Strange fish

3 October, 2011

There’s a lot of art hidden in the darkness of the deep playa. Charlie and I took turns choosing a distant light in the darkness and biking over to see it.

Still warm even at night, this year.

Far away from the city, it's dark and quiet.

We found people dancing in front of stacks of TVs. We found quiet places to sit under monstrous flower heads. We found an LED-lit tunnel through which people on acid wearing rainbow glasses were trying to walk*. We found a 360° laser spirit level for the desert**. We found a cinema.


What's On: stock footage, classic films, porn, CCTV of the surroundings and closeups of eyes.

We cycled around in the darkness, trying to triangulate a distant sound, and a bright object flew towards us and landed in the dust.


We changed course and found a glowstick. Depending on your perspective, a fresh glowstick on the ground is either MOOP or a pretty good playa gift. We went to pick it up.

It moved.

Baffled, we chased the glowstick across the playa. Out of the darkness a dim light appeared, and a sound:

“Fishies! Fishies! Here fishy fishy fishy! Fishies!”

And a moment later:

“Fishies! Fishies get hugs!”

and a group of people ran out and ambushed us.

And by now the situation was clear. The dim light illuminated a wooden fishing platform, complete with deckchairs, fishing rods and glowstick bait. The people there taught me how to use the rod. Then, to my surprise, they left: it wasn’t their platform, they’d just been hanging out there fishing for a while.

The next day we met the artist Tony, sadly trying to untangle the fishing line which had melted in the sun.

"The Fishing Hole"

I cast, and caught a fishie, and hugged it. I passed on the rod and left, delighted by the whole experience.

Who needs a torch when you have a Cloak of Many Lights?

Becky learns to fish.

And that is the story of how I learned to use a fishing rod in the middle of a desert.

* * *

This year’s epiphany: it’s all about the human interaction. You don’t make a big fan in order to cool people: you make it so that you can talk to them, however briefly. The gifts are not the point. The costumes are not the point. The fishing is not the point. The Man is not the point. It’s all just an excuse to connect with other human beings.


* So we switched on our lights and danced about in front of them to confuse them even further. Heh heh heh.

** We also met a guy who was feeling ‘bad vibes’ from the laser and stuck some tape over it.


One comment

  1. […] * What is a Decompression? It’s a Burner party. The kind of party where you can wear a lampshade on your head, or an award-winningly epic cape, or nothing at all. There will be things on fire. There will be art. There will be dubstep. (There will be people complaining about the dubstep.)  There might be pink glittery battle tanks, or sculptures made of teapots, or inexplicable cabaret featuring bunting in highly unlikely places. There might be talking to someone dressed in a skintight unicorn costume and trying to figure out where you’ve met them before when they weren’t dressed as a unicorn. For a few hours, normality widens again. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: