Monday, September 29, 2008

Fat Boy Upstaged Shock

By Friday, the "Fat Boy Invasion" had the local paper scared shitless.

By Saturday “Your photos” and “Your stories” were wanted for an 8 page celebration issue. The Brighton Argus was giving it large.

Fat Boy Slim was in town again (despite the fact he actually lives only a mile away in Shoreham), for his 4th Ibiza-style rave, made notorious a few years ago by a tragic death and 250,000 people crammed onto Brighton beach.

But that was then.

By 9am Council officials were out in force to meter threatening decibels.

Only 22,000 tickets had been allocated,19,000 of them by local postcode to prevent train chaos back to London.

Miles and miles and miles of fencing lined the beach, the street, the overhang.

Burger and chicken franchises had been sold.

So to the chagrin of revolutionaries and anarchists, Ibiza ravers and gatecrashers, not to mention the more genteel residents of Royal Circus and Sussex Square, the ticket holders ambled peacefully into a ribbon of seafront and enjoyed themselves without any trouble, eating kebabs and burgers and drinking water. Apparently no-one took any drugs.

It all ended at 9.45 and they ambled back out again.

The Nationwide mansion overlooks the stage, so a small NW youth posse defied vertigo and enjoyed the entire show for free, from the roof, a veritable Grand Circle of the Royal Albert Hall, despite the obstacle course of redundant Sky and BSB dishes, attendant wires and co-axial cables, ledges, roof tiles and a glass canopy.

Even the following morning the hangover-free were surprised to see the whole seafront cleaned up, leaving only heavy machinery to remove the hundreds of portable toilets. An FBS raver had even neatly put a crushed can of special brew on our doorstep for recycling.

Seems worthwhile too.


22,000 tickets at £35 each = £770,000 (about three quarters of a million smackers).


Whistle, 60p

CDs from HMV £50 (3 for 2 offer)

Deoderant (you have to lift your arm up while playing records) £1.29p from Boots

A CD player . £59.99p from Currys.

Total : £111.88p

Plus production Fee to FBS Incorporated of Switzerland or someplace £769,000

Council fee for the entire closure of the seafront, the city, airspace and a one mile coastal exclusion zone, TBA.

But it didn't go all his way....When FBS woke up the following morning, let’s hope he didn’t read the UK Observer.

Restaurant critics use language like seasoning. Words like amuse, toothsome, and delicate, pepper the page. Not big shouty words like “disaster”. But that's the very word Jay Rayner used to describe FBS's Japanese caff in downtown Brighton.

Rayner may be a self-confessed poncy food critic (poncy being AA Gill's word of the moment ) but he understands Japanese food. His latest book leads him to Yukimura in Tokyo and his taste buds lead him all around town. The man knows what he's talking about.

It wasn’t the décor or the tea in FBS place that got to him. It was the food. Oh dear. Sorry FBS.

Then there was worse. The nearest pub to the FBS stage is by coincidence the best pub in the world

where the latest muso spinning the wheels, or rather wheel, is the new FBS, DJ Graham, whose wind-up wooden phonograph plays 78s. Old Boy Slim they call him. He just whacks them out.

On Saturday, 22,000 people may have thought they were enjoying themselves with whistles and luminous armbands in hte most up-to-the-minute manner. Passe my dears. The place to be is just yards away, where the audience eagerly await the changing of not only the discs (Doris Day, Fats Waller, Muddy Waters) from one ancient thick paper sleeve "REX Records" to the turntable, but also the needles, proving that FBS is just so, so five minutes ago. Even his sushi restaurant isn't cutting it.

No, the place to be is the Hand in Hand. The time? 1957.

Because if you don't have a seat by 8 o'clock you'll have to stand.

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