October 13th, 2012 | Published in Articles
Final piece by us on Supernormal 2012. Special thanks to Gary Goodman for donating the (brilliant) piece of writing below – check out his blog – http://garygoodman.wordpress.com/
Gary Goodman – poet, artist.
those red kites hovered and turned above our heads quite low wheeling on hot therms looking prehistoric pterodactyl in their huge immense slow drift presence under the clouds unhurried and dreamy in blue sun sky when we put everything in pitched up canvas across parched grass and sweat and 1st drink in cool disco tent bar and sat and snacked and looked at sky again after dry road dust drive and motorway and flickering country lanes and hip hop and rock n roll and laughing crazy maniacs for the weekend to be all that again and more of drinks and friends and I thought I could never be happier now or ever and Bambi and Nick and Liz and me we broke our guts in merriment and booze in the dancing tent and favourite tunes that break your stupid heart and make you smile and we drank some more and set up our equipment and did our stuff together that 1st evening so that people might like the things we do and said in that black shady old wood barn while Neil and his family made man-sized bread outside and that show was the opposite to sunday when I read in the stuffy drawing room hungover dry-throated and sleepy but then it was all warm evening and muggy and doughy and dusky lights coming on as the heavens darkened ready for nighttime and new acquaintances and getting to know old ones more and deeper and went back to drink extra and pretend to dance before mooch across grass and Tilda wasn’t there but she was wrapped up in my heart on that 1st night and I stepped out on my own for a while and stood and watched bands in the dark hearing psychedelic drone buzz Alice Coltrane-ish repeat repeat mystic hum over beats ricocheting out from the glow and after that was bold heavy soupy rock blast that rooted me to the spot and we all met after for more music and alcohol served all kindly in beer tent with the hula-hoops and costumes and sense of everyone believing they were into some major thing so special and benign and together and we love you all and Bambi is the most wonderment and people were rolling over hay bales and lights and wood smoke of bonfires and foliage lit up all green at night and it felt like we should be here that it was never different and things continued in the trees and smoked and rang through the hours with drums and guitars and electronic sounds found all about this fresh community past civilisation then we awakened in a film about post-apocalyptic society where everybody decides to get along with breakfast after dreams of heavens and rolling wave crashes and inky life-drawing in the barn that woke me better than cockerel crow with quiet dark pencil scratch and brush swipe then outside and sun throw over this temporary town bared or dappled in woods and food smells and more beautiful music from the warm blood that rushes through our human veins to our heartbeats and the pulse of electronic reverberation and drum patterns so we sat there on a golden saturday afternoon with 4 bloody marys made by hand by papa Colin for only £10 and were taken somewhere else again by the nascent howl of the Plurals at their roaring best and Bambi was there and in my head too and Nick and her and I met up with Rosie for food and slow drinks in the shade and further along we got swallowed into jazz freak out wickerman procession across the field to the woods bell-ringing shaker shaking noise blast scrape and scratch and squawk beauty of ensemble chorale forward-thinking generous invention collaboration of beautiful zen madness into the dappled woods to bollock out the noise mess in robes and masks and I wonderd how the world could become more perfect and could it eventually make that other world itself more beautiful the one outside external to this mad delight of fantasy sped-up deliriousness next to ploughed fields and quiet primeval uneven tree woods where Bambi and I walked in silence on sunday afternoon and there were strange lights in the sky and pink clouds and more burning and embracing kisses that made you think that this is how it should always be and we had conversations without beginning and end and heard so much memorable strange and lovely sounds and words immersed in those terrible and gorgeous breasts and thighs and lips and all that stuff that makes you feel that the scream you are about to scream will scorch through the trees across the cornfields and make the electricity pylons hum and V-shaped geese flocks flying home to their home feel this strange and unusual movement connected to something that could be supernatural and darkly worshipful or magic that makes the cows in the fields and the sheep upon the hills and horses in their sheds shudder a little and gently stamp their hooves as if an alien wind had blown through their souls and they weren’t quite sure what this old nature was bringing and they didn’t understand fully but it didn’t frighten them it simply gave them a shiver of restlessness and uncertainty and the stable door slammed and all those people that sat and stared red-eyed into the fire and wandered into their tents and danced in the woods and across the uncut grass were the privileged knowing freaks and poets and music makers kicking the dust of moth’s wings through that glorious Oxfordshire countryside where most of us discovered ourselves at one point or another in the bleat of a discordant saxophone or on a thread of electronic mystery and it was like going through one door and out of another entirely different and there you were and there they were and all those dot-to-dot jigsaw puzzzled madly scored improvised or earlier planned moments came together and weirdly it makes some kind of freaky fuzzy sense then or sometimes not until much later when you suddenly sit up and see in your mind dancing silhouettes under breath-shortening sunsets that change lives and make men into stars and women remain all the while as godesses so they will always be up there glowing amongst the meteor showers in the naked sky and that becomes the norm of the present and of the future and that was our drive-in saturday and sunday and every other day of the week and that was Supernormal
Karl M V Waugh – The Zero Map, Disillusion dot dot dot, Thee Bald Knobbers (many etcs)
12 Tapes was awesome times – totally immersive beautiful drone, enjoyed slowly adding more odd sounds, dragging a metal pole across the stones and concrete – was lovely, to play whilst not playing, or more, to add something whilst drowning in the lovely pre recorded field recordings and tones. Truly a moment of “this is art that is sound” and utterly wonderful. There was a proper ‘non-performance’ aspect to this whole thing.
Plurals – beautiful set by beautiful people, the first proper bit of sun worship drone which had me rocking out on my hay bale.
The Zero Map set was a clusterfuck – being drowned in bad dj music, with a guy who had no ability to run the sound, and who showed a rather horrific obscene film before us. But a good turn out and I think we made it work, I think we were more fragile than before (possibly a positive thing), but I did enjoy people not having us to look at focusing on the film, which I was also very proud of.
Emu’s burlesque alien strip tease – also included the ear worm of the festival – hilarity through and through.
Petals, I only really heard them from outside – was really sorry to have missed Clive & Seth’s parts but I hadn’t had breakfast by then – but it was a nice full of SOUND.
Earth Creature – one of the best I’ve seen them – theatrics were additions not masks and that was the good point.
Nil, were great, but I did miss some of your set in the middle, and am sorry because it was apparently more theatrical than before.
The Barn in general was awesome town.
Enjoyed all of the Ad Hoc hour – as I left the stage some old man asked me the name of our band, which really is the kind of response you have to love for a thrown together group.
The Binnsclagg – possibly a disaster, in the fact that other stuff had kinda been planned – but also wicked because we mimed to a previous live gig whilst attacking people with tinfoil and having a pathetic fight.
Poetry – was awesome, my brain was starting to glitch so had to abandon ship somewhere in the middle and tried to re-enter for Luna but couldn’t. Spicer set stuff off perfectly, BOOM, Luke Roberts was the legend in the making. Frances Kruk was almost scary. Alan Hay has great poetry, but can do better readings. Verity Spamsung did what she did which was awesome, unfortunately I know it too well but yeah. Keston just sat their dead in the corner. Hurrah.
Thee Bald Knobbers was great fun – I heard us just referred to as “The Hooded Cult” later on, which was nice – marching made it more sparsly hung together which did make it more A Band-ish, and less kraut-noise, but it was also lovely to play in the woods and make something a bit different with an amazing amount of audience. Book ending into Bolide was also great, I was just gonna watch Bolide but ended up fiddling on some drums with Daniel Mackenzie and it was lovely. PROPER “Tom Foolery”
Dead Pets was a crazy time had by all – drum rave was awesome (I got told that it was an awesome A band set the next day, which threw me a bit until I realised what they meant).
Hamilton Yarns showed us what “writing songs” could actually do, a proper MOMENT.
Hákarl Hardcore was better than it could have been – thoroughly enjoyed sweating for him.
Friends all around, everything was lovely, and the weather was generally amazing, if occasionally too hot.
Team Sports, was lovely, I walked around to find the best sound and was just loving it, pure beautiful texture with the crickets and the long grass. Another one of the moments which couldn’t happen anywhere else.
Geo Leonard – Thee Bald Knobbers
So I’d been hearing about Supernormal for a few years but I never actually considered going until I saw last year’s pictures. Ones of spacious fields, happy campers, a few very inebriated friends gathered around small stages got me thinking that maybe this kind of festival would be more to my tastes than the over-crowded-pseudo-bohemian-let’s-bring-our-£12-ukuleles-and-pick-up-some-bongos-and-chics festivals that I’ve been to in the past.
I think the first thing that struck me about Supernormal was the intimacy of the entire event. Closed off to general public by fields, no huge trucks zooming up and down the perimeters, being able see from one end of the campsite right through to the main stage and the exciting prospect of just wondering into the trees with your eyes peeled you’ll find some really interesting performances and artwork covered by the foliage or hidden within the barn.
The words I heard most at Supernormal after the phrase ‘amazeballs’ was “this is the best festival I’ve ever been to” –echoed also by myself. Everyone at the festival managed to be open -without being intrusive, supportive of different forms of music and art, but what struck me most was the overwhelming group-desire to be empathetic and respectful to the owners of Braziers Park. With the understanding that this wasn’t just a weekend piss up, we all had the chance to appreciate and contemplate the well-established communal living space that Braziers Park residents have cultivated over a long period of time.
Space was an interesting theme for me throughout the festival, you could be gathered up into a tight group of people doing the well-practiced and totally infectious rhythmic head banging and slight shuffle to Ramesses. Then you could also be several feet away from any other human in the long grass listening to the sounds of Team Sports and the nature around you. Things occupying space in-between things. Nice.
There was space for you to explore and find things out for yourself, not everything landed straight in your lap and you didn’t always know what was going to go on where. There were plenty of surprises but I can guarantee that if you walked in any direction for more than three minutes you would find artists work poking out the ground, crawling up trees or in the nearest unmarked door.
My personal experience of Supernormal was entirely positive; I don’t think I’d change anything, except to perhaps to have eaten some more carrots beforehand so I didn’t trip over so many tents trying to go to the loo at night (carrots make you see better, or so I was told as a child. I hope that makes sense and isn’t a nutty Bristolian thing). There was a little something for everyone- art and music that veered between disco, experimental, improvisation, folk, doom, and something altogether more challenging that I can’t put a name to.
Thank you to everyone who made Supernormal happen. It was pretty totes amazeballs.
Graham Newbury – Thee Bald Knobbers, Club Zygotic etc.
Supernormal was a three day epiphany for me which is resonating with me still and has had profound personal catalytic effects on my life…….really……..and thanks to Dan Spicer too………
Kev Nickells – Bang the Bore, Hákarl
…aaaaaaand finally. So I was the main BtB contact for Supernormal. And it’s been a while since the festival, so I’m writing very backwards. So to speak. Top of my list in the write-up is the thankyous – and massive, world-shaking shout-outs go to all the amazing people who helped out. I’ll inevitably forget people, but top of the list is the core team of Supernormal organisers this year – Sam Francisco, Bernadette Moloney, Gill Ord, Keran James, Colin Tatty Seaside Town, John Dream Machine, Rich Howard, Jimmy Teeth of the Sea – amazing work all. Plaudits galore, all totes amazeballs. There’s also too many people to thank who were there helping out, clearing up a world of rubbish, re-stocking toilets, cooking, cleaning etc etc. I know a lot of people have talked about the festival having an amazing vibe and that sort of thing – which it did – but it’s really important to remember that for everyone who came, got slaughtered and watched some amazing music, there was another person waking up at 7 AM (or earlier) to make sure the shit got shovelled. A testament to collectivism, and more finely-balanced than I gather it looked from the outside. Massive thanks also extended to the lovely Geo, who very patiently put up with the fact that her partner was a tightly-wound ball of ‘AAAAAAARRRRRGHHH!’ for much of the run up and the festival itself. Wood-eyes, you’re a star.
I barely stopped at the festival. I think I’d been there for two days before I properly stopped to sit down and watch something. That something was After the Rain, who were untouchably brillliant, and sadly I don’t think anyone filmed them. I typically take a relatively dim view of ‘experimental’ music – a kind of recognition that it’s an incipient stage that is often abandoned when people learn to actual play instruments, but remains a social necessity for a great many people. But After the Rain and Team Sports were real moments of ‘by FUCK these are utterly amazing’. I reckon it’s partly setting – ‘lush verdant landscapes’ are always good places. Combine those with booze and sunshine and I’m a happy camper. I was genuinely minted to have them along.
That’s not to say that anyone else who played was in any way deficient either. The problem is I didn’t actually STOP at any point. Whenever I did, I’d have to run away to get a mic stand, help with the production office, find out where band x had run off to in favour of soundchecking on time. What I saw was amazing. Playing in the Knobbers, and Bolide, was also great fun. Silly shit was amazing too – constant ‘your mum’ jokes directed at Techie Rich, me and Sam winding up Shaun by referring to everything as ‘totes amazeballs’, the introduction of coffee Martinis into my life (cheers Bern)… etc.
Yeah, anyway. I’ve been indulged enough here. Long story short, was a great festival, and I’m pretty excited to get involved with it next year. And not sleep, eat, or watch a full set, for most of a week in August next year.