If you'd gone down to Brighton during the start of May for a certain whole weekend, then you'd have been in for a mild surprise. Instead of the chip engorged seagulls swaying above you like obese pterodactyls, bickering familes and braying vegans, you may have bumped into another demograpic - it would have been there skulking about the Lanes, doing the zombie shuffle and masquerading as the music biz. At least what's left of it. For it was the weekend of the Great Escape conference, an event which likes to describe itself as the UK's SXSW (supposedly the ultimate such event of its type - mainly cos it's in Texas), but in reality isn't quite as good. There are loads of bands playing. Loads. Many of them are pants. The few good ones shine like such oases of talent that your chances of getting in to the small venue to see them are slim to totally 'no chance mate you might as well go throw yourself into the sea'. So queuing is what you do. Then queue again. Then queue a bit more.
But we did have a good time although this was due to the sheer depravity of some of the behaviour on offer. Many, many drinks were free as, due to the generosity of few big brands (I'm looking at you here Heineken - thanks!) branding everything so we could toast the biz and the seaside. Drink is what we did, the freer the better. The first day was all about the conference, then drinks, then more drinks, then finding the cosy hotel, then really going for it with the beers. At half one in the morning we were roaming the beaches shouting. At five tings had got slightly more sedate with the Radio 4 podcast coming out. 6am was sweet oblivion before the alarms went off at 8 and it was time to get up for breakfast. Friday (and in fact the next few days) were quite a struggle. This struggle was made slightly better by not visiting the press room. If you ever do go to TGE, then try and avoid the press room. The amount of air kissing in there is off the chain. It probably does one good to cosy up to some of the mothers in there but, to coin a phrase, you can't put lipstick on a snake and pretend it's not a snake. Can you? Even if you close your eyes you'll still here it slithering.
The best thing we saw by miles was the Fat White Family - the queue was ridiculous but the creeping sense of dread, seediness, plus song quality put everything else in the shade. Even though they must reside in the dark. But they blew us away big stylez. Big up the Fat Whites...
|Brighton Beach at one in the morning|
|Running to the sea #rushing|
|How dare you feed me tinned mushrooms when I've only been to sleep for two hours|
|Searching for the nearest Greggs and struggling|
|The Fat White Family - totally 'killing it'|
|A poor excuse for a chip butty|
|Binning the last of the nutrients|