East London is wonderful – 1234 Festival & Paralympics – live review

He’s been our self-appointed Olympics‘ correspondent and satarist throughout the summer and now Keith Goldhanger has rounded up his experience of being an East Londoner suddenly on the world stage with his review of the 1234 Festival and a trip to the Paralympics.

East London – so good they’ve now illuminated the signposts so everyone buzzing around on their wheelchairs thinks that this is England’s best kept secret and an inspirational place to live.

A new tourist attraction inhabited by shiny, happy people who help people with their bags down the tube station steps and across the roads and where the music scene is full of screaming bands called things like EAGULLS and ANTLERED MAN and ARROWS OF LOVE and ICE AGE who suddenly turn up in a park and make an unholy racket for 10 hours before we all slip away quietly in our baggy trousers, Converse boots clutching hold of our iPads happy in the knowledge that we’ve still got change left a for the bus after spending all day drinking cans of stella for FOUR FUCKIN QUID a pop.

It’s holiday time now and some of us are off to warmer and quieter climates to read some books before winter sets in and to leave the party before the end so that WE don’t have to do the tidying up.

Of course, this holiday for some of us will be BESTIVAL which counts as a holiday because we have to go on boats across the ocean and boats, as you may know are terrible things to travel on but let’s not start moaning before we have left eh?

Shoreditch in East London held the annual screaming fest, officially known as the 1234 Festival which consists of five loud stages and a loud disco, and a funfair,playing lots of loud disco music in a small park, so small that there is no escaping from the noise until someone pulls the plug, or in the case of the aforementioned ARROWS OF LOVE “plugs” (and lights) at the witching hour, which in the case of EAST LONDON is 10.30!

Before that we get to see the BUZZCOCKS (who we all blame for making us the messed up teenagers that we are).

They play “BOREDOM” rather early (so I’m told) so I missed it, and EAGULLS who don’t bother playing “ACRISTOTLE” and SAVAGES who…well I missed them again OK…I was busy trying to work out what was going on with LET’S WRESTLE who are the type of class act that one has to go and see on an annual basis nowadays even though they may be rubbish and have an additional member since I saw them last. Or were SAVAGES playing whilst I took another sneaky look at CITIZEN’S! who not only boast an exclamation mark in their name (always a good sign), but make the catchiest pop tunes this side of Friendly Fires….or ATOMIC SUPLEX who are lead by a man in a crash helmet that displays the words ROCK AND ROLL just in case we’re not sure why we’re here.

I didn’t see BO NINGEN because I thought they’d probably be climbing on the tent before the end of their set therefore thinking they’d find me, but ANTLERED MAN..step up onto the winners podium please.. you guys were fucking ace despite having a FLUTE (a penny whistle is A FLUTE ok! don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise)- but don’t let that put you off because “BUDDHIST SOUP” is the kind of tune that’ll still be in your head this time next decade.

I did manage to see THE PUKES for the 30th time this year,who have about a thousand Ukulele players in their line up playing punk rock songs our parents taught us and If I read the line up correctly a bloke called GABRIELLE BRUCE who had a set of songs the HUMAN LEAGUE would have been proud of back in the 90’s …or was it the 80’s ?

I’d like to tell you about the aftershow party featuring personal favorites JOYLAND in yet another one of those new venues that crop up somewhere in-between Dalston and Shoreditch every couple of weeks but someone had the not very good idea to not realise that hosting an aftershow before the main event had finished, a couple of miles away is…well to put it mildly, not a very good idea really is it ?

1-2-3-4 is a brilliant day out and worth the trip for non London people who want to see what the EAST LONDON massive are wearing nowadays (here’s a clue – it’s the same clothes as you and I are wearing! ) and it finishes before Match of the Day therefore everyone’s happy eh…..

…Especially those of us who had to get up early to experience the Paralympics and walk through a park listning to various stages of COLDPLAY’s “Paradise” that gets piped every 50 metres…or “WE WILL ROCK YOU” everytime nothing else is happening during a sporting event.

I went to the Germany vs Canada wheelchair basketball where everyone, and there were THOUSANDS there… except me… stood up ,stamped their feet and sang the old Queen song, did the Macarena, “reached for the sky” and did the YMCA dance every bloody 5 minutes, but that aside it was ACE watching big guys and little guys with no legs fly through advertising hoardings at 20 miles an hour and being able to go “Hell YEAH!!” whilst punching the air and not being accused of being a bastard.

I also learned, confusingly enough that when a Japanese tennis player does the same right next to you its not very nice. However given the choice (as proved this weekend) by watching able bodied tennis and basketball or the wheelchair equivalent, then I’d go for the wheelchair version everytime.

If ever given the choice to see “GOALBALL” again then I’d probably pass. Unless of course someone could explain to me what the fuck was going on.

“Goalball” (Brazil V Turkey if you’re interested) is played by blind eccentric people, is three a-side, involves a blue ball with a bell in it and involves a stroppy umpire telling people off for sneezing, not turning their mobile phones off and accusing the teams of cheating.

That’s about all I could make out really because why she got the Brazilian players to take their masks off at half time and poke them in the eyes repeatedly before getting them to rebandage their eyes is anyones guess. However once this was done they did concede four times and lose so maybe they were cheating in the first half. I wouldn’t know ‘cos no one told me the rules. All I was told was to keep it shut, even if the ball hits the crossbar (which isn’t allowed anyway, but happened) and the next minute, if the balled rolled into the net, to make as much noise as possible. But not until someone with an Alesis SR16 drum machine (yes, I’ve got one of those y’know) triggered off “we will rock you” on their ableton software (got one of those too).

This took sometimes up to 5 seconds to happen which meant that the crowd ie me and 200 or so Turkish supporters, a blind Brazilian couple and a family from Yorkshire had our own little secret from the participants until this happened. Which was weird. But superb entertainment. Except for the dancing and stamping our feet bit. I didn’t enjoy that bit.

Yes, my day out at the Paralympics was brilliant. It was like going to Camden Crawl or Glastonbury but instead of watching obscure bands you’d never heard of before, you got to watch obscure sportsmen, sometimes playing obscure sports and I only had to walk the 20 minute walk home along the new bridge that was built especially for the Olympics – a walk that was a lonely one because everyone else went home the other way.

I’d never watched any tennis before but worked out I saw three hours of it Sunday afternoon. Three Fuckin’ hours!! and d’you want to know the best bit ?

Well … amongst the hustle and bustle of the crowds and the wheelchairs and the police horses and the mime artists, and Coldplay, and Queen and The Ting Tings and the Village People tunes…. when I got up onto the tennis court terrace and took my seat , amongst the various people of various nationalities, speaking various languages and having various disabilities…..the best bit…the bestest bit of all.. was looking over the scoreboard and seeing no more than 500 metres away…our ASDA store ! – how fuckin cool is that eh ?

All words by Keith Goldhanger. You can read more from Keith on LTW here, on his Facebook page or follow him on Twitter.

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Keith Goldhanger -- Spent the 90's as a frontman with London noisemerchants HEADBUTT - spent the 80's in "Peel favourites" BASTARD KESTREL. Spent a few years mashing up tunes and remixing bands as HIDEOUS WHEEL INVENTION. Is often out and about getting in the way of things and bumping his head on low ceilings - drinks real ale, takes photo's has made a few short films. Will give your band the time of day but will dislike any band that balances full pints of alcohol on the top of guitar amps (Not keen on lead singers that wear hats either).


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