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Marina
Marina

Get loaded in the park

Dylan Strain

By crikey, was I up for this. Spending my every waking hours over the summer months teaching English and providing entertainment for affluent, mostly German students, I was ready to get my dancing shoes on.

12pm, doors opened and I quickly find myself sitting against a tent mast, reading about Arctic Monkeys, waiting for my friend and for something to happen.

It soon did, in the shape of Marina & The Diamonds. Hadn't a clue about this band. First on to a hand-full of happen to be theres, like me and other devoted (men, it must be said) admirers who know the words to the songs. 

Marina speaks in sweet Southern counties English, but a woman in the crowd tells me she's from Norway. Not sure about that, but she doesn't look English. Apparently Marina's nursing a hang-over after playing the Reading & Leeds festivals. Really? Didn't show.

She's two people. One -  talking well, softly,  between songs and another - the full-on performer, quite brilliant. I'm not in love like these lads next to me, but they've good taste, must be said. The songs don't hit me between the eyes, not quite my cuppa, but two tunes stood out.

The cover of the rocking Late of The Pier song, 'Space & The Woods' sounded better than the original, Marina telling us she's not got a rocked up set, so here's one we might just like. Oh, yes please. The last tune stood out too. 'Robot' is a seemingly straight forward unpretentious shout for us to be ourselves, telling the protagonist;

'You're vulnerable / Your lovable / You are not a robot.'

Good stuff, this girl is worth keeping your eye on. I hate to compare, but I want to unfortunately, she's part Patti Smith n' Kate Bush, quite a combo, but Marina is her own girl. Marina & The Diamonds are about to embark on an NME tour of the UK.

From now on, I shall be brief. Life is unexpected, I'm sure you'd agree. I was so up for the day, as I mentioned. Really looking forward to the live show of Gallic electro clash heroine Miss Kitten, French techno legend Laurent Garnier, the sexed up dance of Peaches & then original dance pioneers Orbital headlining.

Saw a couple of tunes from Laurent Garnier, but unfortunately one of the 'pro - photographers'  had to ask me, "which one is he?" so when he was taking pictures I whipped the baseball cap from off his head and threw it back into the crowd behind me. I wasn't grassed up by anyone, but had to leave as the bloke was doing his best to have me evicted from the site, even though he didn't know if it was me or not, so I made an exit to another tent. Garnier, doesn't half take himself seriously though.

Miss Kitten & The Hacker were average at best, Peaches lacked the tunes too, her stage presence the most impressive thing about her -  like some rock icon, she walked into the throng, across hands working hard to hold her up. Only her last tune, 'Rockshow' perhaps a signature sign off, hit the spot.

Felix
Felix Da Housecat
Two unexpected 'gigs,' that of DJ sets, icon Felix Da Housecat (I'd never heard him play out before) had the tent bouncing, so did Steve Aoki, giving out loads of energy to rock the whole tent.

At 7.30pm on the dot, Orbital started their 'best of' set. Fine, but ... I loved these two brothers, so many good tunes, so many memories of the 1990's, but with 30 minutes to go, for me the game was up. Two words. Gravy train. Why play the festivals again? Just for the money I'd say. The whole thing lacked something new in terms of creativity or anything.

Steve Aoki
Steve Aoki

9pm and on the dot they had finished. So had the 'festival'. No encore.

At £40 a ticket once the booking fee & card charge has been paid and .. it wasn't worth it.

It's now 20 years since the whole dance scene exploded into life, people just putting on parties adhoc. Spontaniety, I think I remember? Tunes brimming with ideas.

2009, and we have to buy a programme to find out when each act plays. A can of beer is £3.50 (you can't bring in yer own.)

The thing is called 'Get loaded in the park' but with drugs not legal and a 9pm curfew, what chance? Got back to Brighton in good time for my mug of coco though, so that was nice.

The music scene is in a commercial crisis. Capitalism and music? I wore a t-shirt that said, 'Let's compost capitalism.' The helpful woman from the Marina & The Diamonds show smiled at me and said, "Great t-shirt." (There was pause) "I love compost." What comic timing, I laughed my head off. She was serious though, "No honestly I do, I compost everything" she protested. Oh well, I'll keep believing.

'Get Loaded In The Park' - 30th August 2009 - One-day dance festival, Clapham Common, London

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