Damnation Festival – Part Two


Editors’ Note: Astute readers will have noticed that we’re fond of breaking things into several serialised parts here at Demon Pigeon. That’s because more parts means more articles and therefore more output for less actual work. The problem with Damnation Festival is that it’s a compact, one-day affair. Spoilsports. Not even we are lazy enough to try and milk a triptych of articles out of a 12-hour festival. Until now, that is.

Rather than arbitrarily breaking the event into three or more chronological chapters as we normally would, we’ve instead decided to present to you the same review, written from three different and entertaining points of view from the assorted writing staff who took themselves off to Leeds for the day. It’s basically a bit like Rashomon, except with less Toshiro Mifune and more Carcass. This next episode has been prepared by Alex Dewie, as his Demon Pigeon debut.

Having just joined the prestigious ranks of Demon Pigeon I decided I needed some proper journalistic training before I embarked on my first assignment. I figured the best way to start would be to get myself to a university open day and see what was on offer. Venturing north to the beautiful and incredibly cold city of Leeds, I attended a special event being held across their student union complex. The alcohol was cheap and plentiful which helped to ease my way around the various rooms, each of which offered a range of talks on a variety of subjects.
First up, Biology: a group of gentlemen known as The Ocean presented an audiovisual piece primarily about the ocean itself. Accompanied by two guitarists, a bassist, keyboardist and two drummists, the main speaker barked his views on undersea environments whilst footage of a naked woman being strangled by an octopus was projected behind him. All manner of arthropods and crustacea floated by majestically on the screen and several launched jets of aquatic spunk in perfect time with the beat of the drumming men.
Overcome with the reception of the prospective students in the hall, the lecturer climbed onto the balcony and dived into the crowd and then—I don’t know how best to describe this— was actually passed along, literally on a ‘sea’ of hands. One could almost say he was ‘surfing the crowd’, to coin a phrase.
All that footage of water splashing about made me very thirsty and, having rendered it temporarily quenched with a can of Tetley’s, I went to see a theology don host an event entitled God Seed. As seemed to be the theme for this open day, he had musical accompaniment too (same sort of abrasive guitars, loud drumming behaviour etc). With his face painted a ghostly white, accentuated with grey streaks he appeared quite cadaverous—one could almost say he was ‘painted like a corpse’, to coin a phrase.
The presentation itself was rather ritualistic and focused heavily on paganism and satanism and was conducted in a mixture of Norwegian and English, which was nice. At one point someone yelled “Play Gorgoroth!“. This is not a character I am familiar with, but then I don’t read a lot of Shakespeare. In any event, this man was not about to perform a play of any description as he bellowed in rage and then wailed in despair. Perhaps not the best way to get students to enroll on the course, but the audience seemed keen enough.

As the day wore on it was clear the event was proving extremely popular with the attendees, many of whom were very vocal during the presentations and one even showed her breasts, such was her enthusiasm for the Vallenfyre session in the Terrorizer hall. It wasn’t exactly clear to me what their course subject was, but from the look of them I assumed it was bricklaying or badger culling.

Although I was tired and somewhat inebriated, it was clear there was palpable excitement for the final session of the day—pathology. A Liverpudlian professor held forth on all manner of forensic dissections, autopsical procedures, post-mortem degradation by bacteria, and occasionally threw cans of beer at the audience. With a banner behind him proclaiming Carcass, it was obvious this was to be a gory 90 minutes. The lecture used detailed photographic images to highlight ailments such as twisted diseased genitals and fallen-out-of-a-man’s-head eyeballs, although no theory on cure or treatment was ever proffered.

The pictures (along with the customary musical backing) did, however, inspire several swarthy young men to remove their tops and have a bit of a sweaty wrestle at the front of the hall. Eventually a rather enormous bearded man (presumably the victor) was held aloft and passed towards the stage to be presented with his prize (a cuddle from a security guard). The music itself had a jarring, grating sound—almost metallic—and the subject matter was exclusively morbid. One could perhaps describe it as ‘metallic death’, to coin a phrase.

So. Overall, I learned that lecturers today are much louder and more aggressive than I remember from when I was a student, yet university alcohol is still incredibly cheap and above all I am excellent at coining phrases.

Pelagial – A film by Craig Murray – score by The Ocean Collective:


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