A weekend of chaos in Brixton (disclaimer: contains 4% band reviews)
Two side-by-side accounts of a particularly ridiculous weekend that should have been filled with band reviews – but wasn’t.
It deserves no more of an introduction than that and probably shouldn’t have been posted at all, but we needed to voice it to someone. Click the tabs to read each one.
I’d invite you to step inside and join and me as I recall the brilliant bands that filled my weekend with light, but that light turned out to be more of a strobe.
After having to ask Dan why my hand was bruised and in agony and being reminded that I fell down the stairs to the tube in response, I knew that this weekend’s reviews were going to like piecing together a shredded love note from an ex that you ended back together with.
My jolly memories have been beaten up by their older brothers, shame and guilt.
So here, my ‘reviews’ for you today, is going to be in the form of lessons. Mainly lessons for myself, but maybe, if you’re an out of control numpty like me, you can take something from them too.
Do not plan to do anything important over a weekend with one of your best mates who you’ve not seen in over a month.
Maybe I was daft to expect anything, but with our plans and goals and visions and drive and love and everything else for No Taste, I thought we’d say goodbye to the weekend feeling accomplished. I was wrong.
Dan had arrived to mine at 3pm on Saturday and by 2:55pm we were already drinking beers. After four beers and a cheese toastie* we head off to our place of work, The Rebel Inn, Streatham. My favourite bar. Following this great start, we whack out the laptops and write a plan for some Glastonbury articles. 15 minutes in and halfway through the plan seemed like a perfect time to call it a successful day and we’re onto…
Stop using ‘it’s No Taste’ as a reason to do ridiculous things.
Do or die. Live the brand. Etcetera, etcetera. All great things to say to build motivation, but so far I’ve had our logo tattoed on my chest to ‘ink us into existence’ and I see no slowing down in these stunts. In fact, let me tell you what happened on Saturday.
Dan actually came to London for a fancy dress party that I wasn’t attending. Good job, because the theme was ‘Shakespeare Character’. Thankfully, there’s a party shop next door to the bar that we stumble into. Thanklessly, unless Macbeth was a banana, there wasn’t much hope. Until we find the perfect costume.
Big neck collar, royal blue coat, and gold buckled boots. Aged 10-12. “Do it, how No Taste is that?!”
We parted ways here, after 7ish pints, and this is where things started to get a bit hazy.
I went to review a gig on my own. It was the Isle of Wight 2020 New Blood competition at Zigfrid von Underbelly.
Have you ever been to a show on your own? Or anything on your own?
It sounds empowering. And I guess it could be if you think about it, but I do it wrong.
I get binned.
I saw two groups, neither of which I can remember the name of.
The lead vocalist of the first band (a muscly fellow with a baseball cap on) dedicated a song to the northerners in the room, I smiled. Then did a rendition of When The Sun Goes Down in a strange Americal accent, I cried.
The second band were hitting the wrong notes and just generally a bit clumsy, but they were better. I think they won the competition??
I don’t expect you’ll see any of them at the Isle of Wight festival though.
I then bumped into a girl I clocked on her own but was too scared to go up to at my last review in Windmill Brixton. I remember her because I walked into a lamppost after the show as I was untangling my headphones.
We carried on for a few more jars at Craft Beer Co. and it was £8 a pint for evening premiums (what the blazes?). I paid anyway.
Don’t fall asleep when you’re out – or have people round for an afters (or kick ons someone used to call them which I quite like).
This could be why I can’t really remember anything; because I wasn’t actually there.
I woke up to Dan in front of me. This wouldn’t have been bad if I wasn’t asleep stood up at the bar on my own. He’d escaped from his party.
This is where I walked into another lamppost in front of the same girl, fell down the stairs to the tube and kept falling off my seat on the bus home. Somehow she joined agreed to join us for an afters.
Back at mine we all put on my most ridiculous garments and drew all over the mirror and each other with chalk pens (including ‘No Tatse’ as a genuine error on her arm).
According to the story in the morning, everyone left after hours of trying to wake me up. Bollocks.
You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. You also miss 100% of the parties you fall asleep at. Saturday complete.
I arrived in Brixton off the tube on Saturday afternoon to meet my fellow No Taster, Sam. Our plan over the weekend was to have a few beers, sort some gigs, make some progress.
Ha ha, no.
After six pints in Streatham, during which time we got as far as deciding to send a wax-sealed envelope to Michael Eavis asking to attend Glastonbury, it was time to go our separate ways for a few hours. Sam had a gig to attend somewhere north of the river, and I had a Shakespeare-themed fancy dress party in Westminster.
I ducked into a fancy dress shop on the way, and with a grasp of Shakespeare that extends not one inch beyond GCSE, I did the best I could. After a bladder-bursting tube ride I arrived at the party finally, which was being hosted by a wealthy and influential friend I met travelling, and was largely attended by other wealthy and influential people. Political organisers, intelligence officers, that sort of thing. People you don’t want to look a twat in front of.
Imagine my dismay, then, when I turned up to the party two hours late and absolutely steaming, my belly squeezed into a £17 ‘Tudor Boy’ costume for ages 10-12 – only to find that nobody else was wearing fancy dress. Nobody. Not a jot. White shirted men with broad shoulders and floppy hair looked me up and down as I stepped into the living room wearing my shoe buckles, blue velvet waistcoat and matching hat. They’d been in the middle of decorking a champagne bottle with a sword when I’d arrived. I said hello, waved vaguely at the horrified assembly, and pulled a can of Fosters out of the blue polythene bag I’d brought with me.
The rest of the night went about as well as you’d expect.
Unable to bear it anymore, I left around midnight and flitted across London to find Sam and hear how the gig went. After a good thirty minutes lost down random alleyways, I found him alone in a pub: asleep, stood upright, leaning on the bar, pint in hand. Of course.
The rest of the night was a blur of random faces, dancing with strange men, drawing ‘No Taste’ all over people, and Sam falling down stairwells, walking into lampposts, and falling asleep in progressively more distressing positions.
Sunday follows a very familiar pattern.
We went to Wetherspoons for breakfast, naturally. We forgot our laptops so instead of work we have three pints, okay.
We then plot a genius idea of sending Michael Eavis a handwritten story, in a wax-sealed envelope with a NO TASTE stamp embossed into the official-looking red wax.
Now, what is the first place that comes to mind when I ask you, “where can I get red wax?”
“Poundland?! OF COURSE, thanks!”
Turns out you were wrong. Poundland doesn’t do red candles. But they do sell pink, grapefruit and pomegranate scented candles and that’ll do.
Next, we needed envelopes. So we ended up in hell WHSmiths. Actually the worst shop I think I’ve been in. It wasn’t just quiet, it muted sound. If you were stood one metre away from me and I shouted, the air would swallow it up and you wouldn’t hear me.
This meant my thoughts could run wild. We had five minutes in there before I imploded. We left with gold envelopes and me yelling ‘what is this place?!’. A lucky escape.
Armed with our pink candle and gold envelopes, we press onwards back to mine with the only item missing being a No Taste stamp. We thought we could carve that at mine.
At mine, there’s nothing to carve. Nothing. But when there’s a greater cause, you find ways. That way was the butt of a broccoli. Kinda worked, but definitely didn’t.
We collect our laptops and head straight to my local to write out this letter. Which not so strangely delivers us safely home to…
Don’t go to pubs to do work.
You’ll get pissed. Obviously. And we did just that.
I’ve once seen a man had the barstool he was dancing on pulled from beneath his legs in this pub.
But this time, we opened the door and there’s a glorious singer gracing the frequenters of this balloon filled bar with covers of feel-good songs. There’s a face painter, a stilt walker and a fire-breather – oh wait, it’s the same person.
Dan had his beard glittered, I went for Spider-Man, but not any old Spider-Man. This was as if she’d recently been shafted for copyright so had to change every detail of him apart from the colours. A Spider-Man film that only ever makes DVD and the shelves of Poundland.
We then headed to Windmill Brixton. Already steaming.
There’s a strong correlation between how long each band/artist seemed to be on stage and how progressively less lucid I was becoming. But here’s the lowdown.
I feel bad for writing any comments in the state I’m in at this point, I’d be doing everyone an injustice, but it’s No Taste, ey. Here goes.
I remember being almost offended by one singer scrolling through his loops and blasting one-second snippets of lasers, cows and sirens through the sound system until he found the correct sample. “Oh wait, wrong one” after a promising 5-second clip this time, the crowd sighed in chorus. Next.
Misty was my fave. I remember stumbling up to her afterwards, said to come and sit with us, told her she was great and then slurred some words about No Taste.
I did the same for Bath Days. Bill, our new pal, was a mega-fan and brought the lead singer over. I grilled him with a few questions that I didn’t note down and let him crack on with his evening.
Turns out Misty was with a friend of Dan’s from Uni who happened to live nearby now and she needed a hand shifting a sofa. I blur out here and snap to pivoting a sofa through a door in silence as it’s after midnight on a Sunday.
By some unearthly miracle, I got her number – with a face painted like a clown Spider-Man on crack. That’s the exact same as dropping and smashing your pint of dark fruits on the floor, for the liquid then to write out the lottery numbers for you.
We woke up around 12, moped around for a bit, and had breakfast in Streatham Wetherspoons at 2pm, during which several beers were consumed. We bought a red candle and a golden envelope to send to Michael Eavis (inadvertently insulting the good staff of WHSmith in the process), then decided to take our laptops to Sam’s local pub to work on No Taste.
The pub – usually a quiet affair with a few loyal regulars – was rammed and pumping. They were having a launch party for the new management. Immediately we looked at each other and new – there was mayhem afoot. We got our faces painted (me a green beard, Sam a horrifically mutilated attempt at Spiderman), made friends with a local maniac named Don, and accidentally rinsed a child’s birthday buffet we assumed was fair game.
Several hours later we emerged into the daylight, dropped our laptops off at Sam’s, and headed to the Windmill for a night called Pink Eye Club’s Sunday Roast. On the bill were the following acts:
Zsa Zsa Sapien
Pink Eye Club
We arrived outside the gig, world tilting gently around us, and found a man outside smoking a cigarette. I asked if he was the bouncer.
“No,” he said. “I’m just hiding out here until that fucking racket in there is over.”
Sam and I stuck our heads in the door and were assaulted by a screaming death blast of whatever act was on at the time. We took the man’s advice and waited outside until the band left the stage and the ear-blistering treble had subsided, then paid £3 into the bar.
We each had a great many pints, and saw some bands. I think we witnessed Zsa Zsa Sapien, and I’m quite certain we saw Pink Eye Club, who managed to be harrowing, funny and danceable at the same time. We may have seen EachOne and Skrot Centralen, we may not have, I really don’t know – I ingested too much of everything and spent a good hour pacing room to room trying not to burst.
We met a communist history teacher called Bill who I mistakenly called Phil for about three hours, a lovely woman named Rachel, a singer called Misty and a girl called Constance I knew from university.
The last act was Bath Days and they were, if I recall correctly, very good indeed. Talented guys with a charismatic lead singer who I fear we scared half to death slurring to him about No Taste.
Things got hectic from there, and by 4am we’d somehow been roped into helping Constance fly tip a sofa.
No, I dunno either.