Your not gonna write another bloody blog about this are you?! This coming from either Clarke or Purnell, can’t remember who exactly. Yes. Yes I bloody am. What can I say, another year goes by, we’re older and wiser, and embark on a new Glasto adventure. The photos in this one are borrowed from my fellow Glastogoers by the way, so thanks in advance.
I moaned about the headliners a few weeks ago, about the current music & festival scene, and the lack of quality out there. Nothing like a good get together in Somerset to help me change my mind. The majority of us last year were all students, with the exception of a couple, and weren’t really in a place to appreciate 5 days away with mates, let alone 2200 music acts thrown in. In hindsight I’m probably only talking about me, after my first brutal year in the working world, I hadn’t realised how much of a sceptic I’d become. Glastonbury is one of those occasions that change your year. You come back refreshed, with a storybook lodged in your mind of the banter, music and beers, the general attitude of the place. You also come back depressed. The Glasto blues hit harder this year, with some of us rushing back to London to get straight back to work for Tuesday morning. But for those few days, your view on music, people and maybe even life changes. It may be the wine @ nine that helps, sure, but it’s a unique place that farm. I can’t imagine this generosity of spirit, this togetherness in attitude and enjoyment happening anywhere else in the country than in the South West.
Our Glasto 2011 journey began back in October with the mad dash for tickets. All laptops in our house were primed an ready to go, with about 10 windows open on each, all queuing to get through the registration stage for what seemed an age. Eventually, yours truly’s computer seemed the only one that was successful, so I went ahead and booked my ticket, along with about 10 other peoples. The morning was made all the more entertaining by Liam Southall, who decided to host a webcam show of him and his mates trying to buy tickets. This was basically a webcam of four boys (I cant accredit them as men I’m afraid) eating bacon, with the main protagonist Liam in nothing but his little pants. Needless to say they probably wasted all their bandwidth on this rubbish weird show and didn’t get tickets. Liam had to get through on working duties like the previous year. It came around so quickly.
We all lead fairly hectic, rudimentary lives up until the beginning of the week, when everyone made their separate ways back to Bristol (some were already there) and we all converged at our dear ol’ Manor Park on Wednesday evening at about half 5, a whole 20.7 miles away from Worthy Farm. We all set off in convoy, losing cars and finding each other along the way. Bailey made the wise decision to take a small detour once we got to a queue of cars, to ensure we’d go in the same entrance as last year, in the hope of being able to camp in the same place as last year. All was fine until we arrived. See Gay had the foresight to bring a wheelbarrow, as she had a massive bloody Landrover to bring all her stuff in. Now we were all aware that the walk to the camp wasn’t too far, but it was muddy – very muddy by this point. I didn’t really want to do two trips, but it is fairly difficult to lug a tent, bag and 80 cans or so all that way. So this wheelbarrow, containing all her crap, now contained a lot of my crap. But this meant I had to push it. I don’t know if you’ve tried, pushing a wheelbarrow through sludge thick mud, carrying enough stuff to move a small family into a holiday home, uphill, is hard. There’s quite an uphilly bit leading up to the entrance to Darble field, which obviously proved problematic. Through the gates, the sludge, the wide load entrance, and about an hour later, a grassy patch to pitch camp. I won’t go on about the shit parts any more, we put the tent up, which is a boring and painful task, and we’re under way. I spent the next night and two days embracing the Glasto spirit, and chinning beer after beer for a solid 48 hours, much to the chagrin of Gabriella, who had a minor argument with my brother as to who’d look after me by Friday evening. Clarkey took over I think.
So Wednesday evening we wandered, and made the mandatory pilgrimage to the Somerset Cider Bus. Whilst I’m a massive fan of this busses produce, some of the group didn’t concur, so it became less of a meeting point this year. We also found the Beat Hotel, a little slice of Americana en route to the John Peel Stage from the Pyramid. Thursday morning I rose at an early 9am, and started straight away on the sauce. Now this is unusual for me, I usually wait until midday has passed, even at festivals, and leave the early morning drinking to the likes of seasoned veterans Clarke and Green. ‘This is a new JM!’ I proclaimed, ‘I’m gonna be up at this time every morning, maybe even earlier and earlier as we go on.’ I must’ve been annoying people already. The problem with Thursday is that there’s no bands, well not really anyway, unless you count Miss bloody Dynamite. It hammered it down aswell, well and truly hammered it down. Problem three (yes there’s more) is that my wellies were stupid pseudo-fashionable slightly shorter than usual wellies which I stupidly wore without socks, thus giving myself raging welly rash. With all of this combined, the only plan of attack was to drink, a lot. We had our chairs out and our fags, piss and empties tray courtesy of a blow up paddling pool Gay had brought along, presumably thinking it’d be beaming sunshine and we’d all whip our tops off and have a little frolic. Sorry Kirsty, but a paddling pool makes for a perfect little fags, piss and empties spot.
Nothing much to report on Thursday from me really, I can’t remember the rest. Friday started in a similar manner, not at 9 though, and no not an hour before. We set off for Two Door Cinema Club for the first bit of music for the day, and for the weekend. Whilst last year we had the hilarious but at the same time extremely tiresome Rolf Harris, this year’s festival openers (for us anyway) played one of the best sets out of the entire collection of acts. I didn’t have their album, but for some reason knew all of their songs, which obviously helps. Maybe from the work playlist, but they felt a part of my wider consciousness, which I knew inside out but had no idea why, nor who they were by. Well now I know, signed to French label Kitsune, their funny little Northern Irish frontman seemed humbled by the experience. They all looked happy to be there, which is always nice. We danced away, got up on each others shoulders, and I spotted something which made my whole weekend – A flag with a stencil of the Edge’s face on it, with the word ‘DE EDGE IS FOINE.’
From here we went onto the Vaccines, and by this point I was already on my way to oblivion, again to the annoyance of Gabby. Whilst I may not have been the best judge at the time, I’ll stand by my reckoning that the Vaccines are a poor man’s Two Door Cinema Club. We made for the tent to pick up some more supplies. I had about 4 wees on this one walk. The rest is a bit of a blur, up until Bright Eyes who I’d dragged everyone over to. No-one was particularly happy about this, as they knew none of Conor Oberst’s songs, and it was still raining. They played Four Winds and I was happy. We then made the mental decision (I think initiated by my brother) to go and watch Radiohead at the Park Stage. Now the Park Stage is miles away from anywhere in Glastonbury. Actually miles away. Throw in mud, rain and drunken stumbling, the walk takes an age, an hour at least.
Glasto had pencilled in two ‘secret sets’ for Friday & Saturday. Pulp were strongly rumoured to be one, alongside Arctic Monkeys, Prince, David Bowie and Radiohead. With a helpful text from mother dearest, we got confirmation of Radiohead and made our way there. It seems 30’000 people had the same idea, and we stood in a crowd listening to a band so far away that we couldn’t tell if it even was Radiohead. We couldn’t see the stage either. Then I fell over in the mud, we missed Morrissey, and we missed Jimmy Cliff. Bad Times.
Friday did have one saving grace though. Gabby had had enough, so left me to the care of my brother and Clarkey. I was adamant I was going to miss headliners U2 in favour of Primal Scream. They were touring again, playing Screamadelica in it’s entirety. Out comes Bobby Gillespie in his shiny silver shirt and they launched into Movin’ On Up – everything seemed right. It was still pissing it down, but it was possibly the best set I’ve ever seen. I was slightly coming back to my senses when Loaded came around, and we danced away till the end, when they finished with the newer Country Girl.
Saturday, and I was going to take it a bit easier. The last two days and three nights had taken their toll a bit, so I didn’t partake in wine @ nine today. Highlight of the afternoon was Purnell’s box of tricks, pretty much a rucksack filled with joke shop paraphernalia. He’d promised Batman and Buzz Lightyear costumes for a bit, and judging by everyone else, it looked like Saturday was fancy dress day. We’d all agreed to do a smart sort of Gentlemen’s Day, but nothing materialised. Instead we had a fake moustache, face paints and tattooed knuckles courtesy of eyeliner to entertain. It did the trick though. The food is worth a mention here. There are hundreds of little food stalls dotted around the festival site, and the mornings were ruled by the obligatory but fairly underwhelming bacon bap, with the afternoons being up to things like Pizza, Hog Roast and Burritos. There was, however, absolutely no sign of Giant Yorkshire Puddings filled with Sausages, Mash & Gravy. This was a staple last year, complete travesty that they didn’t return. O well. This year was the turn of Curry Goat. What a dish. Yea it had a few bones and cost £8, but everything’s expensive at Glasto. They need a Jamaican Jerk Chicken / quslity food stand on Carnaby St, it’s the culinary future I’m tellin’ ya.
There’s so many funny little tents at Glasto. We wandered past this tepee which was the size of a small shop, but louder than the Pyramid. Loud thumping Drum ‘n’ Bass which reminded me of living with DJ Boniface in third year filled the tent, and we all stopped for a little dance. There was a nice little bookshop too, so I browsed it quickly in the evening air, and picked up Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, a great read I’ve heard. I then saw Green, Purnell and Clarkes spriting past me, toward a giant conga line which was circling the bandstand area near the green fields. We joined in and danced away to this little eletric hardcore Indian bhangra bass band. I felt like I’d done a couple of e’s, and I was pretty much sober by this point. Bit of a weird experience that one.
O yea, Sunday the Sun came out! Like properly came out. We all got up early to make the most of the last little bit. Suddenly, Clarke turned his head to the group. ‘What time is it?!’ ‘5 past 9,’ someone replied. ‘It’s Wine at Nine!’ he shouted in a bit of a sad voice, as if he was foolish to have nearly missed it. I joined him with my final Eroski carton of Vina Blanco – rude not to! We did the whole camp at the Pyramid stage all day with chairs. It was fine, but it was hot on that hill. I’m a hardcore tan machine, and I found it too much so sat with my back to the sun for a fair chunk of the day. Don McLean sang American Pie, Laura Marling played some very fitting country melodies, Paul Simon gave us You Can Call Me Al, and Plan B offered us a funny little beatbox backed version of Stand By Me.
In reality the last day belonged to Beyonce. It was always going to, the first woman to headline the Pyramid Stage – which is a pretty staggering feat when were talking about the world’s largest music festival. There were rumours aplenty which kept the women nattering away, wondering if Lady Gaga would come on, if Jay Z would join her onstage, if Nelson Mandela would run out, do a shit and run off. None of them materialised, but it was a pretty outstanding set. Bailey impressed us all with his vintage Single Ladies dance, which if filmed, could signal a return back to television for the lad. Green also later noted that Beyonce had a very worthy sponsor floating behind her for the majority of her performance. A big red triangle, the symbol of Bass – a homage to real ale, and Britain. She should’ve chosen a Cider company really seeing as she was in the South West, but we can forgive her.
There’s so much I’ve missed, so much I’ve skimmed over, so much I’ve given little narrative attention, but it was an occasion too grand, tiring, spectacular and memorable to put into words really. Only question is, what the blue ball we gonna do next year?!