Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Electric Elephants get their trunks out in Croatia

Dwelling in the United Kingdom means ‘Balearia’ is much more of a state of mind than a geographical or physical reality. The shitty weather and perpetual lack of sunshine vibes gives every man, woman and their dog something to gripe about during the supposed summer time months. It’s pissing down. You’re skint. Work is wank. Boo bloody motherfucking hoo.

Thankfully, we’d pre-empted the classic July urge to jump off the nearest roof top by booking ourselves a little trip taking in Croatia and the Electric Elephant festival. So it was a hit of pure joy to not have to go into the work the other Monday. Instead we ventured across to St Pancras and the waiting Eurostar via a skanky Irish boozer for a little adventure across Europe.

Our trip involved boarding the train (and somehow prizing ourselves out of the nearby fake ‘spoons) and whizzing over to Paris with Kronenburg, Viz and Private Eye for company. Then we hit the sleeper train to Munich, followed by a third rail journey from Germany to Zagreb, the Croatian capital.

Civilised it sounds but the first leg was mainly defined by leglessness and sharing a compartment with a youthful German couple who fancied themselves a little overnight, leg-over. To allow them a smoochy window of opportunity, we marauded up and down the overnight choo choo on a mission to seek lager and a smoking zone. We met a lovely scouse train driver who joined us in our endeavours - three might be considered a crowd but it meant when the smoke was hitting the proverbial fan of rules, there was even less chance of the authorities doing owt to chuck us off and throw our nicotine-loving asses into a German jail. Ha.

The second segment down to the Adriatic was all about the buffet car and taking croissants in the face while cruising through the a moutain range. It felt a little like Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express except with less death - the only thing getting murked were the strong lagers we’d started on immediately post-meal until our relaxed state of mind was dislodged by the train splitting. We had to indulge in a quick, little waddle up the platform to avoid being stranded in the middle of nowhere.

So it was ten hours after we first breached the carriage that we were dumped in Zagreb and lo - it was hot enough to fry ostrich eggs on the pavement. Thank fuck - If it’d been raining, it would have brought on a sudden about turn, a wail and a wee sob. To celebrate nearly reaching our rave destination we smashed up Zagreb with a fellow hosteller, an act which climaxed with two of us drinking the entire contents of a bottle of dodgy looking lemon liqueur in a park with some Croatian youths. I ended up waking up in the dorm in my bunk bed starkers but with my togs neatly folded and placed beside us. Neither of our respective minds can piece back how we found the hostel. What happens in Croatia, stays in Croatia…

After all these hi-jinks, we were feeling well oiled for some festival action. The last part of our outbound leg consisted of an insanely sweaty coach ride and a stop at a restaurant in the hills of Croatia, which exposed a garish collection of taxidermy residing in its guts. Fittingly, the taxi which carried us into Petrcane played Take That’s Back for Good and Walk Like Egyptian. Pure, unadulterated vibes. From this debauched platform, we joined our fellow festival goers on the beach at Petrcane and fucking lived it the fuck up for the next 5 days.

The highlights were vast - raving it up on a boat to Andrew Weatherall and Sean Johnston's A Love From Outer Space while clad in a vest. Shouting at blokes from Leeds. Eating a shitload of delicious fish. Getting a real thirst on for hype on the Yo Yo boat party. Meeting Weatherall, seeing him at numerous eateries over the weekend and getting him to greet us as 'gentlemen'. Derrick Carter playing 'Miss You' by the Rolling Stones. Unabombers playing 'Do You Think I'm Sexy' and the 12 inch of 'Tainted Love'. All in the main stage outside bit in the baking night time heat. Smoking inside the smokiest, most kitsch club in the world - Barbarella's discotheque. Dancing next to the sea at the Beach Bar. The pink cava. Ron Hill's cigs (Sailing edition natch). The air conditioning in the flat we rented from a Croatian family who appeared to be spending the week living in the garage. Props. The massive number of northerners having it large whereever you turned. Going for a very minor paddle with Chinchilla Price. Getting a pedlo flex on. Seeing Ralph Lawson play in the club. Catching up with old mates and making shitloads of new ones. Getting out 1,600 kunas at a time and not giving a flying fuck about the consequences. Did we mention the heat?

It was over all too soon. After 6 days of heady days and even headier nights we were suddenly back in Gatwick carrying chocolate and wearing shorts in the rainy rush hour. But I'm still vibing heavily offa proceedings. I just can't shake this balearic feeling off. Hopefully it'll last until 2012 - cos the idea of going somewhere else isn't an option...


Going supersized dans Paris

Bin crew

Paris - conclusive proof we were there fior all of 30 minutes

Hello - what's your name?

Breakfast on the train to Munich

Breakfast hi-jinks

Taking the views

Breakfast - liquids

Pre-breakfast stomach liner

A Croatian delicacy - dough, cottage cheese interior and burnt flour - dry

Croatian lemon medicine to wash away the taste of the Croatian delicacy

Hangover munch

Zagreb's erotic billboards caught our collective eye

Hello mate how are you?



A Love from Outer Space sets sail

Waiting for the bar to open

The Old Man of the Sea lays something serious down


Smoking yacht rock styles

Getting too close to our man

Dancing at sea

White bait

A view from the bed squad


Classic pan flex

Trying to find the on-button - at this stage? Worried. Very worried

Overly worried

Homemade eggs

Ooodles and scroodles

Derrick does disco

Overheating on the dancefloor

A fish platter...


Fucking dance

Morning scrumps!

Man magazines


Steak and tings

Not a Tuborg - don't you worry about that

Inside Barbarella's Discotheque - aka the hottest, smokiest club in the entire world

Barbarella hersen

I've left the hob on again


Zagreb's finest watering hole

Zagreb airport's warning signs

Decor at the airport - be prepared...

Finished in Zagreb - officially one of the most boring holiday reads ever attempted...