I’ve just watched the Netflix documentary about Fyre Festival. It’s a hell of a thing. A tribute to epic hubris, centred on a pallid grinning creep who has the right mix of no morals, smart friends and an animal comprehension of what a certain type of person will buy. He sold a dream and delivered a sack of pigshit. But his persistence is notable. In the face of overwhelming criticism and a complete lack of infrastructure he kept a face on and just said “Everything will be fine” until it wasn’t.
I watched it with my nephew Campbell. He’s at art school in Aberdeen and came down today for a few nights on the sofa. £35 and 13 hours on the megabus. A baby was sick by him right at the start of the trip. He didn’t sound like he was having a great time. But he’s here to make some street art. It’s to his taste, and costs no more than the material, time and transport. Who knows what will come of it. It’s in a place somewhere between performance and painting, and inspired by very sharp revolutionary political thinking. I sat with him on the sofa as I was getting started on doing my tax return. Not that I’ve got time for that, I should’ve done it months ago, but I get a fine if I don’t get it in on time and thankfully I have a fucking wonderful friend who is also an accountant – and patient with me too. She gets to see my bank statements. There’s got to be trust in that. Every year when I look at them I wonder what the hell I was thinking, and also how I can justify this absurd unpredictable existence when the Fyre Festival guy was selling $12,000 packages to people half my age, and they could buy.
I’m selling tickets to come play and have something happen and get some stuff in a van in Waterloo for £15. We’ll receive £13.50 of that which will be further split through the team. It’ll take a lot of those tickets to sell before the bare expenses are covered. Things creep up on you. For our show it’s solvable via getting helpful people with skills to do things for mates rates or for favours down the line. By buying things on Amazon. By putting in the hours. Thank the Gods for good friends, as it’s still working out more expensive than I anticipated. It’s a fine lesson because this van show carries very little risk. It’s the perfect frame for me to break the back of making things again after burying my head fifteen years ago when mum died. Even if hardly anyone shows I’ll enjoy it, and if everyone shows then ace! Plus if it plays well we will roll it out to festivals and have a little lovely thing we can go back to in the gaps. That’s the main reason we are making it.
The Fyre guy was selling something very different though. He was selling supermodels in bikinis stroking hogs on the beach with champagne. And it doesn’t matter how much goodwill you’ve banked, you can’t get a mate to build hundreds of fully plumbed luxury cabanas in a few weeks to sleep a bunch of “influencers” who are wondering where the thing they’ve been promoting actually is. I doubt you can get Amazon to deliver top quality food, drink and fresh water in vast quantities to a tiny island in the Bahamas in one day, even if you’ve got Prime.
So come visit The Pantechnicon and save yourself a terrible trip to the Bahamas. No supermodels will be there – or at least I’d be surprised if they were. They’re welcome of course. There’s definitely no jetskis though, and no champagne unless you bring it, and I’m on Dry January so it’ll make me sad. I’ll almost certainly offer you whisky anyway.
Here’s a view from my van chair today… It’s coming.
LAST TWO YEARS