Summary: good, but not the best. And not without fuckups.
Or, in rather more detail...
Due to tiredness at the start of last week, plus more trivial issues such as everything being in the wash, I'd failed to completely pack by the appointed pick-up time on Thursday, so I was doing my headless chicken impression when d_floorlandmine arrived to collect us. However he was as laid-back as ever when we set off slightly belatedly in the direction of The North (as the Highways Agency love to refer to it).
Very smooth ride on an astoundingly sunny day, with a decent selection of music from Simon's collection and my iPod (plugged into the car stereo), with the standard level of contented light-hearted lewdness you'll get any time valkyriekaren and two partners in one place.
Arrived in Whitby around 7(?)pm to find a cottage just off the west end of Baxtergate (and getting closer to it by the day, judging by the slant). Decent, well-decorated place, but <rant>no functional curtains in the (east-facing) window of the main bedroom (a situation far too common in Whitby), damaged and ill-repaired bed, and leaky shower. FFS people, if you're going to take the timed to nail weird decorations to the walls, cover the basics first!</rant>
Also bloody low weird-shaped ceilings on which I cracked my head far too many times, but I'll not blame the owners for that bit.
Anyway... did the obligatory "head to the supermarket and see how many goths you spot" run to stock up, then headed up to the Res for dinner (mmm, steak...). Unfortunately that place's service is slow at the best of times, and I ended up far too hungry by the time I got to eat - although my metabolism behaved pretty well after this first night. And a couple of deflatine sorted this evening out ok, too.
Here endeth any medical bits.
Thence (of course) to the Elsi, where (my camera tells me) we met up with quite a number of people, had various chats, and generally enjoyed the company of a bunch of black-clad weirdos.
A few words on that camera - my new Canon Digital Ixus 40. I spent quite a lot of time experimenting with it over the weekend, and am really impressed by it. Fantastic low-light behaviour (most of my pics, even at night, were taken sans flash), quick start-up, decent battery life, fast continuous capture (about 1.5 - 2 fps where light levels permitted, for long sequences (up to about 30). Very responsive intelligent autofocus, not fooled by the extreme colouring og goth photos or close flash work. 500+ pics on my largest SD (512MB) card, and small enough to fit in most fag packets ;) (Cat using one as a very goth custom case for hers). Since at least 4 other people had the very same device, I'm tempted to nominate it as *the* WGW camera ;)
Oh, and downloadable themes and a built-in geeky clock mode? Daft, but amusing ;)
Couple of downers though - the viewfinder is distinctly smaller than the actual pic taken at certain zoom settings, and the "vivid colour mode" (ie velvia) is a bit OTT. But hell, for 200 quid for a genuinely pocket camera, the performance is astounding. And the rapid-fire mode is a great way of getting at least one shot of someone when they're not gurning - at 54 quid for a 1GB card you can afford to blaze away.
Anyhoo, enough excitement over the gadgetry - plenty of people were being pretty and shiny too ;)
Woke up at ARGHINEEDTOFIXTHATBLOODYCURTAINBETTER o'clock on Friday, made use of the two-story shower and wandered out to the Spa for the collection of the ever-tasteful wristband; started to wander 'round the stalls. Picked up two pairs of SDL-style trousers for 20 quid each; they may have been in the "Sale" but that does not explain why I later one pair to be muddy and have a lighter in the pocket. Sometimes I think vendors take a bit too much advantage of our good natures.
Wandered 'round there and the Met, failed to buy much (the common initial illusion), wandered around the harbour (fantastic weather again, even if it was slightly hazy most of the weekend for landscape shots) and met up with K upstairs to accompany her on her rounds of the stalls, at which point money started leaking. I'll make a list of what I actually bought when I unpack later today...
Repaired thereafter to the Elsi to chill (something I did a lot of this weekend, even without drinking much) to chat and watch backgammon while trying to work out the rules. Need to catch up with Ed (
Back to the flat for dinner, then out for a fairly low-key night at the Spa. Having been poked to Wear More Makeup I'd disposed with subtlety and gone with heavy eye makeup (actually brighter than that pic suggests) as something of an experiment. No-one fell about laughing, and I'm inclined to take comments of "impressive" as positive.
There was, however, a bit of a fuckup with ticketry, which in the end may be no-one's fault. Fire limits have to be appropriate and must (along with all fire regs) be properly enforced, and it's just a shame that the timings on this messed people about.
Side rant: far too many venues that cater to "the alternative crowd" are UTTER DIVES who seem to think we should be so grateful to be let in that we should ignore basic safety violations (the number of times I've had to ask for fire exits to be UNLOCKED, ffs...). Fire safety laws in this country are essentially reactive - for each of them, there have been many, many deaths before the laws were passed. They're written not so much in blood as in charred flesh... Ignoring them for convenience is frankly criminal stupidity.
Anyhow - I'm sure everyone was acting in good faith at Whitby, I'm just not sure about some other venues... Personally I felt the event was better when a bit less crowded, but I'd rather it hadn't been at the expense of dozens of poor sods waiting in the cold. And I don't just mean in the too-aptly named "chill-out area".
As for the bands that night - SBA were doing well, and I was sorry to have missed the start of their set. Voltaire was actually very funny, but somehow I wasn't in the mood for it (oh, and I can understand Rammstein lyrics... they're funnier that way ;) and wadered off. I generally had an air of "failure to click" that night - but generally enjoyed it, and stayed unusually awake and alert by my standards. The meds are evidently really working now.
Saturday I woke up a bit later, having managed to make a better job of blocking the sun out, and again headed off to peruse the stalls - buying even more lurid eyeshadow that actually matched the wristbands and - something I never expected to get - cyber hairfalls! (no I'm not going neon. cybergoth should still be black-based, just tech-goth ;)
And another daytime of strolling, buying, and chilling. A bit deja-vu (by the evening I was starting to feel a bit "been there, done that" about the whole event) but still a fine way to spend time and too much money ;).
Karen looked fantastic that night (I'm sure someone will post some pictures that do her outfit more credit than my snaps) and sufficiently different to cause complete recognition failure in vast numbers of people. I was being about as cyber as I've ever got and again felt the outfit and makeup were working.
Bands: SORT THE SOUND OUT, ffs. Some of us actually like to HEAR THE SINGER, rather than a poor mix reminiscent of AM radio. sheesh.
Fortunately In The Nursery were rather immune to that mess, and I was rather enjoying their set when I was told K had hurt her ankle :( Fortunately she was soon patched up, but still sore as I write this - S looked after here while I headed back to the band (in need of Loud Music Therapy to recover from an earlier incident). Damn fine music - bought a batch of their CDs.
Headed home near the end of the event with Very Sore Feet (those shinyboots aren't my most supportive) and crashed out, vaguely uncertain about the weekend.
Felt rather more with-it on Sunday, and (after a quick emergency shopping trip to buy K a stick) had another enjoyable day of fine weather, photos, and very strange evening conversations (led by K's discovery of really trashy "romance" novels in the Elsi) that allowed us to break Dragal's (
Res for dinner again, and possibly Whitby's dullest fish pie...
Monday, and the weather was still great (if hazy), everyone else in the flat was "urgh", so I headed off to the old town and up to the abbey, setting the camera to "vivid" mode which may have been overkill. Bough English Heritage membership for K&I (bit of an early birthday present) and took Many Shots. Most of which completely failed to be orthoganal - there's something about the Abbey that renders straight shots really tricky. Still, a few were worth uploading as-is, and they're all worth keeping although I may want to desaturate some of them.
Oh yeah, as mentioned, I took 500-600 pics in all, and have only uploaded 81. If you want to see more, any in particular, or full-sized versions for printing, let me know, and I can probably burn a CD for you.
Monday night, as K had promised, was a fish supper at the Magpie Café, possibly the best fish restaurant in the country, especially for the price. Even with full knowledge of their portion sizes we foolishly ordered starters, and were thus thoroughly defeated (yes, EVEN SIMON) by the main courses.
Gods, but that food was STUNNING. I had Baked Crab Parcels to start follower by baked monkfish in bacon with blue cheese sauce and crushed potatos. Felt like a crime to have to leave much of it, but we were all moving much, much slower for a few hours afterwards... so, in finest MENK tradition, we all crashed out in front of the Dr Who ep we'd recorded from the night before.
Weather finally broke as we headed back the next day - thick fog on the moors (even on the coast road), and very damp on the way back.
Many thanks to Simon for driving - first time I've not done so and it was quite relaxing. While this Whitby wasn't the finest ever, I'm looking forward to sharing the next one with a few new people - K's already trying to book places for some of the NE London crowd :)
Any questions? ;)
Once more: pics are here, picture Ts&Cs are here.