Bargain Booze

source // theonfires

source // theonfires

Tuesday, 15 July, 2014

Taipei, Taiwan

When I was old enough to get served (with the aid of a card), but also still young enough to find five days squished into a tent with eight people on a diet of biscuits and beer appealing, I used to go to the Leeds Festival.

While the memories will always stay with me – how could I ever forget the man on acid that wouldn’t leave the side of our tent until I ‘admitted’ that I was his dad? – I’m at a point in life where the same underpants for five days in a row has become less desirable.

What I do miss, however, is watching a day’s worth of talented musicians while sipping at a nice cold beer.

Obviously, it is great to sing-along with the bands you already know, but it can be just as fun to discover something new. Every year I got dragged to a stage to see some no name band I had zero interest in, and then by the end of the week I would know all the lyrics to three of their albums.

So, we decided to check out Taiwan’s Ho-Hai-Yan Music Festival – which came with a lineup of artists completely unfamiliar to us. In fact, if I started making small talk with the headline act, I’d probably ask them if they are looking forward to seeing themselves play.

It was actually a five day festival, but for reasons already stated, we decided that we would just go to check out the fifth and final day of the event – this is perhaps a sign that I’m getting older. Regardless, I still felt like I was the envy of the town. There were definitely a lot of scruffy, smelly festival kids looking at my shampooed hair and straight off the washing line t-shirt with pure jealousy.

Ho-Hai-Yan also took place on a beach, which was another way this festival experience differed from previous years. It’s probably for the best that Leeds Festival is not next to a sea – imagine how terrified a trout would be while in the hands of a bloke on acid calling it ‘dad’.

Being that we would only be going to one of the days – we didn’t have the big crate of warm beers to work our way through in the camping area before hitting the venue. Thus, I was going to have to do something I had never previously done before – buy a beer at festival prices!

I was pretty nervous as I waited in the queue. I was praying that I could at least find a can that was priced at less than a tenner. When I got to the front, I looked at the list of alcohol, rubbed my eyes, and then looked at the list again. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

A beer was £1 – the joy I felt in that moment was indescribable. It was like getting an A in an exam that you expected to fail, and then getting into Oxford because of that A. I previously thought that my wallet wouldn’t be able to stretch beyond two drinks for the day, but it turned out that my assumption was very wrong. Thus, there was a change of plan – I would now be getting very, very drunk!

Most of the music was really enjoyable too. There were a few shit bands thrown in here and there, but then that’s just the nature of a festival. Unfortunately, I didn’t take note of any of the artists’ names, because I was drunk and spent a lot of that time trying to finesse a beer can drawbridge for my sandcastle – so, sadly that music will be lost to me forever.

While I may sadly forget the bands, I will always remember my time spent in the toilet area. As anyone that has ever attending a festival before will tell you, the portaloo toilets are extremely grim – and these were toilets on their fifth day of a festival.

My consequence for drinking a lot of beer was an unideal amount of toilet breaks. I must need to go every thirty minutes when I’ve been drinking – other people get flirty, loud or argumentative – while I just tend to make friends with the urinal.

Well, on one of my many trips to take a leak – I saw a couple getting pretty hot and heavy leaned up against one of the toilets. They were just kissing, but doing so very passionately.

These guys were a thirty second walk away from a beach, which is next to a sea, hotels and many quiet mountain areas. So, it was hard to understand why they chose to make out against the side of a five day old festival portaloo toilet?

There is a man pissing on fifty-five layers of shit on the other side of the plastic they were pressed on. Their kids are going to love hearing the story of when they met. At least, I assume that they found each other over the course of that weekend and this wasn’t just a couple trying to spice things up after five years of marriage.

In the heat of the moment, the man pulled up the woman’s right leg, so that it could be bent around the side of his waist – a move that didn’t quite work out the way he planned.

The floor around the portaloo toilets was pretty wet and slippery. So, imagine if some doofus decided to quickly readjust your body, lift one of your legs off the floor and momentarily have you leaning backwards.

She wobbled a bit and then fell into a teenage boy, who to his credit, kind of caught her. The girl’s backside and the side of her leg were now drenched in watery, portaloo, liquidy stuff, but thanks to the teen, her hair and back remained, well, I want to say clean, but she had just been spending her time getting passionate against a festival toilet, so I guess, not further dirtied.

At which point it was my turn to use the toilet, so I can’t really offer an ending to the fairy tale. All I can tell you is that both the teenager and the couple had left the scene by the time I had finished doing my business.

If you ever needed another reason why you shouldn’t get off with someone while leaning up against a five day old festival toilet, then now you have one.

Overall, it was a good event, and most importantly, the beer was cheap. If we go back next year, I’ll definitely be taking a pen and paper with me – I’m pretty gutted I didn’t take down any of the bands’ names.

Oh well, I guess I’ll just go back to listening to my favourite Peruvian death metal band, Anal Vomit, until next year.

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