If you have read John D’s review of Camera Obscura and Django Django at Barcelona’s Primavera Sound 2013 (published in The Herald), you would be forgiven for thinking that us Pin Ups chaps and ladies were models of professionalism, surveying the festival with cool detachment, delivering perfect copy precisely on schedule.
While it’s true that we wanted to do the best job possible, there was also plenty of fun along the way. Set out in this article is an assortment of supplementary Primavera Sound 2013 highlights that Arts Editors of national broadsheet newspapers are unlikely to want to read (and even less likely to want to publish).
There were 2 apartments to be shared between 10 folk, and only one of the apartments had a very prestigious sounding terrace. As Niall, Fi and Jules were flying from Edinburgh, we needed photographic evidence that the room draw in the Prestwick airport departure lounge was being conducted with utmost honesty. Showing that John Ewing was overseeing it meant nobody could question its integrity.
John Ewing makes the draw; Niall and Fi await the outcome and are advised to step away from the edge (of the terrace, because they sadly won’t be staying in that apartment)
There was lots of talk before the trip about “Sensible Wednesday”, “Civilised Wednesday”, “let’s not get all mangled on Wednesday before the festival has even begun” blah blah. However #CivilisedWednesday was struck an early blow when Niall showed off his impressive Spanish skills but got his “grandes” confused” with his “thimbolas”, somehow ordering us tiny beers. When I say “tiny” I mean “half pints”, but you can imagine the howls of protests, with indignant drinkers claiming they they hadn’t been subjected to such booze rations since their first school disco. Gripped with terror that Wednesday was somehow getting away from us, Niall quelled the panic by leading us to Bar Marsella, Barcelona’s famous absinthe bar. As Bryan Ferry would say, you can guess the rest.
The 3rd snap looks like star couple Laura and Paul Smith (in the blue hoodies/cardies in the centre) have been swamped by eager wee fans wanting a photo
BIG WHEEL/WEE WHEELS
2 Primavera innovations this year were the Minis which transported you around the back of the site to the main stage, and a generic big wheel. The big wheel ruins the trade mark Primavera terrifying architecture a bit, but getting a lift in the minis was a very good laugh (especially when Martin tried to tip the driver a Euro and the aloof driver responded with disgust).
The big wheel; Derek, Natalie and John D enjoying a mini ride to The Postal Service (who were fairly so-so, despite the presence of Jenny Lewis) on the Thursday night
THE MEETING POINT
On the left is Fi gaily getting a snap outside the Meeting Point – the big shoe box. On the right is Dave perfectly showcasing the lack of respect which the party showed to the Meeting Point, where nobody ever met anybody. ( I like how the approaching Security Guard in Dave’s snap seems to be concerned that Dave is actually taking a dump.)
You know how you hear these urban legends about folk packing Irn Bru in their suitcases? Here’s a snap of Matin Craig’s unpacked toiletries, as well as him showing off his delicacy to John and Dave.
Jackmaster’s “Tweak A Holic” (“the soundtrack to your girlfriend’s next house party”) at the end of the Thursday night was a total riot and knocked the earlier Simian Mobile Disco for 6.
THE TERRACE, IT IS CLOSED
We thought we’d get the #CivilisedWednesday grand plans for fancy bars and sophisticated conduct back on the menu on the Friday afternoon, and tried to visit a swanky rooftop bar in an upmarket hotel. Our plan was to send forth the stately, handsome and generally vaguely aristocratic Big Jules as our leader, and while Jules may well have gained entry on his own, one look at the rabble he was leading was enough for the chap at reception to advise “the terrace? It’s…erm…closed” . ”The terrace [huge pause] it’s [wrinkle nose]…closed” (in a terrible Spanish accent) became an enduring catchphrase for any unsatisfactory situation.
LIMMY AND LENNY
Django Django on the Friday were good fun. Provided you had swigged enough of Martin’s Bucky, you could also take quite a fancy that the singer and drummer looked like Glasgow err “icons” Limmy and Neil Lennon, respectively. Weirdly, the singer was at a wedding we DJ’d at the following week, in Loch Lomond. We had a wee chat with him about Primavera, and his gag that it was too cold to get out his speedos (we’ll ch-ch-chat more about the c-c-cold weather later on).
BATEMAN’S BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
John D’s craving for booze was only surpassed by his craving for business cards. After all, what better way is there to make first impressions about the credentials of a top professional than at 4am, as he “shows his style” (falls about, arms flailing, fists pumping) during Animal Collective’s My Girls?
Among honoured recipients of D’s business card were some marketing bird from London (after the Postal Service), a very friendly chef from San Francisco (during a blissful Grizzly Bear), and a chap from Barclays who is pals with Ed Harcourt and actually seems very nice (correspondence between John D and this gentlemen is, remarkably, apparently ongoing).
John D admires the business card of the chef from San Francisco
It’s fair to say that , despite various squeaky-voiced tongue-in-cheek renditions of The Wilhelm Scream from the party, those who saw James Blake on the Friday night thoroughly enjoyed his set, not least the rumbling bass which was even shaking glasses in the nearby food court.
John D thoroughly enjoyed Local Natives on the Friday, despite being trapped next to a Local Natives superfan. They say the abused becomes the abuser, and straight afterwards John D got right down the front for Blur and subjected surrounding Spaniards to repeated high pitch screams of “don’t make me choose!” as he pointed at, variously, Graham, Damon, or Alex. (John D never pointed at Dave.)
Note how much further away John D is from Local Natives than Blur
The Knife’s appearance at Primavera late on the Friday night left a lot of folk confused. There were loads of dancers and what seemed to be a backing tape. Was it a live performance? Was it theatre? Was it art? Few were more confused than young Niall, who developed a tricky sight problem which involved him turning his head and his vision catching up with the head movement several seconds later. Effectively if he looked away from the stage he could still see the stage until the new images from his eyes slid into view after an uncomfortable delay. He had to turn his head very gingerly then turn his body afterwards – kind of like Robocop.
This setback was remedied by the plucky young man “doing a sick”. Notwithstanding this trauma, Niall thought The Knife’s show was very good. (He also wants it on the record that Death Grips on the Thursday is amongst the “best 10 gigs I’ve ever seen”.)
TRAPPED IN THE PORTAKABIN
Just to prove that at a festival there’s always somebody in worse nick than you are, we met an unfortunate guy from Helsinki in the queue for the metro at 5.30am. ”I came all the way from Finland to see Blur” said the Finn, “but I fell asleep in a toilet and missed their whole gig”. When we weren’t sure how to respond he just said “Yes – yes I did”, stoically.
THE EYES HAVE IT
On the Saturday night the gang convened in one of the apartments (the one with the terrace, obviously) to watch the Champions League final, and Butcher’s lack of chat and faraway gaze prompted murmurings about whether he was “mentally attuned” for the final push. With the football on the TV it didn’t take much to make the leap to soccer-related eyeball-pointing hilarity as we recalled Gary Lineker’s sign language to the England bench in Italia 90 after Gazza started crying.
Butcher reported that it only took him until about the following Wednesday to feel normal again.
THIS IS A LOW
Everyone knew Barcelona was cool but nobody expected it to be cold! The bracing breeze sweeping across Parc el Forum duing the festival was quite an unexpected surprise. ”Hello Barcelona – it’s fucking freezing!” was Nick Cave’s erudite summary during a typically blistering set from the big man on the Saturday night. A deep burn it was not!
John D, Natalie, Derek and Martin (Martin’s hair couldn’t stop shivering long enough for the snap); Fi and James layering up
Martin and John D (let’s be clear, John D was only wearing that ridiculous hat to keep warm)
Camera Obscura played a midnight show on the Saturday to a huge crowd – hopefully that meant they didn’t miss sunny warm Glasgow too much!
CRYSTAL CASTLES, HOT CHIP AND DJ COCO
Saturday came to a very energetic finish with Crystal Castles and Hot Chip. Most of Crystal Castles set is now secondary to their crazy light show (1st album classic tracks and “Not in Love” excepted), but Hot Chip are a splendid festival band, and were far more enjoyable then their last appearance in Glasgow in October 2012. We were so enthusiastic we even managed to get a bunch of Spanish chaps to get their “taps aff” (in the freezing conditions!) during Over and Over. John D also accidentally poured a pint down Laura’s back as he hugged her because he was so excited! Then there was DJ Coco’s closing pertay, with a load of obvious massive fun tunes, and streamers during M83.
Survivors! Jules, Dave, Laura, Paul, Martin, Niall, John and John D. (Butcher must have taken this.)
On the Sunday morning at the end of the festival at about 7am a bunch of us went back to a flat which a couple of nice English ladies were staying in. On the metro they provided full disclosure about just how strange the apartment was. We weren’t disappointed! It turned out it had a glass lined mezzanine (so you could see the beds from the living room couches..), a small tiled room with a hose, and some sort of customised dentist chair. Yes, it could only be described as a DUNGEON. Somebody somewhere is probably right now enjoying racy footage of Dr Dave Speirs PhD trying to work out what the hell the chair was actually about – check out the picture on the left. (The picture on the right, incidentally, looks like Paul Smith ready for action in the dungeon, but it’s actually just him in the apartment.)
As DJ Coco’s final song of the festival urged, we didn’t stop believing. Check out Sunday’s bar bill.
Hey, here’s some snaps of nice normal holiday behaviour. Here’s Martin and Dave in a nice sunny park; John D, Fi, Niall and Butcher at Barceloneta beach; Niall, Fi and John D enjoying lunch in the Boqueria; John and Paul enjoying beer, OK – but civilised beers
So there you have it. Plenty of nonsense (and believe me, plenty more even jucier nonsense has been left out to protect the guilty – buy us a pint and we’ll tell you all about it). Same time next year? Could be time perhaps for the Glastonbury challenge…