Too Darn Hot - Friday

The hottest day of the year, and the first proper concert I've been to on my own. I filmed it, and turned the event into a video diary, starting at midnight.

The train journey took about four hours. Portsmouth to Brighton, change for Hastings, then for Battle, then a taxi for the Pestalozzi villiage. Unfortunately, I was a little bit early. About five hours early. So I spent the time exploring endless country roads and reading Marx's sociological essays.

Nick and the band arrived about six, and I helped out as I could, carrying amplifiers and fetching water, before meeting the band properly.

Mick the keyboardist was loud, fat, ostentatious, cheeky, cynical, unpretentiously intelligent and a thoroghly nice chap. One of nature's uncles. David the bass player was quieter, and the drummer - Peter, I think - I barely got to speak to, but both seemed reasonable and reliable people, and somehow carried an aura of being good solid musicians.

Non-band-members included Bridget - Nick's other half - who had an air of being extremely used to things going wrong. There was Andrew, his adopted brother Michael, and their mother. Her name constantly escapes me, though she made a big impression.

An old fashioned elderly aristocrat-socialist lady. A Margret Ruthorford figure who danced to the african drum band and lay on the grass with me in the evening, as we munched spicy chicken and debated revolutionary Trotskyism and the ethics of armed resistance. Lovely.

Andrew is a disabled film maker and Michael is a schoolfriend of his who'd been through three bad foster families before falling into this group of admirable eccentrics.

I'm confused about exactly who lives with who, but Andrew, Michael, their mother, David, Mick and another woman who I only met briefly live in the same block, and have known each other for years. It's like an extended family commune.

Coming from a pretentious middle class backgroud, I found their warmth and kindness both disconcerting and refreshing.

Ah, but what of the gig itself? Nick probably wouldn't thank me for saying it, but it made me think of a happier Coldplay. Melodic pop with angsty lyrics and an upbeat sound.

Half the songs were familliar to me. Gin or Ginseng transformed from a minimal man-and-piano ballad to something catchy and anthemic - the chorus is still in my head. A similar transformation for Spring of Teal, which is a special song for me anyway.

The highlight for me was the closing song, Friends of the Earth. A dark and bassy stomping eco-song - my new favourite, I think.

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