Which side of me will win?

Metalcamp 2011: Big, Fuck Off Mountains

So, at about 8 am on Monday July 11th, the story of my Metalcamp 2011 begins. I got out of bed and I went to the train station to meet Ash and catch a train. Ash is one of my workmates and was persuaded to come to Metalcamp by the inclusion of Blind Guardian on the bill. And by me, of course. He has since, I think, described it as the best week of his life, which is about what I expected.

I don’t think it was until we were on our way that I found out that Ash, aged 29, had NEVER been to a festival before. This surprising fact would keep catching me out again and again, especially for the first few days.

Anyway, one of the things that makes Metalcamp the best festival in the world ever is the journey there, so don’t be surprised if Ash and I haven’t even got there yet by the time this blog entry ends. It’s about a ten hour journey, but doesn’t really feel all that long. This is partly because it’s broken up into chunks, so you don’t spend that long doing nothing at all at any point, and partly because some of it is actually very enjoyable in its own right.

The first two chunks – namely getting the train (four different trains, in fact) to Stansted Airport, and then hanging about there for a bit – are a bit dull, but the flight is pretty cool. For the second half of it you’re flying over the Alps. The Alps are big, fuck off mountains. Big, fuck off mountains are cool. There’ll be more on big, fuck off mountains later.

So anyway, I enjoyed that bit, then I also enjoyed the cab ride to the festival itself. It’s only just over 30 miles but it takes between 1.5 and 2 hours. Closer to two hours on this occasion as our driver’s GPS went on the blink. It takes that long because of all the big, fuck off mountains in the way. We’re not quite talking actual full-sized Alps here, but they are still pretty big and pretty fuck off all the same. And they do mean you can’t take anything like a direct route between Ljubljana Airport and Tolmin, the site of Metalcamp. Fortunately, they also present a whole succession of staggeringly beautiful views, so there’s really no hurry. Every time our driver’s GPS sent him the wrong way it was like, ah well, we just got to see some mountains we’d have missed out on otherwise.

And you know what else? There’s no litter anywhere. I was deliberately looking out for it, and I think during the whole drive I saw one drinks can and one plastic bag by the side of the road, and that was it. Seriously, these people do not like a mess.

Anyway, eventually we got to Tolmin and bid our driver farewell. He was a nice chap, but he did play some of the worst music I’ve ever heard throughout the journey. The last few tracks were, I think, Slovenian gangster rap. Imagine that. Slovenian gangster rap. Abominable.

But I can tolerate a bit of Slovenian gangster rap as part of a means to a very metal end, and for the next seven days scarcely a moment would go by that I wouldn’t be bathed in the warm, familiar glow of a nice bit o’ metal. Ah, bliss.


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