We (I) arrived down to Glastonbury on the Thursday at about 5-6, wandered about a bit in the heat, found Toby and Colette near the
And then on Friday the heavens opened at about 5 in the morning, full lightning storm and me trying to figure out whether I could reasonably flee. The debate continued over the next six hours, and the twin reasons that I stayed were 1) fear of getting 'lectrocuted if I tried to take down the metal bits of the tent in the storm and 2) bloodymindedness about having paid through the nose to get there.
A nice band called the Boyfriends finally cleared up the rain, while sounding quite a bit like the Morrissey. I turned down a spare pair of wellies that had turned up, because I had my own pair with me. Little did I know that the size 8's that I briefly tried on was the last time my feet would be happy the whole weekend. I'm normally an 11, the boots I have are a 10, and still they were rattling around and chafing like cockchafers. They and my rubbish mobile were the elements that I battled against for the weekend (along with the actual elements).
We went for a walk (which basically included fording a river), had a bit of food, found out that the people who picked the other pass never made it and headed back by the long way. This doesn't sound very exciting because YOU WEREN'T THERE. I then went to take out some cash, and join the queue for the phone-recharging place, and got out in time to watch a bit of M83 (more prog than shoegazing) and then over to Elvis Costello. Still a great show, shame about the no Lipstick Vogue/I Want You (unless he played them first), and the extent that the bass-player looks like Elvis is kind of worrying. Back to the John Peel tent to see Secret Machines be no good, then M.I.A, one of many bands that I would probably have enjoyed the holy hell out of if I'd heard anything by them beforehand. Back to the phone charging place (no queue but they do chuck you out at 10) and then up to see Steve Earle and accidentally meet good friend Dirty Vicar. Steve plaid a great set (though mike problems robbed me of a lot of the words), and we did get to see two of the dumbest people in creation hoist up the Confederate flag at some point. "You have every right to fly that flag, but if you brought it out for me, roll that fucker up." Then back to the tents. There may have been some singing.
I rose a little late on Saturday, which meant that by the time I got to the phone tent, the queue was already across the field. I hung around for half an hour, and then they said "you basically have an hour and three quarters to go", so I fucked off. I missed a fair amount of stuff that I actually really meant to see, and ended up infront of Martha Tilston in the Avalon Tent. In fairness a lot of the time was spent watching the personable band tune up and prepare for the gig, and a bit more during the gig, which was pleasant enough folk hippie bollocks (this went down well - remember that I have previously picked the Hothouse Flowers as a top 5 gigs of glasto, and so cannot be trusted). A hyperactive drummer goes a long way.
Next, I used my ethnicity to my advantage: I headed up to the acoustic tent and saw London Lasses (or Lovely Girls), who play traditional Irish reels on two fiddles, a flute and a squeezebox. They are SHITE ON A STICK, but I have a certain immunity to that sort of thing, so managed to get front and center for the next band, the mighty Chas 'n' Dave! They put on a show consisting of all the hits (that I rarely knew the words to), and a few slow songs about love (which I definitely didn't know the words to). A lot of their 'rockney' is just country: if you can listen to the Tennessee Two, you can listen to a lot of CnD. And the rest is just boogie woogie: for all that Chas doesn't look all that well on stage, he can play that piano (or organ, in this case) like nobody's business. The drummer (Mick, of "come on Mick, give it some stick!") was wearing a Paiste T-shirt, and it's well-earned product placement: this was the most cymbal-heavy music I've ever heard, right to the adrenaline gland. Also interesting is that Chas 'n' Dave join ZZ Top in the list of bands with two iconic 'twins' who are in fact one fat guy and one thin guy with similar facial hair.
Bit more wandering I suspect, maybe a bit of phone, storming Surgeon set but couldn't find my mate Simon, tried to get down to see the alleged Wiley in the Roots stage, but he turned out to be an hour earlier. So eventually we headed down to see New Order (I was uncertain in my tent for a bit, until I heard Regret and decided I was being stupid). I wasn't as taken by the show as everyone else, I thought they were really showing their age (then again I've never seen them before, and was possibly expecting something a little cooler). In particular during Temptation, I didn't like them taking the best bridge in the world ever and turning it into a guitar solo. And then World in Motion bobbins, featuring Keith Allen in unable to not look like he's reading from an autocue shocker. My mate Mark claims to have been responsible for this: he met him in Strummer's Corner in Lost Vagueness on Thursday and said "you should definitely do this!". And OMG WTF no Blue Monday! Anyway, back to the tent, where some of us nipped in to see the Go Team! who were great and shambolic and great. Then the young people disappeared off to the Lock Tavern to see the Erol Alkan, and I went to bed, cursing my stupid feet. There may also have been singing.
Sunday I woke up early enough to get out early enough to only be 40th in line for the phone place, so when it opened I got to recharge immediately and get lots of "I'm here, where are you?" phone messages (bah, sorry everyone). I went back to the site, fell asleep in the sun for a bit, wandered down to meet the rest of them, sat around while they ate and read, and then we wandered around. This meant that (of my own free will) I got to see none of Rodrigo Y Gabriel, Jamie Lidell or the Dresden Dolls, so started my performance diet with Mitch Benn in the Cabaret tent. He's a bit like Bill Bailey without the half-hour warmup time. He sang songs about how all music sounds like Coldplay, and a version of the charity Perfect Day doing all the voices. On the one hand he's very funny and brilliant at the musical stuff, on the other it's the laziest material in the world (while still being right about EG Dido vs Boy George). There was a bit more wandering after this (during which I got CRUELLY DUMPED for being a slowpoke), on the way to see Brian Wilson.
Or rather the Brian Wilson Experience (not an actual Brian Wilson experience, thank god). I don't generally care about whether people are really performing if they're putting on a good show, but in this case he wasn't playing, he wasn't singing (well, he might have been singing but his mike wasn't on during songs) and he didn't seem to be always aware that he was on stage. There was clearly two video tracks, one of Brian sitting at his pianner and one of exciting angles of the rest of the band, and someone with his finger on the switch between the two, sticking to feed 1 for as long as Brian appeared to be paying attention, then over to feed 2. The whole thing seemed to have Crossed A Line, and I headed off for even more Steve Earle in the Leftfield.
boyofbadgers was saying later that the problem with the protest singers in the Leftfield is that they're preaching to the converted, but I was thinking, and surely the same is true of all protest singers everywhere. I think people like to have their conversion shored up a bit, to have little nuggets of narrative to help them do things that are not in their benefit at all such as picketing or protesting (or voting). Anyway, he did a set which was a bit more protest songy, didn't end in Copperfield Road, and he talked a lot about the Unions and why we should keep them. Afterwards I found out that two of my friends got engaged at Brian Wilson, and then off to a bit more phone action, and go to see the happy couple at Primal Scream. Who can still make a great sound, though they got worse as the evening went on, into total comedy at the end. Wander wander, can't find anyone at 2manyDJs, and then meet Pete, freakytigger, atommickbrane, carsmilesteve at Seeed, who are a German ska/dancehall/moving your arse troupe. With a dozen of them. In colour co-ordinated suits. Where suits includes hoodies. They were fucking amazing fun, and the first official Glastonbury dancehall queen competition was a great way to end the festival. Then back to the camp, and some tapes where played. There may have been a bit of me asking "Uncle Tom, what's this song?", in fact there was a hell of a lot of it. It was this night that the loud employees-only party bar next to us turned into a serious concern, in fact they seemed to go on all night, very loudly.
And then up this morning, and away before anyone except Magnus was awake. Met DV in the queue, wandered about Bristol a bit while he cleaned up in his lodgings, got invited by a nice nutter/geezer on the make to take part in a welly throwing competition. "I'm not taking the piss, but when I was a younger lad, I used to throw Wellington boots. I'll be over here with my mate if you want a contest". And then a bit of FOPP, and home.
I'm a bit annoyed at myself: I learned Sudoku last week, and picked up a book of it in Bristol Airport on the way over. For use in transport: fine. For use in queues/waiting for phones to charge: a bit of a shame but acceptable. While hanging around with friends/Sunday reading papers time: FFS, Andrew, get it together. They're your friends! You like them, talk to them! With this, and the rain (it dried off the rest of the weekend, but it still took 15 minutes to cross an empty Other Stage on Sunday) and the mobiles and the sodding boots, this year I really doubt I'll be sitting in work thinking "I wish I was back there". Which should not be confused with not missing it next year.
PS: if I could change one things about the festival in 2007, it'd be to have more than four sodding Siemens chargers in the whole phone tent OR to go back to letting people hand their phone in in the evening and collect it in the morning (the reason they stopped this is apparently that they made a profit of several thousand phones last year).