This weekend I’ve been at Indietracks, an indiepop music festival in Derbyshire surrounded by old trains. I’ve wanted to come for a few years but only got my arse in gear this time around, and I’m glad I did. It’s been a lovely weekend full of lovely music and lovely people. Indietracks has all the things you’d look for in a good friend: fun, kindness and punctuality.
The only downside has been the weather; packing for a forecast cool and rainy weekend when it’s just been a humid 38°C was tricky. I couldn’t quite convince myself I’d want long trousers never mind a warm hat. I did. I’m very fortunate that I‘d been able to choose to skip the camping and stay in the Premier Inn, an always drizzly twenty minute walk away.
I’ve enjoyed all the music I’ve seen and heard. From old favourites (Bis), to favourites from the past couple of years (Martha, The Spook School, Peaness, Adult Mom, Tracyanne & Danny), to bands I only got to know while listening to my mammoth Indietracks 2019 playlist on shuffle over recent weeks (The Orielles, Cheerbleederz, Fresh, Randolph’s Leap) to bands I only noticed and liked hearing them at the festival (Withered Hand, Strawberry Generation, Advance Base, Young Romance, Stealing Sheep, Kero Kero Bonito). That’s a lot of money destined for Bandcamp eventually (yes, I’m still buying music in case streaming stops for some reason in the future). I took a load of small, blurry photos to keep track of who I’d seen.
The Spook School’s set was the biggest event — they’re breaking up and this was their final Indietracks — and Randolph’s Leap was the band I most wish I’d heard more of longer ago. But I enjoyed Adult Mom’s set most. I’d imagined them as an indie rock band but it was just Stephanie Knipe — who is Adult Mom — playing solo to a silent crowd, and it was great.
(I don’t know why sessions like that get interrupted by a bit of interview. Just play music or do an interview, one or the other!)
I haven’t counted but I wouldn’t be surprised if men were in the minority among the band members. Or getting that way. The only band I watched that was all male was Advance Base and there’s only one of him. The crowd was a bit more male than female (and, no doubt, other genders), and some of the male/female couples displayed what I think of as a Nick Hornsby-ish relationship to the music. Two scenes:
A couple discussing which of the day’s bands they wanted to see. Her to him: “Do I like [band A]?” Him to her: “Yes, you thought they were a bit like [band B].”
A man going through his new purchases from the merch tent. After tearing off the plastic wrapping from each CD and record he takes a deep sniff of its aroma, before encouraging his reluctant female partner have a smell.
They’re not representative of the mixed and happy crowd but I found them amusing.
There were also a quite a few families with young kids having a great time: tiny kids in brightly-coloured ear defenders sat on their dad’s shoulders, clapping along; slightly bigger kids jumping around, waving their arms, like a mosh-pit in training; slightly bigger kids listening to the music, their faces lighting up with amazed glee when they hear a singer sing a rude word.
Also this week I went to Lord’s to watch the first day of the first Test between England and Ireland. I’m not a cricket fan — I don’t fully understand how Test scoring works but I understand the game better than, say, your average American (not hard) — but a friend of a friend had a spare ticket, so why not?
Although the heat (35°C or so) was a bit much it was a good, enjoyable and interesting experience. Recommended. I very rarely see any live sport — I don’t think I have since the 2012 Olympics — and there’s something amazing about emerging from stairs or corridors out into the vast spaces of sports. And, on a sunny day, cricket looks wonderful. And, its relaxed enough that you don’t have to pay attention all the time, although there was plenty to watch, with both teams going out in one day, which is unusual. I’ve only just thought to see who won after the subsequent days: England, which wasn’t a given after their awful first innings (all out for 85).
I also spent some time working through a few long-outstanding issues on the software that runs this site. If you’ve ever needed an example of why it’s a bad idea to write your own website from scratch… I couldn’t update this site to the latest version of Django because another piece of software that I use, which I wrote, wouldn’t work with the latest version of Django because a piece of software that it uses had a bug that meant it wouldn’t work with the latest version of Django, and the person maintaining it wasn’t responding to the people on their GitHub repository asking when they would incorporate the offered fix. Eventually that software was adopted by another organisation, with the original owner’s blessing, under a slightly different name, and I could finally move on with my life. Just use WordPress.com.
Also I watched the seventh and final season of Veep which was a joy as ever. It did feel as rushed as the final season of Game of Thrones — so much must happen! — and it was a shame that three of my favourite clowns — Richard Splet, Mike McLintock and Gary Walsh — were a bit sidelined from the main action this season. But, still, I plan to watch the entire series again before long.
Other than that… a dash of work on Thursday, which I only completed thanks to the refuge of the Barbican Centre’s air conditioning… and another Meisner drop-in class, and another repetition exercise, that went fine although Alex always (quite rightly) picks me up on not completing a decision: don’t start walking towards or away from your partner and then stop half-way! One day I might learn.
What a good summer week. I hope you have a good one. Put some music on that’ll help you.