Tallington 2004

Tallington 2004 was a huge sprawling success. It was bigger, better, and dryer than ever before, and we would like to take this opportunity firstly to thank Pete for having us again, and secondly to all the people who turned up and made it such a good one.

Needless to say we’ll be back next year, on the weekend of July 15th, booked early in order to allow everyone to get it into their diaries as soon as possible.
Tragically, we lost the ashes, but we put that down to the regrettably tiny space that was left on the field to actually play the match. Blyth are more comfortable with a wide open field, and if Pete manages to arrange for alternative car parking spaces across the road next year, we hope to be able to reserve a slightly bigger space for the serious business of wreaking a terrible revenge upon Bash-the- Bishops-Stortfordonions.
Very special thanks this year to General Spud, for playing bass on the Saturday night, and to work shy traindriver Jerry, who made his debut on the Sunday, and subsequently got drafted.

What a star-studded cast of thousands we had for you this year. Driving south through the overcast and the traffic jams there was a sense of faint foreboding in the company van. Last year it had been most wondrous soggy, and we were not quite sure looking at the sky if it wasn’t going to chuck it down. Fortunately, by the time your correspondent was well and truly wedged in roadworks near Newark, the bad weather had passed on Northwards, and by the time we rolled over the level crossing at Tallington there were puddles on the ground but a clear blue sky. There was also what seemed to be a sea of tents as far as the eye could see, which was splendid, but boded ill for the cricket match.

Music kicked off around eightish on the Friday night, with some old bloke playing a guitar and bawling. He was subsequently identified as a Mr Joseph Porter of Harrogate, although who booked the old fool was a question we were unable to determine. Those who had finished unloading and tent erecting sat and fidgeted uncomfortably until he had finished, at which point the proceedings were able to continue with acoustic sets from (not necessarily in this order) Mr Wob Williams, Mr Jeeves – a sure candidate for the ‘most noticeable vehicle of the weekend’ award – and Mr Chris Butler, whose song about Tallington gives a name check to none other than Jessi Adams, who noticeably wimped out of the acoustic option. The evening was wound up by Red Wedding, who seemed to feature that same old bloke among their number. Get him off the stage, Mrs Worthington, for Heaven’s sake.

All and sundry were pleased to note that the Outback Bar was open, which necessitated a ‘walk of shame’ across the stage to purchase liquor. No gazebos for the bands this year though, so at least if it did rain, the risk of death was lessened…
And so, the company on the campsite enjoyed a pleasant night in blissful slumber, lulled by the passing of heavy traction. Sporadic parties broke out here and there, and there was an incident involving a gentleman and a barbecue – although that may have been on the Saturday.

Saturday, then, and far too early a start in which your correspondent emerged from his tent in the crisp dawn to see a certain young man widdling into a hedge. The sun rose. The campers woke – as did about a billion stripey hover flies, all of them bent on impersonating wasps for the weekend. “They’re from France,” someone told me. If this was the case, then it’s the nearest Blyth have come to a French audience in 20 years. Bastards.
But the show was on the road by 11.30ish. First band up was Deep Fur, who taught us all about man’s love for cats and punk rock. Second up was to have been Jack, but an unexpected delay to Chris from B the BS, their drummer, brought about a change in programme. Mr Chris Butler did another set, and we are pleased to note that his paean to going to the pub and watching football, ‘Postcard from Wales’ is still a feature in his set. Mr Henry Lawrence obliged us with a spot next, including a touching tribute to Lindy English, which brought tears to the eyes of even the most cynical present.

That old bloke got up and did a bit of space filling next, allowing the assembled honest burgers to enjoy the stalls and sideshows, including Annie’s Magic Matchboxes – everyone a winner – and TDL’s amazing Keg Board, at which punters were invited to hurl large pairs of underpants, to win fabulous prizes of a free go…

At last, the missing members of Jack arrived, and the band proceeded to play punk rock up until it was time to break for lunch, and cricket.

Aha. The cricket. The less said about that the better, since we lost. Suffice it to say, that the usual amount of cheating, foul play, bad sportsmanship and children changing their T-shirts in order to sneak back in among the waiting batsmen and have another go ensued (you thought we hadn’t noticed?).

Bash the Bishops won, but only because our sweeping style was cramped by the immediate proximity to the wicket of a large amount of cars and tents. Boo Hoo.

Evening came around, and with it a splendid line up of musical happenings. Mr Matt Foster and Nick Halliwell crooned and strummed sweetly.

The Wob ensemble repeated last year’s splendid performance, augmented with a version of Milk Milk Lemonade, Round The Corner Chocolate’s Made, which engendered a spirit of nostalgia throughout the beer garden. It was then time for Eastfield, which meant that the crowd, now swollen by day-trippers and late arrivals was afforded the opportunity to hurl buns at Jessi Adams. Always a popular sport.
Finally it was time for Blyth Power’s twentieth anniversary performance. The rain stayed away. The stage was suitably bedecked with preposterous and libellous tributes – Mr Porter found a Britney Spears’ tourbus sitting on his bass drum, with which he minced alarmingly – and the whole preposterous proceedings were illumined by Curly’s lights once again, for we are much obliged as usual.
Bass player for the night was Spud, who has recently completed ten years with General Winter, and who had very kindly agreed to stand in for the night. He made less mistakes than Old Man Porter, and joins the select ranks of those few persons who have played for Blyth Power that the old man still wants to talk to.
More strange events involving alcohol and fire unfolded after the music stopped, but as we all sensibly went straight to bed then I could not possibly comment upon any of that.

So what happened on the Sunday morning? Well, we had another jolly matinee of course. First the very delightful Eastfield did another set, then Pog astonished us with their wit and wisdom, followed by Anal Beard, which was a real eye-opener for everyone as they performed a children’s-entertainers-from-Hell routine. It was a magical moment.

Blyth wound up the weekend with another set, this time with Jerry from Jack, or Joshua from Jellybean, or was it Jarvis from Jupiter playing bass? This was super fun, and not even the old man’s pompous pronouncements could mar the spirit of the occasion.

The sun beat down on all our endeavours, and then everyone left, bit by bit, until a solitary large purple tent remained.

That was us. Looking round the empty field, quiet and still save the inevitable French flies the Old Despot was moved to soliloquy:

The emperor’s army was scattered and when the soldiers had wandered away
They left the churchbells and the birdsong at the close of play

He was going to enlarge, but fortunately, a passing train shattered the silence and drowned out his voice.