Flappy

Worst Gig Ever?

a guest posting from Doghouse:

NELSON SUMMER FETE 27/8/06 -“The scarecrow mocks”

The usual introduction to the Sicknote set, “Ladies and gentlemen, I welcome you to the Redneck County Clubhouse Band”, was tinged with irony when Sicknote walked on stage at Nelson ‘Festival’; for this most surely was, indeed, redneck country.

On first arrival, the colourful bunting, marquees, beer tent and generally chilled out vibes gave the impression of a typical, tolerant, Welsh family day out, but beneath this innocuous, fluffy exterior there lurked something more sinister…

The stage was set up at one end of a long corridor-like marquee, and, sitting on bales of hay, at the other end were those that came to be entertained… the ‘locals’. A huge gaping expanse separated the two; a no-mans land; a void that needed to be traversed if any meaningful connection was going to be made between performers and the audience. What followed was the most valiant display of dog-eared determination to do just that… make a connection…

On every level Mr. Doghouse tried to reach out to those assembled; even his pre-performance ritual of picking up discarded scraps of paper, cigarette butts, deflated balloons and whatever else he can find, and attaching this deitrius to himself with a roll of masking-tape, took on an air of self deprecation when he added some carefully placed bundles of hay and instantly morphed into the mentally challenged, but harmless scarecrow from the ‘Wizard of Oz’… if only he had a brain!

From that moment on, when, prior to any musical note being played, Doghouse asked the crowd to move forward, closer to the stage, to breach the gap between them, and was greeted with a vacuous apathy so nullifying that you could feel the weight of it hanging in the air, like a nebulous black sponge, saturated with the foulest bile, and threatening to engulf all in it’s brain-sucking treacle, he knew he was gonna have his work cut out…

Squeeze the sponge or drown! And squeeze he did…

It didn’t matter that it was only 4 ‘o’ clock in the afternoon, and that the only people paying attention were a bunch of primary school-age kids, sat in a line, four feet away from the stage, entranced by the scene before them; obviously expecting the same harmless buffoonery from Doghouse as the original scarecrow.

It didn’t matter that Sicknote were more accustomed to pushing the boundaries in more ‘acceptable’ circumstances; the odd pool of vomit in a sweaty nightclub; a flash of Dr. Conchar’s cock at a private bikers’ festival, and even the wholehearted encouragement of stage invasions.

What did matter, however, was Sicknote were being blatantly ignored, overlooked, given the cold shoulder; an unacceptable response, tantamount to identifying oneself as the target which is at the heart of Sicknote’s psychotic reason d’etre; to wake the masses…

No more, this sleeping acceptance…

No more, the worry, the anxiety, the guilt…

No more, the debt, for things we were hoodwinked into buying, that we never needed, that we sell on for a fraction…

No more, the acceptance of slavery; a golden handshake does not redeem an arthritic clasp…

No more, the wearing of masks, or, otherwise, the out and out acceptance of their existence and a wholesale realisation of the magical powers attributed to them…

“Taxi, for Mr. Bland!”.

No more Superman… There’s nothing wrong with Frankenstein’s monster… He’s just green… OK?

Wake up! Wake up! There’s a party going on, wake up…

There’s a party going on… Wake up, or you’ll sleep right through it…

It was then that Sicknote realised that they weren’t being ignored, on the contrary, behind the scenes and in the shadows opinions were being forged, and a plan of action was formulated; the set was to be cut short…

A message came through from the back of the stage…

“If we get off the stage now, they’ll pay us half the money promised, but we must get off the stage now! We are not suitable for the event”.

“Not suitable for the event? Too right we’re not suitable for the event; the word ‘event’ itself, implies that some kind of activity will take place… I’ve seen more life in the morgue!”.

In a last ditch attempt to assimilate, and thus understand the consciousness of the crowd before him, Doghouse entered ‘slow-motion mode’; mouth agape, with a pained expression on his face, he moved slowly, but precisely, like an automated doll, but this gesture, rather than crossing the now tangible divide between artist and audience, only helped to further alienate the two parties; as an attempt at understanding became an act of mockery.

It was with feelings mixed between relief and anger that Sicknote finally left the stage, but the anger soon evaporated and an overall mood of stunned amusement pervaded as the band relived the whole experience backstage.

The Oracle and the Grinder then made a vain attempt to persuade the events organisers to give Sicknote the full fee, as promised, but this was thwarted by the ever increasing presence of large-framed, rugby-playing clones; an obvious show of strength and intimidation in support of the events organisers…

“No you don’t deserve the full fee… You were racist and there was too much swearing!”

“Racist? Which bit was racist? Was it the inbetween-song banter about seeing dog faeces on the pavement and suggesting to stick little union jack flags in them? How can that be racist? I am British… A flag is something you raise when you’re proud of your country. So why not raise a flag on the endless mounds of dog faeces on the pavement? They are a part of British culture… We should be proud of them. What other country would accept dog shit with pride? And if we’re not proud of it… then why not get rid of it?

Acceptance? Arrrggghhh!!!

As for swearing, Doghouse would like to point out that he never swore once… The word- ‘faeces’ is a perfectly ‘acceptable’ expression for the substance otherwise known as shit, turd, crap or poo, and, unlike the latter would not offend the delicate and innocent constitution of children.

Still trying to justify their holding back on the full fee promised, the organisers then suggested that the whole band were on drugs! A lazy argument, usually adopted by the feeble of mind to explain any behaviour that differs from their own. They see someone who has invested time in developing their own unique language to communicate, and can express themselves lucidly, without constraint or censorship, as a threat to everything they hold dear… the status quo.

They can’t understand why anyone would want to question that which comforts them; the ‘safety in numbers’ of blind acceptance; the very glue which holds their precarious lives together…

“No-one in their right mind would question that… therefore they must be on drugs!”

No consideration for the years of creative study and mastering of skills that allow a lack of self-consciousness and a heightening of psychic receptivity. No appreciation for the heartfelt performance or the determination to succeed in the face of overwhelming odds… No! Just a simple blanket statement…

“You’re all on drugs!”

These idiots see themselves as the protectors of the status quo and assume they are righteous; the upholders of God, Queen and Country… How easily they fall into the mould of right-wing, christian fundamentalists; the blind faith, stoical and unreceptive…

You cannot connect with the unreceptive…

Don’t even try…

Sicknote packed up, with no further argument, and left…

Goodbye Nelson…

See ya, see ya, wouldn’t want to be ya…

So folks, the moral of the story is… If you don’t want your brains to shrivel up, due to lack of use, and risk the possibility of early Alzheimers, then… Don’t go to Nelson.

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