Summer’s been kind to this young lad. I say young, the cold has crept up on me over the past week, without so much as a whimper of a warning. I’ve been wearing leggings for christ’s sake. LEGGINGS. Little caveat to that point, I’ve worn them whilst cycling to work, so I’m not entirely mental. But yes, it’s been a bit cold hasn’t it. It ‘s rained a bit too. My feet got wet on Friday, as did my leather man bag and I was fed up. It made me pine for summer just passed – and weren’t it a good un. I discovered Breaking Bad, the mrs bought me a skateboard and I re-discovered the beauty of the kickflip (and how much more painful falling over is now I’m 10 years older) I won meself a free ticket to Benicassim and randomly got a tattoo of an eagle (why wouldn’t you). Can’t complain at all. Cheers. This sort of activity is more befitting of an 18 / 19, pre uni gap year shit, not a care in the world, blissfully unaware of real life or anything outside their parents house. But no, I’m 24 and managed to sandwich all this joy and merriment in between working weeks, at a real job. Who’d a thought it.
All of those nice things I listed above were all nice and lovely, and might make you a bit jealous. Saying that, lots of people had nice summers, and proceeded to brag brag and brag about their adventures via social media outlets. Ibiza this, Croatia that. New York this, Bicester Village that. I was probably guilty of it myself, sure. This year though, there was one event where you wouldnt have possibly been able to avoid the endless timeline activity of, unless you just didn’t have electricity – Glastonbury. They call it fomo, apparently: Fear of missing out. I was fomo’ing all over the shop way back last October on that nerve wrecking Sunday morning when the tickets for Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts went up for grabs. 6 of us sat round my living room table at 9am, surveying the wreckage of the preceeding night’s house party, repeatedly hitting reload as the agonising cries of GLASTO 2013 YEAAHHH trickled through on Facebook and Twitter and we were seeing frozen screens and loading messages.
Maybe it was the fallow year. The Olympics kept us entertained just about enough for us not to go batshit crazy about their being no Glasto in 2012. But this made the necessity for tickets for 2013 even more, well necessary. On a personal level, things had changed too. First time for most of us, back in 2010, there was a small bunch of us. Second time, there was the original crowd plus a few more. We had no major dramas getting tickets either time. There were a few frantic phonecalls, and people buying other people’s tickets here and there, but the common tales of woe and wasted mornings didnt resonate, for we had always got lucky. With even more of us this year, I had the suspicion that this would be the year my luck would run out. And with rumours, strong rumours of the Rolling Stones being teed up to headline the festival for the first time in their existence, I had fomo big time. Nervous, nail biting fomo. To draw this fairly tedious opening gambit to a close, we all got tickets about 10 minutes before they were officially announced as sold out, so again, no dramas. Third time lucky, indeed. It turned out that even me mam was going, in the van. Every man and his dog got tickets, happy days.
That is, every man and his dog bar our dear pals Mike and Rosie. Very much part of the ‘crew’, this was a difficult loss to take, and made bragging of our luck through aforementioned social media outlets difficult, for fear of sending Mike to an early grave, and this carried on right up until, during and after the best festival on earth. I had to temper my excitement and adulation through public mediums out of respect for those who wouldn’t be attending.
Now with announcement this week of when the tickets for Glastonbury 2014 would go on sale early October, I thought it time to write my retrospective glance. No festival would be complete without a Josh Moore Blog tale of the week that was – it really wouldn’t – so here are the moments that made the greatest Glastonbury that ever was, for me.
Arctic Monkeys – Do I Wanna Know
I’ve already written in depth about the Thursday of Glastonbury. My pals in Foreign Affairs graced the Avalon Cafe stage to an audience of passers by and well-wishers from Keynsham. That kicked the festival off for me well and truly, but for most of the 135 odd thousand people at Worthy Farm, the place wouldn’t really come alive until Friday, when the stages officially opened in their splendour.
From my vague memory, Friday this year was a bit damp. A few of us opted to watch Jake Bugg on the Pyramid Stage in the early afternoon (as opposed to his late afternoon slot in the Acoustic Tent) – where he just looked a bit lost. A boy almost, not quite ready for this moment, at this point, so early in his career. The same comparisons could be drawn with the Arctic Monkeys of 2007, who then headlined the Pyramid stage on the same Friday they would headline six years later. Whilst not terrible then by any standards, they were an entirely different outfit, boys almost at the beginning of their musical career, two amazing albums deep – and only just, Favourite Worst Nightmare had been released only two months previous.
Fast forward 6 years, and the band have struggled with the inevitable second, third, fourth season syndrome that those bands who release their (arguably) finest album first have to contend with. The Monkey’s, whilst not quite being able to do an Oasis with Favourite Worst Nightmare, have managed to churn out more consistent records with Humbug and Suck it and See, and the anticipation of their set tonight is more heated now than when they were the country’s hottest property those few years ago. We’d managed to get fairly close to the front (by Glasto standards) and shortly before they came on stage, we were blinded by bright white light, which slowly turned into the design from the new album cover AM – after about 5 minutes they opened with Do I Wanna Know, a song I barely knew at the time, but grew on most of us, especially me and my brother, as our song of the summer.
There were so many highlights to their set. Frantically jumping up and down with Big Dav and Clarkey to Brianstorm and Dancing Shoes, shouting DO DO DO DO at Teddy Picker as loud as we could. They even brought back an ‘old Monkey’s tune’, and tarted it up with strings (Mardy Bum) – the set was flawless, possibly the best set I’ve witnessed with my eyes and ears. It’s something that’ll stay with me forever as the best thing I’ve ever seen at Glastonbury, and Do I Wanna Know kicked it all off. It’ll take some beating.
James Blake – Retrograde
There was a huge group of us by Sunday, having all packed the cars up ready to piss off straight after Mumford, and everyone seemed intent on hanging around the Pyramid for most of the afternoon. Knowing that James Blake was on, I dragged Gabs over to the John Peel stage for his set. I’d only had a couple of tinnies on the Sunday, knowing I’d be driving back later that night and a bit jaded from everything since Wednesday. Perfect slot for James Blake I think.
I’ve seen a few crap acts on the John Peel Stage over the years. Choosing Jamie T over Muse seems an odd one looking back. It’s location left a little to be desired too. It’s no Park stage by any stretch, but unless you were camped over that way, it’s kind of in the middle of nowhere. The wrong side of the Pyramid if you like. I cant confess to be Blake’s biggest fan, I know a few tunes from the first album, and only this one off of the second – but it’s the opening melody that gets me every time. Twinned with the nonchalant piano, it’s a tune (and indeed he’s an act) you’d feel more suited to an intimate indoor setting, but it completely worked. This summed up my Glastonbury this year. Dizzying, forgetful, but punctuated with moments of magic and brilliance.
Mik Artistik – Sweet Leaf of the North
Mik Artistik is something of a Glastonbury stalwart. This year he played the festival 15 times over the entire weekend. I first came across Mik on a visit to Gaz’s Rockin Blues at the St Moritz Club on Wardour St about 5 years ago. As you can imagine, this was a blues night. Mik isn’t blues. Still, it was that night I discovered the absurdity of Betting Shop Pens, the beauty of Window Cleaner and the ridiculousness Jimmy Saville’s Got my Album (although this has now, as you can imagine, been scrubbed off the set list)
So imagine my delight when we bumped into Mik at Glastonbury a few years ago. There we all are. Clarkey was with me that night at Gaz’s so he knows who he is, and Adam had already seen one of his many sets on our recommendation that weekend, so he knew who he was too. Geoff is possibly the only man in the world who is permanently smiling. Or worrying. But mostly smiling. I think Mik was slightly taken back, and probably a bit concerned at being hounded like a ruddy one directioner by three grinning berks.
This year, it wasn’t the Stones or the Monkeys I was most excited to see. No it was Mik. And there’d be ample opportunity (did I mention he was playing 15 times?) The first I was aware of was a slot a couple of hours after Foreign affairs at the Avalon Cafe. Written in the stars I thought, perfect! Anyone that has read the previous blog will know that I got a bit excited on expensive american pale ales, and has to be taken back to the tent for a nap and a bit of sick. So I missed my perfect moment, and quite frankly lost track of when and where he’d be playin through the rest of the weekend so forgot about it. Sorry Mik.
On the Saturday morning I think it was, running low on beers and phone charge, me and Nath decided to trek over to the mother’s caravan (well it’s actually just a van) which was with all the other caravans, in the caravan bit. Now the caravan bit is at the farthest reaches of the east end of Glastonbury. We were camped at pretty much the most north western point, meaning a voyage across the vast city the place becomes for the weekend. I had to leave Nath at the gate to the caravan bit (you needed your ticket) for what seemed an eternity. The caravan bit involved a lot of hills and a lot of waiting, so on making it back down to the gate and reuniting with long lost brother, I needed a tinnie and a sit down. And sit down we did, stumbling across Mik on a random stage. Actually it wasn’t even a stage, it was a platform, as he did his final number Sweet Leaf of the North. The above isn’t this moment, but it’s the same song at another Glastonbury, another stage, another time. I got to see him, and my weekend was complete.
Rolling Stones – Sympathy For the Devil
It is ridiculous that the Arctic Monkeys of 2013’s presence at Glastonbury could be completely overshadowed by any other band, but the greatest rock n roll band of all time did their best to steal the limelight. There were rumours before tickets went on sale that this would be there year. First Ronnie Wood came out and said he’d like to do it. Then Keith said it’s be nice, and Mick reminisced about how he’d been before and stayed in a yurt. Everything was pointing toward the unthinkable, and then it was announced.
Thinking back to the ticket morning, it wasn’t just Mike and Ro who didnt get them. At this point, it was Clarkey too. When the Stones were announced as headliners, I of course was over the moon, but had the sinking feeling of knowing Clarkey wouldnt be there – it was in his garage where we first practised Jumpin Jack Flash and Gimme Shelter as high as our amps would go when we were 14. Alas, his luck came in when Foreign Affairs were announced to be playing the festival – he’s the bassist. Happy day.
So there was a sense of anticipation to the set like never before. I’ve never really been arsed about the headliners at Glasto, I’m there for the experience MAN, but one of my favourite bands of all time playing the Saturday night slot was just a dream come true – especially when tickets to their gigs go at around £400 a pop. I mean I like em, but not enough to spend 400 notes on a bleedin ticket. Anyway, I digress. I was excited.
Now I full well know that they were going to sound like, in all probability, a bit of a dodgy tribute act – but it was the sheer enormity of the moment, seeing the actual Stones with my eyeballs regardless of whether they were shit or not, which made it so important. And they were much better than I thought they would be. Ronnie Wood, the epitome of rock n roll, nonchalantly puffing away on his fag on stage. Keith playing real guitar, open tuning nice and loose, not too slick and polished. Mick strutting around the stage, working the fairly sizeable crowd. Their collective presence really puts some bands in their places. This is a band whose rock n roll days are far behind them in the 60s and 70s, yet ooze more cool than every act at this festival combined.
It got to mid way in the set when they brought on Mick Taylor for a fairly lengthy rendition of Midnight Rambler. At this point, after seeing off the best part of a brewery throughout the day, Gabby needed a slash. The beauty – or horror, whichever way you look at it – of being male is that you can whip out your one eyed trouser trout whilst the Rolling Stones are headlining Glastonbury, safe in the knowledge that everyone is watching the Rolling Stones headline Glastonbury, and not looking at you directing a jet of cider piss towards the neck of a 2 litre plastic bottle. Sometimes there’s a momentary misfire where a bit of piss brushes a ladies leg (Purnell) but it’s too quick to notice. There’s also the clean missing of the bottle entirely (Ben Grounds) and the consequent streaming of hot urine all over some lasses feet while her husband turns around and asks you plainly, ‘Why are you pissing on my wife’s leg?!’ – to which you audaciously insist your not, when you clearly are.
Anyway, where was I. Oh pissing, right. So Gabs needed a piss, and she in this instance is cursed with being female. She considers the squat, but even in this environment of freely slashing uber lads, she opts against it. Now the Rolling Stones are headlining, so there’s pretty much every person at the entire festival stood in front of the Pyramid stage, making the exit route to the shitters a difficult one. Green momentarily considered chaperoning her. Clarke made him stay. 20 minutes later, I have a sobbing woman on the phone, completely lost, unable to decipher my directions – ‘by the welsh flag, not the first one, but the second one, next to the Jamaican flag’ – ‘what’s a welsh flag?’ – even thinking back to these flag exchanges is making me feel a little ill. I went to find her, by a black flag nonetheless – probably the least jazzy but ironically, most universally accepted for what it is. Sobbing her heart out, overwhelmed by talk of flags. We made peace and barged our way back to the crew. I could see Clarkey’s head, and then I heard it. Chants of ‘Woo woo’, ‘woo woo’ – Beats of a samba drum – fans of Josh Moore blog (something that I’ve worryingly said twice now) will know that I’m very close to this tune. I made it back to the gang for ‘killed the czar and his ministers’ and all was well. The crowd was bathed in a deep, bright red, and the strange metal bird that sat on top of the Pyramid itself came to life, breathing fire, confirming to everyone that this wasn’t just any old Saturday might Glasto headliner. They did Cant Always Get What You Want, and closed with Satisfaction. No superlatives can describe that night, so I won’t bother. it just was. And I was lucky enough to be there. Absolutely amazing.
On Sunday, none of us had any real desire to see anyone in particular, so ambled from stage to stage as a big group, taking in the last day of the greatest festival on the planet. Having trekked over to the Park stage the previous day and going right up to the Glastonbury Hollywood esque sign, I made us all trudge up there again. Overlooking the Park stage, behind the Rabbit hole, next to the Stone Circle is the hill where the Glasto sign sits, which overlooks the vast festival in all it’s splendour. We got up to the top, found a spot – for a good 10 minutes, we were all silent, just looking, taking it in. This was probably my moment of the festival. Words cant describe how small you feel, but how lucky you are at the same time, to be part of something so bloody massive.
There were so many moments which will live with me forever. The music is what people go to festivals for, but my best moments looking be have to be just hanging out with my mates 24/7 for 5 days straight. Right from having a random picture with Dav and the Keynsham train station sign…
…to watching from the comfort of the car, the poor bugger who chose to cycle to Glasto, in his wellies, on a road bike, with his tent on his back, wobbling allover the shop. Brave lad.
When we got through the gates, we ventured a bit past pour usual spot and camped up next a Pylon which wouldn’t stop fucking buzzing all night. On arriving, I was defeated from carrying the beers that I couldn’t imagine anything worse than putting up an 8 man sodding tent. It’s fine though I thought, every man and his dogs at Glasto this year, even my parents – cue me phoning for help. My Step-Dad comes bowling up the hill with my mum, barely able to walk. What’s wrong? I asked. ‘I’ve had a hundred ciders’ he says. ‘Oh for fuc….’ He still put it up in about 10 minutes. Different breed that chap.
There was also the delight of waking up to Big Dav every morning ‘eh up sister’ who I shared a tent with for 3 nights until Gabs arrived. We would be up around half 9 most mornings when we heard the ring pull on Clarkey’s strongbow. Despite bucking the trend and not camping with us this year and having to be elsewhere due to performing duties, Clarkes made sure he was at our camp most mornings to bring back an old Glasto tradition, wine at nine, much to Greeners delight. This picture shows one of my favourite moments.
That’s me with a rubber horses head on there, and Green laughing at it. It’s the littlest things. Green and Amy, like my 8 man tents, are veterans now, passing on our wisdom to other Glasto go-ers. Like Ben for example, who repeatedly disappeared of his own accord, but would always end up back in his own tent (to his dismay) every morning after.
My little brother, now in his second stint, stepped up his game this year and added a lot of value to the squad. MVP, or MIP – most improved player, I think I’ll daub him. There were a few things that annoyed me, as with most siblings – his persistent singing of any song under the sun, despite not being able to hit any of the 7 basic notes in the musical scale – there’s only 7. That grated on me. As did the repeated use of his new catchphrase ‘why don’t you shut up and fuck off’ – a really over the top riposte to the question ‘does anyone want a coffee?’ Dav did have a hot chocolate at the end of each night, but he’s nearing 30 and was doing a good job just by keeping up with us. Bless im.
But Nath showed his worth by coining the phrase Englishman in Den Hag, to the tune of Sting’s Englishman in New York for Clarkey, our english friend who was soon to be moving to the Hague (and has since moved) – inspired, genius. As was his recounting of the legend of Galahad, Lancelot’s bastard son, and the noblest of noble knights. Known for his gallantry, Galahad was chivalrous, courteous, pulled the sword out of the stone but most tragic of all, died a virgin. Nathan’s speech took us all by surprise, and we were in awe of the lads knowledge and delivery of it. We forced him to repeat his knowledge of Galahad over and over again, but neither time was as good as the first rendition. Still it is Glastonbury 2013 where his new moniker Young Galahad was born.
One morning when me and Gabs were making our way through the Pylon field, she overhead a few people walking past. ‘It’s funny,’ she said ‘with there being so many people here, with all their own in-jokes and banter, but if you overheard them, you’d just think what a load of shit’ – I’ve paraphrased her there. I can’t remember her exact words (it was months ago, chill out) but she was basically saying, so many people, so much chatting shit. What would people think of us then, banging on about Lancelot’s bastard son, wearing a rubber horse mask bought from Amazon for £8 specifically for this weekend, or shouting THE LIGHTS ARE ON over and over again. They’d think, what a load of shit I imagine.
But it’s our shit. Glastonbury 2013, you’ve done it again.