October 30, 2010
Hello! I started writing this a couple of months ago (early September), but got interrupted by the birth of our son Alexander. To further complicate life we had an office move and some rather stressful work situations. It’s now nearly November and the first time I’ve looked properly at my website. I’ve decided against finishing the full review of the day, partly through failing memory but mostly, having re-read the unedited version it was dull as fuck. I want to post the remainder anyway because it was a truly ace day and it’s nice to have a reminder. This is why I am not a professional blogger.
Our baby is due in the next few weeks so I’m confined to the local vicinity for the next couple of months. My first War in the Park was a great last day out of the summer and a good chance to catch up with London (and Southampton) friends who I really don’t see often enough.
I went up with Emily and Katie, unfortunately Lady K couldn’t make it as ready-to-burst pregnancy doesn’t fit in so well with guerrilla festivals and sitting on muddy ground for hours.
War in the Park is an annual outdoor event featuring poetry, spoken word and unplugged acts, the official description:
We take over a space in a park which we announce a day or two before.
We advertise it by hijacking phone-ins on Radio 1 and XFm.
We book the best acoustic acts and the most amazing spoken word artists.
We book rock, industrial, metal and electronic acts and force them to play totally unplugged.
We get people to burn stuff.
This is WAR.
100% free, 100% untraceable, 100% uncontrollable.
This year WitP was in an abandoned playground in the corner of Burgess Park (Camberwell, just off the Old Kent Road).
Due to overplanning we turned up half an hour early. Tried to find a cafe of some sort but didn’t know the area at all and were both too damn lazy to work out how to use the apps on our phones to find the nearest eating facility. We walked aimlessly down the Old Kent Road hoping to find somewhere that matched our annoyingly middle class requirements. We walked the wrong way for about 45 minutes, passing nothing but manky looking KFC clones, ‘Saunas’, assorted religious buildings (lots of ‘Holy Ghost’ churches), hardware stores but nothing edible. Walked back the way we came and found plenty of options two minutes from where we started. After a bit of procrastination we went into a Bolivian restaurant which turned out to be pretty much targeted at the local Bolivian community. Food was excellent (mountain of roast pork, potato and something I had never seen before), occupants were friendly and had a chuckle at me when I tried the chili sauce which nearly killed me.
Stopped on the way back to the park for supplies. We bought a 2 litre bottle of something that looked like a soft drink called “SELECTO!” it was technically a soft drink but was fucking horrific and contained sugar than should be legal. I managed to drink the entire bottle throughout the day for lack of any other option. The next day I had a bastard of a SELECTO hangover. Not great.
We were about two hours late to WiTP, we wandered around aimlessly looking for it eventually bumped in to Yvonne and friend who pointed us in the right direction, conveniently right beside where we had started in a disused playground area with a raised area to one side, almost like a magical glen of drunk musicians and poets.
The gig itself was marvelous, a great mix of bands and poetry, unfortunately I don’t remember the names of most of the acts but everyone was ace. We turned up just as DeathBoy were about to start, Adam on acoustic guitar and Scott (cheating a little) using a battery powered speaker for backing. Lost Again, Parasite and So I Said You Died, DeathBoy worked well as an (almost) acoustic act managing to get across the energy and emotion pretty well without amplification.
Next up were the bombastic Bleak with typical style Anton took to the stage area wearing a cowboy hat, mirrored shades and smoking a large cigar. A more traditional setup than many of the other acts a Bleak acoustic set is not far removed from a Bleak plugged in set. The band played a storming set of their very own style of blues rock with Anton storming round the park in his theatrical manner, during the set he held up a herbal viagra pill and swallowed it with much ceremony. Musically they were as together as ever with Tim perched on the stage/raised area doing his usual guitar wonder, Yvonne devoid of her usual full drum kit giving it some on a hand drum and Rachel’s backing as brilliant as ever. This was Tim’s last Bleak gig (and IAI gig) before moving to Berlin, very glad I made it.
I Am Immune opened with a rather too pissed Pete apologising to the audience before they even started both for his state of drunkenness and that they were an electro-rock band so might not work so well as an acoustic act. They held it together pretty well to start with, with Pete balancing rather precariously on the raised bit above Tim and winning the day by turning round during the set yelling “I’m taking it to the bridge” before legging it to the little wooden bridge behind the staging area.
…. and it’s two months later and I can no longer remember much detail from the day. I really enjoyed some of the poetry, which is a nice change. This Is Radio Silence were staggeringly good. A poet chap convinced the audience to help him achieve the first ever poetry based stage dive. My camera died just before This Is Radio Silence came on. We got home in on piece and it was a lovely day.
Here’s some photos… The full set is on flickr here.
… and then the camera died 🙁
I am Bob. This is my blog. It is an outlet and a substitute for real life. It contains my art, photography, illustration and thoughts on mental health (I deal with anxiety on a pretty much constant basis).
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