Well It Ain't Quite Glastonbury
Trip Start Dec 07, 2011
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Well, it’s not quite Glastonbury (have I already said that) but 'The Corona Music Fest’ in Oaxaca is the next best thing when you are not in England in June (not forgetting Glastonbury is not on this year). I wonder who we’ll see: Coldplay, Iron Maiden, even U2? Maybe we’ll see Black Sabbath on their reunion tour inviting death and destruction (well it is 2012) – exciting stuff, hey
Now get this. To get a ticket all we needed to do was visit our local store (corner shop), buy a six pack of Corona beer (of course) and request two tickets for the festival (or gig for those who have got the speak…man!), job done! I suppose you could climb over the perimeter fence but the police walk around with sub machine guns and pump action shot guns. According to the locals they are not afraid to use them. I did try and get a photo of one of the policeman for you but they kindly advised me to keep walking; I didn’t argue! So I stuck with the six pack and paid the princely sum of 70 Mexican Pesos (£4 approx).
So what do we need for a rock concert? Threadbare jeans, offensive t-shirt, long hair for head banging, broad shoulders for pogo-ing, plenty of attitude and the rockers favourite…the air guitar!. Well, I’ve got the broad shoulders and the air guitar (mines a Strato Blaster Caster 59, nonetheless, what’s yours?). The rest of the shopping list will have to wait for another time (lost my jeans at a Wham concert, I don’t think my Barney Rubble T-shirt is hard enough, I cut my hair short a while ago because the beauty salon was charging too much and as for the attitude…well, I think you can work that one out for yourselves, eh
We’re off to the concert with some American and Australian neighbours. We aim to show them how the Brits party; after all, it was the Brits who invented rock concerts (Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the waves, we shall…lah, lah, lah…something or other!). So first it’s the traditional pre-concert fuelling, Mexican style: Quesadillas, Gaucamole, Salsa and beer (Corona, of course). Quesadillas are pancake type things laced with cheese, Mexican Gaucamole (very hot) and Mexican Salsa…oh crap, hand me a beer quick…and another beer…what do you mean we’ve run out of beer!...what do you mean there’s no water!…where’s the toilet? It’s amazing what you will drink when your mouth is on fire…ROCK ‘N’ ROLL! YEAH! Even the yanks and aussies are doing it…oh, no, their puking…bloody wimps! Mind you I’m not looking forward to tomorrow’s first bowel movement, yikes!
Well, we’re at the concert. It’s not quite Glastonbury (I have definitely said that, haven’t I; not that I’ve been to Glastonbury. I hear it’s pretty good) or Reading Rock (not been there either!) but it’s loud and frenetic. That’s a good start! No Coldplay though; we hear that Chris Martin has a cold, so he can’t play today, such a shame, never mind, maybe…what, no Black Sabbath, or U2, call this a rock concert. So, what do we have? Molotov (sounds hard core); Fobia, Sussie 4 and Jumbo; sounds more like a bloody Skoda car convention.
You know, it doesn’t matter where you are in the world rock music sounds like rock music, including Mexico and even if you decide to call yourself Jumbo (sounds better than Wham…I think). The speakers are blaring, my ears are bleeding (Lemmy would be so proud!), I’m getting bombarded with missiles, everybody’s pogo-ing…err, slamming (I think that’s the right expression, probably bopping for the older generation), my chest is pulsating to the bass and I’ve got a beer in my hand; One litre (they don’t do wussy pints here) of Corona in a plastic cup; but it’s not holding up well to the bopping, I mean slamming…oops, buggar, I don’t think Mexican’s like half a litre of beer over their head. Can’t make my mind up if he looks mean or stupid; ah well, I’m bigger than him, so who cares (better include attitude with tonight’s air guitar and broad shoulders.
I’ve drunk my half a litre of beer and the cup is empty. What to do with the cup…let me see. For those of you who are still reading this you will remember I mentioned missiles earlier. Now, back in the eighties me and me bro (great English!) went to the old Wembley Stadium to see Queen in concert; ‘Its A Kind of Magic Tour’, bloody brilliant! In an interval between warm up bands some fella came on stage to ask the audience to stop throwing missiles – what a pillock! Being a rock concert and all, the wiring in a rockers head is automatically reversed as soon as you step through the gates, so if someone shouts duck, you stand up. Well the crowd responded as a rock crowd would respond; the ‘not throw missiles’ became ‘feel free to throw and cause as much bloody mayhem as you would like’. The crowd were very obliging to this request so, given that there was sufficient attitude to surpass even the likes of Gordon Ramsey or Rod hull and Emu the crowd filled the air with bottles in a frenzied attack that looked like a growing mushroom cloud – bloody brilliant x2. Fortunately we were standing further back from the stage so were able to watch the display in all its glory (more soft rock than hard rock).
For any of you who has been to Glastonbury and those more fortunate to watch from the comfort of your living room rocking-chair (no doubt wearing a cardigan and smoking a pipe…and probably got a cup of Ovaltine on the side, bless!) Glastonbury can often be a field of gorgeous gooey mud, with half naked women and…anyway. Here in Mexico water is not so abundant so instead of lush green meadows surrounding a dirty pit of concert gooers, slipping and sliding around in knee deep mud with half naked…stop it! So, here in Mexico lack of water means lack of grass which means dust and dirt. If you are so inclined, and in touch with the darker sound of your nature, and have finished your beer leaving an empty one litre cup, dust can be very useful ballast for said cup. When I arrived at the concert I saw small dark shapes buzzing over the crowds leaving vapour trails. At this point I tried to remind myself how a mature 47 year old would view such behaviour. My first reaction was how many 47 year olds flog everything they have to go travelling around the world and visit Mexican rock concerts; my second reaction was bollox to the mature 47 year old point of view and said lets have some fun (clearly not considering the consequences which a mature adult would…ah well, Shit happens!)
So, Mexican Rock Concert Missiles. Recipe as follows; you grab a handful of your finest, high quality, well trodden Mexican Rock Concert dust from the floor and place it in your empty and very redundant cup. Swing your arm over your head, randomly (helps you to avoid all responsibility) release and watch the pretty vapour trail. Simple, cheap fun and everyone cheers when it lands, awesome. These Mexicans know how to party. But always remain vigilant these missiles seem to be built like boomerangs. One minute you’re bopping in the post missile launch euphoria, the next you’re picking yourself off the floor looking like a ghost from a Lon Chaney movie nursing a rapidly growing bump on your forehead; the crowd are still cheering…and bopping which makes it very difficult to pick yourself off the floor with some dignity intact. Still the show must go on.
So here I am, my ears continue to bleed mopped up by the dust in my hair. The rhythmic compression on my chest is incessant it feels more like a jack hammer determined to reduce the distance from my sternum to my spine. Liquid ice rolls off the stage into the crowd…ah, no, that’s just the dust being whipped up by the shifting feet of this increased, almost religious fervour that is permeating from the crowd. There’s more dust than oxygen here and I think the constant assault on my chest is turning my lips a peculiar blue. I’m starting to feel a little tired and imagine it must be close to my bedtime. What time is it? Oh crap it’s only 8.30pm…cough, cough! But I’m representing Britain here; keep flying the flag, Island fortress, The Pound, the Falkland Isles and all that…oops, best not mention the Falklands, we’re closer to Argentina than the UK. Ah, sod it, let someone else fly the flag I’m off.
"Hey, Gringo," shouts some very grey looking Mexican with a lump on his forehead, “You ‘ad enough?” I smile pretending not to hear him, muttering under by increasingly wheezing breath, “Wan**r!” followed by a retching coughing spree. That’s Karma for you!
As we leave the grounds we see a line of Mexicans standing outside the first aid tent having their foreheads bandaged…who’s idea was it to come here? I wonder if I can get Heartbeat on the TV whilst I cradle my hot chocolate wrapped up in my cardigan rocking gently back and forth in the Rocking Chair.
Night, night everyone!
Tip of the Day: there is a website for the Oaxacan Corona Music fest. You can look at the bands on Youtube. I have also discovered that Molotov are pretty big in the Americas.