Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Coume’stock part 2 – The erection

Semi inflated mattress, sleeping bag, change of clothing, check. My car’s small boot and back seat were soon full of campenalia. Amazing how much stuff you need for 2 nights camping. I drove round to the family’s house and we were soon in convoy, following my faithful GPS’s instructions to the Farm Bio located in the middle of nowhere, 50 minutes from home.
I was a bit surprised when the GPS decided to take me off the main road onto twisty, narrow roads quite so soon, but I went with the flow, family car in tow.
We continued our sinuous route, through tiny hamlets, passed fields of sunflowers and lavender.
Eventually we saw the magic word Coume-stock written on a torn off piece of cardboard box, attached in a casual lop-sided manner to a fence post, so we knew we were still on track. Another 10 minutes and we branched off onto more pot holes than road road and then a left turn into a field.

Official reception point (unpersonned)

We parked up next to a row of 3 vehicles.
Silence reigned except for the ticking of cooling engines. Behind us was what looked like a large derelict shell of a wooden structure with loads of empty beer bottles scattered around. Was this it? Was this what a mosh pit looked like? How bohemian!
Further up the hill we could see a couple of tents, so we wandered towards them as they were not going anywhere soon. There were about about 12 tents pitched, but nobody in sight. There was also a wooden sentry box type shed with Toilette written on a sign in black paint. There was a long piece of wood propping the door shut..

We wandered back to the cars and the children had a snack, whilst I pondered upon the meaning of life.
Eventually we walked in a southerly direction to look over the brow of the hill. Finally we had located the event. Now I can understand how the knights of old felt when they caught their first glimpse of Camelot or when the BBC discovered Eldorado.
To everyone else it looked like 3 tents in a field with a small red caravan parked at the edge of the field and some vans.

We set off to investigate.
There was a small circle (okay not a perfect circle geometrically speaking) of people being addressed by Bee-Boy, who seemed to be in charge.
The sheep byre of the week before was now a stage and lounge area, complete with straw bales draped with rugs.
There was a bar, a kitchen area and another canopy which had some rickety tables and chairs assembled.
We caught Bee-Boy’s eye and he told us where to pitch the tent etc.So we trekked back up the hill to move my car closer to the tents and we started to put up my tent. Of course I was in charge of directing operations.
The children were very impressed with the grandeur of my tent. Most of the other tents were small pop – ups, but mine had guy ropes and a small porch.
The two youngest girls wanted to try the workshops, while the eldest, being too cool for school, went back to the car to read.

The workshops were scheduled to start at 16:00H, but of course it was nearer 17:00 hours before something happened.
The gravure was first, mainly because she was the one who turned up first.
The girls were given a square block about 4 inches square by 2 inches of plaster and a one inch nail. The idea was to draw your pattern or picture on a scrap of paper, then scrape away with your nail on the plaster to make a printing block. This took quite some time, The next step was to use a rubber roller to spread paint over your etching, then to print your design onto a piece of cloth.

preparing to print

printed cloth

The other workshop that seemed imminent was effectively pin hole photography. You would make your camera using a small cardboard box, presumably stick a pin hole in it, put a piece of light sensitive paper into the box, then point your camera at something for X seconds, before going into the blacked out van to develop the paper.
Alas we will never know. The van was there and the bloke was trying to make it light proof, unfortunately his mate who was supposed to be coming along with the vital chemicals, chemical trays, paper etc, did not appear at all, and was not answering his phone.
The other workshop, was even more bizarre. You had to use a black felt-tip pen to draw your design onto a sheet of plastic. Once people had filled up the page with their little designs, the two animatrices would carry out the printing process. This would not however happen until the following day, so I was tasked with making sure that A’s little doodle made it’s way into my hands on the morrow.
Finally at around 20:15, a mere 45 minutes later than advertised, the Apero theatre got underway in the barn. We perched on straw bales and watched La Cie, perform their 2 woman play “Trois dans la poele”. A tale of a mature woman who wanted to have another baby and who believed that stuffing a cabbage down her knickers would do the job, with no man needed. Before you all rush off to your nearest supermarket, I must warn you that this method is doomed to failure. She got her daughter to have a baby instead. Job done.

The first band were just starting to eat when the time came for their scheduled appearance, so the family headed off into the sunset, leaving me to lose myself in the crowd, which had now swelled to at least 60.

The French love a musical loop machine. All of the groups used it to excess.
The first act was too bizarre to describe, so here is a video snippet. She had trouble with the loop system. I don’t think that constantly kicking it helped. After 7 false starts, she eventually fought her way through to the end using only her voice to lay down the accompanying loops. From the clip you would never guess that it turned into a tale  about a toy rabbit who had no legs. Marvellous!

Siann Lofhai,the girl who had done the gravure workshop was next and she sang whilst playing her electric guitar and adding more loops as she went along. .

The third group was also one person. He improved upon the loop usage by a factor of 10, As well as “playing ” his electric guitar, he had some sort of keyboard, plinky plink machine in an old pram. I could not be arsed going round to the front of the stage so here is a video of him from the side, where I was resting on the straw bales. Gregaldur, a name to look out for in the future....... People were applauding and bouncing up and down. He either has very supportive parents or was chucked out of the house long ago.

The final act of the evening was actually a band. Les Play-Mobiles were there with their mothers, brothers and grannies in tow. They were appearing fresh from their triumphant performance in another local festival, which had taken place the night before.
I stayed for a few numbers. They were rock, punky. All this fresh French air, it was time to hit the matélas gonflable, leaving the 150 strong throng to party on. I struggled up the hill in the dark. If only I had remembered to take my torch when I had left my tent...

1 comment:

  1. Jacketed Kettlesstock

    Great thoughts you got there, believe I may possibly try just some of it throughout my daily life.


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