Which side of me will win?

Metalcamp 2011: Wind In The Sword

Tonight, the people of Metalcamp will know the power of my sword.

I will lead the charge, the wind into my sword. Which is to say I took a massive rubber inflatable sword to Metalcamp.

I’d kept it sheathed up ‘til tonight but, as Mastodon closed their set, I heard it calling me. So I went back to my tent to get it then headed down to the beach bar, fire in my soul, steel by my side.

Taking a huge sword to a metal festival proves to be a fucking brilliant idea – I can’t believe I didn’t think of it sooner. The simple act of walking along a track with it makes me feel twice as metal as usual, which is really very metal indeed.

There are so many things you can do with a sword. For starters, you can hold it aloft (see above). This makes you feel very mighty, I can tell you. And so can anyone else who’s held my sword aloft.

Then, of course, you can use it to knight people…

People absolutely love being knighted. On a couple of occasions I was just walking along, minding my own business, sword in hand, and people just came up to me and asked to be knighted. I got really bloody good at it too (I even managed to do four at once, look).

First, you command them to kneel before you. Then you ask their name – let’s say Luca. Then you ask where they’re from – let’s say Switzerland. Then you perform the rights:

I dub thee [touch sword on right shoulder]
Sir Luca [touch sword on left shoulder]
Of Switzerland [touch sword on head]
Arise Sir Luca, Knight Of True Heavy Metal!
[spread arms high and wide]

Then I emit a fucking huge, long, ecstatic, mighty scream of metal to top things off. If you’ve never heard my metal scream, you can’t possibly imagine how powerful and impressive it is. I’m an average singer but, in their wisdom, the Gods Of Metal bestowed upon me a gift of mastery over the wind in my chest, enabling me to perform full-on, Triple-A metal screams lasting 20 seconds or more. So I am well able to appropriately and dramatically punctuate moments of extreme metalness with my voice. Thank the Gods!

So yeah, that was Metal Knighthoods.

Finally then, a massive sword makes a fine emergency substitute guitar…

Now, you and I might look at that sword and think that the massive, wide hilt would be the body of the guitar and that the blade would be the neck. But not Peter. Peter doesn’t think with the pack. Peter’s a maverick. Always has been. Always will be. So Peter plays it the other way around. Very well too, as you can see.

Those who’ve been paying attention to the long, drawn-out ramble that is the story of my Metalcamp may be wondering what happened to Bad Ash. Well, Good Ash managed to suppress him throughout Mastodon, but once we were at the beach bar, he was bound to show up again.

I have to say, it was hardly a classic Bad Ash night, although you could still tell it was him. The only real mischief he got up to (that I know of) involved the violation of another man’s horn.

Bad Ash and I are standing on the beach bar with a group of people standing in front of us. Those closest to us have their backs turned and they include a big German fella called Max. Bad Ash is staring at Max. At first I think he’s staring at Max’s kilt (saw more of those at the Metalcamp festival than at the Edinburgh festival), but then I realise he’s staring at Max’s drinking horn. Max’s drinking horn is hanging from his belt and it is fucking huge. Bad Ash reaches out towards Max’s drinking horn.

I’m thinking, oh no.

Bad Ash puts his hand inside Max’s drinking horn. I’m thinking, I hope this will satisfy Bad Ash’s curiosity. But no, Bad Ash’s arm disappears further and further into Max’s drinking horn. Bad Ash has to be at least 6’ 6” (that’s about two whole metres, Euro chums) so he has very long arms, and I swear he’s up to the elbow in this fucking massive horn. Then Max feels something.

The burly German spins around in a flash, grabs Ash’s arm and attempts to snap it off (Bad Ash has now retreated from whence he came, leaving Good Ash to try and calm the situation before they both lose a limb). Ash hurriedly explains that he was only playing before Max beats him to death with his own dismembered appendage. Max gives him some funny looks, but accepts his explanation and stops trying to make his shoulder bend in a direction that a shoulder usually doesn’t. He tells Ash that his friend got pickpocketed earlier in the week, so he’s very wary of thieves.

I watch this all unfold through a gap in my fingers, slowly shaking my head.

Here’s Max. That’s the handle of a large spoon in front of him, by the way, not a baseball bat. He’s not that big.

Theft, by the way, is not unheard of at Metalcamp, but is certainly much rarer than at any of the British festivals I’ve been to. On several occasions I absent-mindedly wandered off leaving my tent wide open and unattended for hours, and nothing got pinched. I find it difficult to imagine any criminality occurring at all (other than a bit of drug use). There’s no security on the camp site (although mounted police occasionally patrol up and down the main track) because there really doesn’t need to be. People just respect each other, and if they don’t… they respect Croatian Guy.

Y’know, I’m not sure if Max was actually wearing a kilt. That might just have been his brother. Ah well, whatever…


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