Thursday, 7 August 2008


I am trying to put my finger on what it was about last weekend that stays on the tip of my tongue, sticks to the sides and traps beneath my nails. There was something about STANDON CALLING 2008, something in the sky and in the air that reeked a sweet mischief to those below. You could blame the solar eclipse on August 1st and Sirius shining bright as a full moon. You could blame the lazy dog days of summer when notoriously the Dog Star heats our blood and stirs our loins, when in ancient times the people believed it was time to behave like drunk bears and bees, when wanton and restless nights are meant to be spent in the twisted sheets of a hot and sleepless bed…and so to STANDON 2008. On arrival what did we see? Well, for a start, my peripheral vision was of the steep bank of honeyed fields in the distance, the scenery was idyllic and breath taking. In the centre of the site there was a magnificent ancient tree and in the centre of that we found the main bar. Drinking our first pint of pear cider, we saw the huge red Japanese sign and we joked it was the sponsership, the golden arch from McDonalds. Further up the bank there was a lawn and pavillion area littered with pimms and champagne cocktail sipping punters and sitting around a large turquoise swimming pool, a dirth of giggling beauties splashing and cavoting to music - this was indeed a very pretty playground.

I was fortunate to catch yet anther perfect-ten set from the genius SOPHIE WOOLLEY, she performed parts of both of her hugely successful and hilariously dark shows WHEN TO RUN and FIGHT FACE. Then I caught a mind-blowing and powerful spoken word gig by wordsmaster ANTHONY JOSEPH, awesome, more about him in a bit…I loved that poetry gig…it was one of those gigs where I laughed like I was hearing it for the first time too, where the audience were so warm that after my own set, with the sound of applause in my ears, as the filthy and debauched SEBASTIAN HORSLY took to the stage, I ran across the the lawn, threw my heels off and leapt into the swimming pool fully dressed, forgetting my polka-dot bra was full of tokens…whoops! The N.O award of the weekend goes to the random man that came up to me after my poetry show and told me in no uncertain terms that “It’s wrong to say you lick things…you shouldn’t say you imagine licking things…” He clearly never would.

Once in dry clothes with a large vodka in hand, I considered myself off duty until the SALTPEANUTS/SALTPETER show on Sunday afternoon. When it was getting dark the word LOVE HOTEL was flashing a pink neon above what appeared to be a concrete cow shed. In a gorgeous haze, I stumbled into the back entrance to find a fluro pink-lit party, packed with people dressed in the theme of Kill Bill, samurai and geishas, harajuku girls and Manga characters. There was a crowded double bed complete with spunky tissues stuck to the wall and a buzzing bar. During my blurry times and visits in the LOVE HOTEL over the weekend, I caught kick-ass sets from MEAT KATIE and the brilliant SEAN McCLUSKY to name just two.

I found the night sky at STANDON strange, burnt orange, sanguine and beetroot colours and the dog star glinted and winked like a dare. I remember at one point we were sitting at a bench drinking free sake which had been served to us by Japanese schoolgirls in white knee-high socks, when my friend Kelly, decided to single handedly bundle a gang of five lads. She swiftly rugby tackled them all to the ground, think lion and antelope, you’d have been proud. The bundling, our own version of sumo wrestling was fun and I got a bit of a split lip. There was a silent disco where I thoroughly enjoyed switching off my headphones to listen to people loudly singing out of tune to themselves and screaming the words: CAN YOU FEEL IT? At the crack of dawn we larked in wood-smoke, fell about in hay bales, drank whiskey coffees and watched the sleeping bare-foot boy in a coma in the glowing embers of the fire – how sweet!

On Sunday afternoon, the super-talented KITTY, DAISY & LEWIS were on at the same time as us and so sorry we missed them - I heard that they rocked the main stage in spite of the rain, which had started like it was England or somewhere. We were lucky enough to be playing under-cover and inside the Shogun stage and had a really sweet gig, I personally really enjoyed singing ‘Weather’ when there really was ‘…all that weather going on..’ outside the tent. We played ‘Hunger’s The Best Sauce’ when we received an encore and thanks to all of you that came to cheer and check us out. Also massive thanks again to JAMES BURKE - the dude we picked up in SECRET GARDEN PARTY who came and played drums for us again, this time at least he had heard the songs once before…at SGP last weekend?!

Although that Sunday night was chillier and damp it was still a gorgeous party. Highlights for me: a fantastic, driving and steamy set from THE EGG. I also heard a really touching speech from ALEX TRENCHARD thanking everyone and whilst introducing headline stormers THE SUPER FURRY ANIMALS his voice cracked and we all cheered when he announced that he is soon to be a dad…ahhhhh…Naming names, I have to mention here the funk mind-explosion that was ANTHONY JOSEPH & THE SPASMS, the Lordship tent was totally rocking to that crew. Also hats off to excellent kicking gigs from BENIN CITY and the super talented RICHARD MILWARD author of ‘Apples’ (Faber) I keep bumping into these same fantastic lads at every gig I do, who is following who, I don’t know, but I am liking it….Also big shout to the delicious PALOMA FAITH, the ZEBRA’s, and the SUMO wrestlers…and to those lovely drinky’s with Karis DELIRIUM TREMENS and another TOP TIP of the week are the excellent ROTATING LESLIE.

On Monday morning I was awoken from a two-hour power snooze by the sound of a trumpeting horn-blowing maniac, who I believe went by the name of LITA JOY in the naughty corner, by the caravan in the camping field. (Later that last afternoon she was a total diamond, she cracked me up as she mastered drinking whiskey upside-down and in a fuzz and fizz of cider she also jumped in the swimming pool with us…) So that sunny Monday morning, for breakfast I slugged Japanese sake from the barrel, I sucked from the spout of hell until my face was sticky with it and then we adventured up into golden wheat up to the waist. The sky was perfectly cloudless above and I was inside the xanthophyll and yellowness. I stopped and listened to the nothing, all around me an ocean of swaying waves in wheat of blonde and gold. As I walked I was popping husks, separating wheat from chaff and eating the pods, they were nutty and corn sweet. At my feet there were pools of red and papery poppies. In the distance and at the bottom of a valley a glitter of shimmering chartreuse water to jump in. The banks were steep and littered with cowslips and stinging nettle, the champagne was getting warm but the water was fresh and clear...see you all there next year!