Festival Fit: Let’s do the Blitzkrieg Bop

Cat Laughs, Forbidden Fruit, Bloom, Dublin Kite Festival and Nazis in Wexico

Do you know what the German for rose is? It's rose. Not half as interesting a Friday Fact as talkie-walkie being the French translation of "walkie-talkie" (a linguistic quirk used effectively by Air on their 2004 album title).

Similar to yourselves, I didn’t feel a deep need to know about roses in Deutsch or that Bougainvillea is a handle used in both Anglo and Germano greenhouses. Hibiscus, however, does change tag if grown by the banks of the Rhine; switch the C with a K.

Nobody needs this bilingual gardening glossary, but if you're unlucky enough to get latched onto by a German gardening groupie at Bloom, you'll end up listening to more shite than Titchmarsh managed to shift from the Augean stables with a JCB. Luckily I lost der Mulchmeister when he got groped by a marauding group of lady gardeners from Dalkey who were out of their bins on prosecco and blue cheese. Oxegen could be a sight safer yo.

Bobby Gillespie and Primal Scream might be some of the last real rock'n'rollers left standing, jefes of hedonism, not the types I'd expect to be in on what seemed like a plot to have my festival directed by Augustus Gloop. Halfway through their Sunday night set at Forbidden Fruit though, they tore into Swastika Eyes. Subliminal signals aside, the shift put in by the swaggering Scots felt a little flat. I've a Ronnie Whelan it had something to do with them following Chic, who spritzed a healthy shot of WD40 onto the funk of the assembled festival folk. The consensus was that Nile & co were a highlight of the two-day session in Kilmainham. Even without the Daft Punks, Mr Rodgers has a handle on der Sommers Zeitgeist.

Ding Dong Denny O'Reilly threw up a different kind of nationalism in the comedy tent at Forbidden Fruit when he lashed out The Craic We Had the Day We Died for Ireland. It would have brought a tear to The Savage Eye had Dave not been down at Chic too.


Comedy HQ last weekend was in Kilkenny and, however tough times might be, tickets were flying out the gap with 10 shows selling out before the first knock knock was tapped out.

Homegrown comedians were most in demand, with Dylan Moran's gig proving to be the hottest ticket. German grump Gunther Grun grumbled "pixie-headed fucks" at us as himself, Colm O'Regan, Neil Delamere and Dom Irerra indulged in a spot of Have I Got News for You, except this version was based on local papers and avoided being funny. Thankfully David O'Doherty saved the night and provided the best song of the weekend: I Know a Man Who Had a Wank on a Bike. Gripping stuff.

The wholesome, good-natured and free family fun day at Dublin Kite Festival offered an oasis from the Saxon string running through my festival weekend, but it was short- lived. A canvas version of the Red Baron's biplane, complete with Iron Cross, took to the skies and I beat a hurried retreat from Bull Island's beaches.

No amount of coded communiqués could have prepared me for the cohort that lay in ambush at Duncannon Fort's Military Re-enactment Weekend. Just like de Gaulle, I knew there'd be Nazis, but just not so many! SS men of every shape and size buzzed round the place, some speaking German, which felt close to crossing the borderline of historical theatre. Seeing the swastika flying in Wexford is a unique festival experience, one that would make even Bobby Gillespie nod with debauched deference. There were combatants from every era, but the German contingent had the biggest numbers and best-cut uniforms.

I don’t mean to do the dachshund on the Deutsch divination, but analysing a mental bank holiday weekend, it does seem germane.

Safe travels, don’t die.