So now to Saturday - curated by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. On this day people got really into saying “yeah, yeah, yeah” at each other. It wasn’t even funny if you were there.
I spent much of the afternoon with some people from ILX. The theory was advanced that I Love Comics has the best rofflers, and I was fascinated by exposition of the recent nonsensical developments in the DC Universe. Superman punching through the barriers between separate parallel worlds was a particular favourite. There was something else about some guy who had this machine with giant hands with which he was going to separate the universe out into separate sub-universes and then push them back together in a slightly different way. Hearing all this I did find myself wondering why certain members of this APA are still wasting their time with us when clearly they have what it takes to become DC’s ideas person.
One of the fellows from ILX also regaled us with an account of a video game he had played in Japan. Called Booga Booga Rampage, it provides you with a giant arse that you spank with a special hand. Japanese letters then appeared on the screen, but he wasn’t sure what they meant. I’m trying to think of some way that Booga Booga Rampage could become the focus of the next DC Universe crossover. Maybe there could be… OK, let’s leave it there, shall we?
I did not spend all day with these good folk and eventually left The Camber Castle to go and see some music. My notes for this time are a bit thin, so you may find yourself doubting I was actually there at all. First up seem to have been Imaginary Folk. I think they were folky improvisers or something. My memory is a bit vague.
I do remember seeing Services. They were one of those he-sings-he-doesn’t synthesiser bands. I was fond of the guy a who played the keyboards – smartly dresses in a short-sleeved shirt and tie, sporting a nice moustache, and taking occasional sips from a mug of tea, he looked for all the world like a computer programmer in the 1970s. The music he made was pretty enjoyable too. Sadly, the other guy did not have a very good singing voice but nevertheless was so completely full of himself that in certain rough bars his type end up face down in a dustbin at the end of the night.
I think I left Services early and may well have nipped upstairs to see Hundred Eyes. My notes are unclear and nothing in the programme jogs my memory, so my attendance remains apocryphal. I did see Celebration. They were another somewhat arty New York band. The programme goes a bit overboard in describing them, but I reckoned they were trying to do a kind of knowing art-pop thing, with the Celebration lady presenting herself as some kind of full-on pop strumpet. I remember thinking they were pretty good but maybe took themselves a bit seriously.
At this point we broke for Dr Who and pizza. It was part one of the Cybermen episode. Work Hard Play Hard! I liked how sulky Mickey’s character has become at only being a comedic minor character, and it was nice generally to see the Cybermen being presented as scarily implacable (and not as rubbishly vulnerable as in the later period of old Dr Who).
Watching Dr Who meant that we missed some of the music, but we made it back in time to catch a bit of Oneida. As I arrived, the guy from Oneida announced “Thanks – we hope you enjoyed that song, which was written by Oneida. And now we are going to play another song – by Oneida”. This joke never stopped being funny, it’s the way he tells them. Oneida play a kind of wiggly stoner rock (featuring lots of songs by Oneida), with a nice line of deadpan in-between song patter. There was, fortunately, a lack of people standing around with their arms folded having a great time, but one guy did look at me funny when I shouted “Stooges!”.
After that I saw some of TV On The Radio. My notes suggest they were “boring”. So I went downstairs and caught the trail end of Liars, who were “shite”. Not just ordinary shite, mind, but the kind of tunelessly boring shite you get when talentless bimbos go avant garde.
No worries, there were still the amusements to loaf around in until it was time to catch the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. They have proper star quality and the kind of tunes that sound right played out of a big sound system to the crowded upstairs room at Pontins. We had been expecting young Chocolate Socialist to explode during their set, yet he seemed surprisingly restrained. I may however have become rather excited.
I’ve been hearing certain anti-YYY comments recently, from people claiming not to really see the point of them or not understanding why anyone would see them as being that ground-breaking. Now, anyone can not see the point of a good band, and a long spell in a re-education camp is usually of some help here, but the latter point is more interesting. I’m not convinced that it is always the job of bands to always be breaking new ground and pushing back the sonic frontiers, and I would never criticise any musicians for failing to do so. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs may indeed not be exploring new continents of sound, but they do what they do exceptionally well, playing to their musical strengths in a manner worthy of great praise. Few other bands have so successfully married strikingly charismatic vocals to such suavely persuasive music. I contend that the Yeah Yeah Yeahs delivered one of the very greatest performances the festival has yet seen.
Anyway, while I am on the subject of these un-named people who go on about how important musical development is, it was interesting to note how taken they were by the kind of derivative retro nonsense served up the following night by Devendra Banhart (of whom, unfortunately, more later).
There was a lot of going from one chalet to another after the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Eventually we ended up in the one that Donal and Emma were sharing with their charming friends Rachel and Liz. We played frisbee for a bit, badly, joined by a couple of random punters including some dude who was actually good at it. Eventually we repaired to the chalet and danced to Scooter, which led to an attack by rave zombies. In an unusual turn-up for the books, I found myself back in the Queen Vic (horrible Camber Sands “pub”), dancing away to whatever tunes the DJ was playing to us. This eventually finished, leaving me loafing around the playground while the sun came up. Dude. So I went for a walk around the perimeter and followed a rabbit home, being menaced by large dog on the way. Back in the chalet, my chalet mates were all asleep.
Pictures from Chocolate Socialist's picture collection... the broadband fairy has still not reached Carwash Mansions.