One of the tenets of the Korean martial art of Taekwondo, of which I’m a student and instructor, is Perseverance. Playing at Beatherder last week was a trial of perseverance that would challenge a grand master, and I don’t just mean sticking out the equatorial temperatures on site. No, I mean pressing on through missing hardware, food poisoning, software mismatches and early morning burglary in order to work my passage to the festival…It was never meant to be this way. I’d always known I’d have to revise my approach and perform a task at odds with my on the fly style: downloading content. I’d been on that diligently for some time, amassing a veritable arsenal of festival muzaks and in-between nonsense on my hard drive. Unfortunately that ran out the back of my house, along with my laptop, under the arms of a hoody in the early hours of the preceding Sunday. Thanks to the help of my good friend Liz, plus a lot of tears, tantrums and begging, I managed to avail myself of a freshly downloaded set of content, and something approaching a serviceable laptop to play it on.
Unfortunately when I finally put software & hardware together for the first time at the festival, one of the laptops wasn’t playing the downloaded content and the other wasn’t sending video to the mixer. This left me one option away from putting it all in a playlist, hitting play and trundling off to catch Leftfield headlining the main stage. However, via a couple of exceedingly clunky workarounds I managed to get part of a laptop and a dvd player to both work at the same time, and finally we were in business.
I was playing the same content as at the Papergirl Leeds exhibition, although in a completely different order, trying to work the little material I had into something resembling a prime time Saturday night festival slot. Its safe to say I didn’t have the biggest crowd, but the folk who came along were clearly of good taste, recognising and welcoming a track from Ivor Cutler immediately. Always a plus to have an educated crowd I reckon.
I hooked the drifting audience in with the “Mad as Hell” speech from Network, crunching into Cyriaks version of Frankie Valli’s Beggin…
From then on it was a giddly canter though the likes of singing Carl Sagan, sweary Synthesiser Patel, Mexican Institute of Sound, Pogo and Chris Joss, before peaking with a country rock folk blues swing beatboxing cover revival hoe-down featuring the likes of Son of Dave, Beardyman, Tiga, Brett Domino & The Morning Pages.
Amazingly, I was just about able to get the internets over there in Lancashire, so after about 60 minutes of downloading, I was able to finish on a Kanye track that I had planned to make more of during the set I’d originally planned. I know he’s a bit mainstream, but the theme he’s working up here is an ideal festival head masher, as well as a bit of a dancefloor crumpler…
So, that was Beatherder, the first time I’d made it along. The odd thing is, I have a projector that has been every year since it started, go figure! Maybe it didn’t all plan out as I’d intended, but that it worked at all is a miracle worthy of at least beatification, if not full sainthood.
Oh, and just to be clear, neither burglarly nor food poisoning incidents were at the festival, which was absolutely amazing: great atmosphere and really tasty well prepared food! For the record, I was on the Caravan Stage from 10-12 on Saturday night.