04-23-2002
London, England, Columbia Hotel
 
I just read last night's entry. Shit! That is no good, I know I can do better than that. These english keyboards are troublesome but I'll do what I can.

I think it's Celine Dionne's husband who keeps strolling by outside. He looks worried. It's funny that he's walking by, we were just talking about him at breakfast. It's a fucking gorgeous day! And I wonder if I can still find what I just wrote to a friend:

"Things are going well. The weekend was fantastic - it was probably like your club med experience, except filled with smart and funny indie rockers, exuberant fans, extraordinary rock shows, very late night drinking, [my brother]Stuart there to drink with, non-stop bonding with all sorts of folks... it was so fun. Right on the sea, the weather not great but sunny. Exhausting, played soccer on a tennis court the morning after falling asleep dead drunk at 5:00 AM, having danced until then & done God knows what else. Fun!

"Now we're in London. A bunch of the bands playing at the festival are playing during the week here, so there's plenty to do. I get panicked spending time with not one or two but - right now I think there are about 11 travel partners, and Stuart, Kelly and Jeff are staying at a place across the park, I'm gonna try to hook up with them this afternoon.... It's a little overwhelming. And you know what's also overwhelming? Learning to drive left-hand stick in a 17 passenger van on left-hand roads, first with two others, then driving into London with 8 passengers, half of whom are convinced they know where I should go. I truly should have screamed at them to shut the fuck up and choose a spokesperson, because by the time we got to the hotel I was fucking stressed, let me tell you....

"I'm actually having alot of fun. In fact, this last weekend I probably had more "fun" more consistently than I've had in a long long time."

This is all true. You know how easy it is to find yourself more of a witness to experience, rather than a willing & grateful participant? You know - watching while others appear to fully enjoy yourself, wile you're sort of sheepishly hoping for the best, trying to hold it together in hopes that soon you might truly enjoy yourself?

Well, maybe it's just me. At any rate, this weekend there was very little of that sort of nonsense. Too many good-natured people, drunken or not, too much good to spectacular music. Certainly far too much drinking. On Friday - good fucking Christ! Celine's husband has stopped strolling by, now it's all beautiful women, on such a gorgeous day! In the land where people are naturally fat and rosy-cheeked! Fuck! Another one! Perhaps I should move from the window seat.

So - Friday was the biggest blowout of the three blowout days, the day I was prepared to fully write off, jet-lagged and drinking warm beer as soon as we pulled in to the utterly bizarre Pontin's - I think it was around noon. But everyone was drinking warm beer, everywhere you looked, it was like a required appendage, this dangling warm half-empty bottle.

The line for the first show - Shellac is playing the first show every day of the festival, making sure the kids wake up - the line had started & wrapped around the parking lot by the time I'd stumbled over to the... the......

You know, it is just too nice out. I'll remember all this shit anyhow. The Oxes were a hoot, the Danielson Family was so beyond anything I'd expected, just riveting, and Blonde Redhead was very enjoyable. And I danced until five in the morning, doing mock jiu-jitsu with Stuart and just shakin it, finally starting in on Whiskey at about 4:00, regretting it as soon as I laid down to sleep that night but not by much. And regretting, too, my promise to play tennis-court soccer the next morning, fucking wretched! But good for the legs, I'm sure, in the long run.

At the beach on Saturday, with mist floating across the sand & turning everyone into black shadows, with the sun above & flags poking out over the mist, I sat on the dunes near a few packs of rockers, and overheard a short but tense round of bickering: "what's your problem? you've been in a bad mood all weekend!" And I thought, how could it be? how could someone adopt a mood to discolor such a positive weekend? At one point a friend said something critical about one of the bands playing - "hooray, you're above average," something like that - and I thought: cynicism! Shit! And ran away. Not to be overly something-or-other, but it was such a fucking positive weekend. On Sunday I finally beat through the crowds to see Shellac, just a great show; and Steve talked for a while about the Minutemen, and how when d. Boone died, he felt it as the end of an era. While he was talking, I realized that I felt, truly, this weekend, that I was (and am) in the midst of an era, that this much good music, this many good, supportive, enthusiastic, and even moderately successful individuals and groups, is substantial enough to be considered its own moment in time. Not that any moment isn't; but I felt this last weekend that I was in the midst of, and participating in, an event that wasn't the beginning or end of anything, but made me realize that I've somehow stumbled into the middle of something, some movement and action and activity, that can be looked on now, and will someday be looked back on, with reverence.

I think that's it for weekend one. We're playing at the Garage on Thursday, again with Mission of Burma, one of the absolute highlights of this last weekend. If you can go, you must.


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