I met Aimee on the same day that I first saw Orbital (well, in reality, or some other reality, we had actually met at a house party some time before, but the less I mention about that, the better.).
It was supposed to be Orbital’s last ever gig, then they were playing at Oxygen the next day and then they played a gig in London, so it turned out to be their third “last ever gig”. Having been a fan of theirs, I was a happy chappy at the fact I would see them before they split up. Well, they’re brothers so I guess not split up, just stop making music together.
When I met Aimee, it was the Sunday of T in the Park, and I had enjoyed my Saturday with several of my friends, including Chet, Pete the Hat, John Petrie, Paul “Mr Festival”, among others. My flatmate, who I had went along with had buggered off with her then boyfriend and I ended up spending the Saturday night in the tent alone, miserable and a tiny bit scared for my life – T in the Park can be terrifying if you don’t have someone to tell you that the nutters next door aren’t going to set fire to your tent with you inside it. Of course, when you DO have that friend, nothing matters and you would actually encourage some arson, all in the name of fun! So the Sunday morning I woke up from my limited sleep and stumbled around until I found myself at the main stage watching Goldie Looking Chain. Good gig. Apparently one of the members had got in a fight the night before with some T bams and broke his leg, but he seemed to enjoy the performance, no doubt helped along with a lot of prescribed, and probably non-prescribed, medication. (Incidentally, as one of only around 30 people who were up and about and watching this gig on the Sunday morning, I later found out that Gary, my husband-to-be and partner in crime was also standing watching them, no more than about 10 metres from me. We never knew each other existed then…).
So, Sunday. I was feeling a bit worse for wear, abandoned by my flatmate, and kind of wanted to just go home. The thing about festivals is, and it’s something I’ve always had a bit of anxiety about, is that once you are there for the weekend, you can’t really go home early, without much fuss. I would have had to find my flatmate, explain to her I was leaving, take my things from the tent, try get a bus home, she probably had my keys… a lot of effort for a festival that I had spent a lot of money getting to). So, luckily I bumped into said flatmate, who, obviously wanting to continue her adventures with her boyfriend without me, took me to where his friends were, quickly introduced me to them and swiftly left.
I was 19 years old, Aimee was 21 and lying on the grass looking cool as a cat. Sunglasses, check, big chunky trainers, check, stripy socks, check, BIG red dreadlocks, CHECK, smile, CHECK. I won’t go into the conversation that we had, but within about four or five minutes we had declared ourselves BEST FRIENDS. It’s funny how people click when they are into the same debauched games as each other…… 🙂 My hangover was gone, my misery gone, I was introduced to Kevin and Kidman, who I thought were a duo called Kev and Kev-man (for about three weeks). The four of us decided to go for a bounce to Orbital, but when we got there the tent was closed off because too many people were already there (inbetween I think we saw Franz Ferdinand and Scissor Sisters, but we were preoccupied with things that will remain unknown to notice much). Orbital was CLOSED OFF! F*CK THAT! And so, in order for us to see the mighty Hartnoll brothers, the four of us mustered up some energy and ran straight for the barriers and jumped over, pushing our way through the dense crowd (dense in both manners of the word, in a lot of cases – these were propaaaa ravers maaan!) and into the middle, where we were washed with some of the most beautiful electronica and techno known to man. IT WAS GLORIOUS! We never spoke a word to each other during the gig, just danced like nutters.
Walking out, there was a massive queue for Snow Patrol, and as smug as could be, we shouted some techno abuse at the hundreds of waiting yawners, and walked to see Massive Attack.
WHAT A DAY! That was coming up seven years ago now. Aimee now lives in Japan with her baby girl, Anna and her boyfriend Kaz and I live with Gary, in Glasgow. Orbital got back together two years ago.
They never even really split up.
Tomorrow tickets go on sale for their gig at the Glasgow ABC, and I will be going to see them for my fifth time on April 7th, three days before – my brother and his wife are due to have their baby! (More on THAT another time). Orbital remind me of happiness. That is just one of the few stories I have about them, and it’s quite a pivotal moment for me, as it shaped who I am now, gave me the life and friends I have now and soundtracked a LOT of great moments.
Thanks Phil and Paul! Thanks LOADS!
P .S Just in case anyone is wondering, the person who my flat-mate deserted me for was Graeme Park, the handsome cowboy who, at that point, some people – not including myself – thought looked like Stuart from Big Brother. My flatmate looked like Michelle from BB. GP is a handsome devil, and without his silly and in retrospect, his funny love affair, none of this would have happened. Mon the fish.