Wacky Permaculture Man
I went, I saw, I square danced, I shook hands with my favourite actor.
I love Glastonbury, I love the freedom, the five days of not driving, or sitting at a computer. I love music in the air – everywhere. I love the fact that at the end of it all there are over 100,000 versions of a music festival as everyone has their own timetable and version of events and experiences. And after watching him interviewed by Johnny Walker, I love Michael Eavis, the idealistic romantic who is the central God of the farm.
Rolf was on form, Miike Snow were groovy and enigmatic, Gorillaz got there in the end thanks to enough groovy tunes and guest appearances to warrant their headlining slot, despite a lot of uncertainty throughout. I went to see Mumford & Sons and yet all I heard was the crowd screaming and singing every word. Hey guys, they’re good, but they’re not the second coming, you know, I’d like to have heard at least a couple of words they sang or spoke. Unmoved I’m afraid, but I was in a vast minority. Imogen Heap was clever, a kind of prodigy, with more gadgets than you can shake a stick at, but left me wanting more emotion than cleverness. I Am Kloot were electrifying with the tender, broken songs they delivered, but I unfortunately enjoyed little of it as I was mesmerised by aforementioned favourite actor standing 10 yards away from me throughout the gig. Managed to miss The Bees twice which I was disappointed about. Toy Story 3 was magnificent but then what do you expect from PIXAR? And Stevie Wonder is pure solid gold genius, even if he didn’t play my favourite song. He possesses a lovely silly sense of humour and love for just about everyone.
There were three acts this year who were my personal high points.
I saw Ray Davies deliver a wonderful performance on the BBC’s Electric Proms and hoped for the same. What I got surpassed it by miles. He played the odd lesser known song but got enough Kinks hits in to please the crowd greatly. Perhaps not a natural showman as such, he earned my eternal respect by dedicating a monumentally moving portion of his set to the Kinks’ bass player, Pete Quaife, who had apparently passed away a few days earlier, and was fighting the obvious emotion of it all throughout. It was lovely to hear Lola, Waterloo Sunset, Dedicated Follower Of Fashion and Sunny Afternoon on a (very) sunny afternoon, but the inclusion of a beautifully tender Days with a massive choir was possibly the high point of the festival for me.
I saw Turin Brakes when I was at Glasto in 2003 on the Pyramid Stage and was not really taken at all. I’ve realised since that being on the wrong stage at Glasto can mess it all up for you. Well, on the other hand, being on the right stage can make it a triumph. And this was. Armed with two acoustic guitars, a double bass player and an occasional drum machine (who they honoured as a long-standing band member), Olly and Gale delivered a sparkly set of all the songs you’d want to hear along with beautiful harmonies and guitar solos – Emergency 72, Underdog, Feeling Oblivion, Painkiller, Future Boy as well as Chris Isaac’s Wicked Game and Billie Jean. I got a shock when I heard Fishing For A Dream as I had to learn it to sing at a wedding last year and never really knew it as their song. The chaps were humble, mildly shocked at the reaction which was extremely devoted and affectionate and absolutely fucking brilliant throughout.
I was really torn as to who to see Saturday night. Pet Shop Boys were the favourites, being a band whose music I grew up following. A quick interview in the paper can do wonders to sway your decision and I’m glad I went with them. They were the band of the weekend for me. They had cubes, lots of them, even cubes on their heads when they first arrived. They had dancers, films, narrative dance during the wonderful Jealousy and a bewildering number of hits. The only two I didn’t get were Rent and Home And Dry which is probably too obscure for them to play. But I did get a fantastically choreographed show, a ‘cameo’ from Dusty Springfield, about 8 Neil Tennant costume changes, Chris doing a ten second MC Hammer dance and forever destroying his grumpiest man in pop persona and (you ready? Deep breath…) Left To My Own Devices, Heart, NYC Boy, Jealousy, West End Girls, Always On My Mind, It’s A Sin, Being Boring (my favourite), Two Divided By Zero, What Have I Done To Deserve This?, Suburbia, Go West, Domino Dancing, Viva La Vida and more. By the end I was grinning stupidly at the wonderful flamboyance of it all and at the chance to enjoy a truly great pop band! How many hits? 😛
Staff dance routine at the Hurly Burly
I could do it all again. The guy selling Yeo Valley yoghurts who reminded me that I Am Kloot were playing, the guy selling the Guardian who stopped talking to me when I bigged up Rolf Harris, the beautiful people in the Permaculture area including the wacky old guy trying get reviews of their chilli chocolate cake off everyone (see photo above), the girl working at the Pasta & Pizza counter who got me to do a dance before she would give me the pasta and had a seriously cute smile, me putting garlic mayonnaise in my tea at Tea & Toast by accident coz I thought it was milk and the staff generously replacing my cuppa, the line-dancing/hoe down with my work friends, the staff at the wonderful Hurly Burly dancing on the counter and walkway together to You Make My Dreams by Hall & Oates at about 1am on the Sunday night/Monday morning (see second photo).
And the now legendary Mum Amnesty which we didn’t quite succeed at, but at least we made it to Sunday, successfully getting the crowd around us singing our song of the weekend (I Just Called To Say I Love You by Stevie) after his set and breaking into hilarious laughter when Stevie did it himself and again when Michael Eavis lent his very English accent to Happy Birthday at the end of the set (“there’s only one Stevie Wonder”), Mother Hubbard and her monkey wrench (thanks Snoop), zinc, dirty feet, naked old woman, hideous toilets, blistering sunshine, have I missed anything?
Love it love it love it!!!