I've spent a lot of this weekend watching Glastonbury. I love it. Bands that have been nowhere near X Factor, Britain's Got Talent and any other show that sells your soul for fame. I don't like every band. I've still got Sunday's shows to watch, but so far my highlights are Primal Scream, Jimmy Cliff, BB King and Tiny Tempah. I love the eclectic mix, but it wouldn't be a blog from me unless there was some element of a rant in it.
So here it is, (and it applies to any outdoor event/special occasion that is on the BBC) Wimbledon included. In the Glastonbury shows, I want to hear the music. I am now woefully out of touch with modern bands and trends and I want to hear them, not the opinionated DJ's presenters. If the nation had a choice between an extra song by whatever artist or listening to the views of Mark Radcliffe or the Kiwi bloke, there would be no contest. At Wimbledon, gaps at the end of games used to be filled with Doubles matches - now they are barely featured. The majority of tennis players in this country play doubles and those that watch tennis for 2 weeks a year would also enjoy the variety of shots without the grunting that goes on in Singles. But I digress.
I've done Glastonbury. Loved the music but hated the toilets. They were cess pits then, a tent with a wooden bench over a pit dug into the field. By Sunday, they were full, and the day's action was downloaded at the Burtonwood services on the way back up the M5. I didn't wash or brush my teeth for 3 days. Again showering with random strangers of both sexes did not appeal - especially as they were solar powered and it was cloudy (but not raining) for two days.
I went with 2 people from work and one of their friends. I drove, and when we got there, the other girl in the group disappeared to find her boyfriend, returning at 10pm on Sunday when it was time to go home. The other two were lads, a lot younger than me, so they went off into the distance, leaving me alone for most of the weekend. I didn't see that as a problem, as I could plan the groups I wanted to see, without compromise.
In my all time top ten live performances, two bands feature from this Glastonbury. The Pogues followed The House Martins onto stage, on the Friday. Still an up and coming band, Shane MacGowen still had all his teeth and was a coherent drunk, as opposed to the LSD ravaged incoherent rambler he's become. They were on the Pyramid stage at teatime, and the place was rammed. they really got the crowd going, and then they broke out into 'Streams of Whisky' and the crowd surged backwards and forwards , up and down like a rough sea. The spray was provided by the hundreds of beer glasses that went up in the air, everyone was soaked. Their good time North London/Irish punk folk was a completely new sound and even though I've seen them about 5 times since then they never made the heady heights of that gig.
The other highlight for me was Half Man Half Biscuit. They were an Indie band from Liverpool, who wrote witty wistful songs about times gone by. Songs like 'I love you because you look like Jim Reeves,' and a song that I can't remember the title, but the first two lines were: 'My girlfriend looks like Peggy Mount, what am I supposed to do? I'm up the creak without a paddle and I haven't even got a canoe', (it may even be the same song, so I'll mention another, 'All I want for Christmas is a Dupla Prague away kit' - a song all about Subbuteo). Their biggest hit, and one of my favourites, was 'Trumpton Riots.' They were on the second stage on the Saturday afternoon, after Frank Sidebottom (a singer with a Papier Mache head - big song: 'Rocking with Rita') and before 'I've got a Fuzzbox and I'm going to use it' (Spirit in the Sky). The bands at that Glastonbury were the cream of the Indie scene. There was a wire fence holding the fans back from the stage, and when this number came on, it all surged forward. I was pretty near the front to join in and as the crowd moved forward the fence came down. The whole thing was so Heath Robinson, and yet no one got hurt, even when the bouncers brought in Dobermans to keep the crowd from the stage - there very nearly was a riot to rival that at Trumpton. Funny how very few people got hurt before Health and Safety and ambulence chasing lawyers isn't it?
Of course the drug scene was a lot simpler and less chemical then. In fact there were a lot of weird and wonderful things. The Hash Flapjack had no effect whatsoever, but the mushrooms on the burger not only led to an upset tummy, but lightening hitting the Pyramid stage when headliners the Psychadelics Furs were on - imagined or not - I will never know.
On the Sunday afternoon I went to see Billy Bragg. Perfect for a warm sunny day - very chilled. The 1986 World Cup Quarter Final was on that very evening and there were giant screens to watch it all. The nation expected once agian. England hadn't played well in the tournament so far and Billy sang 'New England' and dedicated it to the football team. To be fair, they then played really well against their opponents, Argentina, but the Hand of God or Maradona thought differently.
I swore then that I would never go again - I just need my comfort too much. Every year I watch again and think just maybe a Winnebago would solve all the problems.
Trumpton Riots - from the album 'Back in the DHSS' - if you ever find it buy it. Half Man, Half Biscuit's greatest moment.