Fatboy Slim/Big Beach Boutique : Brighton Beach

We all smile, we all sing...

We all smile, we all sing. All two-hundred-and-fifty-fucking-thousand of us. While the Royal Sussex County Hospital will later claim they were a hair’s breadth away from declaring a major incident, it’s quite clear right now that the punters already have. This is a bloody major dance incident, the kind we thought had died with the Summer Of Love.

It’s not even as if the line-up’s much cop. Midfield General? Hello? As with the other two old farts playing records this evening, Damien Skint sticks to a deck formula that goes ‘some crowd pleasers followed by a bit of tech-house bollocks followed by some more crowd pleasers at the end.’ Hence he kicks off with his own ‘Reach Out’ and Groove Armada‘s ‘Superstylin”, and then we all stare out to sea to spot which twat’s got the biggest yacht.

Soon people start coming up and get nostalgic for the good old days. Evidently John Digweed is still back there in his head, as he drops Oakie’s ‘Even Better Than The Real Thing’ U2 remix and a bit of Underworld. Those of us who realise it’s not 1992 anymore cheer for Shakedown’s ‘At Night’ and Layo & Bushwacka’s ‘Love Story’, before the tech-house bollocks drifts in again and we start to realise that there really are quite a lot of bloody people here.

And then it all kicks off. You can tell things are beginning to get a bit mental when a pissed Brighton dude starts doing a David Blaine and climbs up the top of a pole on the seafront. The PA’s telling people to “release pressure from the groyne” (that’s a sea wall that stops erosion, for those of us who didn’t do Geography A-Level), while the amount of people in the water has doubled. Oh yeah, and there’s a bloke in a bad shirt who’s just put on Tim Deluxe’s ‘It Just Won’t Do’ and is waving his fist in the air along with a quarter of a million others.

Norman Cook has brought the idea of taking the kids to the beach for the day to its most surreal conclusion. Brighton is swamped, no one’s getting rowdy, Mint Royale have suddenly got good (‘Sexiest Man In Jamaica’ is booming out), and a fuck of a lot of people who woke up this morning and went, “hmm, it’s sunny, might go to Brighton for that Fatboy thing” have just turned this fandango into the event of the year.

By the time the fireworks explode and Cook signs out, it’s obviously all got a bit intense for the folks down on the beach. The rest of us, however, are clambering over walls to get round the back of the station so we can pass out for a bit before the train comes, or we’re ringing that geezer’s mobile to find out just where the Flymo Fields rave is. Whatever we’re doing, we’re all doing it with sunburn and smiles. If Brighton can take it again, we’ll see you back there next year, no question.

Christian Ward