Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Big Chill @ Eastnor Castle - Thursday 31st July - Sunday 3rd August 2008

When I was a little nipper I went camping at Eastnor Castle (home to The Big Chill). There I was standing there, minding my own business, when along comes a wasp and stings me. Just like that. No provocation. No warning. Nothing. Some 30 years later there I was. Standing there. Guess what? After three decades of wasp sting free living one of the little bastards does it again. They are truly the hoodies of the insect world. Boo and hiss to their stupid yellow and black jackets and sharp pointy bits. This has bugger all to do with The Big Chill really, but I do like a good moan. Happily there was little else to moan about. Don't tell anyone, but The Chill could well be the new Glastonbury. They even had the Burrow Hill Cider bus. Glorious. The crowd seemed pretty nice all round. The toilets were bearable. Even the weather behaved itself. The music? Oh yes, good point. I'm so chilled I nearly forgot about that bit. Managed to see (deep breath here) Jamie Woon, Jim White, Son of Dave, Martina Topley-Bird, Pama International, a bit of Roison Murphy, The Irresistble Force, Lykke Li, The Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir, The Hot 8 Brass Band, Fujiya & Miyagi, a bit of The Mighty Boosh, a bit of 'Still Black, Still Proud', a bit of Trentmoller, Norman jay, Orcestra Baobab, Jilted John (yes...Gordon is still a moron), Imagined Village (featuring the lovely Eliza Carthy), Camille and Leonard Cohen...plus a few snatches of other acts here and there. Not too bad for £150. Laughing Len had to be worth that on his own.

Oh, I caught Man On Wire too. Awesome documentary about French tightrope walker Philipe Petit who managed to cross between the Twin Towers 8 times...on a wire...in the wind. It's a simple, but beautiful film. Somehow watching it in the rain late Thursday night/Friday morning made it seem even more extraordinary. Although the Burrow Hill Cider may have helped. Musical highlights from the long list above include The Hot 8 Brass Band from New Orleans(you've just gotta hear their version of Sexual Healing), who fuse jazz, funk, rap and...surprise surprise...brass. Loved it. The Imagined Village includes the talents of godfather of folk Martin Carthy, daughter Eliza and the darn fine Chris Wood. It's a multicultural updating of folk, with dhol drumming, rap and some radical re-workings of classic tunes (Billy Bragg's 21st century Hard Times of Old England is in there). Quite brilliant...moving too...just like folk should be. Leonard Cohen was, of course, God-like. But the biggest thrill of all was Camille (pictured). One of THE best gigs I've ever seen. Mainly acapella - she's backed by a small team of thigh slapping, chest beating, stomping, beatboxing, washing up bowl playing fellow 'frogs' (her words...). Imagine the madness of Bjork crossed with the pop sensability of Robyn, some Art Of Noise, a bit of Edith Piaf, jazz, soul, dance, theatre, a bare ass...words could never do it justice. It was 'le complete package' (or should that be 'le package complete'...'O' level French fail me not). Even if you normally ignore my over enthusiastic ramblings (and who can blame you) don't let this one get away. It was the beautiful highlight of an equally lush weekend. In a word (or three) - The Big Brill (oh my aching sides...).

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