diary [Slottsfjell Festival 2009]


13.07.2009

currently on the night bus. traversing the sea between copenhagen and malmo. denmark and sweden. cold waters. boats drift by in the out of focus distance.

taking stock, what we have left is several bottles of water, a packet of biscuit, and a boiled potato. we already ate the eggs and the sandwiches. julie forgot the juice, but that's ok. the rush was my fault. i also have a cheap hipflask containing the dregs of a 16yr single malt.

all day the sky has been punch you in the face beautiful. but only as we were cycling as fast as we could, sides cramping, stitches, dehydrating, and exhausted before i'd even started, did it burst and slow burn through viscious pinks and bitter golds. these hues of longing. i was alcohol fueled and crazed. fuck it. the whole endeavor was ridiculous and doomed from the start. if i'm not being a little too melodramatic here.

it was 8pm and i'd spent ten minutes trying to solve an unsolvable puzzle. subtle comments, polite requests, and stern suggestions had all failed. to these people time is something that describe the difference between sun and moon. not the difference between catching a bus and missing it. "the band is going on now" means they're going to start setting up. "we're going on now" means half an hour of soundchecking. meanwhile the time we have to play our own set is diminishing. it's approaching zero at sixty seconds a minute.

something about the leaves falling from the trees. sisyphus.

then the band before us demands to play for 55 minutes. here's me fuming and i'm waiting for whoever is in charge to take charge and put their foot down. play now. it's noone's fault that the sound gear was late, but we all do what we can. if you think i'm being an ass then just wait until the last band turns up and are told they can't play.

and so it was 8pm when i finally figured it out. the moment the band before us has finished we jump on stage and set up. before their minimal audience has even finished clapping we're to be in action. i can start playing in two minutes. fuck the soundcheck. the others can join in when they're ready. noise attack. and we keep playing until 9pm, half an hour later than i said i would have to leave to catch my bus. at 9pm sharp julie signals to me and i pack away my stuff. one minute. i jump from the stage straight onto my bike and i'm gone. the sky erupts its applause in bleeding gold and amber.

and that's pretty much how we played it. we warned the soundman. no fucking around. we demonstrate how it's done. we managed to play a song, ostrebanegard, 6/7, forever, reject and 57. the guys should have carried on without me but it didn't feel right. our show kind of collapsed. but like i said, it was doomed to begin with. just as we were going on stage the climate camp organisers announced a general meeting. our crowd was preoccupied discussing their tactics of how to deal with the police. every time they were about to reach a consensus one guy disagreed and they had to start again (who wants to bet he's in that stupid floor is made of lava band?). but at least the sky loved us.

i didn't even get time to say goodbye to people. and now i'm in sweden.

sweden through inverted blinks. a water tower. a carpark. a bridge. the sun rises early. in norway the world is covered in thick low lying fog. as if all the insects and rodents are burning tiny bonfires. it inaccurately reminds me of france.



14.07.2009

oslo. there's breakfast at our destination. lots of cheese. then from about 8am to 11am a sleep deep enough to thoroughly confuse my body. when the alarm goes off i've no idea where i am. i don't even recognise it as an alarm. julie is telling me she can't move her arm and i'm presuming she means to answer the telephone. perhaps we take breakfast again. i'm unsure as to what morning it is, which it's not. food shopping, extra strong brown cheese. we prepare an impressive dinner, moussaka, after which i sleep again. then we drive down to a lake i've never been to before. there's a caravan dominated campsite, ugly buildings i've seen many times from a distance, and a golf course surrounding half of the lake. the rest is conifers. but no messing, jumping straight from the jetty. a life affirming, testicle shrinking swim. this is the reason i come to norway.



15.07.2009

the rain ticks off the morning hours. eight. nine. ten. the trains start up again, shiny new white trains zooming past our bedroom window, no quieter than the old ones and far less aesthetically pleasing. the sun finally breaks and we take the brompton bikes up through the forest and to the lake. clear patches of sky reflecting extra blue in the cool deep waters. it's not as cold as yesterday, despite the showers. the water envelopes and embraces. and once we're out on the shore a family of ducks swim over to investigate. to eat our lunch. then we slide our bikes back down the forest path, the 12" wheels slipping left and right, bouncing over the tiny stones. we pick blueberries. and now i'm sitting in the garden, afternooning. drinking ice coffee. a pack of cards and obscure tree diagrams.



16.07.2009 morning

i met kenneth, katrine and charlotte (enchilada) at oslo bus terminal and we drove together to t√łnsberg. on the way we did one of those annoying food shops where you have to discuss every item that goes into the trolley. we're shopping for six people for six days in the cheapest store in norway and we're debating whether to buy tomatoes (which forget in the end anyway). we don't even buy rice or pasta. no staples or essentials. so now we have to shop in one of the most expensive stores every morning. nevermind, it's all ok.

so i'm making the bed at 2:30am. having spent all night sitting on the veranda. lightning crackling and bursting in the distance. rolling past and around us. away and off beyond the horizon. just a single sharp crack directly above us. the whole scene is beautiful.

with my dinner i'd lined up a beer, a glass of wine, a gin and tonic, and then later a mojito. this is just me setting the scene.

first thing this morning after breakfast we drove out to the sea for a 'morning' dip. swimming amongst the jelly fish. gorgeous water, perhaps a little too salty. but it's hard to relax with all the jelly fish webby tails floating around you.



17.07.2009 morning

i dreamt i saw morrisey live. we were right at the front. then everyone left for another concert apart from maybe eight of us. i was on campus and it was so huge it upset me. i couldn't experience it all. but my apartment was tidy. with strange overtones. undertones. i don't know. it was a just a stupid dream. in a massive city again. and i had to visit someone. i don't know.

we all woke up within one minute of each other. stumbling into the living room all dazed.

what we're here for (primarily) is the slotsfjell festival, on the most picturesque location a festival could hope for (ignoring fuji rock, possible). a narrow tree shaded walkway leads you to the main stage, a bowl where everyone has a perfect view. then another shaded stairway takes you up to the top of the rock. halfway up there's a tiny stage infront of a caravan where three girls (tennis med tonnies) sit on a sofa playing cute and endearing ukulele folk. melodica and DS plink plonk in the shade of a huge tree and behind is the sea. the fjord spreading out all the way to the horizon. massively photogenic, if only they'd have let us bring our cameras in - SLR cameras are not welcome at this festival.

further up the hill are another two stages. we watch some more generic folk. buy beers at 50kr each. i've not been here for ten minutes and i've already spent more money than my entire time at roskilde. we saw two songs of apoptygma berzerk because we could, then walked back down the mountain (too steep to be a hill) along a constructed walkway suspended ten metres in the air like a rollercoaster. at the bottom there's another stage and veto are playing. they have a good song and potential for noise, but they never follow through and the singing annoys me. sorry.



17.07.2009 night

"are you bringing a drink to bed?"
"yes, i'm bringing a drink to bed." i need to make the most of what remains of the smokey 16yr single malt. the last of the bushmills. on ice. in bed.

we were leaving the festival when the others decided to stay in town. they wanted more beer and to hang with friends. i don't blame them after last night when we all collapsed as soon as we got home. gone to bed, fallen asleep in the comfy chair, sitting in contemplative silence. i talked so much crap i began to annoy myself. "i'm having a party and i'm bringing a pair of ducks". the night was dragged out and capped with XO cognag. but tonight i'm already partied out.

the ice jingles in my glass.

i didn't get enough time to write up yesterday earlier. even though we massively fucked around this morning and didn't get to the festival until 'pony the pirate', who we maybe saw one song of before getting distracted, but by what i can't tell you without ruining the plot. and this was supposed to be linear. i fuced it up ages ago.

having said that, our morning swim was perfect. we walked down to the sea, running the last short distance. and now with less jellyfish and no camera to distract me i was straight in. i also cooked breakfast, frying up mushrooms for half an hour and scrambling 13 eggs, which must be some kind of record. everyone said the beans weren't as bad as they'd imagined. and i can tell you now they're amazing with brun ost.

but yesterday. middle of the day. the problem was that we were suddenly stuck for food. even as a meat eater the options here are shit. 50kr for a shitty looking slice of deeppan, or 75kr for a burger. as a vegetarian your options aren't even worth thinking about. crapness at the highest price. so we skulked off into down, trying a few places that we all also too expensive or closed. we finally settled for pizza and after about ten minutes had decided on the vegetarian mega pizza. things always get exponentially complicated with the size of your group, but the pizza turned out great anyway. cut into squares and everyone was full.

walking back through town we picked up some cheaper beers and met some friends in a friends friends backyard, which is conveniently located at the bottom of the festival. it's perfect for drinking beers, storing food, and generally hanging out. drifting down from the top of the hill we could hear gojira, so it must have been 8pm. it's worth repeating that it's illegal to drink alcohol in the street in norway, and that no food or drink of any kind is being allowed into the festival site.

so back up the mountain. past the 'library', with its box of free comics. we watch motoropsycho and i was almost able to walk right up to the front of the stage. i'm very much enjoying the small festival idea, especially in norway where they can afford to still bring in the big bands. there's less people watching the band as there would be at a normal one of their concerts. it must be true for most of bands here (reminds of the climate camp, although i'd rather it didn't). but motorpsycho are great. i recognise maybe two songs. the sunlight dances of his machineheads. seagulls swoop.

after the gig the girls start collecting plastic cups, and in a very short space of time we've collected a sizeable tower. we're all carrying about 60 cups. but when we finally get to the depot we discover that it closed at 8pm. which is probably why we were able to collect so many, no one else was bothering. and right there is a massive pile of othere people's cups, discarded with the trash. it takes us half an hour to formulate a plan. we can't take the cups out, and we definitely can't bring them back in. so we find a black bin bag and haul all the cups back up the hill, stash them in a large bush. the site is cleared every night, but if we're lucky they'll be missed and we can collect them in the morning.

in the crazy process we missed peachcake. the end of their set looked brilliant, mad light and a small appreciative bouncy crowd. we also missed the last bus, but a taxi was 'only' 270kr, which isn't bad split six ways. especially when the night bus is 70kr each.

we heard a few songs by fjorden baby, who sounded like the perfect festival and i must remember to check them out sometime.

now i might go and say hellow to the people who just came back from partying.

shit it's 3am. i never realised. it never gets truly dark. the post-sunset light blue on the horizon just rolls around from west to east.

fuck it. where was i? this morning and we're walking back up to see frontier ruckus, a good looking back from ann arbor. they're the best bearded band at the festival. we also saw ukulele compagniet at the non-billed trailer/sofa stage. two guys playing ukulele pop covers, hip hop, reggae and rock. they made my cheeks ache from smiling. lots of smiling today. apart from the girl in the "free hugs" tshirt who looked like she was about to cry.

65daysofstatic. no one at this festival was ready for them. the crowd was minimal and the sound was massive. it was what the fuck all round. i was hoping to see them around later so i could point out that mogwai probably couldn't have pulled a bigger crowd at this tiny norwegian festival. but probably they pulled a runner. they looked absolutely busted on stage. like they'd all been drunk the previous day and fallen asleep in th sun. hungover with heatstroke. noisy as fuck and relentless though.

we repeat this, going up and going down the hill.

watched some soulfly which was enjoyable. chaos AD and angel of death. singing about anarcho primitivism. then saw some of the streets. for no reason. because i could. saw some of first aid kit, who were just a little too cooky. ate some free food (pancakes, too many pancakes. people in norway waste less than at roskilde, but there's also no skanking competition). watch roots manuva, but the bass was too loud and he was boring. there's been a lot of too much bass acutally. so much it ruins the sound. caught a glimpse of skambankt, whatever. then waited for captain credible, who i'd never heard of but had a great review. he didn't disappoint, with his crazy homemade instruments and fucked up sounds. ten years ago alec empire did this and everyone stood at the back of the room or left. now some guy acts like an idiot, talks in a funny voice, plays on top of a mountain, and the kids love it and go fucking crazy. although, it looks more like they're acting out the music than dancing to it. holding up their hands to make heart signs with their fingers, but really they just look like vaginas.

then we escaped with good time to spare. fuck seeing turboneger. their fans all look like assholes anyway. and that gets me back to the steamroom. and i can go to sleep.



18.07.2009 morning

i might eat a tine of cold beans for breakfast just to make this feel like a proper festival. but the rain has come. at least that's something. thin streaks of grey scratching away at the beautiful day we had planned. along with food, drink, and cameras, you're also not allowed to take umbrellas into the festival site. it'd be like a high security prison (a very expensive one) if only the girls weren't too shy to do their job.

luckily kenneth has supplies. we have rain trousers for those that want them and wellies for me. julie puts plastic bags over her feet. and then we're ready.

we go up in the tower twice. finally. and suddenly the foreground becomes the middle ground and the whole mountain flattens down. the view isn't any better, it couldn't be improved much anyway, but it's cool with the telescope.



19.07.2009 noon

and that's the only time i've enjoyed the rain at a festival. up the top of a mountain, like glastonbury tor, a constant downpour and a slight wind. neither hot nor cold.

i don't understand the norwegian obsession with country, but i enjoyed it enough. the nice small stage with all bluegrass, too quiet trying to fight with the festival noise. quiet women with quiet instruments being drowned out by soundchecks. 'she said destroy' were the surprise of the day. massive dwarf viking metal, bare chested singer with red face and angry beard swinging his mic into the wind, whipping the stage smoke up into thick circles. screaming at the fog as it spiraled around him. like some kind of nordic battle scene. strobes and blood red. i can forgive them for ripping off ephel duath, they do it with such panache. the singer started the set in a waistcoat, and now he's drinking from a cocktail glass.

julie sat through all of that so it was only fair i went to see some african music with her. the ground around the main stage is getting progressively muddier. and it's weird seeing a band like this in the rain. them all smiles and booty shakes, in matching orange outfits. their synchronised dancing side to side and all the rain made me feel seasick.

we ate dinner in that backyard. before breakfast i'd cooked up a huge curry for everyone, carried here in several large tupperware containers. we were shortly joined by a hungry kenneth and alex. started on the wine, and drank the perfect amount before bob hund. dancing in the rain, such a happy band, as good in miserable weather as in the glorious roskilde evening sun.

we bough some cheap beer tickets off people who were leaving and had them left over. that was the start of the end.

on top of the hill ash were already playing to a wet and getting wetter crowd. up here there is no escaping the wind and rain. and something with this scene is wrong. it's 2009 and i'm watching ash, the original lineup. oh yeah. that was magic. but there was no girl from mars. they must have played it first.

since the festival was now over they let us escape down the road the winds up the other side of the mountain (hill? mountain? whatever), rather than fighting our way down the scaffold path and cutting through the large crowd for the kaiser chiefs, something i'd otherwise have hated.

we collected the wine box, and all the junk we'd left at the backyard, stopped briefly at a shop, although i can't remember why. only that i was being rude in norwegian. then we headed for the bus stop. it was getting late but it was still light out. once on the bus kenneth changed into his full body rain outfit. we drink some wine, not so stealthily on the back seat. drink it very fast. we're all very wet. then in a rush we jump of the bus to visit the garage where someone we know works. we need smash. we buy one back and accidentaly carry another out of the shop in plain sight (confusion over who was buying which bag?). the guy even drove us home, us munching smash in his back seat.

at home they're having a ncie quiet game of trivial pursuit which we ruin with no style at all. we were beyond drunk. taking photos, trying to answer questions. katrine playing very loud music. suddenly julie jumps at me and the whole room rotates 90 degrees around me. and no one helped me get up. i was gust struggling to stay concious enough to drink water enough to sobre up enough to go to bed. a riotus four hours.



20.07.2009 evening

no it's afternoon. endless afternoon in norway. forget it. i need to make garlic butter mushrooms and wrap each one in foil

??? 20.07.2009 late night



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