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The British Meet: IAM members in Brighton - May 5/6 2001

SATURDAY It's 5.30am, and I'm off down to Brighton. Just enough time to get up, throw a few things together and get down to the station: the train leaves just after 7. It's on time, but then we get stuck for 15 minutes just outside Milton Keynes 'waiting for a platform' according to the announcer. I wonder why they didn't put the platforms in at the same time as they built the rest of the station, but I don't suppose that's what he really meant. So I miss my connection, and have to get the Tube across London - believe me, these trains would give a canned sardine claustrophobia. At least I get to try out the new lemon-scented air freshening that London Transport have just put in to alleviate the awful smell of squashed sweaty bodies! Only half-an-hour late in Brighton: Noot and Puck are there to meet me at the station, wheeling a huge trolley-load of stuff for the Meet. We pile into a taxi, drive round the the venue and start getting everything ready. In next to no time Beermonster arrives, and as 11.30 approaches, Noot Beermonster and I head off to Perforations leaving Puck to get the show on the road. A queue forms rapidly in the street outside as we wait for the studio to open. I'm getting a wrist bar - something I'd been wanting for a while now - and Beermonster is having a pair of eyebrow bars. We go in, sign the forms, and sit chatting while the guys get everything ready. I'd heard good things about Perforations, and I'm impressed; it's a great friendly atmosphere - the waiting room is soon full. Now they're ready for us: Beermonster goes off first; another few minutes and it's my turn. Noot's very kindly agreed to take some pics for me (thanks!!), so it's a quick demo of the digital camera and we're all set. It's a very smooth performance, a very neat job and I'm soon admiring my new wrist bar. Back to the waiting room - we sit down and wait for the eyebrows to be finished. And wait...and wait. Noot and I look at each other: hang on, it doesn't take forty minutes to do two eyebrows? At that moment Beermonster emerges: with only one eyebrow done, and dashes off next door to the loo. Turns out she'd been too busy talking!! Back in to get the other one done, and then the three of us head off back to the Meet. By this time it's 2.30, so we start thinking ... "What if no-one else has turned up, and Puck's been sat there on his own for three hours?".... This could turn VERY ugly!.......... Returning from Perforations, we find Puck has the Meet already well underway. I'm not really that much of a party animal (honest!!) and I just know I'm going to forget who everyone is before the evening's over. A few I already know - there are my 'neighbours': bigmad_drongo, complete with new 'Yes, it hurt' BME shirt, The Baptist, complete with new industrial, and smeg-head, complete with his mate Neil. Time to take the dressing off my wrist bar yet? Yes! I show it round. Amongst people I get to see and say hello to in person for the first time: BigHippy, Baptist's brother Nixie, Fnook, Clanky, Mr.me, as well as a brief chat with freeqboi, who has to travel back to London later, and Eva. Noot catches my eye and nods towards two lads: 'Didn't we see them in Perforations earlier?'. I think so - I go over and check: yes, one of them had had his nape done. He shows me - it looks great! I find myself wondering I can get away with a nape at work..... I say Hi to the guys from Perforations who'd stopped by to see us all, buy some raffle tickets - there have been some super prizes donated (T-shirts, cute little pierced bear....) and enter the 'Guess how many piercings we've got between us' competition, for which the prize is two little pigs doing something most unseemly! I even get to see what Bart looks like in person. My luck being what it is, I win zilch, but never mind - it's all in a good cause. Before I know it, it's all over. It's midnight, I'm feeling distinctly frayed round the edges, having been up and doing for nineteen hours - the last nine of them in a pub! Off we all go. At this point my normally impeccable sense of direction totally deserts me and I head off in what turns out to be the opposite way from my hotel. Back towards the seafront, where there are still plenty of people around, even at this late hour. I find it, check in, and decline their offer of an early morning wake-up call: it's 1.15am already. And so to bed - it's been quite a day! Zzzzzzzzz. SUNDAY I wake up and take a bleary-eyed look at my watch: something-or-other past nine. I take a look at my wrist, seems fine. Obviously I haven't knocked it or caught it on anything during the night. I decide against calling room service for some breakfast but instead make myself a large mug of coffee, and climb back into bed to drink it. Eventually I get up, toying with the idea of going back to Perforations for a guiche, but decide to go for a walk along the sea-front first; they don't open till 12 anyway. Outside it's dull with a chilly breeze, but a few hardy souls are already on the beach although the deckchair hire stall is hardly doing a roaring trade. Two jet-skis look like they're having fun - must give that a try sometime. I look out at the piers. Once they epitomised the glorious English seaside resort. Now, the West Pier, damaged in the Second World War has lost great chunks into the sea, and Brighton Pier itself bears signs of the years taking their toll. I stroll down, looking at the unbelievably tacky slot machine arcade - just like a cheapo version of Las Vegas. At the end there's a funfair; the machinery vibrating the wooden planking. I start to wonder how long it'll be before that, too, collapses into the sea. I stop at the pier restaurant, glad to get in out of the cold, and order fish and chips. And a guiche for after lunch? I think so.

It's 1.30 by the time I get to Perforations. In I go, only to find that BigHippy, Mr.me, Puck, Noot, Clanky, Beermonster, Fnook and smeg-head have beaten me to it! I also spot Stroller, whom I didn't really manage to chat to last night. Looks like I've got plenty of time to make up my mind about the guiche, then, especially as I find out they've almost run out of anaesthetic and have to order some more. As we chat, it turns out not everyone is waiting to have something done - so I take the plunge: a guiche it will be! Other customers come in to hear the guys tell them "We're normally quiet on a Sunday. Be about half an hour if you want to wait..." Warren (the owner) pops in and joins in the banter - telling his 'normal' customers not to take any notice of us 'freaks'. We all come and go to the shop or the cafe/bar next door; Fnook gets really nervous about her impending conch piercing: Puck goes in for something which 'will take a little while', accompanied by Noot and Beermonster bearing cameras. Eek! Next up will be my guiche. Puck re-emerges, having survived, and Noot kindly agrees once again to take some pics for me. A young girl (a 'normal' customer) comes out from having a navel done, and there's suddenly a slight commotion, as she sits down, white as a sheet and starts taking her outer clothes off frantically. The Perforations guys react swiftly getting her a drink and calming her down and in next to no time she's right as rain and on her way. I guess I'm lucky, but in all the piercings I've had done I've only once felt anything out of the ordinary, and that was so brief and momentary I can't even remember which one it was. So, guiche-time at last! A smooth and very professional job once again, even if the anaesthetic is so cold I get to know how the proverbial brass monkey feels. We join the others in the cafe next door. It's around 5.00 now; I say goodbye and thanks to Puck and Noot, who have to be getting back home. Joined by XMickX, Beermonster, Clanky, Mr.Me, smeg-head and I go in search of something to eat. We find a veggie restaurant; there's a long queue to get in, but guess what's listed on the menu - a 'guiche'. I decide two in one afternoon might be a bit much, though! So I go with smeg-head and Mr.me to find a pizza takeaway, and there we sit in the late afternoon sun, the three of us eating our pizzas on Brighton beach. Time for me to start heading for the station, and the journey home now. I say goodbye, meet Clanky and Beermonster on the walk back - bid them farewell also. The train journey back is uneventful enough; as we start getting close to Coventry, I get up and go to attend to the needs of nature. I hadn't thought about before, but wiping round afterwards when you have both a fresh guiche and a fresh wrist piercing is a bit tricky! If you can't see why, try it sometime!! All in all a great weekend and I wouldn't have missed it for anything. Stop by my page and say 'Hi' sometime: http://iam.bmezine.com?Don


submitted by: Don
on: 09 May 2001
in Ritual

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