creation, my shit

solfest 2016

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There was shit all over the bedroom. Leads and clothes and blankets and plates and im a fucking useless messy fuck. I cant stand things being put away. It confuses me. So this is why I spread everything all over my house like some mad spoilt child. A tidy room will last no longer than a minute after I enter it. I don’t see the mess. Unless someone points it out. But I was now buried up to my waist in crap and nothing was ready. I was burning the backing tracks on to CD for tonights show, and trying to pack for a weekend of gigs in the Lake District with my fave party crew in the land, Lost & Found.

I dragged my sacks of shit down the stairs, including a bag of drum breakables, kindly borrowed to me by Torrie of The Crypt Jam room in splott. We had just spent two weeks jamming in his studio. I had planned to buy a kit. But I had run out of money that I had stashed from France. We piled into the packed car. Me, Shag, Pestis and Gogo. And off we fucked to the north of england….

The TeddyBears blasted all the way up. The boys were stoned out of their boxes, or did they always go into this amount of detail? They also seemed to know every single line of every film we talked about. I cant remember fuck all. I watch game of thrones and the next day people are describing what happened and im thinking did it? I don’t rememebr shit. I seem to not posses a memory. Mates rant about fucked up adventures of times past and I literally have no recollection. Did I fry my brain with all the naughtiness I fed it in my youth? Or maybe i use different parts of the mind. Or maybe I was born without a memory.  I read books manically. And ok, sometimes I hit an epiphanical breakthrough which changes the shape of my psyche, but as far as recalling anything ive read…. zero.. So I politely ignored the conversations and drifted off into my weird place. Neither here in the car nor anywhere else in particular… just kind of in a day dream of nothingness.

We pulled up on the road about 10 minutes from the festival. Pestis had been toeing it up the motorway and his driving was spot on. But now we had hit the lanes and his 3 passengers were all crying and varying shades of grey. I was ready to Ralph. We parked up and I, walking round in circles, I spotted Shags skinny legs in cheerleader socks as he hung over a gate, blowing chunks into a cows field.

Damien welcomed us to the festy and I set up my tent, borrowed from my flat mate, nextt to Shag and his long mate, Nick The photographers. My tent was covered in a pretty pattern of butterflies and heath, bright purple and pink. Within 4 mintues all the shit I had scraped off my bedroom floor was now spread around the tent. It stunk and I couldn’t find fuck all. Home!

Darkness descended and the glittery lights and muffled throb of soundsystems brought out the ravers in force.
I was struggling with the hi-hat clutch. the soundman looked on baffled as me and shag both tried to put the kit together.
“But, arent you the drummer?” he asked.
“Um, yeah, but ive never set up a kit before. I been playing 10 days”
He then set it all up as I headed backstage. Dj slipped disc had turned up in red despite us all agreeing that no colours were to be worn on stage . he was also saying he didn’t want to play the backing tracks on the CDj as requested. I didnt want them imported as mp3s, or played from the dodgy laptop drive, or connected to the system through a £1 lead. Nerves were high, Shag and The Wraith were on the verge of sickness while jabz seemed chilled in his poncho, and Flakira was, despite her debut dance at afestivalonly being a short while ago, one of the most relaxed amongst us.

I had no idea what was going to happen but was already regretting not putting in a few live shows locally before our first ever festival performance. We had tried to play Cardiffs Gwdihw a few nights previous but the idea had fallen apart moments before our stage time, due to lack of interest from, well, anyone, and logistics, lack of drum kit….. etc.

It was time to let fate do with us as she pleased. We were in the hands of the gods now

We kicked off with the The Grey Woman, an unreleased tune featuring The Wraith who paced nervously in a black hood until she sang inaudibly due to shit monitoring / festival soundchecks. Pestis took to the stage in his nighty looking like he had just escaped from the secure unit… Flakira winded her hips and Jabz and Shag rocked it hard. It seemed to be working… I was drumming on time (ISH),  I planned to come out of the headphone socket of Slipped Dic’s CDJ but the booth was the other side of the tent. :/ This was confusing as no one could see how the music was coming out of the speakers. Defo needed him on stage…

During my practice sessions, the previous fortnight, I had caught myself drifting off and having to correct my timing. A space cadet,  hmmm Crumpets. or going into stories, or negative spirals…its become a habit over my lifetime. And what I love about drumming is how you cannot leave NOW, and you learn to stay present. This is Buddhism 101….. this is the loudest meditation in the fucking world. This is THE NOW -the very place where happiness resides! Let’s get enlightened..

After having to correct myself on stage i was convinced it was the track and not  me. I ran through the crowd over to the dj booth to discover Slipped Disc had sneakily set up his laptop through a cheap lead and was playing the backing tracks from his laptop CD Drive!!!!!
YOURE PLAYING THROUGHT THE UFKCIN LAPTOP CD DRIVE?A?A??A
YES!!!!
THANKS. ITS JUMPING LIKE FUCK OUT HERE ON EVERY TRACK!!
NO IT AINT!
YES IT FUICKING IS, IM TRYING TO DRUM TO IT!!!!!
NO IT ISNT….
IT FUCKKING IS!!!!

I sat back on the kit and screamed YOURE FUCKING SACKED!!!  we plodded through the set. Which was in totally the wrong order due to the cd not displaying track names. So no one knew when their song was on, and I was drumming to a jumping backing track..  It was like a bad school play with people coming on and off looking confused and not knowing what they were doing.

At the end of Paramatma the boys done the outro so out of tune and dragged it out so long that people seemed to be falling asleep in the front row. Then the extra long intro from Music Like Dirt droned on, with it being an instrumental,no one had anything to do on stage, so they all left, along with about 80% of our audience……I  drummed along solo on stage. At the end there were two audience members left. We had cleared the entire fuckin tent. Result!

We had to remember we were doing this for ourselves. Not to try and impress others. This was always the rule. So, in having two people left we had in some way failed.

One was a man who, on studying the video footage after, appears not to move a muscle for the entire performance, just peering on looking completely baffled. Next to him is another chap in a cap, who is completely losing his shit to us. He gets it! And he’s the only fucker in the north of england that does. He danced like a maniac, whooping and flailing his limbs for the entire set.

Backstage we congratulated ourselves for getting through it and enjoyed the strange absence of any feedback from anyone in the vicinity. A telling sign that no one knew what the fuck it was. We had confused everyone. And had a great time doing it. I can only thank Damien of Lost n Found for taking a chance on us… here is a short clip of Dark Angel at our first ever gig as Clusterfuck……………………… 360 view (drag the screen around to look around the tent!)

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I joined Flakey in the Funk tent, a goth in a funk tent! Amazing… I went off and danced to wonky house and then headed up the Cottage where I danced to drumn bass til the wee hours. Everyone was off their tits and seemed about 12, I was like a Dad age. When did this happen. Did they all think look at this dad trying to rave with us kids? The records seemed to be pitched up to the max as the tiny venue went ballistic to jungle and DnB I had a jig but then some young ones with those weird kid n play style hairdos and big selfie machines started swarming so I fucked off to my tent. As I laid down all the music on the festival site was turned off. 4am. Ahhhhhhhhhhh perfect timing I thought and then laid there til midday listening to a generator which was parked the other side of the hedge. Drove me fuckin insane.  It may have been the nerves too, because in my stress in learning how to drum over the last fortnight, since my return from france, I had completely neglected the fact I was playing Sunday night at solfest as Flapsandwich…

I ran round the site putting my usb into peoples devices collecting any flapsandwich songs people had with them and then exported a few things from Ableton I had been working on, most notably a new collaboration with Cosmo…. I made a fat playlist in my tent and bing! I was ready to go. My nerves never settled once during the entire day and I headed off for a nervous poo. This weird phenomena I remember happening the first time I played in The Lion in Chepstow when I was 17. I was stuck in the bog with a churning gut and the runs. And now at the age of 39 it hadnt got better. And I still had 12hours til I was on…

9 poos later….
A taxi was parked up near the entrance and two sharp men with cases looked completely out of place, the smaller one had an ACID logo on his top. Hardfloor, had to be. They looked like scientists. In a way they are. I went over and told them how much I loved them and made a complete tit of myself. Never phased by famous people usually, I fell apart and was like a teenage Beleiber. I bowed to them and said I love you and said mahogony roots was the best song in the world and then bowed again and walked off awkwardly.

An hour later they were eating soup back stage, and there was a empty seat between them. ~So I sat in it. It was really awkward. They slurped their soup, really seriously and I just sat there trying to think of something to say.
Good Soup? I offered.
Good soup. came the robotic germanic reply from the smaller guy as the big one ignored me.

At Loungevity  I bumped into Lindsey who used to run the trailer trash tent at beatherder. She had seen Clusterfuck the night before. She said it was Goth as fuck and said it would suit their new tent at beatherder! (yes please, my fave fest of the year for many years). I went back to her van, met some of her crew and chatted about music. She said how lost people were when sicknote ended.

On the chalkboard outside Lost N Found Tent: HARDFLOOR. and then me, after hardfloor. I got to the front of the tent and danced with the pregnant girl, who was having contractions while stomping around like a warrior in the dust. What do i dfo of the baby comes? Dont worry she said theres a tent out back ill nip in there.

Hardfloor took the crowd to ecstasy, everyone sweaty and rejoicing. . They dropped Mahogony Roots! The trailer trash crew turned up and and we had a stomp together, one of the guys said he loved the clusterfuck gig last night, and could see the potential in it, ‘but you need to find something to do on stage, you are not a drummer. Get a real drummer.’; fucker. He’s right. But im loving it so much!! Fuck it I will drum! And I will get better! I aint playing the fuckin mouse again… no chance…

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1.30 I took to the booth and played a little set to wrap up an amazin weekend in the lake district once more… thanks to every one who made it happen.

Heres my set…. free download..

https://soundcloud.com/flapsandwich/solfest-2016

‘The true artist has no public; he works for the sheer joy of it, with an element of playfulness, of casualness. Freedom discovers man the moment he loses concern over what impression he is making or about to make’ – Bruce Lee

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creation, life, my shit

618 miles – Lost and Found at Solfest

After 2 days of head ache trying to hire a car, which is usually straight forward and CHEAP, we gave up. They hiked the prices up for bank holiday, the capitalist cunts. My manager told me to get on the fucking train or i was going to miss the gig tonight. It worked out well as it gave me SEVEN hours to work on the set on my way up. But it cost a ridiculous 147 quid, fucking ouch.

After gliding past the beautiful Lake District i got off the train in a tiny village called Aspatria. In the darkness a car rumbled up to me. Through the misty headlights a ginger beard reached out and shook my hand.

“Flaps! Chris. I met you at The Pizza Club in Carlisle a few years ago.”

We sped through the dark country lanes, a ginger baby piped up from the back seat, and started chatting away. He clearly had better social skills than me.

We pulled into the backstage area of the fest and there was a geezer who looked familiar stood outside my window on his phone..

“Flaps?”

“Oui” i replied.

He hugged me and passed me the phone.

“Alright sexy tits?” said my manager.

“Squeeky Cheeks!”

“Aye, good timing. All good?”

“Yeah, safe. Arrived in good shape. Chat later.”

“Safe.”

Damian welcomed me and walked me round the back stage and various smiley faces hugged me and then i was whisked off to a little field where i squeezed my half-a-man tent up.

I headed down to the Lost and Found stage where i was to be playing later. Paul Hartnoll rocked it hard with his new stuff followed by some Orbital classics, including the sublime ‘Belfast’. Great set, i was starting to get a bit nervous as i knew i was on about and hour after him…

I headed back stage and slumped into a big comfy chair where more smiley people offered me plenty of goodies. Tea was all that was required so i was plyed with it, and then i found myself side stage ready to go. I was about to throne myself with the sheep hat which i normally sell as a day job. But bottled it last minute.

So weird without a band to hide behind…. but this is how it is for now… Flaps centre stage……

I kicked off with The Untouchables theme tune, and very slowly built to a stompin bouncy set. The crowd were shaking their arses. Half way thru a geezer with one leg drove his huge disability scooter in and parted the crowd and pulled up real close to the stage. He sat there bopping his head grinning from lug to lug for the rest of the set.

I finished up with ‘A Series of Fuck Offs’, my Sleaford Mods Remix, followed by The English National Anthem which nearly got me lynched before slamming in the re-rub i done of the Sex Pistol’s ‘God Save The Queen’. All good. Slipped off stage and there was a roar of approval. You know the Score.. Quimcore!

I spent the rest of night mosying about and chatting to random people. Josephina Ballerina was a familiar face and we hung out. The smiley legend Monk gave me a bear hug and there were lots more friendly faces.

Went to check The Skints out. Weren’t sure. Then outside the tent i seen some guy on the floor foaming at the mouth. He was lying against the fence and was struggling. I called a steward over and she looked completely freaked out and ran off to find help. I went off and bought some water, when i got back there were now 2 stewards standing about 3 metres away from the collapsed guy, shining a torch on him. I crouched down and give the poor fucker some water and walked off luckily bumping into some medics and pointing them in that direction.

I ended up in Loungevity, the worlds largest Chill Out tent. With the more sofas than DFS. I chilled and chatted and danced and despite being completely on my own felt quite relaxed. This was peculiar. I was socialising. Shit! The very thing i’m famous for not being very good at! What the fecks goin on here? I dont know if it was Solfest, or The North… whichever, i loved interacting with these folk. A welcomed stranger in a strange land.

I slipped off to my half-man tent about 6am with a hot chocolate and dreamed of weird naked skinny bald cats crawling into my tent. hundreds of them. All veiny and pink. Filling my tent. With me underneath them all. Arrrgh!!!!!!

I climbed out of my hobbit hole about midday. I planned heading home today. But the sun was belting. The tunes were throbbing. The vibe was buzzing and I was feeling good. In the Healing Fields i got chatting to some cool ladies from North Wales. We spoke for ages about energy and potions. They told me they had seen my set and loved it and they told me in welsh i was BRetthau Fflap, two Fs coz one f is a V in welsh. A fast repetitive drum from the tent next door was starting to get on my tits.

“What the hells that racquet?” i asked.

“Shamanic drumming, it sends you somewhere. Its amazing.”

“Really? Not sure i could deal with that. Could you ask them to keep it down a bit?”

Shortly after the drumming stopped and a little round red lady with blonde hair joined us. She wrinknled at the eyes and had a tiny smile.

“You have been depleted.” she sqeeked, “Someone has taken energy from you, and you were unable to get it back. I can help you restore to your old self with out hurting or affecting the person who has wronged you. An Energy Retrieval.”

Woah. That struck a chord.

“Ok. I’m in. Just gonna run for a pee, back in 5.” I said.

A huge head dress of Black feathers brushed back over her head exposing her beady eyes as she emerged from the smokey tent. Was this the same person?

“What have you come as?” I asked

“I am the Raven. Enter.” she squeaked.
The Lady Mutant Shaman Raven laid me down and began to dance around the tent barking jibberish into the air. She picked up the drum and began to bang it all over the place and then finally directly over my head. Fast repetitive single bangs, four to the floor, probably about144bpm.  Then she started chanting again and calling people from all sides of the earth. The only line i made out was:

“And to the spirits of the South, and the Turkeys and the Whales and the Bears!”

Wtf. She then picked up a large chain of wooden beads and rattled them all over my body. And then sat me up. She made a funnel with her hand and blew through her beak onto my shoulders, arms, groin, knees, feet and finally head. Then she started to chat some more and then lied silently next to me.

We breathed. And waited.

“Yes” she said, to who I know not.

She stood and then hit the holy shit out of the drum one last time.

“Open your eyes when you are ready,” she said, “I have a message from your spirits. I can’t explain what it means, I can only tell you what they said and hope it means something to you. It is this, ‘For Success in your work, you must Paint, and Play with your ideas.'”

“Um, ok thanks, what did my spirits look like?” I asked

“I can only see my spirits, I evoked them and asked them to speak to yours, and this is what they told me to tell you. They also told me to say that you should take the form of The Porcupine.”

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“Right. Ok. Um”

I slipped a few quid into her pot and sat outside on a deck chair and started to put my big boots back on. She sat next to me and we chatted about the various meanings it could have. She told me to go eat something and relax. She said I may feel different in the coming days.

I went and bought a fat pizza and strolled back to my tent. I laid there with the flap open looking into the clouds, munching away.

A cold air sneaked up and bit my love handle. Eek. I opened my eyes. It was night. Soundsystems throbbed around me and the light of the full moon shone into my tent exposing my half uneaten pizza on my chest. My feet hung out of my tent. Checked the phone, 8.5 hours had passed and I hadn’t moved a muscle. Just completely conked out. What the fuck did that shamen do to me! I scoffed the remainder of my cold pizza and headed into the night. I felt amazing.

I floated all over the festival in my sheep hat. Met loads of people many of whom recognised me from the Sicknote days, and Beatherder and Thimbleberry and an unfeasible amount of people who remembered me from The Pizza Caf gig in Carlisle organized by the legend Pat Sav.

I headed to the open mic tent wear they sang an excellent rendition of Abba’s ‘Porterloo’ and a brilliant version of Madonna’s ‘Like A Pigeon’.

I scoffed more food, drank more tea and danced the night away, banging set from Gella and Jinx. Got chatting to oddballs and freaks and lovely folk. And a lovely young lady on a zimer frame with the voice of a peedo. Teetotality is the weirdest fuckin drug ive ever taken i can tell thee.

Sunday i headed out into another sunny day. Blagged my way onto the decks at a lovely little cafe called the Beatroute with thanks to a top chap called Niles. They were happy for a DJ to take care of the tunes and kept me watered with green tea as i spun an eclectic chilled set. About an hour and a half in I started kickin it up and a few people danced and many chilled outside and lots of people were coming over saying they were loving the tunes… nothing mental just lots of people chilling in the sun. One of the bar girls come over and was saying she was really enjoying the tunes. Nice vibes!

A 7ft dreadlock suddenly appeared behind me and started lecturing me on how i was playing the wrong songs and volume for the tent and what was I doing. He took hold of the master knob and cranked it down to bearly audible. I said my thanks to the people who let me play and headed out into the sun. A few geezers who had been blowing massive bubbles with the kids outside came over and they had been loving the tunes and recognised me from Thimblberry, the most legendary and debauched of all the festivals from a few years back.

Not long after i found The Cottage, which Tania the Mutant Fairy recommended to me last night as a good place to play a set. A welcoming cottage front door led into a tiny dark tent. Tosh the boss told me to get on and left me to it. I slammed out the tunes and a large lady span around the place sweating, totally having it. Luckily she left before she collapsed. A nice couple came in and had a bop for half hour, then left. Then i was playin to no one.. cant say i blamed them. On a sunny day like this who in their right mind would wanna be cramped up in a hot dark tent with a hobbit playing techno at them? Then a couple came in with a little podgy baby who seemed to be loving the tune. The dad held him stood on his lap and he danced for the rest of my set with a massive gummy grin, staring straight at me with his sparkling big blue eyes. Defo Flapsandwich’s youngest fan! Respek little man!

Back at Lost n Found i bounced until i could no more in particular loved the set from a Tim Toil. nice.

12 hour kip in my tiny tent. woke up to more blistering sun…..  The views of the mountains and sea blew my mind and i packed my shit up and just lay there. I went back stage and thanked Damian for one of my fave gigs of the year. An amazing festival, awesome stage, banging PA, lovely people, well looked after and I’m missing it already.

Massive respect to Lost & Found. See you all soon

Flaps.

Get the full set on CD here….

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