The funny thing is, it’s not like I couldn’t have blogged. I’ve had plenty of opportunity. It’s more like TUT was kind of… well, in the way a bit. If I’m honest, Death Week left me with the feeling that I could do without for a couple of weeks. I needed a bit of time away, so sorry about that, hordes of adoring fans.
AAAAnyhoo. Following the mania of Straight 8, I’ve been involved in the other big project of the moment, the dance documentary Decks Dance and Videotape. It’s been an ongoing project for a while now, but has really kicked up a notch this year. It helps, of course, that 2008 is the 20th anniversary of the Second Summer of Love, and all of a sudden people seem to be interested in talking to us.
Saturday last found me in Dom’s Acid Citroen, heading north to interview Scott, uberfan and creator of the archive site Ravehistory. He lives just outside Birmingham, so it was a 2 hour drive up the M42 to find him, watching the weather change all the way. We were nervous, and with good reason. Dom had the idea of filming at one of the service stations where the rave puppies would gather before finding the weekend’s party. Scott knew the perfect place – Keele, another hour up the M6. By the time we arrived at Keele, and set up at a spot with a view of the road and the services, a field just across from the car park, it was past 4 in the afternoon. And black clouds were forming.
Robin The cameraman and I set up the four cameras Dom insists on, and we rolled on sunshine. Which within ten minutes had darkened into rain. A shower, fortunately, so Robin and I covered the cameras and we kept recording. The sun came out, and although muddy, it was nicely idyllic. I took some long wide shots of the huddle of cameras and swaddled film-makers bathed in sunshine in a field. It looked like the smallest rave ever. The Beloved’s The Sun Rising spooled unbidden through my head. This was good. If the wind kept down and the noise on the mikes wasn’t too lousy, we’d have some great footage.
But there were black clouds rolling in, and at the 50 minute mark on the interview, it started hailing. Hard. Any normal crew would have abandoned the shoot at that moment, and run for the trailers.
Not us, adoring fans. We are hardcore. We don’t know the meaning of “give up”. We kept going. The footage is priceless. Dom and Scott tried to talk seriously about where the rave scene is going, while being pummelled by hailstones the size of Bird’s Eye peas, in a scything wind. When we finally cut, Scott’s hood was full of snow. We were freezing. I had to use my gloves to protect the Mini-DV from the elements, so my hands were raw frozen meat. But the adrenaline and sheer absurdity of the situation kept us going and cheerful, and it was only when we were snug in the service station cafe, hands wrapped round warming drinks, that we realised just how cold we had been. Scott was an absolute trooper, and didn’t flag under circumstances that would have sent lesser men screaming for the hills. Great stories, great times.
Then all we had to do was pack up and go home. Via Robin’s place. In Bath. Dom sent me a text the following morning to let me know that he did a little under 500 miles that day. I know. I was there with him for all but forty of them. But London/Reading/Oldbury/Keele/Bath/Reading/London is one hell of a triangle to score on the face of the country. In dayglo orange, of course…
Dom’s now sequestered up at his mum’s place in East Anglia, working through the angles on his new Macbook Pro, lucky thing. I, meanwhile, have a grade to do on Afo’s short tomorrow, a documentary grade on Saturday, and all the assorted favours, scams and fixes that are part of the reason that I am such a popular man. Meanwhile sorting out the major refurbs to the house (the new fireplace went in yesterday, and the whole place is coated in a thin layer of soot from a chimney that didn’t look like it had been swept since the 50s) and getting spring planting into the garden is taking up a little (by which I mean a lot) of my spare hundred seconds or so of spare time.
What, and you want me to blog as well…?