Sunday, 20th August.
Here's to old punks
After a shockin' night's sleep, the fools that "run" the
hotel managed to forget to give me a wake-up call. The only
breakfast on offer was the full English breakfast, which I couldn't
possibly stomach, so I ended up dining on toast.
Big Mark and Rocco were going to sleep the night in Big Mark's car, but
when I got there the car was empty. I rang Big Mark on his mobile,
waking him up. He had crashed at Mark's place, and he said that
Rocco was there somewhere. A few minutes they emerged, looking
The drive south was simple until Rocco attempted to navigate us
back to Westminster. Don't ask me how he managed this, but he
directed us back onto the motorway, heading north! I couldn't
believe what was happening. We turned around at a services stop,
and successfully exited the motorway. Second time lucky, eh?
Then we got completely lost. I don't remember all the suburbs we
went through, but I was sure that we were heading in the wrong
direction most of the time. We ended up in Shaftesbury Avenue, and
I said that they could drop me at the end of the street and I'd
get on the tube at Picadilly Circus. The driver and navigator
didn't know that we were in Shaftesbury Ave, let alone near
Picadilly Circus! No-one is allowed to complain about my
navigating ever again!
I rushed home, had a shower, got changed, repacked my bag and
headed off for Liverpool Street Station. For I was travelling to
Chelmsford, Essex, by train.
Now why on earth would a nice boy like me want to go to Chelmsford?
Chelmsford was the venue for the V2000 music festival. Charmari was
there with a friend and I was going to meet up with them.
I rang Charmari when I arrived at the venue. I could only just
hear her over the din of the band coming onto the main stage.
I went to the spot where I thought she said she was, but couldn't
see her. I rang her again, and she said something about a fat
man wearing an orange shirt. I searched around, and after a few
minutes found this gigantic bloke wearing a bright orange t-shirt
and bright orange cap. But Charmari was nowhere to be found.
So I gave up and wandered off to see what else I could find.
There were loads of food stalls, dirnks stalls, and shitty
merchandising. Masses of people were queueing up for Budweiser
beer. As the old joke goes, "You know what they say about American
beer...it's like making love in a canoe!"
I was ambling along when I saw Charmari, with her friend who
was wearing a bright orange shirt. "No no no! I didn't say a fat
man with an orange shirt, I said the person I'm with is wearing an
orange shirt!" Whatever!
We cruised around a bit, then wandered over to the main stage
where The Brand New Heavies were cranking it up. We sat with a
bunch of water pistol toting South Africans who provided free
entertainment for everyone within a 10m radius. After that we all
went our separate ways to watch bands on different stages.
First I saw the Dandy Warhols played a laid-back set. A tad
too laid back for the crowd. After the Dandies was Feeder,
a band whose songs I knew but the titles of which were instantly
forgettable. But they rocked, which is important.
Then the highlight of the weekend: Joe Strummer and the Mascaleros!
The crowd consisted of me and a truckload of old punks who knew the
words to every single song. Magic. All these old punks in the
moshpit throttling each other - it doesn't get better than that!
He played heaps of Clash stuff, and rocked harder than anyone else.
After Joe Strummer nothing could really measure up, least of all
Paul Weller. He didn't play any Style Council tunes.
Controversy surrounded his exit from the stage. The stage manager
kicked him off just as Noel Gallagher made a cameo appearance.
Maybe we could've done without the extended drum solo.
Finally, I worked my way down to the front for Richard Ashcroft's
set. For the previous acts everyone down the front was getting
drenched and pelted with water, beer and missiles thrown from further
back in the crowd. But by the time Richard Ashcroft came on stage
the monkeys had run out of ammunition, and all I had to contend
with was a tall guy who stood in front of me and a drunk guy whose
arms and legs flailed around in a most disconcerting manner.
Ashcroft played all the Verve songs you'd expect, and some of
his new material. Crowd went off.
"Not bad for a skinny lad from Wigan!"