- Alfred Tan, Singapore
- Scott Zimmerman, San Francisco / California
- Chris McFarlane, Denton / Texas
- Marc Spindel, Florida
- Elisa Kurtis, Toronto / Canada
- Jen Matson, Cambridge / Massachusetts
- Steve Burt, Washington D.C.
- Keith D'Arcy, Hoboken / New Jersey
- Sheila Burgel, New York City
- Matthew Hansen, Paris / France
- Peter Hahndorf, Bremen / Germany
and from the UK itself:
- Gerard Mucci
- Richard Amphlett
- Andrew Dean
- Sean Kyle-Price
- Denis Pasero
- Julian Lawton
- Michael Clampitt
- Jen (John Stanley)
- Boy With Hayfever
- Stuart Mason
- Rodney Crowley
hopefully I didn't forget anybody, over all the 400 people in the audience originated from at least 13 different countries. Naturally most people came from the UK but France came second with 45 and Germany third with about 20people (surprisingly I only knew ten of them). With at least twenty-one list-members we easily beat the TweeFest in New York, note that withSheila, Jen, Elisa, Keith and me, five of us went to both events.
Here's my story:
Friday morning, after an one hour train ride to Hamburg I met my friendOliver in the Underground to the airport. He wanted to see the Sarah 100 ticketsand thinking about where I got them, I realised, that they were in the Londoncity map I throw out of my backpack just five minutes before I left home. What a good start, forgetting the tickets. At least I had my plane tickets and we had a quiet flight over to London. At the airport we met some French friends and immediately begun shopping for records and shoes. In the evening we metElisa for some beers and terrible London fast food. Although Oliver is very much involved in indiepop, running Marsh Marigold Records and all, he is a complete computer-illiterate. So our talk about the list and the net left him a bit outside. Unfortunately for him, he had to stand quite a bit of that during the following days.
We stayed with Sean who I had somehow imagined totally different. He is typically English but only in the most positive way. Like MatthewKaplan he doesn't fit in my view of lawyers. We were having a good time when Alfred returned from Reading. This guy is incredible, sure it is his first timein Europe and he must be excited but he was so energetic, thrilled and funny,I had a fantastic time with him and I wish he would be living close toGermany, so I would be able to see him more often.
On Saturday we went record shopping again getting some bargains, or cheapos as I call them, but also some over-priced flexis. I was surprised seeing a reasonable big el-section at Rough Trade, I wasn't surprised, that is wasn't there any more when I returned on Wednesday :-) At night Oliver, Sean,Alfred and me met up with Jen Matson for some beers in Camden and a late nightItalian dinner.
As ever London was packed with tourists and some places were really unbearable, so on Sunday we skipped the Notting Hill carnival and left with Sean for Bristol. Later in the afternoon we went to Bath, a beautiful nearby town with old roman baths and hot springs plus fine Victorian architecture.
At night at the Youth Hostel in Bristol we met over a dozen French popkids, just a preview of the meetings the next day.
On Monday morning we first met up with Rodney and his lovely girlfriend Heather. We dropped our bags at their places and had a first look at "This August's Farewell Kiss", It looked really good although I am a bit embarrassed on the piece I wrote.Anyway, we went over to the Temple Meads railway station where the first meeting was scheduled for 11.15 a.m. This is the very same building as one the eight postcards which came with Sarah20 to 30 or so. It was the perfect starting point for our SarahMemorial tour. We actually had started it the day before inLondon when we passed by Gunnersbury Park. :-) We were waiting for incoming trains from London, but only Jen Matson and SteveBurt got in. Now a party of seven we took a bus towards the fountain Island, our main meeting point for the tour. On they way we passed Redland station, I can't remember which 7" had a photo of it. Did anybody ever count the photos Sarah published of Bristol? At least one on every 7" label plus lots of them on various sleeves. During the whole tour a lot of places look familiar but even Rodney didn't know all the exact locations.Fountain Island isn't actually a fountain nor is it an island :-) The big "Hi, hello I'm Peter from Germany and who are you and what's your e-mail address?" began. We moved over to the CliftonDown, a huge green for the Picnic. By now we were 25 people,although only nine from the list. After we had finished most of the food it was time for the TweeNet and mailing-list presentation. Jen had brought her laptop all the way fromMassachusetts and I had prepared two Megabytes of TweeNet filesplus the whole list archive (18 Megs - downloading fromAustralia took ages). All we showed was the single TweeNethomepage. The sun shone brightly and even with the best display one could hardly see or read anything. And to tell it at once,we never tried again, not even at the show on the boat where everybody was busy enough anyway. So the whole thing was a massive flop. At least I gave away 15 copies of the TweeNet off-line disks and the remaining ones ended up in the Rough Trade shop in London (did you sell any by now, Delia?).
Back to the memorial tour, we somehow ignored the Garden flat,the original AYSTGH and Sarah residence and had our first photostop in Belgrave Hill (back-cover of Brighter's Laurel). Passing the Bristol Zoo we continued on the Promenade toward the CliftonSuspension Bridge. Clare was always obsessed with this bridge.One wall in the garden flat had about fifty different photos of it. They always said they would save it for their very lastrelease, and consequently you can find it on Sarah 100. It's a great bridge although the photo on Sarah 100 doesn't show the whole beauty of it. We proceeded into Clifton village and stopped for beer and coffee in a pub. Clifton is definitely the most beautiful part of Bristol. Next stop was the Cabot tower on top of Brendan Hill. It was already hard enough to get up the hill in the afternoon sun, but all the steps up to the top of the tower took everybody's breath. But it was worth the effort as we had a gorgeous view over the city and the surrounding hills. We were supposed to met the people from the Waaaaaaah mini-bus here, but we were a bit late and they had already left,to get ready for the evening in various pubs. Following was another photo stop at "There And Back Again Lane", a street about 20 meters (66 ft.) long. Just a few backdoors but nobody lives there. Cool name though.
Down into town where we had a pause to wait for our ferry-trip.Alfred and I strolled around the Thekla, said hello to Matt who was blowing hundreds of balloons. It was just 4 p.m. and there were already people around to check out the place and make photos of the boat.
The final part of the tour was a boat-trip on the Avon river and the floating harbour. Here we saw the impressions from theEngine Common and Shadow Factory sleeves. All the way to TempleMeads and back again, a nice sail. We skipped the Glass Arcade because we were all kind of exhausted. The other places were either on the other side of town (Air Balloon Road) or even out in the countryside (Temple Cloud).
Of course the main reason for the tour wasn't to see all theSarah landmarks, but to meet other people and the tour gave us avery good opportunity to do so.
coming up next: the show itself
As it got and closer to seven p.m., the area around the The Thekla filled with Sarah fans from around the Globe. Some unexpected old friends from Germany, half a dozen Greek people, the usual Japanese pop-kids, even my friend Peter from Hungary showed up. Members of Heavenly, The Orchids and Blueboy all strolled around as well, but that night they weren't too important to me, it was more important to meet other 'fans'.
Finally the door opened and everybody went down into the old cargo-room of the ship. Upstairs was a cafe were one could relax and had a chat for a while.
Blueboy's opening acoustic set was simply wonderful, somehow I always liked the quiet songs better anyway. I changed my mind on this after their mind-blowing second (full-band) set. SecretShine were good as well, being one of my less favourite Sarahbands they at least picked the songs I like and didn't turn too much into MBV. Brighter were my favourites of the night,possibly because I already had declared them so beforehand but they didn't disappoint me. What a gorgeous set, it's so sad it was a one-off. It was also the only band during the whole show I turned my full attention to, while during all the others I wastalking to people. Knowing so many people I did a lot of introducing, basically British people to Alfred and Joerg fromMind The Gap, but also Miguel of the legendary Spanish Stamp fanzine and lots of others. It took me ages to bring KeithD'Arcy and Julian Lawton together. It was great to see both of them again. I chattered to Akiko of Sugarfrost for a while whom I had not seen for five years. I also met Mike They Go Boom for the first time plus the Siesta guys from Spain and Elsa fromPortugal. From the 'old times' we had David Gedge and MartinWhitehead (the latter one becomes a music lawyer soon, so watch out Matthew and Sean). I will probably compile a list of all the people one day. Still I missed a few, especially 'old school' people, maybe I just didn't recognise them or they couldn't make it.
Back to the bands, I don't like Boyracer at all, so I missed them, while being upstairs. Maybe I should have give them a chance. Harvey and Julian Henry (Hit Parade) played a couple of songs. Not only acoustic as usual but some fully electric, which made it even more special. "I'm in love with a girl" was excellent. The Orchids started with 'Caveman' but then continued with more recent songs, good show nevertheless, I'm sure Keith will rave about them anyway.
Then Blueboy again, this time with the full band and so much better than the last time I saw them. The most powerful song of the evening was possibly 'Imipramine'. Also it was great to hear fifty people singing along with Keith on 'Clearer'.
Of course the evening had its scandal when Tim 'Shelley' beat upNeil 'Bouquet' because he had called him an "arrogant bastard"and his single of Sarah "crap".
Finally, Heavenly was on, but having seen them twelve times before I didn't care too much about them, there were still more people to meet.
As Amelia sang the last ever song under the Sarah banner I'm sure everybody was sad, but there was no 'one minute's silence' and no final words by someone. People disappeared far too quickly in my opinion. I didn't see any tears either.
I know Matt and Clare will continue and the bands didn't breakup either but still, it was a very melancholy moment for me. But then, it ended with one of the best shows I've ever been to and the whole day and weekend was such a remarkable experience.
After the show someone of Bavarian radio interviewed me and asked whether Sarah changed my life. I said it didn't, but thinking about it later, it definitely did and quite significantly in some ways.