Glastonbury 2010 – Part One.

Well this was an epic five days wasn’t it? So epic that I feel it deserves four (yes, four) blog entries about it! Detailing the amount of sunrays penetrating pale skin, the quantities of dust in one’s eyes, each and every band viewed, meals consumed and pints of cider drunk, this is how Glastonbury’s 40th Birthday unfolded for two people.

Wednesday – After an early wake and a decent breakfast, and a small wait for a younger siblings to get packed and ready, the car was loaded and a drive through the tiny roads of the West Country was taken. For me, it actually took until seeing the white snaking line of the superfence to get as excited as I expected myself to be, but finally it happened. And then Tom felt less retarded at being as excited as he was. Equality returned 🙂 We were allowed to park in what has to be the biggest house known to man that wasn’t owned by the National Trust or English Heritage (it had a lake, stables, a wood! And required a small cart contraption to get from the house to the end of the drive. How ridiculous). And this dwelling just so happened to be literally right next to the festival site. So, after parking, onwards we went on foot, unaware that the next hour would involve the biggest trek ever. After a little ‘queuing’ (just a flock of people moving slowly through really), festival bands were adorning our currently clean wrists, and bags and programmes and quantities of other free paraphernalia was thrown our way as we entered the site properly. One of our party thought bringing three crates of continental lager was a good idea, so after a visit to the lock-ups, we began the long, long, exceptionally sweaty, walk to the other side of Worthy Farm – with the Ribbon Tower in the distance, we made our advance on The Park.

A slightly frustrated moment occurred when it would appear all spaces had been taken, and we would not be able to make The Park our home for the next five days, but we weaved our way in, pitched three tents, separated with one of the party, and then commenced the much-anticipated Wednesday Wander. A must-do for all festival goers.

This year, as “the football” was on, and I was bloody hungry by this point, Tom and I returned to the place we visited on the Wednesday last year, and found a shady spot to consume a Schnitzel Burger whilst said football was being watched. I fell asleep after this so I have no idea of the match’s outcome, and couldn’t care less anyway, but apparently it doesn’t matter now anyway. The more pressing issue was with the Brothers Bar, and to get the first pint of strawberry cider. For some reason, it tastes nicer out of a cardboard cup, sitting in a sunny field, rather than from a glass bottle in some quiet pub. Brothers did not disappoint, and this was a particularly beautiful moment of Wednesday.

The rest of this day was filled with discovering any changes made (a new field was in place for extra camping and “the football” – who needs a Football Field when you’re at the world’s biggest music festival?), and stalls you had to visit later when it was necessary – like Pieminister. More on pies later. The afternoon was spent exploring the Stone Dragon, in a quiet wooden enclosure not known to many, just off of the Stone Circle, and spending a fair few moments in the National Trust tent – where you sank into huge beanbags, exchanged your shoes for headphones, and listened to birds calling, rushing water and wind rustling the trees. Lovely for a tiring afternoon! – and the evening was spent on the on the hill up above The Park, with the sun going down, sky lanterns going up, ponchos being worn and a general buzz of “this is the best place in the world to be at the moment”.

Thursday we awoke in a sticky, sweltering tent, and we were already tinged pink with sunburn from the day before. A casual stroll in the morning took us past the stall advertising a delicacy so enthused about by my brother last year… After small deliberation, breakfast was all about The Growler. Or The Big Dog. I love food, and I struggled to finish it. But it was so awesome. A baguette with chips, melted cheese and bacon or sausage. Immense.

A lie-down in the Pyramid Stage field was required after that, and then another general wander around the site, to look at small stage line-ups, generic hippy stalls, and other culinary delights on offer.

That evening, we had Pieminister for supper. Pieminister is genius and never fails. I had the Heidi Pie, consisting of sweet potato, goat’s cheese and roasted garlic – amazing – Tom had the Chicken of Aragon Pie, and we both had strawberry cider again 🙂 The general idea was to get going after food, but it was such a relaxed evening that we left it a while. Beardyman was performing in the Dance Village that evening, so we aimed for that, but it was so crowded it wasn’t even worth hanging around in the queue outside. We tried the same stage again for Joy Orbison a few hours later, but not only was it just as crowded, some complete bitch told Tom “Er, excuse me? I had a perfect view and you just ruined it?!”, when we stopped for a moment to see if we could see anything. What an idiot. So on we went, and left the Dance Village for good. DV is not a nice place, and those wishing to have perfect views constantly should probably not attend festivals with 177,500 people in attendance.

We slept, eagerly awaiting the music that commenced the next day.

The Tuesday Muse – Be Yourself.

The Tuesday Muse on a Wednesday?! Yes indeed. I couldn’t think of a suitable topic yesterday, AND I had no time. So here we are!

Now. Where I work, there are a large amount of men who come in for food from the gyms around the local area. Usually Fitness First, maybe some others. They all sport things like ‘PERSONAL TRAINER’ on their back. If you didn’t know what a Personal Trainer was, surely you could go up to these people and ask them to train you for anything? They aren’t exactly specifying their role in society. It could also be misconstrued as one’s own foot protector, instead of someone you have one-to-one sessions with in the gym. The most audacious slogan I have so far found is

Do we prefer this...?

“Be Yourself. Only Better”

How bloody rude?! Who’s to say I am not at my peak of everything? Who’s to say being stupidly fit will improve my all-round well-being, mental health, career path, relations with society, culinary prowess, creative skills, mothering techniques… Blah blah blah. Why is it that everyone who goes to the gym thinks they are better than everyone else? Is spending two hours in the gym everyday really a good use of your time? It’s like they all have this smug secret that just because they spend time getting sweaty with a lot of other sweaty people who think gyms are a good idea, this makes them the best human being around. What idiots.

And it’s not that I think all exercise is bad and immoral – quite the contrary – but it’s just the WAY they advertise it. It’s like there’s literally no other way to “get into shape for summer” or something. Which is absolute bollocks,

...Or this? Come on! There's no contest.

especially in Bath, because everywhere is on a damn hill. If people actually did a little more walking and a little less complaining about the buses, we would all be ourselves. Only better.

That, coupled with the fact that there is countryside everywhere, if you just put a little effort into finding it sometimes, means that surely you can get much more enjoyment from going for a walk or a bike ride? Involving yourself in nature would be a much better way to improve yourself AND get exercise surely? It depresses me greatly when, after Christmas, instead of people saying “Oh, you know what? I’m going to try out this great ‘Walks Around Somerset’ book that I was given”, they all say “Oh what a fantastic gym advert. I must sign up.” And usually they get as far as signing up, attend the first few sessions, then give up and have £30 taken out of their bank account for the rest of their lives, for something they either can’t be bothered to go to, or are too embarrassed to try.


A Study Of A Pilton Field.

In a dilemma about what to see at Glasto? Clashfinder confused you even further? There’s plenty you WANT to see, but it’s physically impossible to see EVERYTHING? (A great shame).

Well worry no further, for here are my recommendations for Glastonbury 2010, including the big and the small, what to avoid, the unmissable, and the “go and see if you have bugger all else to do”. The latter being a dismal prospect as there should always be something to do on Worthy Farm.

(Dear lord, I am so excited)

Since the music starts (sort of) on Thursday, let us, too, start there. Having said that, there are minimal acts, therefore a very small proportion are actually good, so I give you Beardyman.

A beatboxer with a wicked sense of humour, how could you not want to see him? Hopefully he’ll come in full kitchen regalia, including wig. He’s performing on the WOW! stage at around the 8 o’clock. Miss him and you’ll have to watch Boy George afterwards. Unlucky. Also on Thursday, Hobo Jones and the Junkyard Dogs are starting things off, at 1pm on the Pyramid Stage. Yes really. Not hugely known for their variance from song to song, they categorise themselves as “skunk” – a fusion of punk and skiffle. They are, however, a lot of fun, and a good way to start your Thursday at Glastonbury off. Try after an incredible breakfast from Veggie Heaven, just next to the Other Stage.

Friday – This is where it starts to get really interesting. And messy. We are all, of course, ecstatic that U2 are no longer performing – I thought they pulled out because they suck (therefore no one would go to see them), but apparently it’s to do with Bono’s health or something else that no one cares about. As a replacement, we have the wonderful Gorillaz, who I thought were just a small side project. But no, they are EPIC. This will be an epic performance, including many guests and potentially Damon Albarn crying again, although the latter is probably unlikely. Have a peek at their performance on Jools Holland, and if you’re poor, their latest album (+backcatalogue) resides on Spotify.

Also on Friday, may I recommend Hot Chip (their new album is WINNING), Seth Lakeman (I LOVE HIM, on at Croissant Neuf), Simian Mobile Disco and Boys Noize. This last chap is a German electro DJ, and awesome. He’s on last thing on Dance West, just after Simian, and definitely worth exploring.

Saturday – Muse suck so no one’s going to see them. It seems it’ll all be happening on what they are this year calling “West Holts”, which is in fact the Jazz World stage. Let’s just call it Jazz World. Everyone KNOWS it as Jazz World. It might not all be jazz, but at least it says “stuff here may be controversial”. Anyway, George Clinton is bringing his two bands, Parliament and Funkadelic, to it that evening, and although they seem to get a groove on and stick to the same melody/rhythm/tune for the next five minutes, it will still be much more fun than “I have to be so bloody epic all the time” Muse.

Also for Saturday… Seasick Steve is on the Pyramid, though I’d rather see him in some ranch in the middle of America I think (should be good though!). Devendra Banhart could be an option if there’s nothing else to see, along with Jerry Dammers Spatial AKA Orchestra – both on West Holts. Which means pint of strawberry cider at the same time. The Unthanks turn up on the Avalon Stage (very folky, very good), and and and – the band I am most excited about for Saturday – The National! On for a mere hour on t’Other Stage, they should suitably sap all the happiness from you, and leave you with a mellow, realistic look on the world for a few moments after. And then The Cribs take over (I AM NOT RECOMMENDING THESE WAKEFIELD WEIRDOS) and you shall be shaken back to reality, and will run far, far away from the Other Stage.

Sunday – As has previously been said, you can see Stevie, but he will not be seeing you. There’s even been a somewhat impractical suggestion of braille flags so there’s a chance he can get on-board with the waving flag vibe. Though it may be impractical, the suggestion did tickle me somewhat. Anyway, Stevie Wonder is to be the highlight of Sunday (he’s just too cool to miss, surely?), along with Faithless just before him. A few hours in front of the Pyramid Stage means time for wedges and pint, and you can get your groove on some electronica before singing along with everyone else to ‘Isn’t She Lovely?’ with Mr Wonder.

Sunday also includes LCD Soundsystem, Rodrigo Y Gabriela and Grizzly Bear for your enjoyment, although most of them clash (told you it got messy), and you DO have to weigh up which is better to see based on value for money, how regularly they perform, if you will ever see them again, and if it’s worth missing one of the other bands.  A great shame.

Generally speaking, the idea seems to be to avoid the main stages unless there’s something AWESOME on (as they get hideously busy and don’t seem to offer good quality music), look for the smaller things, have a handful of Definites, some Maybes, and use the rest of the time to experience something you’ve never done before.

Festival Fashion Pt. 2 – What They Think We Should Wear.

… Except we all know better and if people think “ditsy florals and teeny shorts” are what you should aim to pack ready for the festival season, I would seriously doubt whether those advising this have ever set foot in a festival site before. Which, surely, is necessary if you want to advice people on what to wear there, even if it IS completely impractical? Have a peek at this thread/blog from the Word magazine website, and see how the money you would have spent on new everything for this ‘season’ could have been spent much more practically.

Who needs Cath Kidston wellies at £38, when Glastonbury will decorate them for you..?

You Need To Watch This.

Hello, this is good musical education. Watch the second song ‘Burning Hell’, from just after 4 minutes in, as the first song is just average really.

I know it’s Tom Jones and he’s usually only good for comic purposes but THIS IS AMAZING. The simpleness of the whole set up makes this number, along with the slide guitar and the 70-year old (therefore finely tuned) pipes of Mr Jones. This is good music.