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Travelogue of a Whitby Virgin
p a r t t w o

Woke up paradoxically tired but buzzing after the previous night’s revelries-the whole allure and excitement of the place had really kicked in by now. Once again, it was time to hit the market and come up with something really knockout for the evening ahead...although somehow I didn’t think top-to-toe radioactive yellow would be it.
However, after much consideration and several tried on items (and much chagrin from John), I decided the real piece de resistance would be a foxy silver pvc top. Tonight, Matthew, I am going to be Electric Barbarella!

After a much needed catnap, it was time again for the terrible twosome to get tarted (and tanked) up and head over to the Pavilion. By this stage I was getting pretty damn excited at the thought of seeing VNV Nation in the flesh. With the pair of us transformed into our assumed Barbarella (with silver antennae) and Che Guevara roles, it was certainly time to see and be seen as we were now well and truly bitten by the lechery bug.
Some of the sights in the foyer at this stage were truly spectacular (in particular, a very tasty shaven headed Scottish industrial head complete with kilt)-how the hell they were overlooked on Friday is a mystery. Somehow we weren’t willing to let that happen tonight...
Eventually, after a bit of mingling and more than a bit of drinking, PUTRA-CHIC took to the stage. Manga-type characters consisting of ex-Nekromantik personnel was enough to whet my appetite. Sure enough, the sound was very Nekromantik-killer cybergoth dancey numbers with deep vocals, and had a lot of us shaking our stuff. ‘Monkey Boy’ in particular was a standout track. Impressive band-hopefully we’ll see more of them in the future.

c l i c k t o e n l a r g e During the break, Taurean common sense once again prevailed as I headed to the bar for mass supplies while John kept my place in the front row-again-well, lets face it, I sure as hell wasn’t going to be anywhere else for the mighty VNV NATION.
This was what I’d been anticipating all day. Their taking to the stage was certainly a dramatic filmic event (all marching on into darkness and dry ice), and the general consensus in the first few rows was that we were going to witness something pretty spectacular. Kicking off their set with ‘Kingdom’, Ronan and Mark certainly knew how to play their audience-Ronan in particular marching up and down the stage like some (foxy) military dictator shouting ‘COME ON!!!’
He certainly got the desired response we were all singing at the top of our voices. Their epic, energetic electronic soundscapes were nothing short of commanding and captivating, and by now the sheer energy reverberating throughout the hall was well and truly rising to fever pitch. VNV were the band it seems that everyone came to see.
Songs such as ‘Joy’ and ‘Darkangel’ were given effort and feeling of 110%-you could tell these guys actually enjoyed what they were doing. Other highlights included the sublime ‘Solitary’ , the utterly infectious ‘Legion’ which had the hairs on the back of my neck stand to attention (as well as my hormones...), but by the time it came to ‘Standing’, I don’t mind admitting that I cried. In fact, a few around me were doing the same.
We just knew it couldn’t get much better than this. These godlike chaps had us where they wanted us and we were hungry for more. We got two encores-they finished on a high with a remixed version of ‘Standing’ and party time on the Costa Del Goth was in full swing.
Certainly, another pinnacle for me was getting a great close-up photo of the towering inferno better known as Mark before he exited-but even better was yet to come...

c l i c k t o e n l a r g eBy this stage, I was ecstatic at what we just saw and had no intention of going to see Sigue Sigue Sputnik-admittedly when we looked in during their set, the crowd had dwindled-mostly to the bar.
Going to the bar and queuing brought us gradually back to earth, but no sooner was I on terra firma when Darren announced to me - there’s Mark - you should go and talk to him. These words were to turn me into a nervous wreck. Hell - what was I going to say? Further encouragement from the lovely Raggarobics Ian and his pals talked me into it (as did three undiluted shots of peach schnapps). Over I strutted, talked a load of garbled nonsense, asked him to pose for a photo with me (yeah, I looked pretty impressive myself, let’s be honest) and got even more - an early birthday kiss!
Hell, I was the cat with the cream! Bored John and everyone to tears with the proclamation of being kissed by Mark from VNV Nation, but, in my book, it was something to shout about! John admits that taking the photo was a comical affair as I’m 5’3” and he’s well over 6’6”! Anyway, after trying to keep my cool,(which was practically out of the question by now) it was time to strut our stuff on the dancefloor.
The mix was a bit more trad and ‘Batcave’-we were even up to the likes of Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction! Danced the night away with the Belfast/Dublin Alliance (well I did as John and Tom were too pissed to move at this stage.) This went on well into 3am or so but everyone was on too much of a high(of a not entirely natural nature) to care.
Afterwards, vaguely remember talking to Chris and Ian and got invited up to the Abbey to get plastered (suffice to say we were already in that state) but went back to the hotel as conditions were Arctic (and we’d lost half the buggers).

Anyway, tired but happy we returned, with some of us a lot happier than others...

c l i c k t o e n l a r g eOn Sunday we were just too knackered to get out of our beds so the afternoon was pretty lazy, just John sitting around chain smoking (no surprises there) and watching snooker while I transformed myself for the eighties disco (which, according to Simon, was the highlight of the weekend). Had no idea where we were supposed to go but set off early to beat the queues. Ran into Flo and Keith on the way, and the girl they were speaking to invited us to follow her. Somehow, I don’t think John minded that one little bit...
Anyway, thanks to Jo, we also managed to get a drink while we waited, and got invited to her party (where she proclaimed Ronan from VNV Nation was going to be). Therefore, I had no hesitation in accepting the offer.

c l i c k t o e n l a r g eAfter aeons, got inside and looked around for familiar faces. Saw Darren, the aforementioned Ian and friends, and then ran into Simon, who looked the business, and was delighted when I declared his suit made him look a cross between David Byrne and Astrid Plane.
Being a pair of eighties pop tarts, Simon and I were in our element on hearing the likes of the Human League, Soft Cell, Depeche Mode and Alphaville (although they had no Scarlet Fantastic. Bummer.). Had to find a space on the dancefloor and stay there as it was packed to capacity (although we took it in turns to get the booze).
John, in particular, lost it to the likes of the Pogues, and we all ended up doing a jig with the darling offspring of the aforementioned Arthur Brown and Beelzebub himself-dressed in cyber Morris dancing gear. (!).

Great stuff.

c l i c k t o e n l a r g e Anyway, everything else is a blur (I was the most drunk for once) but we made it to Jo’s party, (where I drank lots of cider followed by gin-not clever) and yes, Ronan was there. Met a load of really friendly people such as Tony and Squeaky Pete(!) and soon felt comfortable.
Bits I can remember include Ronan and John talking Northern Ireland politics, John talking to some guy from Cambridge about folk rock(!), me falling through a folding chair and me snogging Ronan! Talk about coming, seeing and conquering...Anyway, I’ve no idea how and when we got back, but all I remember is we felt like hell the next day, slept in, missed the bus, and I nearly threw up in the back of the taxi to Scarborough.
Eventually ended up back in Belfast feeling buggered (not literally!), barely conscious, poisoned with alcohol and our heads full (unlike our pockets) of tales to tell.

I can remember Ian telling me that once you get seduced by Whitby (in my case, anyway, that literally happened), you’ll always want to go back. I didn’t know whether to believe him or not, thinking it would be good only if certain bands played. Now I’ve realised that it doesn’t even matter who plays, its the atmosphere we create that makes it so special. Therefore, there is truth in what he said. Of course, we’ve already got our tickets and accomodation booked for November...we’re Whitby virgins no more!


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