Oh, the memories of KSP are still fresh. I dare not presume that everybody knows what KSP is. Simply put, it is an immensely popular occasion among small circles of people impartial to author’s song. To put it not so simply, it’s 2000 intoxicated Russians yelling drunken songs around the fire.
KSP: What exactly is this three-letter abbreviation? It depends on the things you are guilty of doing. Club of Singing Poets or Club of Self Promotion, or if you like, Company of Smoking Potheads and many more wittier definitions continuously arise. In my humble opinion, KSP is primarily about playing some guitar, some sex, some banging on the empty cans, and, most importantly, some singing. It is also about hanging out with friends and friendly strangers. The KSP pack is very cool and friendly, really mixed, spanning 3 generations, with different looks and habits, but with the same comprehensive knowledge of Vysotskij songs. It is also about open air, smoking, drinking vodka, making and then eating shashlyky, making out and occasionally getting lucky. But if you absolutely hate author’s song, and I know people who do, this thing is not for you. Don't make a mistake of expecting yet another picnic. KSP ain’t no picnic.
Tickets: Now that I failed to explain the concept of KSP let me tell you the whole story. Apparently, to get to this KSP (and any future ones) you’ve got to have tickets. It’s better to acquire these tickets in advance, through kspus.org, or through your friends, or in some other legal or illegal way. The point is to do so in advance to alleviate any anxiety. If you change your mind you could always sell the unwanted tickets to dozens of desperate people.
Weather: listen to the forecast and dress accordingly. A note to fashionable Manhattan crowd, be prepared for the survival type living amenities. The most trendy designers include Swiss Army knife and Soviet navy striped shirts. Last year’s weather conditions were horrible. Some city-dwellers might treat rolling in the mud as a spectator sport or survival adventure in the wilderness. But it’s not my idea of fun and my trip to KSP has always been interdependent on the weather. This time the weather was gracious enough and Nature granted a fabulous weekend, not too hot, not too cold, just right: sunny and warm.
Arrival: We arrived late in the evening, naturally really hungry and thirsty. Sun was already setting and I had to unpack quickly and undergo the monumental task of setting up my tent in the dark. I hate this part of camping the most and prefer to finish it off right away and then relax. Then eat. Then drink. Then be merry. My priorities differed from those of my companions because first things first, they started drinking vodka, and only then beer. I settled our things rather hastily, light-speed as a matter of fact. We showed our booze to fellow campers as an excuse to start devouring communal food offered on our site table. Then we hid couple of bottles beneath that table as an emergency supply. This was a wise decision, since all our alcohol had been consumed in the first day-night, as we expected.
Swimming: The new camping site was a lot more rugged than a previous site in Cat Skills, yet we occupied a really beautiful spot by the river. The first night, at dusk, a bunch of us went swimming. A thick fog had covered the darkened river. Only tops of old trees were visible against a starlit sky. The image reminded me something from the X-files, Sleepy Hallow or Ezhik v Tumane (Russian horror animation). Still, David Duchovny and his “wife” Scully did not make an appearance. We were swimming in the dark water and white hazy fog. Refreshed and ready to collapse into deep slumber I got back to our site only to find out that my two-person tent was occupied by, at least dozen semi-conscious bodies. Naturally, I had no intentions of opening this tent-turned-dormitory human hive and went looking for a place to sleep. Another aspect of why I like KSP, you can always find kind people who would let you to crash in their overcrowded tent. I like people who gladly share their food and wine with you for the price of a little chat, or willingness to listen to their ramblings. Should that chatter molt to a boring lecture you could always grab your guitar, or bottle of vodka and move to the next table. Food on KSP is as plentiful as mosquitoes near this river. There is lots and lots of food. Any variety of grilled meat and people to grilling it is a must for KSP. Somewhere between a full stomach and drunken mind, it hit me: it’s time to call it a night, while my tent still vacancies.
Departure: hangover, headache and sloth accompanied our exodus from nature, KSP and all this drunken nonsense. In the end, everybody gets something out of KSP that they expected. Otherwise, why else do they return every year to the same place if not to listen to the same familiar songs and talk to the same old friends?