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ATP, Sad to say. . .

Monday 25th May, downpour in the morning, fine and warm this afternoon.

ATP, sad to say, turned out a bit of a bust for us. We'd signed up aeons ago, and watched the bands we'd never heard of added to the roster without disquiet. The Breeders, post-punk, thrashy, female-ordered, what could go wrong? Unfortunately, let me see, we didn't like the music, the weather was cold and atrocious, the food on site was not cheap, not cheerful but uniformly DISGUSTING: which depressed me, to think of the poor holidaymakers, and the Butlins camp itself not as quirky and cute as you might think. Late at night, the rabbits grazed in the security lighting, and we prowled the ranks of chalets, wondering whether to go and see if anyone else had yet braved the stone-empty dance venue. . . Throwing Muses were very good on Friday. Saturday (aside from a dullish 0:0 title-clincher on Sky tv) highlichts were Teenage Fan Club, nothing special, & a disappointing set from the curators, who have grown up and cosy and do a capella alt-folk songs not very well.

Sunday, cheered by truly dreadful weather, we walked to the harbour, ate whitebait & crab, drank Doom Bar, visited the seamen's chapel and discovered, oh,the mines are in Wales across the channel, coalships used to dock here. Lying on the beach, in a gap between showers, engaged in sky-gazing yoga, we debated just going for a nice walk, but happily decided to stick it out. Melt Banana, Soft Pack, The Foals (we already knew about them) all good, and Gang of Four were great, did a terrific set. Worth the price of admission? Not really, they were playing Brighton on Friday 15th.

Maybe it's a refuge for ageing or wimpy Glasto fans, but if Reading was more to your choice when you were young enough, then ATP fest-under-cover may not be for you. Ah, well. It's nice to get out.

And back to the Commons snouts-in-trough shock horror. For heaven's sake. The idea that this Parliament is even moderately high on the historic scale of corruption at Westminster is absurd. Just shows you what gets "us" going, and what "we're" happy to ignore. Destroy their civil liberties, they couldn't care less. Show the great British public an unarmed citizen apparently clubbed to death by the police in broad daylight on the streets of London, and they aren't scared at all. A wooden duckhouse has them in a feeding-frenzy, baying for blood, defecting to the BNP, demanding a General Election. Money, money, money. Nothing else matters.

Just you wait. You'll see.

Reading: still Robert Conquest, but I've finished The Illiad in French and started the Odyssey in French. So now I know (I never could get into the English versions there are around). Fantastic. I'm not surprised that untold generations have been knocked out by the Illiad; and charmed to have learned that the traditions of adventure fantasy were in place back in Homer's day. And more than likely in the Bronze Age setting of this historical romance as well. We haven't changed. You'd have to go back a long, long way to find a viewpoint that isn't "ours". Certainly way further back than recorded text. Always, already bemoaning the hideous inequity and brutal evils of war with one hand, celebrating the glories and dwelling with detailed relish on gory injuries with the other. Achilles, weeping, with his murderer's hands, arranges his friend and lover's body on the bier. . .*

The Odyssey is very different. Same author? Why not? But of course, one of the things I've learned is that the Illiad is not intact, bears signs of multiple authors and editiors, and "Homer" is a catch-all, like saying "God" or "Moses" wrote the scriptures. There's a tradition the Odyssey was authored by a woman, on account of the domestic details, but I don't know about that. Possibly, why not, the "Homer" author thought to himself, the war book was cool, but now I'd like to get home and street with these people, take them down the shipyards, see what they used for door-latches and so on.

*Apparently, in Plato's day the Athenians tied themselves in knots trying to figure out which of this pair was the “erastes” and which the “eromenos”, as they couldn't imagine a homosexual relationship that wasn't pederastic. Later generations tied themselves in same trying to see only chaste manly affection.

Did you know that hetarios originally meant companion, not whore? But I got that from Wikipedia, so don't quote me.

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Aidan Byrne on :

Sorry you didn't enjoy ATP. I came with some posh people who brought a slow cooker, so we ate like kings. I like the rain, so I was happy to.
Throwing Muses, Teenage Fanclub and Melt Banana were good, but I was stunned by Shellac and Th' Faith Healers. Not sure about next year though…

Gwyneth on :

Put it down to old age! I didn't see Shellac, tho' I meant to. I admit I really enjoyed the music I did see on Sunday, esp Melt Banana and Gang, & the splendid wind and rain (possibly could have done without the freezing cold).

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