Wednesday, 23 September 2009

dum de dum de dum

A relatively productive and bearable day at The Big Gay Department Store on Saturday was single-handedly ruined in extra time (literally minutes after the store had officially closed) by a woman that wanted a packet of clothes dye that we didn't have, and that she couldn't remember the name of. Also, she didn't want it posted to her, because she was constantly popping into the store; but she definitely wanted one of the many packs of dye that would be coming into the store put aside for her, even though she was constantly popping into the store. We could just phone her to let her know when it was in, or something. That she was the single most important fucking person on earth was a fact only immediately apparent to her, it would seem.

The only cure for such abhorrent dumbfuckery was powerful bands.

And so I pootled off to The Croft, where all memory and rational thought would be erased by slightly overpriced domestic lager, the heady aroma of fresh band merch, and the dulcet tones of Tractor, Hey Colossus and Part Chimp.

I actually got there a wee bit late; but this was by design. See, I'd already seen Tractor a few months back, and and wasn't in a big rush to repeat the experience. Not that I was trying to avoid them as such, but doors were at 1900hrs, and thanks to super-important-fucking-dye-witch I didn't get to leave work until around 1900hrs... I would have had to really rush from work to home to The Croft to see the whole set, and well... it just wouldn't be worth the effort. I was confident that Tractor would be the first band on, because Part Chimp were definitely headlining; and of the remaining two bands, Hey Colossus had recorded three albums that are available to purchase from Amazon and all good record stores, whilst Tractor had recorded a cassette that you could buy from the bar for a quid. If you search for Tractor on Amazon, you will find this.

So imagine my dismay when I turned up just after 2000hrs to catch the last thirty seconds of Hey Colossus. Here's what the last thirty seconds of Hey Colossus sounded like;

DUUURRRRR we're hey colossus RRRRRRRR thanks
chimp RRRRR thanks tractor RRRRRRRRRNK -CLUNK- --sqeak--


And then I had to watch Tractor, in all their ponderous sub-Godflesh plodding screeching glory. In fairness, I think they sounded slightly better this time round - the guitar sound was more like a rusty dentist's drill boring through a velociraptor skull made of blackboards.

Part Chimp, however, were splendid. Having previously heard only one song by them, four years ago, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. Wikipedia (where I always go for the truth) describes them as "rock music with elements of noise." Rocksound magazine reckons that they're "Harvey Milk heaviness done Brit-fashion." To me, they played a kind of groovy, scuzzy doom; like Electric Wizard took a gap year and all got jobs in garage rock bands. One moment, a barely controllable barrage of noise spewing forth, everyone riding the wave as best they could and trying desperately not to be dragged under; the next, monolithic, bowel-shattering riffs, devastating all that stood before them.

They were good, is what I'm trying to say. See more Part Chimp here.

The following day was inevitably one of mild recovery, interspersed with a game of badminton, nature films about Stephen Fry seeking out some weird-lookin' zombie lemur, and some car maintenance.

The car maintenance was necessary because on Monday, Matt and Laura and I got up really early so's we could take my car to the Castle Combe race circuit and try really hard to drive my car really fast without crashing. There were around thirty other people/cars in attendance, all of varying ability. We, and a few others, got a special black-on-yellow cross to put on the back of our car.

This is commonly referred to as a "numpty sticker", and gives the more experienced drivers something to aim for.

There was quite an interesting variety of cars in attendance, from fairly regular road cars (1.6l Ford Fiesta, Audi S3), to high performance road cars (BMW M3, Lotus Elise), to stripped-out trackday/race cars (the Pug 205 GTI with perspex windows and no interior springs to mind), to full-on big kid's trackday toys (Caterhams, Lotus 2elevens). My favourites were probably this Volkswagon Golf VR6, completely stripped out and with the bold corporate logos of of many performance enhancing components emblazoned on the side of the door;

...and this race-prepared Fiesta XR2, which in it's day was a heap of quick, affordable crap; but was now a quick, affordable, tax deductible heap of crap with a FIA-spec rollcage and no carpet in the footwells.

The three of us took it in turns to be driver, passenger and spectator. It was as Matt and Laura got into my car for the first session that Sam helpfully reminded me (through the medium of text messaging) of their propensity for spinning and smashing into tyre walls when we had all gone go-karting together.

But as it happens, they were both extremely careful and respectful of my stuff, and managed to strike a good balance between not crawling around the track in second gear, and not hurtling through the catchment fence upside-down and on fire.

A good time was had by all, and at the end of it all my car was still pretty much in one piece - albeit with a bit more travel in the brake pedal than I remember, and some nicely scrubbed tyres.

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