HEY SHOLAY

HOLLAND SEPT 2011 pt. V -  ITS NOT DARK YET, BUT IT’S GETTING THERE…
It was a moment of pure cinematic serendipity, a night drifting away so seamlessly that each person present might never have felt the need to return back to their tents, hotels and other overnight establishments. Some might call it divine intervention, others the handiwork of the devil, the truth being that we simply neglected to check the weather reports for that night. But whatever the influence, it was the effects which we felt. 
With an ominous crack the thunder rolled in across the seas, a few singular drops of rain fell, and as we all stood open palmed, staring aimlessly upwards in unison, the downpour arrived in tremendous style. Without warning or delay the rains fell, large heavy drops bombarding the masses who scattered desperately towards the narrow pathway to escape the exposed terrain of the beach. Perhaps the drama has been cranked in my mind but to me it felt like the first night scene in Jurassic Park, at any moment i expected to see a man on a toilet being devoured whole by a T-Rex. As we came over the brow of the hill towards the makeshift civilisation of tents and temporary structures the first bolt of lightning struck, and for a split-second there we all stood, our drenched clothes hanging off us, shoes caked in wet sand and it was bright as day. This particular split-second did have another half however, and the light continued to flood our senses until it became too bright, until it was all that there was, total whiteness, the purest sight. Then the light was gone, back to the dim glow of infrequent streetlamps whose area of coverage did not overlap, leaving us to drop in and out of intermittent circles of dull yellow directly below them. As the saturated herd neared the foot of the hill it began to disperse into two categories, those who knew where they were going and those who didn’t. We were the latter. Taking temporary respite under the cover of the De Bolde backstage area we now realised the prospect of what lay ahead of us, navigating through the darkness and woodlands back to our hotel. 
The rain had stopped but that did not spare us, wet and exposed to the elements we began along the pathway. After a brief stint along an incorrect route we soon found our bearings and were at least able to head in what we unanimously sort-of-thought was pretty much the right direction. So then we walked, and we walked, and we walked. The edge of each side of the road was marked with the towering trees belonging to the masses of forest and wilderness sprawling beyond. The braver of us dared look out into the forests for a brief moment, but there was nothing human eyes could see. The darkness was too thick, if anyone or anything was in there, they are either completely without sight, or so attuned to the darkness they have been watching us all the way. Our thought wandered onto the subject of ‘what ifs’. What if there was something in there? A wolf? A bear? It’s hard to know how to carry yourself when in this mindset. On one hand you want to stay quiet, hope you don’t attract attention. On the other, nervous conversation drowns out the noises you keep hearing, the distinct sounds that perhaps a wolf or a murderer would make. Not wanting to contradict our pre-historic urges to remain calm and macho in moments of adversity, we also had to keep finding legitimate reasons to need to speak to whoever was at the centre of our walking line, forcing us to abandon our position at the edge. This bout of underpants-ruining mind games went on for the best part of 45 minutes before we noticed our hotel name on the bus stops, whose route we followed until houses and safety were once again the constructs of our surroundings.
LW

HOLLAND SEPT 2011 pt. V -  ITS NOT DARK YET, BUT IT’S GETTING THERE…

It was a moment of pure cinematic serendipity, a night drifting away so seamlessly that each person present might never have felt the need to return back to their tents, hotels and other overnight establishments. Some might call it divine intervention, others the handiwork of the devil, the truth being that we simply neglected to check the weather reports for that night. But whatever the influence, it was the effects which we felt. 

With an ominous crack the thunder rolled in across the seas, a few singular drops of rain fell, and as we all stood open palmed, staring aimlessly upwards in unison, the downpour arrived in tremendous style. Without warning or delay the rains fell, large heavy drops bombarding the masses who scattered desperately towards the narrow pathway to escape the exposed terrain of the beach. Perhaps the drama has been cranked in my mind but to me it felt like the first night scene in Jurassic Park, at any moment i expected to see a man on a toilet being devoured whole by a T-Rex. As we came over the brow of the hill towards the makeshift civilisation of tents and temporary structures the first bolt of lightning struck, and for a split-second there we all stood, our drenched clothes hanging off us, shoes caked in wet sand and it was bright as day. This particular split-second did have another half however, and the light continued to flood our senses until it became too bright, until it was all that there was, total whiteness, the purest sight. Then the light was gone, back to the dim glow of infrequent streetlamps whose area of coverage did not overlap, leaving us to drop in and out of intermittent circles of dull yellow directly below them. As the saturated herd neared the foot of the hill it began to disperse into two categories, those who knew where they were going and those who didn’t. We were the latter. Taking temporary respite under the cover of the De Bolde backstage area we now realised the prospect of what lay ahead of us, navigating through the darkness and woodlands back to our hotel. 

The rain had stopped but that did not spare us, wet and exposed to the elements we began along the pathway. After a brief stint along an incorrect route we soon found our bearings and were at least able to head in what we unanimously sort-of-thought was pretty much the right direction. So then we walked, and we walked, and we walked. The edge of each side of the road was marked with the towering trees belonging to the masses of forest and wilderness sprawling beyond. The braver of us dared look out into the forests for a brief moment, but there was nothing human eyes could see. The darkness was too thick, if anyone or anything was in there, they are either completely without sight, or so attuned to the darkness they have been watching us all the way. Our thought wandered onto the subject of ‘what ifs’. What if there was something in there? A wolf? A bear? It’s hard to know how to carry yourself when in this mindset. On one hand you want to stay quiet, hope you don’t attract attention. On the other, nervous conversation drowns out the noises you keep hearing, the distinct sounds that perhaps a wolf or a murderer would make. Not wanting to contradict our pre-historic urges to remain calm and macho in moments of adversity, we also had to keep finding legitimate reasons to need to speak to whoever was at the centre of our walking line, forcing us to abandon our position at the edge. This bout of underpants-ruining mind games went on for the best part of 45 minutes before we noticed our hotel name on the bus stops, whose route we followed until houses and safety were once again the constructs of our surroundings.

LW

HOLLAND SEPT 2011 pt. IV - THE CALM BEFORE THE STORM
So here it is, the centrepiece of our most eloquent banquet, the diamond set within the most lavish ring, the first edition of Moby Dick in a library full to bursting with modern classics, the priceless Picasso in a museum of masterpieces, the… well you get the point. The gig itself is something special, yet the spectacular nature of every other aspect of this trip makes the show feel like a piece to a bigger puzzle rather than the defining moment it so often embodies in more underwhelming circumstances. Before we know it we are exiting the stage in triumphant fashion, applause ensues, a handful of eager onlookers approach for merchandise and general kudos, and then we humbly retreat back into our roles as patrons of the festival, our brief stint as the focal point completed and relinquished.
Here i feel i must digress from the narrative slightly to discuss a phenomena that was experienced throughout the weekend for the first time, particularly for the days following our performance. Being recognised. We have all been approached following a show as it is quite easy to spot the heavily sweating gentleman who was on stage in front of you only moments earlier, though it is quite unusual for us to be recognised hours and days later in multiple settings with no excessively overt signs of us being a band, which is no mean feat giving our regular press photos often hide our faces in some way. At this point i must point out that should you be imagining the opening scenes to “A Hard Days Night” you are gravely mistaken. Think more like you are shopping in Tesco and are wearing a plain white shirt and some well pressed black trousers, you have finished work less than ten minutes earlier and decided to pop in on your way home as your bus isn’t for another 20 minutes and although there is another bus you can catch you know that you don’t have any good food in the house, plus the other bus stops near the local shops and walking past there these days would mean walking past a group of young people, and although they aren’t going to do anything its just awkward trying not to make eye contact incase they engage in a bit of name calling or maybe throw yoghurt on you? So anyway, you are in Tesco and an old lady sees you in your smart clothes, she ambles over, shoulders hunched, head slightly tilted upwards, her gaze darting between yourself and the jar of bland pasta sauce she is thrusting in your direction, you double take at her, glance behind you and realise you are all alone. Just you and Grandma. She inquires as to the price of the sauce. No problem. Question answered without highlighting her error in assuming you are an employee of the supermarket, feelings spared, no harm done. But wait, in she swoops again, this time asking if you could could see if there are any more in the back. You freeze. A moment passes and the silence is only broken momentarily by you stumbling for words. Her diminished eyesight thankfully spares her from the sight of the beads of sweat tumbling down your forehead. The fallacy is exposed as you capitulate from within, you come clean, admit your deception and shatter her entire belief in her own ability to recognise a person for what they are. 
Tragic isn’t it? The essence of what i intended to express here might have been slightly lost somewhere along the way, so i will rephrase. My personal belief is that in any instance where we were recognised, i would attribute it to our appearance as a group of five 20-something males dressed in band-like attire, speaking English at a Dutch festival, and despite this being flattering, lets not get carried away!
Whilst i was distracting you with this unnecessary trip down ‘we aren’t famous yet’ lane, several hours have passed. The sights, smells, textures and tastes of the festival have been sampled and we are now stood atop a hill. Behind us, looking left to right, lay a series of tents scattered lightly over the fields where the majority of the festival-goers call home for the weekend. Beside this stands the De Bolde stage where we had played earlier that day, and beyond there was a darkened hallway made of trees and parked bicycles leading to the Main Arena of the festival. Shadows fell over any remaining sights to be seen behind us, and in front was yet more darkness. We had stood in this exact spot several hours earlier, looking out into the sea, beyond a golden beach in the searing heat. It was difficult to imagine this was all still there, just invisible. We headed down onto the beach, walking out beyond the point where the tide had settled during the day, each footstep sinking a little further into the wet sand. Along the beach were small campfires every few hundred yards, each with its own captive audience and set of folk songs to please those gathered. Long into the small hours we sat with hundreds of other people whose faces were only clear should they get close enough to want to see yours, and everyone was so calm, relaxed and peaceful. The wind held no chill and there seemed no reason to ever leave. This was of course until the storm came.
LW

HOLLAND SEPT 2011 pt. IV - THE CALM BEFORE THE STORM

So here it is, the centrepiece of our most eloquent banquet, the diamond set within the most lavish ring, the first edition of Moby Dick in a library full to bursting with modern classics, the priceless Picasso in a museum of masterpieces, the… well you get the point. The gig itself is something special, yet the spectacular nature of every other aspect of this trip makes the show feel like a piece to a bigger puzzle rather than the defining moment it so often embodies in more underwhelming circumstances. Before we know it we are exiting the stage in triumphant fashion, applause ensues, a handful of eager onlookers approach for merchandise and general kudos, and then we humbly retreat back into our roles as patrons of the festival, our brief stint as the focal point completed and relinquished.

Here i feel i must digress from the narrative slightly to discuss a phenomena that was experienced throughout the weekend for the first time, particularly for the days following our performance. Being recognised. We have all been approached following a show as it is quite easy to spot the heavily sweating gentleman who was on stage in front of you only moments earlier, though it is quite unusual for us to be recognised hours and days later in multiple settings with no excessively overt signs of us being a band, which is no mean feat giving our regular press photos often hide our faces in some way. At this point i must point out that should you be imagining the opening scenes to “A Hard Days Night” you are gravely mistaken. Think more like you are shopping in Tesco and are wearing a plain white shirt and some well pressed black trousers, you have finished work less than ten minutes earlier and decided to pop in on your way home as your bus isn’t for another 20 minutes and although there is another bus you can catch you know that you don’t have any good food in the house, plus the other bus stops near the local shops and walking past there these days would mean walking past a group of young people, and although they aren’t going to do anything its just awkward trying not to make eye contact incase they engage in a bit of name calling or maybe throw yoghurt on you? So anyway, you are in Tesco and an old lady sees you in your smart clothes, she ambles over, shoulders hunched, head slightly tilted upwards, her gaze darting between yourself and the jar of bland pasta sauce she is thrusting in your direction, you double take at her, glance behind you and realise you are all alone. Just you and Grandma. She inquires as to the price of the sauce. No problem. Question answered without highlighting her error in assuming you are an employee of the supermarket, feelings spared, no harm done. But wait, in she swoops again, this time asking if you could could see if there are any more in the back. You freeze. A moment passes and the silence is only broken momentarily by you stumbling for words. Her diminished eyesight thankfully spares her from the sight of the beads of sweat tumbling down your forehead. The fallacy is exposed as you capitulate from within, you come clean, admit your deception and shatter her entire belief in her own ability to recognise a person for what they are. 

Tragic isn’t it? The essence of what i intended to express here might have been slightly lost somewhere along the way, so i will rephrase. My personal belief is that in any instance where we were recognised, i would attribute it to our appearance as a group of five 20-something males dressed in band-like attire, speaking English at a Dutch festival, and despite this being flattering, lets not get carried away!

Whilst i was distracting you with this unnecessary trip down ‘we aren’t famous yet’ lane, several hours have passed. The sights, smells, textures and tastes of the festival have been sampled and we are now stood atop a hill. Behind us, looking left to right, lay a series of tents scattered lightly over the fields where the majority of the festival-goers call home for the weekend. Beside this stands the De Bolde stage where we had played earlier that day, and beyond there was a darkened hallway made of trees and parked bicycles leading to the Main Arena of the festival. Shadows fell over any remaining sights to be seen behind us, and in front was yet more darkness. We had stood in this exact spot several hours earlier, looking out into the sea, beyond a golden beach in the searing heat. It was difficult to imagine this was all still there, just invisible. We headed down onto the beach, walking out beyond the point where the tide had settled during the day, each footstep sinking a little further into the wet sand. Along the beach were small campfires every few hundred yards, each with its own captive audience and set of folk songs to please those gathered. Long into the small hours we sat with hundreds of other people whose faces were only clear should they get close enough to want to see yours, and everyone was so calm, relaxed and peaceful. The wind held no chill and there seemed no reason to ever leave. This was of course until the storm came.

LW

HOLLAND SEPT 2011 pt. III - INTO THE GREAT WIDE OPEN
Gear aboard? Check. Band aboard? Check. Andy the stuffed rabbit* aboard? Check. Or so we assumed our Dutch-speaking water taxi pilot had checked… fortunately all were aboard before we hit speeds normally reserved for re-entry from space across the coastal waves of Harlingen. Moments later we were out to sea, the land just a whisper of shapes on a shrinking horizon pressing further behind us by the second, and now we lean against the side of our private water taxi, look out into the sea, wave to the passing boats and take stock for the first time in a very long summer. 45 minutes to feel like rock stars before we hit reality again. This is for every drive in the rain, every gig playing to only the support band, every payment which was less than what it cost to get there, every burst practice room water pipe, every dropped synth, every broken string, every stolen bass amp, every faulty projector, every burst tyre, every crashed car, every warm beer, every sleep in the van, every faulty sat-nav, every lost job, every angry girlfriend, every disappointed parent, every late night, every early morning… 
And like all moments of reflection in life, it was ended with a bump, or to be precise two bumps, as our pilot  / driver / captain (?) had neglected to apply the boat version of a handbrake and left us brushing lazily against the wall of the Vlieland port. Another loaded van later and we were off to our hotel with what turned out to be our first recurring character of the trip, Dave Driver. "wow" i hear you say "what a coincidence that he is a driver and his surname is driver”. yes it is a coincidence isn’t it…and its also my story, now leave it. 
A brief nod of the head, stroke of the beard and general approval of our accommodation later and we were once again whisked forth by our new found van-based buddy. Onwards to The De Bolde Stage for the entire reason we have come this far.
* those of you with an inhuman amount of free time may have found yourselves browsing older entries of our blog, at which time you may have heard reference to Mr Baritone Bunny. You would be correct in believing this to be the very same rabbit as is referred to herein as ‘Andy’. How can i explain this anomalous duplicity of identity? 
Andy = Baritone Bunny
Paul David Hewson = Bono
Get it?
LW

HOLLAND SEPT 2011 pt. III - INTO THE GREAT WIDE OPEN

Gear aboard? Check. Band aboard? Check. Andy the stuffed rabbit* aboard? Check. Or so we assumed our Dutch-speaking water taxi pilot had checked… fortunately all were aboard before we hit speeds normally reserved for re-entry from space across the coastal waves of Harlingen. Moments later we were out to sea, the land just a whisper of shapes on a shrinking horizon pressing further behind us by the second, and now we lean against the side of our private water taxi, look out into the sea, wave to the passing boats and take stock for the first time in a very long summer. 45 minutes to feel like rock stars before we hit reality again. This is for every drive in the rain, every gig playing to only the support band, every payment which was less than what it cost to get there, every burst practice room water pipe, every dropped synth, every broken string, every stolen bass amp, every faulty projector, every burst tyre, every crashed car, every warm beer, every sleep in the van, every faulty sat-nav, every lost job, every angry girlfriend, every disappointed parent, every late night, every early morning… 

And like all moments of reflection in life, it was ended with a bump, or to be precise two bumps, as our pilot  / driver / captain (?) had neglected to apply the boat version of a handbrake and left us brushing lazily against the wall of the Vlieland port. Another loaded van later and we were off to our hotel with what turned out to be our first recurring character of the trip, Dave Driver. "wow" i hear you say "what a coincidence that he is a driver and his surname is driver”. yes it is a coincidence isn’t it…and its also my story, now leave it. 

A brief nod of the head, stroke of the beard and general approval of our accommodation later and we were once again whisked forth by our new found van-based buddy. Onwards to The De Bolde Stage for the entire reason we have come this far.

* those of you with an inhuman amount of free time may have found yourselves browsing older entries of our blog, at which time you may have heard reference to Mr Baritone Bunny. You would be correct in believing this to be the very same rabbit as is referred to herein as ‘Andy’. How can i explain this anomalous duplicity of identity? 

Andy = Baritone Bunny

Paul David Hewson = Bono

Get it?

LW

HOLLAND SEPT 2011 pt. II - A SCHWARZ NIGHT
Aboard the ferry we laboured through the inevitable references to infamous nautical disasters to bring about some sort of anti-jinx which operates under the same rules and regulations as a birthday wish, if you say it out loud it will not come true.
Satisfied that we were not to perish in the north sea on this particular occasion, we settled on the deck to take in the surprising warmth of the british coast circa 11pm. It was there that we met an interesting gentleman by the name of Michael Schwarz, though he did us the courtesy of translating his name. Regaling us with tales of his occupation and musical preferences, Michael Black soon whittled away our remaining journey time leaving us to stumble to our rooms with barely a wink of sleep left to be had. What seemed like moments later we were awoken from our pleasant and motion-free slumber by an announcement thrust into the heart of each and every cabin. The message was delivered in a calm, robotic, female voice with no discernible dialect to speak of, the kind of voice most commonly associated with safety videos only found aboard modes of transport where survival in an emergency is comparable in likelihood to being volleyed by a farmyard animal into a bolt of lightning… or so i’m told.
Early morning drives often fail to inspire me, a fact i believe is equal parts formulated from my own desire to sleep through the first grey of the day and equally by how little i have witnessed at that time of day to alter my mindset. My first impression of the Netherlands was an understated one, miles of flatlands which didn’t seem to lead anywhere, much like the vastness of Norfolk, the last place i stared at through a window. This was soon replaced with a more fitting wonder reserved for the unknown, from the subtleties of unfamiliar international architecture down to driving on the opposite side of the road, it was becoming more apparent that our comfort zone was a long forgotten memory. Shaken from the temporary haze of a light sleep and a long night we arrived at the port of Harlingen to board the water taxi which would soon propel us towards the Island of Vlieland.
LW

HOLLAND SEPT 2011 pt. II - A SCHWARZ NIGHT

Aboard the ferry we laboured through the inevitable references to infamous nautical disasters to bring about some sort of anti-jinx which operates under the same rules and regulations as a birthday wish, if you say it out loud it will not come true.

Satisfied that we were not to perish in the north sea on this particular occasion, we settled on the deck to take in the surprising warmth of the british coast circa 11pm. It was there that we met an interesting gentleman by the name of Michael Schwarz, though he did us the courtesy of translating his name. Regaling us with tales of his occupation and musical preferences, Michael Black soon whittled away our remaining journey time leaving us to stumble to our rooms with barely a wink of sleep left to be had. What seemed like moments later we were awoken from our pleasant and motion-free slumber by an announcement thrust into the heart of each and every cabin. The message was delivered in a calm, robotic, female voice with no discernible dialect to speak of, the kind of voice most commonly associated with safety videos only found aboard modes of transport where survival in an emergency is comparable in likelihood to being volleyed by a farmyard animal into a bolt of lightning… or so i’m told.

Early morning drives often fail to inspire me, a fact i believe is equal parts formulated from my own desire to sleep through the first grey of the day and equally by how little i have witnessed at that time of day to alter my mindset. My first impression of the Netherlands was an understated one, miles of flatlands which didn’t seem to lead anywhere, much like the vastness of Norfolk, the last place i stared at through a window. This was soon replaced with a more fitting wonder reserved for the unknown, from the subtleties of unfamiliar international architecture down to driving on the opposite side of the road, it was becoming more apparent that our comfort zone was a long forgotten memory. Shaken from the temporary haze of a light sleep and a long night we arrived at the port of Harlingen to board the water taxi which would soon propel us towards the Island of Vlieland.

LW

HOLLAND SEPT 2011 pt. I - ON A HIGHWAY TO HARWICH
Ordinarily we are running late.
Quite often our arrival will fall victim to traffic, unrealistic timescales and poor time management. So, for our Dutch debut we thought a colossal overestimation of the required travelling time would ensure there would be no such incident. However, we neglected to accept that our fates are not in our own hands, but instead are the plaything of an interplanetary astral-projecting orb that decides the fate of all mankind through oscillation and resonation. And so it was that on this particular day we began our four hour journey to the southern port of Harwich with eight hours to spare before departure, an overly cautious attempt to pre-empt all unforseeables which is practically begging the universe to cook up an intervening occurrence… we laid out our stall, and the universe duly obliged to answer. 
After getting some serious miles under our belts we hit a snaking queue of traffic positioned parallel to a slip road designated for entry to a horse show, which we originally believed to be the cause of the delay…a fair assumption at the time, but laughable in hindsight considering the traffic eventually spanned a large enough portion of the country to be visible from space. This particular delay was eventually identified as the result of a light aircraft being grounded after clipping a power line, an incident in which, unfortunately, the pilot did not survive. This news filtered through slowly to ourselves and other stranded members of the endless queue, many of whom were contemplating detours and abandonment of their plans (or vehicles), while others settled into a quiet rage and frustration. 
One can only imagine the thoughts drifting in and out of the hundreds of minds trapped inside their overheating, petrol-desperately-needing, kids-screaming-in-the-back-while-dad-grinds-his-teeth cars. Some would dream of being so rich that for some reason traffic was never an issue again, presumably the wealthy only travel at off-peak times. Others were anxiously craning their necks and double taking at watches in acts of futility, edging their car inches closer to the static bumper in front, or creeping across to the equally stationary traffic queue in the other lane, all the while rapping their fingers across steering wheels and dashboards to accompany the perpetual hum of surrounding engines with the tiny gallop of four restless fingers.
Looking back we perhaps squandered an opportunity to play to a crowd of hundreds who would have had no choice but to watch us, but who might also have been so drained of patience we could have been playing holland a member down…
And so it was, as is the case with many of my most memorable run-ins with heavy traffic, that we shuffled along at a rate of barely an inch per minute for what seemed an eternity until we eventually filed down into a single lane… guided most ably by the freshly assembled curvature of cones on the motorway, and at a time like this to see cones on the motorway means you are close to where everything has gone wrong. A brief stint of rubbernecking later and the masses of motorists were sent forth to spill into the capillaries of Norfolk in all directions, scrambling to be the first to re-establish the most time-effective route to their destination. With this newfound freedom we set about the peripheral access routes of Peterborough to weave our way back to the desolate carriageways of the A1, miles beyond the scene of the accident, and cruise onwards with the setting sun on our backs down to the port of Harwich to catch our ferry in good, but not great time.
LW

HOLLAND SEPT 2011 pt. I - ON A HIGHWAY TO HARWICH

Ordinarily we are running late.

Quite often our arrival will fall victim to traffic, unrealistic timescales and poor time management. So, for our Dutch debut we thought a colossal overestimation of the required travelling time would ensure there would be no such incident. However, we neglected to accept that our fates are not in our own hands, but instead are the plaything of an interplanetary astral-projecting orb that decides the fate of all mankind through oscillation and resonation. And so it was that on this particular day we began our four hour journey to the southern port of Harwich with eight hours to spare before departure, an overly cautious attempt to pre-empt all unforseeables which is practically begging the universe to cook up an intervening occurrence… we laid out our stall, and the universe duly obliged to answer. 

After getting some serious miles under our belts we hit a snaking queue of traffic positioned parallel to a slip road designated for entry to a horse show, which we originally believed to be the cause of the delay…a fair assumption at the time, but laughable in hindsight considering the traffic eventually spanned a large enough portion of the country to be visible from space. This particular delay was eventually identified as the result of a light aircraft being grounded after clipping a power line, an incident in which, unfortunately, the pilot did not survive. This news filtered through slowly to ourselves and other stranded members of the endless queue, many of whom were contemplating detours and abandonment of their plans (or vehicles), while others settled into a quiet rage and frustration. 

One can only imagine the thoughts drifting in and out of the hundreds of minds trapped inside their overheating, petrol-desperately-needing, kids-screaming-in-the-back-while-dad-grinds-his-teeth cars. Some would dream of being so rich that for some reason traffic was never an issue again, presumably the wealthy only travel at off-peak times. Others were anxiously craning their necks and double taking at watches in acts of futility, edging their car inches closer to the static bumper in front, or creeping across to the equally stationary traffic queue in the other lane, all the while rapping their fingers across steering wheels and dashboards to accompany the perpetual hum of surrounding engines with the tiny gallop of four restless fingers.

Looking back we perhaps squandered an opportunity to play to a crowd of hundreds who would have had no choice but to watch us, but who might also have been so drained of patience we could have been playing holland a member down…

And so it was, as is the case with many of my most memorable run-ins with heavy traffic, that we shuffled along at a rate of barely an inch per minute for what seemed an eternity until we eventually filed down into a single lane… guided most ably by the freshly assembled curvature of cones on the motorway, and at a time like this to see cones on the motorway means you are close to where everything has gone wrong. A brief stint of rubbernecking later and the masses of motorists were sent forth to spill into the capillaries of Norfolk in all directions, scrambling to be the first to re-establish the most time-effective route to their destination. With this newfound freedom we set about the peripheral access routes of Peterborough to weave our way back to the desolate carriageways of the A1, miles beyond the scene of the accident, and cruise onwards with the setting sun on our backs down to the port of Harwich to catch our ferry in good, but not great time.

LW

Golden

As many of you who have followed the happenings within the Sholay camp for sometime may now realise, we’re never too far away from some sort of release…be it furry tapes, wallpaper sleeve CD’s, framed artwork, anatomically graphic reproductions of foetuses or just a good old fashioned vinyl, we take great pride in delivering bite-size morsels of music, and the run-in to the close of 2011 will not be exempt from this great tradition.

Throughout September and October we will be completing our first EP for release at an as-yet-unconfirmed date towards the end of the year. The tracklisting will be announced shortly but what i can confirm is my own interest in a candidate for the release, a lengthy number tentatively titled ‘Golden’. The track clocks in at a most formidable 9:19, making it by far the most sizeable piece we have ever had the pleasure of accompanying with a suitable visual. The premise is thus far undeveloped, bordering on completely and abjectly non-existent… that is barring the casting of the lead role.

I recently re-watched the stunningly shot “Watchmen”… a movie which captivated myself and millions worldwide not least for its attention-seizing storyline and gratuitous inclusion of blue genitalia, but most importantly for the casting. A huge project which demanded total absorption of the audience to enhance believability through the unconscious inability to recognise and accept the person you are seeing on the screen as anyone but the character they are playing, a concept enhanced by the possibility that even the actors who are known to audiences had yet to play a career defining role which would create an immediate link in the mind of the audience.

Inspired by this forward-thinking believability-enhancing approach to casting, it was my decision to shun the stars of the silver screen and the lords of shakespearean theatre for the altogether more understated acting skills of a stuffed and mounted rabbit,

ladies and gentlemen i give you, Mr Baritone Bunny.

LW

August 6th 2011.

We return to Scotland for only the second time in 2 years. Our trip to London four days earlier had provided few opportunities for any meaningful or significant photography, predominantly due to the lack of any discernible landmarks and the ever-present embankments up each side of the M1. The fleeting glimpses through the bushes and across the land to a point of interest are so rare that once you realise the opportunity has presented itself, the moment had already passed a quarter of a mile ago. So you wait in eager anticipation, camera at the ready, for the next moment which never comes, until you finally fall back into a calm state of relax, unconcerned by the monotonous green of the trees and metallic stripe of safety barriers, occasionally interjected by an off-ramp or a service station.

Failure might be too strong a word but it was certainly a reminder that nothing is quite as fascinating when you have seen it numerous times. This point in itself may further reinforce the opposing feelings when travelling to Edinburgh. That’s not to say the entire journey proved captivating but certainly as you pass the most northerly of the recognisable English settlements and beyond the border you see some quite spectacular and humbling sights. The ‘A’ roads make for better driving, reducing the separation between your own place on them and the surroundings. The hills rise magnificently to the left while the sea laps gently at the coast on the right.

And while it rained all weekend, beginning and ending at Newcastle as we passed it in both directions, the news told us we would be flooded. Edinburgh was drowning while London burned. The sky was an infinite sheet of white, interjected with blemishes of grey which presumably would be where one cloud ended and another began, the windows held the raindrops for miles before they slid off the edge of the window pane to make way for the next downpour and all of this was observed to the soundtrack of Brian Eno which inadvertently emphasised the importance of the seemingly irrelevant detail.

A point which brings us roundly back to where we began, observing the irrelevant. Acknowledging the journey above the shows and places we visited.

LW

my soundtrack to the weekend:

Brian Eno

Ambient 1: music for airports

1/1

the four doors to the karaoke rooms of the electric circus

August 2011

For the seemingly infinite number of times we have ventured out from our northern homestead to any number of destinations around the UK to make our musical offering to the Gods of small music venues*, it has struck me how little attention we have paid to the journey which gets us there. 

As with last months video tribute to our brief but memorable Serbian odyssey I will attempt to create some sort of narrative as a document of this weeks adventures… and as with Serbia i expect there to be more than a few glaring omissions brought on by the inevitable distractions of the day. 

This mini-project // way of passing time as we drive drive drive // potentially infinitely-dull series of overcast-sky imagery may yet turn out to be immensely unremarkable…

…but then the aim is to document the journey not romanticise it, so should the end product become a collective blur of the least emotive images in the history of recorded time and space so be it (and i promise to do better next time). Equally too, should the final images win plaudits for their originality, perspective and general importance in the history of art then i shall declare myself invincible** and live out my remaining days as editor of National Geographic.

The third outcome is that the images are internationally recognised as offensive to human eyes and i am given 24 hours to destroy myself in an oversized, unsupervised pool of molten metal***

And after all this i just hope i don’t forget the camera! 

Posts will be going up throughout the week…

LW

* ‘the Gods of small music venues’ are a small but organised heavenly organisation who determine the fate of young (and not-so-young) individuals who aspire to successfully captivate their audience for the evening. Folklaw tells of a band who will come and conquer music (it is also written that they will amalgamate all music so seamlessly that Reggae is 14th century lute ballads and bone-crushing death metal all at once). The emergence of the chosen band signals the end of the age of the ‘Gods of small music venues’ and the beginning of 1000 years of bagpipe-infused European electro pop courtesy of ‘the Gods of Eurovision’.

** See Goldeneye (1995)

*** See Terminator 2 (1991) & Alien 3 (1992).

Live performance from Tramlines 2011 of Devil at the BackDoor. great quality recording from our first show of the weekend on the New Music Stage. Quite possibly the best 3 shows in a row we have ever strung together.

So…now to paint a vivid picture in the mind’s eye of those unfortunate enough to have missed the shows, and fortunate enough to have missed the rest….and by the rest i mean the temperamental synths which required the occasional, and some would say highly skilled, tap to get them to pay attention and make some sounds & the keyboard which was revived from a cyber-death by a power supply masterfully bent into position by Laurie and held in place just long enough for us to complete the weekend with all the instruments we arrived with (at this point you would be correct in assuming i will be spending the majority of this week getting my instruments serviced)…should you watch the above video to the end you will also see another undoing of Hey Sholay, this time being the appearance of a publicity-hungry wasp with a thirst for human blood.

Aside from the forces of nature and poorly maintained electrical equipment however, the weekend went off without a hitch. Particular highlights would be the number of firsts (i think?!) we encountered. First clap-alongs, first sing-alongs, first "where the fuck did our singer go? oh he just stage dived and was carried away", first "oh, he’s back, perfect timing actually".

So that was Tramlines 2011, another festival in the bag, another piece of my equipment begging to be sold to an ageing jazz musician with arthritis who will treat it with the dignity and respect it longs for… and now onwards to our next trips, the southern delights of London and the heady highland flings of Edinburgh.

LW

A short film of assorted footage from our trip to Novi Sad, Serbia, July 8th to 11th 2011.

The disjointed narrative documents our arrival, travel, first impressions, accommodation, exploration of the city, the petrovaradin fortress, the danube, the extremely specific rules regarding what can and cannot be brought into the festival, the ever cloudless skies of Serbia, EXIT festival, a wrong-handed clock, live performance & finally our departure.

96 hours summed up in 1:42s 

a notable absentee from the story was our colourful encounters with the European baggage handling community. Be it lost luggage, ripped handles, bent zips, scuffed cases or inside out cymbals these guys can truly deliver on a connecting-flight airport stereotype. However, if Zurich has one redeeming factor it would be this…

picture yourself in a long queue of people, all of them passport-in-hand-bag-over-shoulder-ticket-in-other-hand type people, you know the sort. now do a slightly exaggerated double take to your right at the familiar looking, smooth-headed, tattooed gentleman. If you are in doubt that he is who you think he is then simply perform these basic checks:

1. have a friend shout his name and walk away quite quickly

2. ensure he throws the most convincing devil horns back in your direction only to have them intercepted by, say, your bass player.

3. perform a google search to confirm he is Rob Halford.

LW