The location was shrouded in secrecy. The only directions given were some very exact map co-ordinates. Anyone who wanted to come was supposed to enter them into Google Maps and work it out from there. When Buglustre told us she was driving, Vegatrain and I jumped at the chance for a road trip. In our haste, we had both completely forgotten to make elaborately obscure mix cds for the trip, but Buglustre had us covered. The all-ska playlist that resulted reminded me of being on tour back when I was in the band, driving from gig to gig and listening to similar mixes. It was a nice thing to be reminded of.
The drive itself was mostly uneventful, apart from the indignant terror I experienced when I realised the woman in the car next to us was watching a TV in the dashboard of her car WHILE SHE WAS DRIVING. DON'T DO THAT. I hate it so much when people break the road rules, or act in a generally careless manner while driving. Safety first, everyone. Safety first. Buglustre managed to bring me back to the conversation by telling me about her recent experiences mixing vodka with spumante, although that had the unpleasant side-effect of making my liver recoil in terror. Soon enough though, we were bumping around on the dirt road that led to our post-apocalyptic destination.
At first it didn't look like much: a group of people standing around, talking and laughing. Like every other party, only, in the middle of nowhere. Kind of like the parties I went to when I was sixteen, held in a friend's back paddock so we wouldn't get caught underage drinking.
But when I saw the main set-up, I was pretty impressed. In the hollow of a hill was the ruined remains of an old cottage. This is where the party was set up. Old couches, probably collected from the side of the road, were scattered around a fairly impressive stereo system. I'm pretty sure there was an old boat amongst the rubbish. The hosts struggled to string up some lights before it started getting dark. A guy with a camera was eating from a large tin of beans. The view was spectacular.
The outhouse was pretty authentic, too, although a lot of the girls didn't seem to look at that as a good thing. I first needed to use it at dusk, just when it was starting to become difficult to see (the boys were still struggling with the lights). It was basically an aluminium box. Some girls offered to hold the door shut for me, because apparently that had been a problem so far.
"Wow, just like solitary confinement," I said, to no-one in particular as I stepped inside. The girls laughed awkwardly and then ignored me. Inside, it was pitch black. The only light filtering in was through tiny pin-pricks on the walls, which created little dots that danced on the back of the door. I had to be careful where I stepped, as the heels of my boots kept finding their way into holes in the floor. I quite liked it, really.
Although I didn't know many people there, it seemed to be one of those places where just hearing a one-line conversational snippet was enough.
"It's too cold for an orgy, everything would shrink"
"Hey, did you hear? I parted the red sea."
There was this outgoing goth girl there, who seemed to take a real liking to me. I was introducing myself to the group by teaching them some dances that I (or friends of mine) have created over the years. The 'These Are My Feet' dance (consisting mainly of gesturing wildly to your feet in time to the music) was the true winner of the night, although I felt that the 'Psychology Cat' didn't get the recognition it deserved. I soon found myself relying on a dance I termed the 'Existential Crisis', which consisted of me bobbing awkwardly along to the music, feeling self-conscious and contemplating my own existence. I moved off the dance-floor and found myself talking to people.
Me: You know, this reminds me a lot of 'Tomorrow, When The War Began'.
Goth Girl: What?
Me: You know, the books?
Goth Girl: I don't read.
Goth Girl: Except for necrophiliac porn.
I enjoyed the time I spent there, but for me, the party was over when they started playing Mumford and Sons. I hate Mumford and Sons. I hate them. It is not that they are a bad band, they are okay. But because folk is one of my favourite genres, I have listened to enough bands to know that they are well, kind of bland and unoriginal. It wouldn't bother me so much, except that somehow everyone seems to think they are these amazing indie-folk superstars, pioneers in music, Triple J Hottest 100 Number One!
They aren't. Seriously. For anyone who thinks Mumford and Sons are in anyway an original or interesting band, listen to Local Natives. Listen to Noah and the Whale. Listen to Andrew Bird. Listen to The Middle East, who were playing alongside Blandford and Sons at Laneway this year and got not even a tiny percentage of the recognition that they got. That's what annoys me. It's the fact that there are these amazing bands slogging it out for peanuts, and then someone releases a commercial tune labelled as 'indie-folk' and everyone thinks its revolutionary. It's not.
Anyway, back at the party. At one point the stereo was turned off for a haphazard band to start playing. I was hopeful, but then quickly disappointed. I guess they didn't really think they needed to rehearse together beforehand, then when they got there realised that they didn't know what they were doing and packed up after about three songs. I guess in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, you're not exactly spoilt for musical choice.
When the band packed up, a lone saxophonist took their place, and just started jamming. He was really good, but by this stage I had well and truly recoiled into my cocoon of introversion, and hearing a saxophone just made me miss the instruments my parents still have yet to send over. This is the longest I have ever gone without playing music regularly, and I am craving it so badly. Just one hit from a nice piano, please. One sax riff, I'm desperate. I'd settle for a glockenspiel at this stage.
Feeling totally old and boring, I ended up napping in Buglustre's car for awhile until she was ready to go. I did have a good time, and I'm glad I went, but I guess I'm a bit too fond of pre-apocalyptic comforts to make a habit of such adventures.