Because most of summer was spent gentrifying our kolonistuga — forcing spiders to move out of the house by redecorating — there was neither much money nor time to plan any vacationing outside of Gothenburg. So the trip to Poland at the end of summer was going to be a “working holiday” before fall-work would start. Sara was doing lights for Goat, and one of the tour stops was OFF Festival outside Katowice. I was enrolled to document the show, so figured I’d visit dad in Warsaw before heading down south.
The whole trip went off without a hitch; not so much as a train delay during the whole week! Incredible, really, but it turns out that when you book hotels through one of those “meta-reservations” websites, those reservations are real things! The times we live in, I tell you it’s magic. (Spying and commercial magic, but still magic!)
I spend a couple of days with dad and his family in Warsaw, and then leave for Krakow where I meet up with Sara. The weather is broken: It’s silly hot, the papers talk about a record with 38°C, and most of the days are spent jumping from shadow to shadow, pressing cold drinks againsts sweaty bodies. It did not help.
We stay at Cafe Młynek, and I’m in playing at “spoiled vegan” by stuffing my face with latkes. We drink water, walk, chill out in the contemporary art museum in their “chill-out” lounge until a grumpy lady chases us out because we’re too chilled-out. (Polish service-mindedness has never been a particularly prominent trait, but it’s still surprising how assholish people are — ”the service industry” is an euphemism for something completely different in Poland.) And then we walk some more, consider doing bungie jumping but end up too hung over to bungie anything.
Once we’re in Katowice we get our passes to the festival and start to get acquainted with the setup. It’s the most controlled event I’ve been at in Poland, and certainly the most tightly controlled festival. You drink thither, you listen to music hither, should you take drink from thither to hither you will be fined 100 Euros. The only accepted currency are either 2.5 zloty paper tokens, or 50 zl prepaid Mastercards. And there’s no easy way to find out how much credit you have left on your card, so you end up holding up the food queues while going through the four cards in your pocket, trying to guess which one had 5 zloty left and which one had the remaining 2.5 zloty. And for this money you could only buy Grolsch beer, as they were one of the main sponsors. Happily, you were free to wear any shoes you wanted, despite the Converse sponsorship and event-tent.
We watched some of the obligatory big acts, and most of them were meh, with Smashing Pumpkins leading the pack by a stunning illustration of “phoning it in.” Goat got a great reception and I got some good pictures. Piotr Kurek and Metz were nice, and along with Mikky Blanco there were plenty of smaller acts which were fun to hear. Thinking back on it, I’m not sure if anything stick out particularly, and there’s nothing new from the festival that found it’s way onto my music player, but the whole event was enjoyable in a responsible, adult way. Also, I found these vegan cheese doodles which were just awesome.
Only setback of the trip was that Air Berlin has misplaced Saras luggage on the way down, and in order to stay in character they misplaced both our luggage on the way home. Once we got the stuff back a week later it was soaking wet — apparently they store lost luggage in a pool of stagnant water — and what wasn’t ruined was moldy and had to be washed. The vegan snacks had survived though, so one week after homecoming I could sit back, gorge on doodles, and reminisce about an excellent trip back to the home country.