Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Glade 2009- Things to do at the weirdest festival you can possibly imagine!

There are many festivals on the radar these days, but the long standing ones would definitely fall into the category of the weirdest places on Earth! This of course is where Glade and Glastonbury are safely ensconced. There is Reading and Leeds Festival, but in my experience, this is only wierd in the sense that loads of teenager types can be seen doing 'random' things, blowing up shit, and drinking till they vomit, or violate themselves or others, because 'OMG that was so ROTFL!'.
I went to both Glade and Glastonbury Festivals, worked for Oxfam, and had a great time whilst I was doing it! But this isn't an article whih reflects the brilliance of not playing for a festival, or giving your time to charity for a good cause, (though of course this is all good!)
THIS is about those odd situations you find yourself in, when you are doing what you would not normally do at a festival, i.e- staying up all night mildly sober, with a high viz jacket on. First off, these high viz jackets are pretty much a beacon of joy for those who are out of their faces, and they will come and chat to you, and its brilliant!
Glade really highlighted the specific episodes of awesome that were encountered, as that was the time when mine and Jon Hall's job was to walk around the site and make sure everything was running smoothly with other Oxfam Stewards.

The best thing about Glade would be the fact that every Veteran of the Festival, who have been there through rising rain fall, wading through rivers, and site changes, treat it like a second home. Party till you pass out, sleep where you fall, get up and do it all again... with only 20 minutes kip! there are always party 'sustainers' to keep you on top of your game, and plenty of resounding bass lines to keep your mind awake and alert, or at least your body anyway. Best of the Best had to be Moderat, Apparat and Modselektor. Bloody amazing! Great Visuals and an out and out party atmosphere to sink your teeth into. Add to that the fantastic final set on stage at the OVERKILL tent on sunday, namely Ed DMX and really, you couldn't ask for anything more. Sober and still cannot stop dancing?! you know its good!

Truly the best thing about Glade is that everyone is there for the music, and its just as well, it never stops! Dusk till dawn and all that. It got to the point that on the Monday morning, while rolling around the site, doing my final shift with Jon, a fine upstanding member of the oxfam community asked us if the generator we could hear in the distance was actually just some really fast Gabba. This is apparently a regular occurrence, as another Glade Veteran followed this self-same noise once, seeking Gabba, and found 8 or 9 hippy types surrounding a massive generator, grooving to its repetitive output.

The stories you can collect from the punters of the church of Glade are pretty much always amazing. One very fond memory, and several warnings for future Glade goers, came in the form of the scardiest Emo boy I have ever seen walking towards us out of the mid-dawn funk of mashed up sounds, and cheering up us moody buggers who had to work. We learnt this:

1) When finding a big bag of white powder on the floor, be suspicious. If you must take it, don't take loads at once, mix it with Madman, and spend the rest of the night in a hyped up K-hole (yes it was tranquilizer). This will lead to funny results apparently, but I wouldn't advise it as a life rule.

2) When in this little world of your own 'tripping bollocks', don't ring your Dad, its never a good idea. This boy was talking to him for three hours, leading to some sort of classic intervention when he got home!

After this little interlude, we sat around at the gate, Indigo 17, with some lovely Stewarding folk, chatting away and shepherding jaded festivilians. it was getting pretty late, and aside from some minimal ambient drug use, we were all pretty sober. We met a guy from Wycombe. His story followed:
"I knew this guy, from around Wycombe, who took some acid and went to a county fair. He was really off his face. Ended up in a police cell. When he woke up, he asked why he was there. The policeman said 'mate, you punched my horse in the face!', when they had asked why he did it, he said it was because it was the apocalypse, and the horse was on fire." The problem with that logic is, how the hell would you put a horse, who is on fire, out by punching it?!
Never trust the logic of an acid-tripper!.....
As someone who rarely listens to electronic music, Techno, Breakbeat, Hardcore, Dub, Gabba of my own accord, it may be strange that i would HIGHLY rate this festival. Aside from the amazing stories, the truth is that this is the best way to listen to music. Surrounded by sweaty, happy, muddy, dusty, dirty, filthy fun-loving abusers, contemplating a Bass line which shakes you to your very core, and blinds all other senses save for the feeling of the vibration thundering through you. Perfect. Don't expect to sleep much, or eat too well, if at all (unlike most other festivals, there was NEVER a queue for the food bars), but do expect to meet people who are slightly unhinged but social perfection, and amazing electro musical mystical feasts of sound that are not to be beaten!

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Boycott Pete Doherty, For Mark Blanco.

On the 8th July 2009, I attended a Charity event for the late Mark Blanco. This event, co-ordinated by his mother, Shiela Blanco, sister, Emma Blanco, and a host of Legal types, such as Michael Wolfkind and Craig Rush, served to raise awareness of the following campaign which has been running since 2006, and will continue to run until justice is served. The event last night touched my heart, and prompted me to write about the case in hand. I wanted everyone to learn about the Blanco family, and their tireless effort to gain closure to their suffering, together with friends, and those benevolent legal advisors who have spent their time on a case they truly believe in.

So please read on, and support a worthy cause.......

On the 3rd December 2006, in the early hours of the morning, MarkBlanco fell two floors to his death after an altercation with the 'artist' now named Peter Doherty. Having been rushed to hospital with severe injuries, within 24 hours he was dead, his family at his bed side. This tragic incident has left the family bereft of a son and a brother, and many friends bereft of a kind hearted, intelligent and creative soul. The strange events that surrounded his untimely death served only to create unrest throughout Mark's inner circle of relations and friends, an unrest which caused their grief to lengthen, with no closure in sight.

The events that preceded centered around a flat , belonging to a Paul Roundhill, in the East End of London. This man, dubiously known as Doherty's 'Literary Agent', is at the centre of the events from here on out. The party was attended by Doherty, a man acting as a sort of security guard, named 'Johnny Headlock', Roundhill himself, a number of females, including a girl named Kate, though accordingly not Miss Moss. Mark himself attended, as he was interested in discussing a new play named 'Accidental Death Of An Anarchist', which he was to be taking part in. Mark was very keen for Doherty to come to a show, as he knew that this would of course raise the profile of the show. Mark really cared for the project, and wanted this play to be a success. Both Roundhill and Headlock allegedly took very badly to him, taking items of his clothing, such as the cap he was wearing, and setting fire to them using lighter fluid. Hardly the antics of kind and gentle young men. Mark is said to have been ejected from the flat once, via the front door, but, upon returning to the flat to pick up his stolen effects, within minutes lay dying on the ground, two floors below. The ambulance was called a full four minutes after the event, by the girls present at the party, in which time Roundhill had only condescended to throw some tissues from the balcony. Doherty himself was seen on CCTV footage running from the area, apparently to attend another party that night.

In statements to the Met. Police following the incident, Johnny Headlock, real name Johnathon Jeannevol, reportedly accused Mark Blanco of being very drunk, which he concluded could have been how he 'fell' from the balcony. The balcony incidentally had a four ft. high railing. Roundhill, who admitted to Marks murder just days after his death, ratracting his statement when questioned later in the proceedings, felt that the young actor was simply star struck, and therefor acting very odly around Doherty. To this, friends and family have responded that, having been educated at Cambridge University, Mark had rubbed shoulders with many famous and noteworthy persons, and had bee taught to take this all in his stride.

All this aside, there was a second injustice to be done, this time by the initial Policing of the incident. after a few hours spent at the scene, the area was re-opened. One particularly harsh blow to Marks mother, Shiela, she visited the scene a few hours after marks death, where she discovered one of his glass lenses lying on the ground. Obviously there had been no thorough forensic investigation carried out. however, Scotland Yard still insist that there was a fully investigation carried about before the decision was made to close the crime scene completely. Marks death was apparently free from 'suspicious circumstances.'

The painful mistrust and desperation for truth, felt by Ms Blanco, led her to pay for a private post-mortem, when it was discovered that there was in fact no trace of alcohol or drugs, in his system. This fuelled the fire, and still today the fight is continuing for justice.

To date, Shiela and her family has spent more than 25,000 pounds on the legal battle, but there does not seem to be an end in sight. Doherty, who has been in the courts more times than can be counted, and who has consistently failed to appear at his own hearings, still evades any kind of real sentencing for any of his offences. Whilst Ms Blanco states that she has no positive or negative feelings towards Doherty, but just just wants to know the truth, it seems that the three key witnesses who could give her the ability to move on, refuse to do what is honorouble.

The Benefit / Memorial event which I attended was both moving and wondeful. It was a testament to the sheer strength of human character. Shiela was amazing, speaking about her son with a warmth and love which brought such awe to everyone in the auditorium. Mark's friends, many of them performers and artists like him, described Mark in such a way that he seemed to take shape before our very eyes, fleshed out by stories about his life, his passions, and his posessions that he owned and doted on. It is a very sad thing when people can tell you all about someone and you just wish you could have met them. Mark was a budding Actor, Magician, Philosopher, and Writer. I had the pleasure of hearing one of Marks short stories, and from this I can also say he was a very humourous man. Everyone who knew him gave him such a shining appraisal, that it became more than words, but pure love and affection that was palpable.

Though the heading of this article may seem very bitter towards Doherty, it is the love that I felt through the friends and family, in their words and their performances, that compelled me to write this, because I truly want everyone to know, and to help as much as they can, to bring family and friends of Mark to a point where they can keep the memory of Mark alive, and not the horrible way he met his end.

If this has touched any part of your heart, and made you feel sad for the loss of such a wonderful person, please go to below address and help Shiela and Emma Blanco to put and end to this. Please follow and support this case, because there is strength in numbers.

Thankyou for reading.

Please send donations to:
The Mark Blanco Fund
PO Box 160
12A North Street,