On Wednesday 6th of July, Steve and I went to The Psychobilly Meeting, Pineda De Mar, Spain. On Wednesday 13th of July we returned. What happened in between is to say the least, sketchy.
We set off all right - the taxi to the airport was painless, the online check-in had proved successful and the bag drop was almost mercurial. The lengthy queue for X-ray was marginalised by the happy accident of Steve's mate being on passport control who effectively "arrested" us in the line and frog-marched us to the very front with a wink. An excellent bloody mary later and we were on the plane, where we were joined by Pip and Alex (organisers of the Bedlam Breakout festival). The flight itself was early, our bags were some of the first off and we even had time to indulge in a glass of wine before our train arrived. Then we forgot to get off it at Barcelona Sants and forty five minutes later, still deep in conversation, we were travelling at no inconsiderable speed into the mountains. Fortunately for us a Cuban bloke knew where we needed to go, procured us two women who were getting off where we needed to and they led us to a taxi rank. Fifty euros later we were at the hotel. I'm just glad there were four of us: I normally get stung for the whole thing.
It's the third time I've stayed in the Aquahotel Promenade and I have to admit, I do like it. It's a stone's throw from the station (very useful if you actually manage to arrive by train), right on the sea front, a stopping off point for the "Xinu Xanu" tourist road train and less than a ten minute walk from the festival tent (particularly useful at 4am). We booked in without incident and in a rare flourish of generosity I let Steve have the double bed in the room and settled for the single. He was suitably impressed. I normally commandeer the larger mattress when we share a room, arguing that I spend a lot more time in the thing than he does. This led to him sleeping in the lounge in Fuerteventura and in a dog bed at my feet in Sardinia. This time around was literally his day in the sunshine. We successfully located our own balcony (At last year's festival I hadn't realised I had one for the first five days) and looked out across the pool to the rather more run down "Nostre Mar" apartments which resembled a Psychobilly Celebrity Squares, with people we knew directly above each other on three floors. We ate dinner and took a walk over there, beginning on the third floor with Marina (My adopted German daughter) and her friends. We had some Sangria. Then we went down to the first floor to see Kitty, Gwen and Laurent. We had some vodka. Then we got a cab to Magma Disco. The one drawback to the Aqua' is that it's miles away from the first night of the meeting which is a Spanish Psychobilly night. That'll be another eight euros, then.
I immediately hit the "Vino Tinto"s. Red wine is just about the only bargain in bars in Spain because they can't fathom why you would want to get pissed on it. As a result half a pint of it is the same price as half a lager. I spotted this loophole on my first trip to Pineda. It's a bargain all right, but it's dangerous. Within an hour I was legless and even made the official photographs, such was my demeanour
|The comment underneath this photograph (form Billy Tombstone, official photographer of the festival) said simply: "Paul - you look wasted - don't forget we are only on day one!"|
Thursday was a day of revelation. Steve revealed he is still prepared to strip to his speedos at the first sign of the sun. More importantly, I had been hinting to anyone who would listen that 2011 was "All about the parrots". Steve and Ant had taken this to mean I had bought a parrot shirt. I hadn't - I'd bought four. This stratagem was multi-purpose: It would be a minor talking point, it would piss Ant off when he realised that the one he would undoubtedly procure (in direct competition) would pale into insignificance and most importantly, I would be able to identify which night was which in the photos of the festival by which parrot shirt I was wearing. I know - I'm a genius. We had lunch in "Can Josep", a regular haunt of Psychobillies in the know, insomuch as they do four courses with booze for eleven euros. I was adult enough to only drink agua con gas as I had made a pact with a certain Simon Nott not to drink during the day. Steve hit vino tinto y gaseosa because he is a MAN. He spent the afternoon by the pool and I ventured out there for about forty minutes in blazing evening sunshine which was enough to send me scurrying back inside again to continue a book I was reading about the siege of Malta called "The Religion". It is a graphic piece of historical fiction and there is plenty of bloodletting and bowel voiding - just how I like 'em. Having had rather a lot of Kitty & Gwen's vodka the night before, I felt the need to replenish their stocks but was stopped in my tracks in the mini-supermercado by a drink that filled me with awe - cannabis absinthe. Not any old absinthe but cannabis absinthe. I only have one previous experience of absinthe and it was on the back of an all-day session in Prague several years ago when we had been drinking litres of dark ale with bottle of red wine chasers. The results of one shot of the green faery had toppled me into lunacy and I had vowed that it would be a cold day in hell before I had another one. Still, a warm night in Spain was considered close enough and anyway it allegedly had cannabis in it as well which we considered should soften any black mood I may descend into. It was also only five euros for a quarter bottle. How could we turn it down? One bottle procured, we headed back to Nostre Mar and sat on Kitty's balcony again for far too long.
|Here are Laurent and myself demonstrating the varying effects of the bottle in the centre of the picture. Please also notice my rather fetching parrot shirt, indicating "Thursday".|
Fifteen sangrias later I couldn't remember a lot about The Coffin Nails or The Ricochets, other than they were both brilliant and the former played "Blubbery Love", one of my all-time favourite songs. here they are in action
|The Coffin Nails - and yes, they are wearing grass skirts!|