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London's Calling 2010 - The Inside Story
26.09.10 by Dazzler

racers

“Ragworm, we’re so sorry”. That was the overwhelming sentiment following the LCEF Summer Ball at The Shacklewell in August when at 1am the until then hidden ‘sound limiter’ kicked in and reduced what was promised to be the gig of the year to nothing less than a Nirvana-esque unplugged session gone to the dogs. So when Sir Vojtech boldly stepped up and suggested we take on London’s Calling 2010 to round off the summer here was our big opportunity to make amends.

With the date set, a handful of key sponsors on board and outdoor venues decided on for the fixie events, it was time to start spreading the word around town that we needed a venue for the parties. We had The Horseshoe for the roller-race of course, it being the home of London roller-racing, but with some great bands and acts starting to line up and The Foundry reduced to a dirty canvas for the benefit of ‘les f’artistes de trustifarianes’ and then latterly and sadly briefly for the ‘s’quat courieres de renegades’ we felt we had to try and come up with something to do justice to the hallowed spirit of dat wot woz.

The heat was most certainly on when word came through that we’d have international visitors, not least in the form of bastard sons of Glasgow, Madafaka!, who’s reputation amongst the bingo halls and working men’s clubs of the far north hardly outweighed the performance that would eventually put a seal on the success of the event. When someone’s sister’s cat’s uncle got word to us that there might be a venue available in London Fields run by ‘mad hippies’ that may require a deftness of touch in the pitching, a meeting was arranged and we gave it a go. Our contact there, Martin, was nothing less than a man amongst men. Having worked as a van driver for City Sprint in a past life, our request of wanting somewhere to put on a show, run a bar and let a gang of couriers and their mates smoke fags without reproach was met with a most warmly received enthusiasm. Martin offered us food, lighting, security and a spot-on spirit. The game was on.

Cities in the Dark, our long-standing partners in audio-visual performance, gave us the thumbs-up for a Friday show and with Sunken Heads booked to headline that night backed up by Apryl and her Bitches on Bikes, Saturday was left to the punks, with Ragworm battling the Scots for top spot. The Albion Alleycat had been hyped to near mythical proportions, a devious course set for the Saturday main race, help found at the last minute for God Hates Tyres II and with approx 100 riders registered to join in over the weekend, the scene was pretty much set. With sponsors still clambering to get on board in the days leading up to the event, a packed weekend program and visitors from as far afield as Holland (actually, Scotland’s farther away isn’t it?!), we felt nothing could go wrong.

Friday night at Haphazard was beautiful. The alleycat saw the first of many victories for San Franciscan powerhouse Janky James, the bands and DJs shone brighter than bright and everyone was impressed with the venue and the ambiance created by our hosts. Even Buffalo Bill seemed impressed (even though there wasn’t a polo mallet in sight) although he did spend much of the night trapped in a toilet cubicle, something about a broken lock. We managed to wrap up early and on schedule giving ourselves some relief for the rest of the weekend to come but it wasn’t until Saturday at the sprints that news came through of an ‘incident’ at Haphazard early that morning. It went like this..

A seventeen year old Polish speed freak, after a particularly juicy dose of ‘some ‘thing’ on toast’ for breakfast, had smashed a window, climbed onto the roof, fallen into some barbed wire and become stuck up there, somewhat confused with things and was refusing to come down. Cue the emergency services who turned up with two fire engines, an ambulance, a whole squad of police and get this, two helicopters! The first the residents knew of it was when armed police stormed through the building, threatening to bash all the doors in on their way to the roof (residents – “wait, just let us get the keys..” cops – “you’ve got 30 seconds before we take the doors out”… etc). The result? A £40k bill to the taxpayer and an arrest for breach of the peace! Oh lordy..

And that was that. We were unaffected. The Saturday party was electric, we delivered for Ragworm and they gave back with a wall of sound to rival Phil Spector. Madafaka! have become nothing less than pariahs following one of the most memorable gigs I have ever seen IN MY LIFE and when all was nearly done by 10am, we were still having to let people in and sell the dregs of what was left at the bar. Vojtech had two hours sleep in the park before hosting the jousting, everyone limped to The Horseshoe for the denouement and the prize-giving and all was well in courierdom. I would like to say that no-one got hurt but Cynthia took a nasty tumble during the Albion, breaking her nose (she’s on the mend) and Seamus is on crutches following a crash at work late on Friday. He was due to do the door for us Friday but thankfully Ranka was presence enough on the night..

So, yeah. Full thanks and results here – London’s Calling

And, heh. With all the help and support we managed to get from the community, makes us think we could go one further and host a bigger show/event sometime in the near future. Euro’s 2012 anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

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