Arrive over in Bermondsey in the AM to meet my co-travelers for the minibus: boyofbadgers, catsgomiaow, dogrando, julietk, marnameow, mrs_leroy_brown, sbp. We had a nice time getting down there, and the glimpse of a queue outside the venue turned out to be just people sitting in the sun, so we were very soon ensconced in our respective chalets (them up and down from each other, me one row along). There followed on my part a bit of a nap, and the discovery, as this was my first year in a 4-person chalet, that we had no shower, but instead a bath. Which, since I was the only one arrived for my chalet, was a fine novelty, first real actual bath in about 5 years. I also determined pretty soon that there was no actual phone coverage anywhere in my chalet, in fact when we went to see Country Teasers for 5 minutes the reception improved noticeably inside the venue. After my chalet-mates turned up, we went to see Holly Golightly, who was quite pleasant countryish sings with a good backing band (at one point they might well have been the Tennessee Two). There's a gap where I wander around some more and meet other Dublin folk who I've not seen in a while, and more friends of theirs that are entirely new - and one that on seeing me tells me that she used to work with my sister in Outhouse!. This was one of the best aspects of the weekend for me, and it's also why I didn't see much of my minibus-mates. Sorry! At some point I also have to remotely pierce the impermeable barrier between my London friends and my flatmates (IE my friend Emma rings to ask if she can have her copy of The Bike Book back before going on a ride on Saturday, so I have to help my flatmate find it in my room, in a Crystal Maze stylee). Back into the venue for Comets on Fire, who would be much better if I actually liked guitar freak-outs, and then upstairs to see Black Mountain, about whom I'd heard great things (from Emma). They were good, and I can see how I'd get into them if I saw them again, but I was really starting to fall apart at that point - A cold had been rattling around my head for over a week, and it was the end of my first week back cycling (I went down to tie my shoelace at one point, and when I got back up my knees hurt for five minutes), and I'd not had enough sleep in forever etc etc. So I stuck around to the end of Black Mountain, then headed back to my (incredibly awkward) bed and tried to sleep. By all accounts I missed nothing at Mudhoney.
On Saturday I rouse at a reasonable hour (IE before noon) and decide that today, goddammit, is a day for shorts. Myself and dirtyvicar head out to the Camber Castle to meet other IlXoRs, and after a bit of hanging around nervously and surreptitiously flashing gangsigns we are recognized by Onimo and Aldo, both of whom I had somehow failed to peg as very Scottish. We (and their better halves, and occasional IlXoR Guilty Boksen) are eventually joined by Greg Kitten, and sit around talking pleasantly with a brief trip outside where the good weather proves entirely illusionary. Back home we head, long enough for me to colect my football stickers and head over to their chalet to watch them watch the game, and start my path to ruin with some cider. At some point we move from "dry" to "medium", which means it appears from a different plastic gallon drum. I eventually extricate myself in time to see Ex Models, who made a lot of pretty noise and then back to the Chalet for Who. Out again to see Blood Brothers, who boyofbadgers recommends strongly, and who completely live up to the hype. About halfway through their blistering set I realise that I have heard the album before, but the strangulated voice of one of the singers put me very strongly off. Live, he's not so bad, and the contrast between him and the other vocalist is really nice, and most importantly they're both putting out a million watts of powers, and the rest of the band are backing them up with hardcore pop sounds to make your head explode. They're good fun from up front, though you have to be able to get through an asteroid belt to achieve that position. Fortunately, I've never had any problems with damaging slamdancers. Last show of the night is the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I don't think I've seen a lot of last-shows at ATP, as funnily enough I've never been that fond of any of the curators (except Shellac, who played first every day their year). But done right, it's a more accessible form of the Glasto Pyramid stage, a gig for the band's scrapbook that you can see their excitement about. And this was done very right. They even played Art Star. And a costume change!
Afterwards we wander about a bit, and I end up going to one of my ethnic friends' chalets, and then outside to play frisbee on the grass for an hour like a big twee get. One of the participants drops in and out as he tries to get into any party at all in the square, another one turns up and pwns us all while holding a pint in one hand. Inside then, and the party gets started, with myself and DV engaging in an escalating game of tag team iPod DJ. This is a fine game that can be played anywhere that has iPod speakers, and is quite gripping as you try to figure out a) how many good songs your opponent has left, and b) who put all this sh1t on your iPod? Highpoint of the night is my triumphant choice of Move Your Ass (Ultrasonic remix) which actually manages to get random punters into the flat, and also a positive reception for After The Watershed. Sadly DV's iPod decides to fvck up right at the last minute, so we don't get to round out the evening with the National Anthem ("Where's Me Jumper?") and instead wander off to the Queen Vic (ERROR ERROR). At this point I'm pretty much sober again, and in fact haven't been comedy drunk since the cider. We meet some people who escaped the party earlier, including a genial gentleman called Redser, who is happily drinking any pint that comes within his range, and dancing to everything. His chalet mate Clare buys herself and myself a pint of Fosters, and it's about then that I start smoking, tobacco. Five O'Clock comes soon, and they play the last song, then a series of last songs of decreasing quality, in an attempt to allow people to leave with varying percentages of their dignity. We spurn them all, and at six eventually spill out to the playground, and then I lead them to their chalet, despite occasional remonstrances from Redser that we're going entirely the wrong fvckin' way.
Sunday starts very slowly. I'm eventually forced out of the chalet by the fact that my phone has stopped charging in any way shape or form. I head over to the minibus crew to see if a different SIM-card will help, but nothing does. I continue making my social calls while I'm up, and notice with pleasure that everyone I call on, and every chalet I pass, is watching The Big Lebowski, the greatest film of the last twenty years (Sunday lunchtime category). There's some general confusion about the changes to the lineup, and Clare, Redser et al's chalet erupts in disgust at finding out that the Watts Prophets have canceled. My first definite memory of something happening at a certain time is hearing that our mate Krossie, of the same chalet, was going to be having his birthday party as an alternative to the bands, "6.15 in 615". It's a nice enough affair, people (including DV) taking photos all over, and a proper cake. Eventually we wander down to the venue and the rest of the evening is more like a proper festival, where you're late for all the bands but you don't mind much. We see some Jandek (about as welcoming as you'd expect), some Bert Jansch (excellent background music for talking to), then down for Ramblin' Jack Elliott, who talks a fair bit between songs, then brings on a friend to sing a few with him. That bit in particular reminded me of the Dylan (who got his first NYC gig off Ramblin' Jack) and Cash bootlegs, where two people who know a style of music backwards just sit down and have fun. He finishes with Don't Think Twice, which is a hell of a thing to do, to play a song by a protege that you know is going to get more cheers than anything you've done. Afterwards we're right at the back for curator Devendra Banhardt, and as expected I listen to a few songs then flee in the direction of the chalet, where ATP TV is due to be showing Genesis of the Daleks. It starts a bit late, and when it does, it's just someone sticking in the DVD and hitting "play all", so we get treated to 10 minutes of Blue Peter first. My chaletmates come back after a few episodes, and they'll be sleeping in the front room, so I go on the scavenge, and find all my ethnic friends over in the Birthday Chalet, watching TV. I promise I will never again complain about certain excitable conversations held by the Bermondsey massive during Who, as they are nothing compared with a few garrulous Dublin smartarses. They quiet down gratifyingly for the Big Davros Speech, though. I have to leave before the end in order to get any reasonable amount of sleep at all, and so I'm in bed at 3, up at 7, home by 11. Hooray!I should be ready for the next one in a year's time.