Three festivals every week for a year.
MARK GRAHAMpacks it in at the Picnic
TO PARAPHRASE Jarvis Cocker, I seem to have left an important part of my brain somewhere in a field in Co Laois. Being at Electric Picnic was like trying to live through one of those multiple-ending fantasy novels, where you can pick the path the hero takes, winding towards a fantastical finale.
Should you have that quarter bottle of Buckfast for breakfast in Trenchtown to ease your way into the day? Maybe you should head up to Natasha’s for a healthy brunch and skip down to Mindfield with a wheatgrass smoothie to cast an ear at John Banville being fawned over by Joe Duffy. There’s a gospel choir over here, there’s a SM freak in rubber over there and a young fella trying to eat a Kellog’s Nutrigrain through his ear telling you about last night’s conquests. There are as many paths through Electric Picnic as there are bachelor farmers making their way to Lisdoonvarna as you read.
Restaurateurs gushed about the Theatre of Food, buzzers suggested avoiding the blue pills, a barrister brandished a super soaker filled with Buckfast and a respectable business lady threw seaweed at a midget down at the Salty Dog stage at 5am. There was something here for everyone.
Even though the word “boutique” is still bandied about, there were a couple of scumbags knocking about the place, just to add colour like.
I was down in the woods at all hours of the morning when a big Eastern European lad on crutches hopped up to me and through our common complaint we started chewing the fat. “How d’it happen?” I asked. “Two guys held me down and a third guy broke my leg in three places with a hammer”. “Sweet Jaysus! Why did they do that?”. “I stab one of them with screwdriver”. Of course I had to ask what any reasonable person would ask in that situation. It was a Phillips-head.
A SALINE LESSON
A group of girls had the misfortune to make their home beside some boisterous buachaillí who were determined to show how true to life Ross O’Carroll Kelly’s characters can be, even in festivaling twentysomethings. The girls had some kids in tow and asked the lads a few times to keep the noise down after 4am. The Boyos were quite nasty in return.
Had this been Oxegen, shouting, scrawbing and scuffles might have ensued, but this was a much more refined affair. The girls waited until the coast was clear and proceeded to mix urine with all the lads’ Captain Morgan and mixers. Spicy! They then lay back to enjoy their Fried Green Tomatoes moment. Hell hath no fury, dude. A saline, salient lesson; sure it never did Madonna or Gandhi any harm.
Steven Pinker put forward the theory that music is merely cheescake for the mind. If there’s any truth in this, it could be argued that while The Cure were serving up a beloved, tried and trusted recipe (Fun Bobby cutting a figure somewhere between John Wayne Gacy and Jo Brand), the portion may have been too big, leaving even the most ardent Cureheads a little bloated. But there was plenty to get your teeth into. Tastiest serving of the weekend for me was Squarepusher who was whisking up choons and visuals with Blumenthal-like brilliance. It was stunning. Elbow, The Roots, Patti Smith, Crystal Castles and Max Romeo all dealt out a fine slice too. Monday night felt like there’d been a death in the family and I was the corpse.
So that’s it, I’m done. Three festivals every week for a whole year. Finito! Electric Picnic was the perfect way to finish my quest, going out with a bang and a bit.
No three festivals for me this weekend. Limiting myself to two instead. Bog Snorkelling and Blues in Monaghan. Did you think I’d be able to stop? Talk to you next week.
Safe travels, don’t die.