A fair few years ago, despite repeated attempts at ducking out of it, I went with a girlfriend to her friends wedding. At the 'do, the only three people I knew were busy dancing to Whitney Houston and I got stuck with a nice but dull man called Greg who worked in insurance and tried quite desperately and heroically to get a conversation going. All avenues fell flat. "The football? Ah, more of a rugger man myself". In desperation to find some common ground he chatted excitedly about his holiday, two weeks in southern Italy, about how much it cost, what he would do and what he would see. He finished his little speech and looked at me in hope of a reply. How could I tell a man like Greg that I like to spend my hard earned holiday time at railway heritage site, sleeping in a tent, drinking cloudy ale and listening to bands he'd never heard of? I smiled weakly and got a round in.
All things end of course, and the loss is sad, but I feel particularly devastated about the demise of Indietracks. There were other festivals of course, and enjoyed them all immensely, but Butterly provided something else entirely. I'm not sure I've been anywhere that made so unequivocally and unashamedly happy. It had it's own magic. By it's nature magic is explainable and undefinable, and for years I've been trying to pinpoint exactly what made it different, and the closest I can get is it provided a teasing glimpse of a world where Pink Floyd and the Conservative party had never existed. What made going home and back to work again so brain mashingly difficult was that after 51 weeks of being the minority weirdo who liked books and bizarre music, we got one weekend to be in the majority. And bloody hell it felt good. Every years on the bus home I would have the same day dream that all the Indietracks people moved on to a remote islnd together and live out the rest of our lives in perfect harmony. Why wasn't my town full of funny, clever, intelligent and beautiful people with an amazing taste in music? Why can't everyone else in the country be so lovely and so sound? Why was this perfect society flashed in front of us and taken so cruely away?
I'll miss the owls and the beer and the people and can crush and the little sets in the train, the church and the merch tent. I'll miss being deliriously happy to buy pizza and curry and records. I'll miss the drunken smiley haze and the feeling of beatific calm as the sun set slowly behind the big speakers. I'll miss the dust and the little train set and the daft and pointless drug dog. I'll miss the drinking going on way after the campsite disco had finished, in the hut, outside the cafe by the vending machines and in the whisky fort. I'll miss the greatest bar staff in the universe, the lovely women in the campsite cafe and wolfing down a pale breakfast with a huge grin. I'll miss the walk back to the campsite in the dark, the excited chatter, the torch lights dancing over everyone's trainers. I'll miss seeing my favourite bands in the world and falling in love with a dozen others. I'll miss the BEST INDIETRACKS EVER posts on Anorak, and I'll even miss the joy and hurrumphs as the latest line up is announced. I'll miss the people and the camadre and making new friends and catching up with old ones. I'll miss having the very very best time and never wanting to go back to work ever again.
What I should have said to Greg, while grabbing on to his lapels, is look here mush, Look how long and hard Nat and Andy et all work so we can have our weekend of utopia. Look how bloody happy it makes us. Shove your fortnight in Italy up your arse Greg lad. Give me a weekend listening to pop with my pals any day. But of course I didn't. He's never been. How could he possibly understand?