Bloodstock Open Air 04 - Overview: Bawl-out

And so lovable Count Gorlock returned unscathed from Derby. After three days of bitching, sniping and general unpleasantness it was finally over. You'd think he had the worst time ever, the unappreciative shit. So why is he sad it's all over? Read on...

 

I have to be honest, I was kind of unsure about attending Bloodstock. There were many reasons. The line up wasn’t completely appealing to me. I can totally understand it would be like manna from Heaven to some, but not me. It was dominated by lots of fun, high spirited metal bands. I do not normally listen to fun, high spirited metal.

You’ve probably guessed from the tone of my write-up: I’m a miserable sod. The kind of metal I like to listen to is either the kind of stuff you put on at three in the morning when you’re lying alone in bed, brooding hysterically as you dread having to go in to work the next day, or misanthropic, force ten grind madness. Due to living in a place predominately filled with conservative dickhead farmer types, my music listening has always been largely solitary too. I certainly couldn’t go up to my neighbours and say, ‘Hey, have you heard the new Cock and Ball Torture album?’ It’s either old timer music or banging techno here. There’s no place for a shy young fella in a Cattle Decapitation shirt. Attending a festival featuring bands like Blind Guardian, Turisas, Saxon and Europe (bands that were as relevant to me as hip hop was to Hitler) was hardly going to change my utter ambivalence towards the more uplifting end of the musical spectrum.

This would also be my first time camping at a festival. I’d been to the Download festival in Glasgow in 2004, but I was staying in a nice cosy warm flat, which had a kettle, toilet and a desktop computer featuring wanton access to my friend’s extensive collection of hardcore pornography. I was to have none of those things at Bloodstock. I wasn’t sure how I’d adapt to living under a bit of cloth in a field.

I was also a wee bit worried, as only a few weeks before, I’d viewed footage and pictures from the Gathering of the Juggalos festival in America. I don’t know if you’ve seen them. They’re like stills of a Limp Bizkit video directed by Ingmar Bergman. I was (unjustly) worried that Bloodstock would present similar scenes of bleakness, replete with hastily set up facilities, stalls cheaply signposted by marker pens and she-juggalos offering to show me their ‘big ole titties.’

I contemplated for a while whether or not I should accept the offer to go, but then I grew some balls and thought why the hell not. What else was I going to do? Besides, it gave me an excuse to take a few days off from my shitty day job. Ooooh, let me think… Spend three days watching bands, meeting people and having a laugh, or continue serving fucking wanky shitty rubbish old people in a fucking wanky shitty rubbish pub. It was a difficult choice.

It also turns out that I needn’t have worried about anything anyway. Catton Hall was a lovely picturesque place. There was no juggalo-esque horror as everything was set up professionally, with conveniences clearly marked everywhere. There were also no behemoths offering me a view of their drooping ubbs.

Living in a tent meanwhile was a piece of piss. Despite my early setback (what with being unable to put the fucking thing up in the first place) it turned into a home away from home. Any fears of discomfort evaporated, as the hard earth provided ample support for my meagre frame. A few days into the festival I could feel this less-pampered lifestyle giving life to muscles that had long since been rendered inert by apathy, videogames and junk food. It was like that bit in The Matrix, where Laurence Fishburne frees Ted Theodore Logan from the machine and Ted wonders why his legs aren’t working, to which Larry replies ‘You’ve never used them before you lazy sod.’ Something like that anyway.

Where Bloodstock fell a little short however was the line-up, but I’ll put my hands up freely and admit this is my grievance. It was far too blood and thunder, leather and denim for me. I’m probably what you’d call a hipster douchebag. I’d much rather go and see Queens of the Stone Age or Deftones than Iron Maiden or Megadeth. I stopped listening to eighties stuff once I hit twelve, and the introspective, verbose likes of Radiohead and Pulp held me in full sway.

The majority of the crowd though had not stopped listening. Whilst some had embraced modern metal extravagances (there were plenty of shirts for more contemporary bands) they, unlike me, were still very much in touch with their inner eighties Hessian. And you know what? God bless them for it.

Though I’ve been pretty derogatory, I never ran into any trouble during the festival. Aside from the twat who spilled tea down my arm, the wanker who flicked his hair in my face and the heinous fucking CUNT who threw a bottle at me during Anathema, it was a peaceful, loving three days, and I met people there who I will definitely see again. Everyone I conversed with was all smiles and more than happy to help when I was wandering around like a clueless goon.

It was a sad train journey home, though not without comedy value. I ended up sitting next to a mad babbling incoherent Welshman and his friend. Seriously, the guy would not shut up. The chap he was talking to (who sported a mighty fine Newsted-style undercut) looked ready to kill, as this deranged prattling man kept asking him questions that redefined the meaning of small talk. I’d tell you what he said now if I could've understood a fucking word of it. ‘Eh bloin gaaardian weh fukkin’ brillent boyoooo.’ Despite his garbled excellence, it was a train journey fraught with mild melancholy. By the end of it, I wanted Bloodstock to last three more days.

If a festival dominated by bands I’m not that fussed about can have me feeling downcast about leaving, then it’s done something very right. As soon as I arrived at the site I fully expected to rip Bloodstock a new one, and for the most part I’ve admittedly been a snide little twat. But I’d be a disingenuous one if I said I didn’t come away thinking I’d had a great time.

I’m in my shitty job now as I type this. There’s a drunk local at the bar, moaning about his long suffering housewife, who expected him home half an hour ago for dinner. In a few minutes, my old shit of a boss (who gave me grief for attending in the first place) will probably burst in wondering why I haven’t polished cutlery, cleaned the bar or done something equally boring and mongy. Fifteen minutes before I'm due to close the bar, a gaggle of the nearly dead will turn up for their nightly dose of old man beer, and I'll be left waiting well past closing time for them to finish.

It’s at times like these I wish I could still be piddling about with Giggles’ entourage, or listening to Moshking Gaz shout stupidly funny shit at Cradle of Filth. I wish I could throw up after going on the Waltzers again, and I wish I could still drunkenly blether away at three in the morning to a bunch of very patient Brazilians about why Sepultura are the best thrash band there ever was.

Looks like I’ll have to wait ‘til next year to do it all again.

I could say something like ‘if they vary the types of bands on the bill it’d have been even better’ but it wouldn’t be Bloodstock then would it? It’d be Count Gorstock, and it’d be three days of crushingly depressing doom and crunkcore. Absolutely every fucker in attendance would slit their wrists after the first day and I’d be the chirpiest mass murderer in existence.

That isn't Bloodstock though. Bloodstock caters to those ill at ease with the intricacies and technical nuances of more modern metal. Bloodstock knows its target audience, and is pretty adept at appealing to it. It’s to its credit though, that it endeared itself to someone who was decidedly not a member of that audience.

Now I have to go and sort out a stock of a different kind… the stock in some decrepit old bugger's soup.

Don’t cry for me, I’m already dead.