It’s so weird and so nice seeing Brighton overrun by attendees of the Great Escape. Truly a city has never known so many skinny jeans and asymmetrical haircuts, nor seen such a polite teenage revolution. There was no vomiting on doorsteps tonight, no breaking the no-smoking ban at the city’s venues. It was an evening of excellent behaviour and paperback novels, with hairclips.
My first show of the night was Peter Van Poehl upstairs at Audio. Me and Vic spent the afternoon shopping in town, which mainly meant traipsing around clothes shops, noticing that we were on a circuit with about fifteen other hardy customers who seemed to be trailing us shop for shop. Afterwards we walked down to the seafront and queued for our wristbands. I thought the girl dolling them out was quite pretty – afterwards Vic shook her head, saying “did you see her chipped nail-varnish…?”
Vic went home for a breather and I decided to stick around for the first show of the festival. Peter Van Poehl, from France, played mainstream, rather romantic rock alone with a guitar. He was beset by technical problems. The first song was brought to a premature end by a sudden, monstrous drone emitted from the speakers. He looked shocked.
“It makes me think”, he said, seeming nervous, “about something I read recently”.
He paused, as if wondering whether to continue. “It was about how stars are made. And when they’re made, it’s by an explosion”.
There was another pause. The audience began trading small talk and consulting their phones.
“And when the explosion happens”, he continued, quietly, “there’s a tone. And the tone is an F”.
I thought that was quite delightful – me and a few others laughed politely.
“That’s not all”, he whispered. “Preceding the F, there’s another tone. And that tone is a C”.
He wrapped his fingers around the appropriate frets, and strummed a chord.
“This is a C”, he told us.
“But that has nothing to do with this next song”.
He can come back to Brighton any time he likes.