Jun 17, 2006
Oh look, BALLS! Despite the last minute venue change, and the lack of Fil and his phenomenal powers of spatial awareness, II was a massive success on Wednesday.
The Bay Horse basement looked like the bastard child of an art deco brothel and a hunting lodge, and golly-by-gosh did the space work. It limited our options - visuals were not easy and the walls were made of paper - but the theme seemed to go down a treat.
The theme was balls, which meant ball-related visuals including Johnny Ball and testicular cancer (nice), and we tried to get as many balls into one space as possible. So there were cages full of balls, plasma balls, juggling balls, glitter balls, a stick-and-ball game, spot-the-ball and a mailing list form which encouraged you to fill in your title as if you were at a ball.
We knew we had reached ball nirvana when we had punters choosing tracks using home-made lottery balls. Strangely, and by absolute coincidence because it was randomly chosen, the last track of the night was Jackson And His Computer Band's Utopia, a tune best known for its use in the O2 advert with the (ball-shaped) bubbles. Snipples from the advert are dotted around this post.
Big thanks to those who made the night happen, including Kol, Fil, Stephen, Sarah, Cris, Kev, Lev, Ben and others, and big-up to Kid Mingus and Pachuco for being brilliant. We had a ball. (Cue laugh.) Let's see another BALL!
My fun wasn't over. A few hours after we had packed away and thrown ourselves at the mercy of a rip-off taxi driver, I headed to the beautiful Isle of Anglesey for an overnight snooze in a tent.
It was a vaguely sinister couple of days. On the train there, a man gave me a look of death and then I realised he was staff and I was scared. Then there was the lady who told me all about her forklift driver sons who have just bought a house together in Grimsby, and I swear she had a knife behind her back. Probably.
Anglesey is the opposite of a box of chocolates; it is predictably dull in the centre but rich and surprising on the outside where all the sea and sand and coves are. Yes it has a McDonald's but it has retained a strong Welsh character.
I camped at the excellent Bagnol Caravan Park, where all the caravans seem to have net curtains and therefore no view. I was sharing the field with three pleasant for soccer fans; they listened to the wireless and said "how do you do" all the time (I think). And we were surrounded by strange wooden sculptures of staring monsters, which became all the more sinister since I couldn't get Venetian Snares' haunting Szamar Madar out of my mind.
Oh bless, a SMALL BALL! On my second day on the island, I discovered a writing workshop with Janice Madden. She has just written a book about her Aunt who was murdered then exhumed for the head to be removed. It has taken her seven years of toil to get this book done, so I wish her every success.
I meandered back home and chatted to all the interesting Irish people fresh off the ferry (I loved the Kerry man's story of storm waves hitting the side of his ship "like an anvil"). By this time, the only tune I had in my head was Smokey Robinson's Tears Of A Clown.
What a wonderful carefree few days. As the song goes, "Now if I appear to be carefree, it's only to camouflage my sadness." Could life get any better? *...sob...*
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