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|Travelogue of a Whitby Virgin
Well, it had to happen sooner or later. For a few years, it had been mulling over in the back of my head (I particularly contemplated what Whitby would be like when in Intermission of an evening, after my umpteenth bottle of Smirnoff Ice or whatever), but for some reason, there were always ‘obstacles’ in the way.
However, it was a case of now or never, and by the time April 27th came around, all hows, whys and whats were promptly dismissed-the props were packed and we had a plane to catch. Let the pilgrimage begin...
The journey itself was pretty uneventful (I was too busy thinking of how Mesh and VNV Nation would sound and look live) although John and I got rather pissed off with having to uproot ourselves and change trains with no prior warning at Leeds Station-we had strict deadlines to meet if we were to make it on time.
We congratulated ourselves for actually making it on to the Whitby bus with literally milliseconds to spare! Phew. When, on the bus, I noticed a few ‘I do like to be beside the seaside’ type old dears staring at my Cybergeisha warpaint that I knew we had arrived. Just as well the slap was on as no sooner did we get to our hotel that half an hour later it was time to head off to the Buck Inn for the first event, kicking off at 7.30.
Shit! Panic stations...
After a quick change and touch up (and an even quicker twirl in front of the mirror), and after John chain smoking his way through the entire contents of a packet of cigarettes in about 10 minutes, we knew it was time to do Whitby-literally, hopefully! (Easy, Tiger...)
Anyway, common sense told us that the best form of navigation would be to follow close knit groups of black clad people-typically, we too donned our black glad rags and made our way into the Buck Inn for the scheduled Torture Tekk album launch party. Got there at about 7.20 or so and sighed with relief-it only really hit me the that we actually had made it. The atmosphere was refreshing in a paradoxical sort of fashion-a traditional English pub (a la the Queen Vic or something) throwing its doors open to the goth masses.
John then proceeded to direct us to a seat which had a heraldic map of Ireland above it and declared it the Morrow throne for the evening. After about three pints or so (i.e. about 20 minutes maximum) the place began to fill up with all sorts of weird and wonderful people.
Took a good voyeuristic look around and felt aloof and anonymous (which was good) and, at the same time, felt distinctly unoutrageous (which was crap, but hell, I was going to make up for it!)
|Typically, John and I began to pack away the grog at an
alarming rate (probably since it was much cheaper than back
home in Belfast). Over the lively conversation, I could hear some good tunes of a rather electronic
nature-come to think of
it, where were Torture Tekk?!
Anyway, finally we see some familiar faces in the form of Ian, Evan, Tom and Fi! Happy days. However, due to the fact that we were all rather merry at this stage details of the subsequent conversation topics are somewhat patchy-bits I can remember include me declaring to Fi that I was here to pull ‘left, right and centre’ (down, girl), and Tom vehemently declaring that Evan reminded him of Kevin the Gerbil! Ooer missus!
By this time we were packed in like sardines which, depending on your viewpoint, may or may not have been a good experience. Also, by this time, making your way to the toilet was an experience, tripping over fortysomething Bela Lugosi/Arthur Brown hybrids (ask your dad) and glam cyber trannies in smegg boots en route.
Returned to find John talking to two old geezers who must have been Captain Birdseye’s relatives in the hope of them flogging him their ‘heirloom’ bottle opener for our carryout! Surreal...anyway, after bidding goodnight to various creatures we met (most of whose names I’ve forgotten-apologies!), including a Springer Spaniel, we staggered off in search of food and a party (in that order).
After traipsing the streets for an age (and after much needed chips), ran into other members of the Intermission cognoscenti (and thanks to Simon, made a few new pals in the process) who, for some reason, did not make it to the Buck Inn (or who just couldn’t be arsed), and, at their request (well, mainly Chris’s) ended up back in Ian and Evan’s room (ooer!) at the Avalon Hotel for a bit of debauchery.
How we managed to get there is uncertain, but we got there all the same. Picture the scene-a typical chintzy B&B room packed with a motley crew of goths from Belfast and Dublin (that includes you; Alan, Matt and Darren) hell-bent on making some noise, generally letting inhibitions go and, in a certain Intermission figurehead’s case, indulging in lewd conduct-although how Tom managed to sleep through this cacophony is an unsolved mystery.
However, the main unsolved mystery of Thursday night is how and when John and I found our way back to our hotel...
|Friday started with us feeling like hell-seeing two fully powdered and
painted (hangover free) cybergoths at the adjacent breakfast table only served to make me feel shittier. However,
the thought of snapping up gear which would transform me into a Y2K Servalan of sorts (and possibly help me find my
Travis in the process...) got me up and raring to go.
On the way to the Pavilion, ran into some of our drinking pals from the previous evening, who thankfully were feeling just as off-colour. John felt even more off-colour when he realised how he would be arsing about and carrying bags while I swanned off into the ladies to struggle my way into yet another cycling proficiency test-style bustier.
Managed to fight through the crowds with some serious American football style manoeuvres. When I see something I want, I simply have to have it at all costs-casualties be buggered. This philosophy led to me blowing most of my budget in the space of a couple of hours, but hey, I can suffer the consequences later...
|Felt smug and decadent when I lay the fruits of my hard earned currency on the bed, but
this only made me more infuriatingly indecisive about what way I wanted to be seen-too much choice is bloody
confusing. Between panic attacks and copious quantities of Lemon Hooch, hurriedly transformed into a shiny retro black-and-fuchsia
Numanatrix, with John emerging as a minimalist cigar-chomping Communist dictator.
Before too long, it was now 7.45 and time to get our arses down to the Pavilion for the first official event. Hell yeah!
After making our way to the Pavilion, we navigated our way through the maze of cybergoths, trad goths, trenchcoated voyeurs, ageing vampire Lotharios and trashy neon club kids etc. and headed straight to the bar-nothing like getting your priorities right. With the realisation that it would probably be impossible to get another drink between bands (nothing like Taurean common sense in these matters), it was a case of getting (rocket) fuelled up before the first band took to the stage-CHAOS ENGINE. Admittedly unfamiliar with these guys, their guitar-orientated aggro industrial sound and shouty vocals went down particularly well with John-especially when they launched into political mode, attacking wage slaves or suchlike.
Energetic performance full of pretty good rockin’ stuff that got us well and truly fired up for what was yet to come.
No sooner than we did take five to stretch our legs after Chaos Engine left the stage than it was time for SAINTS OF EDEN. Again, we weren’t quite sure to expect from these chaps-trying to imagine a ‘techno-industrial’ band consisting of ex Nephilim members who looked like Rage Against The Machine or something almost brought on one of my migraines (which are usually reserved for the day of Intermission so I can skive off work. Crafty.), but whatever they had from the sum of the above parts certainly was in their favour. By this time chunks of the crowd had flocked to the bar (something of which I was also guilty of), but on returning found their dark and danceable electronica to be quite a hit with the front few rows in particular. John was even engaging in his ‘one-step-forward-two-steps-back’ dance/march-even without the usual aid of a bottle of Buckfast.
By this stage we managed to blag our way into the front row (even past the Carlos Santana lookalike official photographer, who was to get sick of me nudging him out of the way and equally sick of John taking the piss out of him) as I knew this was the only place to be when the lovely MESH came out to play.
Being a fan of this band, I sincerely hoped they could convey just as much melody and emotion live as they do on CD, and boy, was I not to be disappointed. The catchy Depeche Mode-flavoured synthpop of the likes of ‘You Didn’t Want Me’ and ‘Trust You’ had even the old fogey Eldritch wannabes shaking their stuff (ooer-not a pretty sight) and certainly had us jammy gits at the front larging it. Other highlights included ‘People Like Me...’ and the absolutely divine ‘Confined’, but for me anyway, the pinnacle of their performance was ‘Needle in a Bruise’-the perfectly polished synths served as a fitting backdrop to Mark’s passionate and emotional vocal performance, normally unheard of this side of David Gahan.
Goosebumps a-go-go. Wow.
Who said electronic music was always cold? I tell you, if there was any justice, these guys would be huge! An outstanding performance which no doubt converted many philistines.
Come to Ireland soon!
|The rest of the night after that is very blurred-a mixture of natural and
artificial highs (Mesh’s performance and too much
booze respectively). Finally got around to looking for familiar faces-en route had some frock-coated backcombed geriatric give
me his chat-up spiel which was not unlike Pepe Le Pew’s-I was never so glad to see Simon in my life!
Tried to get some sense out of Ian who was so pissed he barely knew his own name (according to John, he didn’t know his own name), so left him to it and headed straight for the dancefloor.
Dodging a multitude of glowsticks and light sabres, found a great spot under a UV light which had my nails, lips and legwear glowing (my face was also starting to glow due to raw Peach Schnapps drank in haste) and we soon got moving to the techno/industrial/synthpop sounds filling the hall-the likes of Wolfsheim, Funker Vogt and The Nine stood out in particular. The hall by this time was an array of magenta, yellow and blue neon objects (although in some cases less should have been more), with all of us engaged in one big drunken stacatto dance.
Hedonism is here, kids. Let the good times roll.
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