Yes I know Liverpool’s International Festival of Psychedelia was taking place on Greenland Street, and though Geography was never my strong point, even I know that Greenland is not a Baltic state. Pedant? Me? Whatever gave you that idea..?
Thus all was not as it seemed in this quarter of Liverpool. That in itself was rather fitting, kind of groovy. Once upon a time this uber-cool area of town had welcomed cargos from every corner of the globe, warehouse after warehouse crammed with every conceivable kind of goody. On a sultry Saturday afternoon it was once more crammed with all things nice n’ spicy and that’s not just a nod to the rump steak burgers that were flying off the griddle. There was a whole lot more than just juicy burgers to sink one’s gnashers into here.
They had come from afar, from Porto, Rennes, Berlin, Stockholm bearing messages of goodwill and peace to mankind. Actually I didn’t have a clue what, if any messages, they were bearing and neither did anybody else. Sudden Death of Stars, Teeth of the Sea, Camera appeared on stage, did their stuff, created some grooves and then went back from whence they came. Simples.
Oh, and ‘fore I forget, apparently a couple of local football teams were locked in mortal combat just a few miles down the road. Zzzzzzz.
It was an eclectic crowd who threaded their way through the nooks, crannies and staircases of this industrial backdrop and who also basked in the fried onion-infused courtyard in unseasonably warm September sunshine. One lady of a certain age had dressed in full 1940s costume, “This is my fourth one!” she cackled as she downed a pint before engaging in a bout of frenzied pogoing. Dig it sister.
But this wasn’t just an old fart fest. The young too had sent some emissaries, some of whom were getting stuck into the bongs in an attempt to induce altered states of perception. Oh, the joys of youth. I mean those of us getting on in years hardly require the use of mind-altering drugs to change our perceptions of everyday reality. We’re quite capable of doing that ourselves. Now, where did I put my spectacles?
After downing the customary pint of lager it was just a short hop over to one of the three live venues, Camp, Furnace or The Blade Factory all within spitting distance of one another and manna from heaven for those of us of a slovenly disposition. At 1.30pm and with my corned beef butty still lodged in my gullet, the strains of a Hammond organ lead us into the The Blade Factory where The Glass Moths were filling the room with vibes of San Francisco 68. By Jasper was that Richard Beckinsale swooning on lead vocals? All very surreal. I tell ya had Miss Jones and Rigsby turned up not an eyelid would have been batted. It was that kind of festival.
A little while later I found myself in the cinema area reclining in a soporific inducing beanbag. Meanwhile up front three young men discussed the vagaries of the Swedish music industry. I mulled things over - Sweden…Baltic…coincidence..? As I wrestled with the intricacies of this conundrum in Wallander mode, unconsciousness descended. I dreamt of meatballs and Agnetha Faltskog. When I awoke minutes later, the trio were still chatting away. I returned to Agnetha.
This is the kind of festival where the price is right and let’s be honest how many festivals can say that nowadays? Fifty quid gets you two whole days (One and a half to be precise – Hmmm, I guess I really am a pedant) of psychobabble rock-pop under an urban umbrella. Even my alliteration is better, sharper, more vivid…
Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia has got the lot, almost. It’s short of just two things: Julian Cope and a bouncy castle.