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Flipside 2007: the noise

CIMG6028 This "kaleidoscope", at the top of a decorative structure at Flipside, changed patterns in time with the music.

I liked the Flipside atmosphere during daytime -- all the nice people I hung out with; the good conversations we had; the momentary amusements, such as whip-cracking practice (not at innocent bystanders :-)) By the way, the cracking sound of a whip is created by the velocity of the whip's tip crossing the sound barrier. So I learned at least one geeky thing, after all!

Techno: free lobotomy

At night, though, I found myself trapped in a nuisance of grand proportions.

Well, maybe it's not a nuisance if you are a party person -- and if you are a techno music fan, perhaps it's even great! In fact, I would say that a passion for techno music -- 24 hours a day, 5 days in a row -- is a prerequisite for truly enjoying Flipside. Or perhaps it's just I am unusually low on patience; for all I know, most people consider a steady jackhammer of techno pounding their brain around the clock nothing more than a minor distraction. Maybe I'm weird that way. But around midnight on Sunday night (early Monday morning, really) I decided I don't have to put up with this shit, packed my car and drove back to Austin. And slept in my own bed, ha! I managed to spend only one night in a tent! Which is still one more night than I would want to spend camping; though given peace and quiet, I could conceivably get a handle of camping. Without peace and quiet there's no point to even try.

One of the beautiful, but evil "temples", blasting rave music around the clock. More pictures from Flipside 2007 are in my photo gallery.

Too bad my taste runs toward the kind of music that's short on decibels and long on melody and words, such as Celtic, folk or Renaissance. Or filk! Yes, filk! You would think a peaceful venue in the woods would be conducive to quiet, intimate performances of those kinds of music. But I guess the way most people see it is there's no point of going into the woods if you can't make them look and feel like 6th street. :-)

I also like structured dancing versus freeform, as the latter gets boring too quickly. The most fun I've ever had dancing was learning Regency dance at a Worldcon. So yes, the kind of entertainment I like is more likely to be found only at highly specialized events such as science fiction conventions or perhaps Renaissance festivals. A WorldCon -- the world science fiction convention -- attracts about 2000 participants, much like Flipside. Except Worldcon draws that many attendees from the whole world, whereas Flipside gathers this number of participants in Texas alone! Naturally, the more mainstream the entertainment is, the higher the popularity of an event.

A little censorship can be a good thing

What would be a report from Flipside without a shot of burning effigy? Yes, it burned prettily. More pictures from Flipside 2007 are in my photo gallery.

Even as it was interesting to see people put aside certain social norms (showering naked in outdoor showers facing the main road), there were moments when I thought a little self-censorship wouldn't hurt some people. The case in point: on a quiet Saturday morning, when a bunch of people lined up at a "cafe" that was about to serve breakfast tacos, somebody in that camp blasted them with a horrific, screechy, heavy metal rendition of US national anthem. The horrible noise continued for 5-10 minutes. I could not believe the camp hosts found a reason to ruin a beautiful, peaceful morning by subjecting their guests' eardrums to destruction. It was almost like the cafe hosts spat in the face of those they were (voluntarily) serving. You suckers want free food? We'll make you suffer for that! Maybe I was too cranky from sleep deprivation (I couldn't get any sleep the night before), but at that moment I thought, the free-for-all atmosphere is useless if it brings out idiots in people. A small but significant portion of humanity really needs censoring in order to keep life palatable for the rest of us.

Is it fun if you have to point it out?

A moment of irony: as I was loading things into my car Saturday morning, three greeters drove past in their golf cart and one of them shouted: "Remember, you are having fun! It's fu-u-un!" I thought, if it really is, why does she need to remind people of that? :-)

I'm most impressed, though, with anti-littering enforcement. I have not seen many (if any) other situations where it is so clearly impressed on people that littering is not cool, and where peer pressure is sufficient to keep most people from littering. It's especially impressive given that there are no trashcans anywhere in Flipside, and people are supposed to store all their trash at their camp and take it home with them!

More pictures from Flipside 2007 are in my photo gallery.