Without whose consideration this would not have been possible
The road threads through the coarse and beautiful terrain of south-west Kerry, ditches and stubby bridges over babbling brooks amid a crown of steep and brooding foothills. With each twist we are travelling into some place away from itself and with a yawning bend, we find ourselves skating along the rim of that coastline here at the end of the world. The Dingle peninsula juts into the north Atlantic and with each revolution, the coast opens its gaping maw even wider; the horizon bending around the water’s edge.
We are beyond Time here having reached this splendid little Berghof, nestled between the sea and a dream. Getting out of the bus, which has been travelling now for a lifetime, the first thing one notices is the harbour; giving way to a headland several kilometres away. The hotel itself is a three storey affair the colour of Thousand Island dressing and presides out over this especially pleasant view.
Before proceedings can get underway, one might as well get checked into a room and get the logistics out of the way. The lobby is saturated with the smell of chorine from the downstairs pool and makes the hotel appear as if has been cleansed especially for our arrival. The disinfected smell, coupled with the rarefied air of this unspoilt terrain mixes in the nostrils while some metaphysical squeegee runs itself over the soul, the spirit tingling with Dettol and anticipation. Having undergone the ritualistic cleansing and discussed with Niki just how fantastic things are going to be out here, a key is placed in my hand.
My room is on the ground floor. Walking through the lobby and turning left, I find myself standing at the top of a long corridor. Some lights in the ceiling are turned on, although the lights stop roughly halfway down; the rest of the corridor bathed in darkness. Niki says that there aren’t too many people in this wing of the hotel and that it should be fairly quiet down here. The room is about half way down the corridor and in the ceiling above the door the light flickers, wondering whether it should join the other lights along the corridor that have turned off, that alluring darkness washing against the shoreline…
I’m not out of room two minutes before I bump into Hollywood Sims, who invites me to check out his suite. We ascend the staircase set against one of the lobby’s walls. On the landing immediately to the right of the stairs is the games room and restaurant. On the opposite side of the lobby is to be found the hotel’s cinema room for the weekend. We walk briskly along the second floor corridor and ascend a narrow staircase to where suites one and two are located.
The vast, open space of the sitting room is accentuated by the windows that take up one of the suite’s walls. There are chairs and comfortable couches arranged around a coffee table and some cans resting on a kitchen table. The sun is only beginning to set and looking out onto the shores of Lough Currane as the night spreads its shawl over the distant hills, I cannot contain my excitement: this is going to be an exceptional weekend.
Handed a can by Matti, I join the lads in the bedroom and find myself staring back out to the ocean I regarded while getting off the bus: the ocean in one room and a lake in another! There’s only one thing to discuss and everyone is talking about how fantastically things are probably going to turn out here over the weekend. The excitement is palpable as laughter hisses through opened cans…
The music will be getting started at eleven and will be going on well into the early hours of the morning: a fantastic prospect. For the moment though, there’s nothing for it except to tear into a few cans and soak up these most astonishing surroundings as the sun declines behind the hills; drawing the blind and dragging the Nocturnals from their slumber…
Back on the stairs, people are beginning to arrive in their rooms. Crates of cans and suitcases are being dragged through unlocked doors and fucked into unsuspected wardrobes. That static, shiver-down-the-bottom-of-your-spine sensation is beginning to descend on the grounds, as if the hotel had suddenly transformed into an untuned television and you can almost smell the excitement.
Tearing down into the basement, I pass over the club, whose entrance is to my left, and walk straight ahead towards the hotel’s swimming pool where a Miami Vice pool party is in full swing. It looks like fun, although judging by the fact that I was able to smell the chlorine from the lobby, I think I’ll give it a miss, for the moment.
Instead, things have gotten started in the stage. Walking into the venue, you notice the venue is down a number of steps. To the right is a seated area that hangs like a balcony above the stage. On the ground floor, a stack of Funktion One are placed on each side of the stage with a bass bin sitting right before the DJ booth and once Hollywood Sims gets his set underway, it becomes clear that the crew has gotten this low ceilinged space sounding especially decent; an encouraging prospect for the rest of the weekends proceedings.
For the moment though, what’s Hollywood Sims got for us?
The short answer: Techno! Fucking tonnes of it.
Hollywood launches into one of his own live sets and it’s a tight and limber little affair, like a cross country runner stretching before a jaunt through familiar fields. The music is lean, yet muscular and Hollywood’s production standards at this point have grown incredibly refined. The Funktion One’s are in the more than capable hands of a producer who knows the capabilities of this system inside out. Everything slips into place and the music has that peculiar temperament that could astonish revellers in those places where techno is taken seriously. Finishing out his set with “The Path,” an exceptionally well executed piece of work, Hollywood demonstrates his capacity to put together some superb pieces of music. One of the bright stars in the Lough’s constellation of artists!
I notice that my glass is empty and decide to return to my room for a shmall one before getting back to the stage. People are scurrying to and fro about the lobby and you get the impression that that initial pyroclastic blast noted when arriving at the hotel is finally settling: Lough Weekend has established itself.
I reach the corridor upon which my room is situated and walk through the lit area before coming to my room on the borders of the festival. My hand reaches into my pocket to remove my key when I suddenly notice something tapping on my ankles. Surprised, I look to the ground, only to discover a little ball rolling against my ankle.
Picking the ball up and wondering where it could have come from, I decide to venture into the darkness and stroll up the corridor pensively… the corridor splits and connects with an adjacent wing through a passage of no more than three metres in length… the door connecting these wings shuts ominously behind me as I grope blindly against the wall for an elusive light switch.
When I finally do find the light switch and the lights in the corridor blink on, I discover a pair of young twin girls standing in the hallway and as an ice pick begins to stab at my spine I can hear the girls saying: Come play with us, Stewie. For ever… and ever… and ever…
What fresh hell is this…?
Continued in Part II