This weekend, I went up to indietracks
' <i>A Christmas Twee</i> event this weekend, catching a train up to Nottingham yesterday afternoon, checking into a hotel there, and then catching the familiar Rainbow 1 to Ripley. (Ah yes, the Rainbow 1. I think that at some point in the next few decades, the Victoria & Albert Museum or some similar institution will have a retrospective on the 1990s rave-techno futurist aesthetic; alongside, say, the complete works of The Designers' Republic and a PlayStation playing WipeOut, they'll have some photos of Trent Barton buses.) Alas, as the bus was passing through Heanor, I realised that I had left the mix CD I had painstakingly assembled for the secret-Santa box in my bag in my hotel room. FAIL.
Other than that, it was good; attendance was a bit on the low side (a lot of people instead went to an all-dayer in Nottingham a few weeks ago), and I only knew something like eight people there (about half of whom were involved in organising aspects of the night). The bands were OK, though I wasn't blown away. The headliner was Phil Wilson of 1980s C86esque indiepop band the June Brides; they weren't one of the bands I've gotten into, so I couldn't say how good the show was; other than the fact that he did a skronky/jangly C86 cover of Kraftwerk's <i>Neon Lights</i>, which worked rather well. The other bands, Horowitz and Mascot Fight, were both OK though neither blew me away. (Mascot Fight's frontman going on dressed as a snowman was a nice touch, though.)
The actual event was in a marquee attached to the front of the station building on the Midlands Steam Railway, which appeared to be used for some sort of Christmas events during the day. There were animatronic reindeer and snowmen and similar winter wonderland denizens mechanically boogieing in the background behind the stage, which added a certain something to the festivities. There was also a whopping great steam train parked outside at the platform, its wood-panelled carriages shrouded in steam, which seemed to come up from beneath them. (I'm guessing that the actual steam is piped through the train to power/heat the carriages, rather than being converted to electricity in the locomotive.) Some carriages' electrics seemed to be in better shape than others; while some were very dimly lit, others were lit up like, well, Christmas trees. Being in the interior of a wood-panelled 1950s rail carriage, its lights flickering, and thick white steam shrouding the vestibule, was quite atmospheric, like something out of a David Lynch movie or something. Anyway, the guard's coach on the train had been converted into a disco, with DJs spinning records; in between sets, the train would be driven a mile or so up the line, then the locomotive would move to the other side and it'd go back, in time for the next band, while people sat around and talked in the carriages, drank ale from the bar in the buffet car, or else danced at the disco.
Staying in a hotel in Nottingham, I took advantage of this and took my laptop with me, managing to get a few things done on a remix I'm working on on the train there and back. (East Midland Trains generously provide power sockets in economy class, which is not bad for the £6-14 each way a seat costs if you book early enough.) I find these days that I'm most productive on music either in cafes or on train journeys (those of 1+ hours). Which means I should probably make more excuses to travel around the UK's railway network.