There are a lot of things that make me feel old these days, for example, grunting when I get off the sofa and the increased episodes of ranting at the eejits on the telly, most of whom claim to be running this country The fact that it’s twenty years since the first Stormin’ the Castle took place really makes me feel old, I didn’t discover it until 1993, the lack of interwebs and arsebook in those days meant that news of such events could take a while to reach more northern lands, i’s a long way for carrier pigeons ye know. Ah the memories of me old FJ streetfighter on it’s first jaunt to Stormin’, all the wiring bundled into old hoover hoses. I certainly didn’t carry as much crap with me in those days, tent sleeping bag and beer money was sufficient for a comfortable ? weekend, perhaps I simply couldn’t remember and/or didn’t care. Nowadays, the zimmer, slippers and boxes of incontinence pants take up so much space in the panniers. Pic This year I travelled a new road, one I have never ridden before, it was ‘called’ the A68, despite it’s familiar number, I figure we had ridden out of the back of a wardrobe into the land of Narnifud, onto a magical A68 on which the sun was shining brilliantly enabling us to see for more than 100ft either side, there were views from this road which I hadn’t seen in years of riding the real one, and some which I hadn’t realized had existed, perhaps I’d over done me prescription.
I did note with a hint of sadness the passing of the café/petrol station at the border, it was regular stop for the invading Scots hordes heading south to party.
I could wax lyrical at length about Stormin’s history, the great site, the craic and general brilliantness of it all, but, I’m not, so there, If you haven’t been to Stormin’, go ! , it’s as simple as that.
Since last year the Engine Bar had thoughtfully crawled across the field and settled itself much closer to the camping field hence closer to the tents, creating a higher likelihood of actually getting to your tent at the end of the evening’s festivities. c
The weather on the build up week had apparently been, er, ‘sorchio’, the heat fatigue was apparent in the Engine Bar on Thursday night. Those who toiled to get the site ready for everyone to party looked more knackered than usual, well quite a few went to bed before 4am. The number of car passes had been reduced again this year, excellent ! and folk seemed to have got the hang of the gate not opening until 10am, the first of the 5,500 ish folk who would attend were still at the gate at 6am, but there were fewer than usual, perhaps realising that the organizers weren’t kidding . But everyone was in for a hell of a party in the blazing sun all weekend. We were awaiting the arrival of pals from the southlands, in fact the brave and/or clinically mad Rosie was riding her old 350LC up from Dorset, a feat which would better some folk, but being mad as a wardrobe Rosie managed it with aplomb, arriving later on Friday afternoon with Charlie in tow. Pic More impressive than this feat was the fact that Rosie produced, astonishingly intact, two full boxes of Jaffa cakes from the bottom of her panniers, mmmnyummmphghmnphmm, forgive me if I have mispelled the sound ot two boxes of Jaffa Cakes being inserted in me gob simultaneously, Result ! The heat was, well, friggin’ unbelievable and in truly British fashion we mumped about how hot it was, however the application of several cold Guinness had me settling into the vibe and forgetting the heat. Pic I was engaging in such consumption outside the when a familiar but unexpected face of Ozzy appeared, turns out some kind person had given him a lift to the site, and the Rentatent fella had generously offered him a tent. To understand why his presence was unexpected and welcome, go onto youtube and search out ‘Kashmir Crash’, just watch out for yer sphincter pulsing and yer baw’s heading north when you watch it, ouch !. But he was in good spirits, on the mend and in the right place. Pic An early visit to the T Shirt tent, to view this year’s autumn collection and aquire some new clobber was a necessity since my ’94 Stormin’ t-shirt has fallen foul of the moths, that or my ever increasing waistline. No it was the moths !. The tent was in fact a sauna where Debs, Steve et al were sweating it out, probably sweating out a fair few pounds over the weekend, I was certainly a few pounds lighter when I left.. Pic As is usual, Veece and Michele orchestrated the usual superb mix of bands, a bit of somethin’ for everyone, well perhaps not if you penchant is for hardcore dance R&B shit, but then Stormin’ isn’t the place for that. On Friday the main stage was topped by Powerage, despite the bad wig these guys worked the crowd into a fair old lather with their mix of AC/DC. They were ably accompanied by The Force, Tubesnake with Mother Earth kicking it off I spent much of the evening in the Iris stage, The Revolutionaries blues set was excellent, I sat down to really enjoy Oil City Connection, and, I did. If Wilko Johnson is yer bag, these are yer guys. jhjhgkjhgkjgh Saturday’s main stage saw Raj Against The Machine ( guess what they played), Voodoo Six, Pistoleros whom I enjoyed immensely and headlining were The Stranglers. The Iris Stage had We Steal Flyers, a couple of fellas who played a great set and apparently play about a million gigs a year. Minnie & Victors, No Time For Jive, Tommy & The Oddballs all led up to Floyd2 at the top of the night, I’ve seen a few Floyd tribute bands, but few with as powerful backing singers as this lot, whit a pair of lungs on the lass. The Custom show, organized by Tim, was very well supported, set out in concentric circles designed to make me giddy, well, no more giddy than some of the entries made me. I had a couple of new judges with me this year, Mick and Peter, it didn’t take too long for the poor guys to realise that this judgin’ lark is little more challenging than might first appear. We got there in the end but there was a large number of very high quality entries to muse over. In fact there were quite a few thigh rubbingly gorgeous creations in the show, a testament to the general madness of those of us daft enough to get involved in this lark. Sam’s XS750 caught my eye immediately, I liked the cut of it’s jib, Nakita’s mad Honda sidecar outfit with two wheels on the car was all the more interesting in that she had made it down from Inverness with a gearbox which was having a domestic resulting in all but second gear going in the huff, slamming doors and leaving some way from the site, being a stoic she still made it onto the site. Pic As usual the organizers, that happy bunch of lunatics, who take it upon themselves to run Stormin’ for our delectation and pleasure did a sterling job, cheers folks. I do have to mention and thank the wonderful folk who’s food van in marshall’s area was worthy of serious merit, the food was fantastic, cheers. Not to forget Jude and everyone who manned the Survival Tent. 21 next year, bring it on. Words & Pics By Big Al