Chemical Brothers – Live at the Electric Picnic


I’m one row from the front, roiling in the day glo plastic drug mental of a Chemical Brothers set, when a pill warrior, eight feet tall on platform boots, his vari-coloured dreads a rain of snakes, his woman writhing property between his legs, turns and grasps my hand. ’This is it man, this is it!’.

I flash my fiend face and we nod together. This is it, the moment for which a generation sell their synapses; submit to decades of Paxil and hazy confusion, the apocryphal pumping heart of the love buzz, hours of ritual escape. With a head full of high grade acid, I bilocate; simultaneously pulsing in the maelstrom of orange Wedge; whilst observing coldly, intellectually, academically, the dissolution of social barricades and the iconic imagery of repression, confusion and alienation, with which Rowlands and Simons bind this thirty five thousand strong horde. Above us, dual fifty foot screens machine gun line drawings of blind-folded justice, animations of marching armies, blanketing bombers, troops of robots shuffling ceaselessly forward, the expressionless drones of Oceania – suddenly subverted by colour, till the images fall away, the screens a translucent cagework of industrial magnificence. The brothers chemical beneath them, wizards behind a curtain of Bond villain computer cabinets, blinking banks of lights looming behind vast curved decks.

We are utterly in their trawl, baying and pawing at the air, frightened excited animals beneath a demonic fireworks display. And as a random girl, no doubt pickled in some vast tank of pure drug, molests me like a boyscout at a Turkish bath-house; I wonder if this is not the ultimate discourse of control, rebellion sublimated to an audio-visual indoctrination cooked up in some NSA laboratory by stern moustachioed, deeply patriotic monsters. We continue the dance.


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