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When the Bruisers aren’t gathered in the Xanadu lounge for shows, they can most reliably be found up on the Lido Deck—the pool. Specifically, by the bar and in the cluster of deck chairs closest to it. Their drink of choice—and this cruise’s de facto PBR—is the Foster’s oil can.

Last night, the action moved to the pool following a lecture by Ian Svenonius—well, actually, it was a pair of playlets accompanied by slides, but more on that later. At around midnight, Bruisers were basically the only occupants of the deck.

(There are several kinds of Bruisers: Members of bands, obviously. Indie-rock industry types—booking agents, managers, boutique label heads, owners of DIY spaces. There are entourages—like the large crowd from Nashville, Tenn., that is friends with Turbo Fruits. There’s media. And there are fans, though of course that’s what we all are.)

Around noon today, the crowd on the Lido deck isn’t Bruiser-only, though Bruisers seem to constitute the majority—this despite comprising only one-fifth of the Imagination’s guests. It’s a rather Fellini-esque scene: John Norris, the gaunt former MTV News anchor, is interviewing the members of Vivian Girls poolside for the site Noisevox.org in front of a videographer. Members Katy Goodman and Fiona Campbell are in the pool; Cassie Ramone just has her feet in. It’s a winning image, and soon enough several photojournalists have swarmed the interview and amplified its surreality.

I can’t make out what Norris is asking the Vivian Girls, though. The play-by-play from the heavily accented host of a nearby bean-bag-toss-competition is speaking too loudly into her mic. It’s actually the rare example of Bruisers and non-Bruisers mingling. Three or four Bruisers are tossing bean bags, out of maybe 12 competitors. I walk over and see one Bruiser miss the wooden plank 10 times in a row. Another does better. The bean-bag-tossers—Bruisers and non—all cheer, and it’s a strangely precious scene made possible the meeting a highly consumerist sub-culture and a highly consumerist mass culture.

Upstairs in the spa, teeth whitenings are on sale for $149.

Photos by Darrow Montgomery