off again. me carrying kenneth's bag and his girlfriend, it felt a bit weird. but it was all good. the guys who practice next to us at studenterhuset were playing at the skatepark over on the west side. probably the strangest venue i've ever been to, total end of the world material. we couldn't see the stage for skate ramps, but there were enough speakers lying around bouncing the sound about and a huge screen. they were brilliant. all beats and mashups, crazy dj noises. nightmare before christmas. there was even break dancing, but mostly really bad break dancing.

wandering through the night, there's a dude competely wrapped in gaffa tape lying on the ground at a crossroads. he has white plastic cups attached to his eyes and he must be completely terrified. this is how people die. we set him free, people shouting "run, you know no what you do, you've set the beast loose". and once free he ran. bolted like a deer.

photo: the other katrina's hat against the sickness of the blue sky. lavender and drown yourself blue.

somehow i managed to get a cut/blister on my toe. it's ok. i hunted around for a medical tent, but once i'd finally found it i couldn't be bothered to wait. the norwegians had plasters anyway. and to be honest i can't believe i didn't. i cleaned my blister with rum and now it's just peachy.

photo: jolle, his face all hair and craziness, spikey and sunburnt. more of the piercing sky and so many multi-coloured balloons.

catching sunbeams in the palm of your hand. watching the people outside through camera obscura holes in the toilet door. and outside the light all red. photoreceptor love.

breakfast - 55kr
falafel - 45kr

i didn't know the day at the time of writing

i can't believe there's three days left of music. it's like there's a whole glastonbury remaining. and now the huge tent in the next camp has collapsed and it no longer shades me from the morning sun. this means i have to get up an hour earlier. it's annoying, but infinitely better than the previous days gloom.

yesterday. i was supposed to be taking it easy. and i was. until they started passing large bottles of jagermeister through the crowd (large, but not as large as one guys huge fernet branca bottle, that almost couldn't possibly be full of fernet branca). as a technique for filling up the gap between the crowd and the stage it works wonders. and it was total fucking dirty bass stoner rock. at 2pm (breakfast time). this was at camp van damme, with a fully decked sound system. they're pros. when the band finished jolle and snorre took over and it only got crazier. about as crazy as i get is eating the skin off a kiwi. sharp.

back at our camp balloons have happened. prettied up. over run. all ok. i just wanted shade.

then time to explore the actual band area that had only just opened. so far it had been a complete mystery to me. here for so many days and the main area had been kept secret and beyond reach. but newly opened, it was a flood of people. and all of them annoyed that you can't take in beer (any can, bottle or possible ballistic). we downed our beer and got to work.

clutch weren't my thing at all so i left to try and orientate myself. i'm not used to being at a festival and not instinctively knowing where everything is. or most importantly, where mogwai is playing. i started getting depressed at the quantity of people and the massiveness of the stage where radiohead were to play (hence my chances of actually seeing them)/ so i almost bought some food and then sat around until the silly rock had stopped, only to go home and crash anyway.

then radiohead. i gave myself an hour of waiting time, time enough to get a decent space. but things are more complicated at roskilde since nine people died watching pearl jam (i don't blame them. wait, i can't really say that), it's all become a bit labyrinthine. the front of the stage is barricaded off and has queues for entry, so they can control exactly how many people are at the front. the area is cleared out after each performance and there are seperate queues for each band. so it's near impossible to get to the front for two bands in a row. it seems kind of fair. and the queue to see radiohead was already long before the first band had begun. when i arrived the queue had shrunk to nothing and i could simply walk straight in. the layout is weird, seperating the front, back, left and right, and it's paved too (an anti-mud measure that kills the feet). but it's a good system.

as for the gig, it was good enough. nowhere near great. something was missing. and i worry that it's a part of me. i couldn't get lost and i had no gut to wrench. i wanted it to break my heart. it didn't help that the sound was rubbish (quiet) and the crowd was rubbish. you could hear people talking through the songs and too many people were smoking. i got myself standing next to some swedes who knew how to have fun. they annoyed everyone around them but at least they lived it. even if maybe they can't remember it tomorrow. best song was national anthem, who'd have thought that? and biggest let down was ideoteque, which should have been the best. it lacked everything that makes it great. not even street spirit moved me. the end was nice, the whole band standing up and just thom playing the chords from karma police, the whole crowd singing. but at glastonbury it was spontaneous. here it was nothing. and it would have been nice if they'd said something other than "muchos gracias". i think the problem is they need a smaller intimate stage, especially with the new material, but they can never do that again. that's what's lost. they're just too popular. they're just too 'plugged in'.

as i leave the front stage area a guy is being lead out, him bleeding from his chest. blood all over his shirt.

now. listening to cat power in the morning. just magic. the girls drinking rum at 11:15am. me passing out apricots. eating my seeds and dried fruit.

photo: a guy gaffa taped to a poke. he has a can of beer in one hand but he can't move his arms to drink it.

photo: one of the girls cross legged in the middle of camp. surrounded by the falling sun. everything gross and garbage and such a picture.

but why did we have to start talking about free food? now i sound like such a skank. i guess because we managed to score three meal tickets. i'd clocked a guy about to throw away half a pancake and asked him if i could take it. he looked at me funny, sure, but obliged anyway. two women nearby saw and took pity and gave us the vouchers. sure it made me feel a bit guilty, but they were packing a massive supply. it was another magic moment, when the sunlight is just so and the air humms at that perfect pitch. festival specials.

the guys over yonder have found themselves fluorescent jackets and are standing in the road checking everyone's wrist bands. and this guy, he has a pigeon attached to the end of a long pole and he's chasing a van down the road with it.

obviously i've had no sleep. the late night and that horrible camp next door. wait, i've written this already.

it must be saturday

next time a girl offers you eye liner don't turn it down.

yesterday was too much. i'm not even joking. from 8am to 4am, minus the odd few moments of sleep caught during the day. it killed me. but it wasn't even that, it was the bands. they took it all out of me. mogwai. it was like coming an emotional full circle. during the first song i gripped my arm so hard it's still red this morning. death by helicon1. it was good to be back. fuck radiohead. halfway through the second song jolle texts me "i love you man". really there's nothing more to say. the story is etched into my arm.

and i could have left happy after kirsten ketsjer. they were marvelous. the perfect band. beautiful songs, metal spaz, playfullness. a giant fruit crashing around the stage and over the crowd. all levels of cute and deadly. the orchestra before them confused me a little. it was twenty minutes of drawn out noodling for just one minute of awe. then the crowd was treated to pure tone generated noise. but, making up for it was the yoke & yohs, a drum and sax metal combo. it was so metal the saxophonist had sweat and saliva dripping from his beard. it was everything you wish you could be.

we saw one and half songs of mugison and then left. watched some crazy indian music instead. girls dancing through the crowd barefoot and collecting cups for pant money. like pixies. then some finnish grindcore, fun for ten minutes but then boring. i wanted sleep more than metal.

i took a hot shower. it helped a little. i timed it well and didn't have to queue. but sleeping's hard at camp with everyone around. so much going on. especially when the australian is here and people talk english. i can't tune it out.

mogwai. and afterwards i tried to see coco rosie, but the tent was packed and the stage was bathed in UV light making it impossible to see anything. instead i went and got fucked up to some japanese digital noise core. osaka invasion. the crowd went mental. the weirdest selection of people. the topless army boy look, or the oldschool raver. either they were all random or the scene has changed drastically in my absence. then came dj scotch egg with his happy hardcore gameboy music. true party music. where is grilly?

i wandered back to the previous stage and someone was beatboxing. it was still coco rosie. time has become nothing. i spent my food voucher and chilled for a while, appreciating the atmosphere and the vague sounds of the band. the odd thing i was sitting on. the huge empty sky and a million othernesses. i finished eating and fought my way into the tent just as they started playing my favourite song. i was grinning wildly.

after that i need nothing more. but there was everything. shortly it was battles and i had the perfect view, five people from the front and falling into the stage lighting. these fucking green rectangles coming at you and swallowing you whole. like zooming down a tunnel. thank fuck i wasn't tripping. and the band in layers of noise. literally. two band members both playing guitar and keyboard at the same time, on top of their looping guitars. sample loop, repeat. holding two guitars at once. probably the most technically advanced gig i've ever seen. blinding. it's the future. and also the coolest way to soundcheck, looping your guitar so you're free to twidle with the amp.

then finally the almighty motorpsycho. five songs in ninety minutes. and poor me, i kept forgetting i wasn't outside. that's all i have to say on the matter.

for a festival the sound is amazing, but so many people are wearing earplugs. and what's with the guy with his fingers in his ears for the whole mogwai concert? it's really not that loud.

ice - 15kr
pasta - 35kr
wine - 75kr

this is the last day

i'm not good for anything right now. i don't know why i'm even trying to write this. it's not like i'll be able to read it later. my ears are ringing, i can still hear 'my bloody valentine'. i've had no sleep. not enough to undo the damage of the red wine. or the white wine. and it's going to get worse before it gets better.

yesterday i crashed. it was horrible. i woke up from my nap and everyone had moved and taken a different seat. i feel lost and alone and completely inconsolable (you know what i mean). i'd cry but there's nothing left in me. that previous day had left me uncomfortable to the soul.

the morning had been ok. i'd slept well enough. and after that who wouldn't? but it's never going to be enough. i needed to get out, or something, and i just wanted to hang, so i went with some of the girls to see the tin tings. we sat on the incredibly hot floor of the disabled people's platform (one of us was very short) and one of them bought ice, which i couldn't stand to watch. girls with icecream in blazing hot afternoon sun. i caved and bought one too. then played a terrible game of connect4 (i lost). i waited three songs and left (which i said i would) to see the band i actually wanted to see, but who turned out to be a bit rubbish.

i didn't know what to do. i sat around a bit and then went to see 'a kid hereafter and the grinding light'. self-proclaimed smile metal, and completely deserving of the title. dressed in full white and faces full of grinning teeth, laying absolute waste to the crowd. just incredible. all music should be like this.

i went back to the camp to rest, but instead got invited out to smoke some hookah. i was going to turn them down but they were going straight on to efterklang. we sat around smoking as the sky turned grey and the storm clouds rolled in, jet fighters carving the sky up above us. finally it starts to rain, in sparse but fat drops. rain enough for everyone to head into the large tents, making it impossible for us to get in and see the band, or even hear them over the hiphop from the main stage. apparently they'd even stopped the concert to wait for a quiet moment. so no great loss. i want back to the camp and collapsed. after a while too many people drifted back and i couldn't sleep.

at some point jolle turns up with a giant piss bag of white wine. maybe i drank a beer. something woke me up. and then we were off again. we watched some judas priest, which was just horrible. such a huge stage, a big throne, riding in on a harley. every song sounded like 'breaking the law'. we checked out a band who i can't now read the name of, and who i apparently couldn't remember anything about anyway, so they probably sucked or something. and then we went in search of free food. hurray for swedish buttery mash potato. we split up around the giant flame thing, which i can't be bothered to describe, and then went to get killed by 'my bloody valentine', who i can still hear. hurray.

it was a shame to miss 'dillinger escape plan', but 'my bloody valentine' were fantastic. and loud. from where we stood (we changed our minds about going upfront, twice) we could see the DB level go up to 111. i know that doesn't mean much without more data, but all the other concerts were capped at 104. really it was too loud, but it was their criteria for playing (whilst radiohead had insisted on useless bike parks). i can't believe one guy actually fell asleep in the tent. the last twenty minutes were unbearable noise, which you couldn't help creating your own rythmes to. it was unnecessary, but it was what you were there for. and we survived. kind of.

magic crisps appeared. and every now and again i'd look up and there was that bag of wine hanging above me. i'd have to go on tip toes to reach it.

we went west, and thanks to neil young's mammoth three hour slot we got to hear a few of his songs, but none i recognised. we'd about drained jolle's wine bag so i bought a carton of red wine, and for the first time of the festival did it all in danish. i faired well too, answering all her totally unnecessary questions. and i only mention it because the woman gave me a two pence piece back as change, instead of a 20kr coin (i only noticed later). it was just a little too ironic.

anyway, so not only did i miss 'dillinger escape plan', i also missed kid kishore. but nevermind. the next thing i remember is we're back at the pavillion, have met up with the other guys, and are watching 'the liars'. at this point in the festival i can't comprehend the music any longer. i'm saturated. it's just become noise and pictures. flashing lights. crunching and wheeling guitars. i have no idea what's going on. and i find one of those huge inflatable red boxing gloves on the floor, with which i make friends with a small bunch of irish who whisk me off to see the chemical brothers. i looked around the tent and everyone had already left without me, but it turns out they were just sitting down and it was me who abandoned them. but the times were good. the irish people were fun, they kept encouraging me to hit them harder and harder and we had a proper drunken laugh. i found myself starting to talk with an irish twang. and chemical brothers were perfect. we had a spot with space and a good sound, jumping around being stupid. and thankfully i managed to lose the wine.

they finished without playing galvanize (some "brothers gonna work it out" made up for it though) and we went off in search of food. this irish dude was on board, whilst the other two, who it turned out were a couple, started argueing somewhere just further up the road. the area infront of the orange stage was being cleared. people lit up and disappeared as they walked through the spot lights. if only the lights were rotating it'd look like an alien invasion. and passing by so many guys standing in the middle of the field, bend double and waiting for something to come out. but nothing but thick spit and dry wretching.

in the end the couple went their seperate way, off argueing into the campsite. the guy, whose name i can't remember, bought me a mozzarella roll and we continued our search for food, finding nothing but pitta and hummus. he bought a falafel and we sat down next to a danish girl who seemed rather sad about everything, and in a very fifteen year old way, although i'd never have guessed she was that young. confused girl though, she thought denmark was getting too liberal. but the sun was coming up and, as much fun as these people were (it was nice to constantly told that i was a cool guy), i needed to get back to my tent before it was too late.

and that explains my current utter desolation. sitting her trying to keep it together. eating small amounts of everything in the hope that i'll find the thing i need. but all it really takes is someone walking by playing 'take california' and i'm spun back into perfect shape. full of energy and ready to go. all i needed then was something to make me feel pretty, and margaux obliged. i've always thought it weird that girls take make-up to festivals, but i can now understand and i'm very grateful for it. it's not how girls always manage to look better than boys though, that's because they wear bigger sunglasses. the green eyeliner was nice (hey, it matches my eyes), but the mascara was a lot of effort, and the blusher was just too much.

beer - 50kr
food - 35kr

written much later..

i thought i'd written the rest. i could have sworn it. the last day. how it ended. all that beautiful disaster. everytime i sit down to write i can hear the words that have already come out. haven't they? and the thought that i'd written it all down, forgotten it and then lost it, it's enough to make me give up. again. but no.

where was i? i was waiting for julie to arrive. she'd taken a wristband from someone at copenhagen train station and sewn it onto her wrist. she was making her way onto the festival site and i was calling her from random people's phones to plot her progress. i was sitting in camp covered in makeup and wondering if she'd recognise me. not because of the makeup, but because i felt so different. it's what festivals are, some corny shit about losing yourself.

and it worked brilliant. after five days i'm not surprised the security guards can't be bothered to do a thorough check of everyone's wrists. one wrist every five seconds for however many hours a day? they're more worried about people brining in bottles than anything, it seems. and we're in.

i showed julie around the site, trying to impress her with my festival knowledge and instincts. and i think it's a good introduction to what festivals are about. people passed out on the grass in the sun. huge machines that spit fire. dirty toilets. monopolistic beer tents. expensive but amazing food. we got stuck into the swedish mashpotato which i'd sampled for free the other day. it tasted better when it was free, but it was still good.

during this slayer were playing the main stage. i was waiting to hear "angel of death" wafting over on the breeze, but it never happened. we watched some of the set, their ridiculous row of marshalls (36 in total?), but it was kind of boring. as was cat power, i'm sorry to say. again the tent was too packed and her new songs just weren't working for me. we chilled out instead. waited around for anti-flag and an ecstatic emil who'd got them to sign his nofx tshirt.

but times were rapidly coming to an end. i felt fragile but battle hardened. the sun was tiring, and there was little left to do. the last must see of the festival was bob hund, we banded together and found ourselves a good spot at the back of the seperated area infront of the main stage. bob hund was the perfect end to the festival. energetic, fun and good for the soul, which is now nothing but an amalgamation of menacing vibrations seriously in need of mellowing out. with bob hund i can go out with a smile.

now we have options, and this is the decision point. to stay or go. if we stay we're in it for the long haul. there is no sleeping on the last night, there is only danger. the newspaper this morning contained a special survival guide telling you not to sleep in your tent and to make sure that there is someone awake and alert in your camp at all times. the final night sets loose the demons of chaos. it's the climax of nine days of depravity. tents set on fire, huge bonfires, destruction in technicolour. a wild drug-fueled celebration of the worst kind of anarchy. and despite all of the festival's safety measures, the special fences and all the security, there is nothing they can do to stop it. this is the way the festival ends, and deranged is the most suitable word. with a boom.

sounds amazing, doesn't it? stories of crossing the railway bridge and being met by a field on fire. but staying at camp wasn't an option, and nor was carrying around our gear all night. whether my body could take it wasn't even a factor. we decided to hit the road and quit whilst we were ahead. i would have liked to see 'fuck buttons', but did i really?

as we packed the tent away (i was tempted to leave it, since i'd found it there anyway, but there is a donation bin on the way out) the sky grew heavier and darker, and as we finally headed out of the festival grounds it opened up and emptied its sick belly upon us. it gave us everything it had. and there's a strange symmetry here, because apart from a minor drizzle the other day it only rained on the way in and the way out. as if the festival was in the eye of the storm for eight whole beautiful days. having been there, it almost sounds believable.

but it was a good sign, a sign that we'd made the right choice. the rain was ice cold but refreshing. we'd already won, so it was no bother, we were going home. we beat it back with slugs from the rum bottle and rode that bus straight out of there. me, julie and jolle. there was a short wait at the train station but we'd beaten the rush and there were no queues. we even had our own seats, passing the rum bottle backwards and forwards, and i was already beginning to feel nostalgic. all i had to do was stay awake and i'd be ok, falling asleep now and i'd never wake up again. i'd be in finland before consciousness began to creep back from somewhere far behind my eyes.

and then all of a sudden you have concrete and tarmac beneath your feet again. you have a shower and a soft bed and an oven and a television and everything is so quiet it's unbearable. the silence is like the houseparty at 4am or the roadworks at 7am. i just can't relax. it's so quiet nothing feels real. i'm almost tempted to play some digital hardcore in the next room, turn it up and shut the door. but this isn't the way to reintegrate with society. it's just so strange coming back into the city and it being too quiet. all i can hear is 'my bloody valentine' still, and with that i'm done.

were not wasting paper [or grammar]
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