In times of extreme boredom, like let’s say on a long distance bus or when stuck in an airport during a transfer, I entertain myself with idle thoughts, such as imagining a superbly civilized alien society visiting our tiny planet, and deciding, based on some totally random human behaviour, whether to spare it ultimate destruction or not.
Let’s now go further and imagine they arrived on a hot evening in August over Óbuda Island in Budapest, Hungary. Under their bewildered eyes (or whatever sophisticated sensory organs they have) a sea of the planet’s native population is entranced by one particular individual among them, a slightly pudgy middle aged male of the species, with the mother of all ridiculous haircuts atop his head. He is wearing gear oddly resembling the uniform on one of the random planets the crew of the star ship Enterprise visits during its trials and tribulations in space. And to top everything, the man can’t sing. So then, somewhere in the middle of a horribly transformed Road to Mandalay the aliens decide: DEATH RAY.
Before settling on ultimate destruction, the aliens will of course spare a thought to how this pudgy man, through the sheer power of will, has convinced the adoring crowds of his greatness. He was, after all, one of the random members of a random boy band, and now he’s a SUPERSTAR. And how do we know that? Because he told us so. Several times. Lest we forget. He’s a bloody superstar.
He mangles his songs and does some push ups, fondles his back up singers and chats up a girl from the crowd, and then somewhere in the depths of his despair he realizes he’s basically just undergoing full blown midlife crisis on the main stage of a gigantic festival and throws in, you, guessed right- some covers. He covers everyone and everything, because he’s such a seasoned entertainer, I guess, and makes Bono sound positively vocally gifted by comparison when romping through what I discover to be a particularly off tune rendition of I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For. Speaking of Bono, at least the man wrote some memorable lyrics, like the one about how desperation is a tender trap, which I believe could have very well been inspired by Robbie Williams pondering, in the gilded tub of his secluded mansion, what gimmick to throw in next. And you guessed correctly again, swing, dammit, give them some swing, they will love it.
Well Robbie, I don’t. Thank you for being the silliest looking bloke in Take That and for the thoroughly entertaining video of Love Supreme, but next time you’re around I’ll make damn sure I am as far away as possible. As a graceful side note, whenever Robbie shut up, the band (spare a thought for the poor souls having to go by the heartening name of Robbie Williams band), sounded absolutely alright. And as a further side note it transpired that Robbie wanted to cancel the whole circus because some Hungarian television wanted to film him at the airport, which is unacceptable, because he is a SUPERSTAR. Kanye, you have been warned.
Yet amidst suffering, as oft happens, a wonderful thought arose: I am on Sziget, I don’t have to listen to this chap, I can just go out into the night and do whatever the hell I want. Well, I can do all that once I figured out the map, because (insert mild panic and full blown hysteria here) they changed everything! The main stage got bigger (presumably to better fit the crowd of Robbie’s adoring minions and avoid their being squashed by the might of their supreme overlord) and in doing so re-arranged the set up of the entire area.
So in the afternoon I had a few seconds of that Alice just having fallen through the rabbit hole feeling- which is, after all, what Sziget is about. So, okay, to hell with the map, let’s dive in, follow the white rabbit- never mind it’s a Brit in a furry onesie, go where the lights shine brightest-it’s a dance floor, next lights, a campfire, and more lights, illuminated flying dolphin of course. Lights twinkling in the night like fireflies- oh it’s a beach with a chill out tent.
And very importantly, let’s mention those who boldly went where Robbie has never gone before: The Dead Broncos and Yok Öyle Kararlı Şeyler (everyone who correctly spells Turkish at the first go is a hero) played music. On the British Knights Europe Stage-yes, welcome to the mind boggling stage naming universe of the island, I wonder whether I am to read something into this particular one. I know, it’s a sponsor, but a conspiracy theory never hurt any post. So this stage has lots of exciting but less known acts from all over the continent throughout the week, and while they should definitely have some duds along the way as well, it’s a welcome venue for music that’s more heart than business.