I’ve never been much of a one for fancy dress, mainly due to the effort involved in doing it right – I’m just too much of a last minute person. I managed a Toulouse Lautrec for a ‘Beaujolais Nouveau’ works do but that was cos we happened to have an old artists smock in the house……
In our circle, the dressing up masters are: Kul – seen here at a ‘Comic characters’ party as Capt America (painting his whole head blue for the effect) George – The Wasp, Mark – Doc Oc, Martin – Dennis the Menace and Gail – Wilmer Flintstone.
We had Kul, George, Martin, Gail and Mark round for a Victorian Murder Mystery dinner the week-end before Glastonbury. Kul was an American tycoon and George a nun. Something like that only works if everyone taking part plays their role and everyone did – a top evening!
Glastonbury of course has its fair share of fancy dressers, but my main concern has always been to take the least amount of nearly dead clothes that I can find, so your not lugging tonnes of stuff – and if it get ruined…..so what! This year has changed my mind some what….
We had some new members of the Pod Squad this year and the fancy dressing star of the bunch was Lucy “I’d wear fancy dress every day if I could” she informed me “I should go on the first date with a bloke in fancy dress so he knows what hes in for!” She dressed as a fairy on the Friday and a Bee on Sat and Sunday (complete with sting). Random people would stop her and ask for photos and shed always oblige.
Medical tent wise, things were quiet this year for FMS – they always are when the weather’s good. No deaths to report although there was a potentially fatal instance of a young girl drinking ‘poppers’ – she went blue and had to be shipped off site sharpish! We had to admit a diabetic guy with an infected foot ulcer but generally all was calm. One guy did come into the medical tent feeling unwell and dizzy. The nurse took his details: have you been drinking? “Yeah, I drank a lot more yesterday than I usually do” Have you had any food or water this morning? “No, just a beer” You’re Hung over mate…. there’s nothing wrong with you!
Musically speaking, Thursday kicked off with Glasvegas playing in the Queens Head – a really small tent run by Q magazine. They were a bit too Jesus and Mary Chain Wannabees for my liking but still worth seeing. The medical field had its own gig with (Pod Fenella’s husband) Mike’s band “The Mandrills” doing a kicking covers set that got the FMS crew dancing. Echo beach did it for me…..
On Friday we got down to the pyramid stage to see ‘The Subways’ do an ass-kicking set full of vigour and speaker climbing and swearing and a bit too much dry ice “Turn the fucking dry ice machine off! I cant see the fucking audience” (All the parents with children present winced). Wandering through the theatre field Jen spotted Sophie Ellis Bexter “no it isn’t” “yes it is” “go and say hi then!” “no way” “look, she’s got 2 wrist bands on”….etc..etc.. until she was out of sight. As she’s married to ‘The Feelings’ bass player and they were playing, it probably was her….we saw some wonderful fancy dress stuff, the man in a cage being carried by a gorilla being my fave.
Rachel and Fog couldn’t make it this year and so at 2.30 we stopped what we were doing, raised a glass to Fogs dad and had a quiet moment.
At the main stage we saw KT Tunstall strut her stuff. I like it when she does the wee bastard pedal ones. Someone shouted out a proposal of marriage “But what if we don’t get on?”
Perhaps the stand out performance of the week-end for me was from Salfords Ting Tings in the John Peel tent, which was rammed. We were just inside the tent at the back Lucy and Jill making friends with a young girl also in a tutu.
What time is it? “Pimms O’Clock” started and continued for the rest of the week-end. We were all singing ARRRRRRYOOOOOCALLLLLIIIINGMEEEEDARRRRRRRRLIIIIING whilst Jill had got to know people around, pointing at them whilst singing “They call me Si, they call me Lucy, they call me Jen they call me Bob, thats not my name”…..etc. I loved the energy the TTs put into their performance – They really went for it and it came off. I’d pay good money to see them again. ‘The Kills’ were next up and we bumped into Andy and Co (physios I work with in Leeds). I was tempted by the MGMTs but went to see The Blockheads at the acoustic stage instead. Phil Jupitus sang with them describing it as the best Karaoke band in the world. He also said that he’d first seen them, as I had, at Glastonbury in 85 (my first one).
After another tramp through the theatre field – watching the flying trapeze, we headed for the Jazz World stage to watch Jimmy Cliff (which Phil Jupitus came on to introduce). What does he sing? asked Si “Oh loads, there’s ‘The harder they come’ and…and…” My brain was unable to focus. As he started each song (eg ‘Wonderful world, beautiful people’) I’d shout “This is one of his!” then he’d do ‘Wild World’ or ‘Many rivers to cross’ and I’d go “Yeah this is one of his too”. Walking home we stopped off at the Acoustic stage and caught the end of ‘Seasick Steves’ set. He was Awesome telling us how to avoid/what to do if youre bitten by a chigger. Not getting bit first is the main thing so you need long socks…..
Back at base, I fell asleep in a chair with a beer in hand, then woke up, told Andy he was THE nicest bloke in the world, then realised I needed to go to sleep.
Saturday started with a 5th birthday party for Max where Ben 10 toys were the order of the day.
After cake and jelly we got down to the main stage and settled down with a keg of Carlsberg to chill out in the sunshine. Martha Wainwright did a song with an impressive human beatbox – almost as good as this guy....but I still prefer her dad. Next up, ‘Seasick Steve’ was given a turn on the big stage and nailed it again. We met up with various people, Dr Dave & Sarah and Hannah & Dave who was Very Excited at seeing Crowded House which surprised me a little until I saw them for myself – another of the highlights, especially the way they worked the crowd and had the security bods joining in. Lots of NZ flags came out never to be seen again……
I got to shake Seasick Steve by the hand backstage as we made our way through to the Queens Head (past the Wombats) to see the Duke Spirit – a great gusto performance. Next up was another famous sibling ‘Teddy Thompson’ who did a great set.
At this point I wanted to go and see the ‘Handsome Family’ as theyd been so good the week before in York, but Si was feeling the effects of the Carlsberg so went back to the tent to have a wee rest (and promptly fell asleep til 1am!!). Nina, Lucy and I headed for the Avalon field where Nina got propositioned by a smurf with an evil monkey nipple, and a dwarf – only at Glasto!
I left some Nettle Tea on stage for the Handsome Family with a little note saying Thanks for a great gig in York the week before – They were once again on good form – “I’m sure those wicker statues are getting closer they look empty…….and hungry!” ‘After we killed the Grizzly’ is a wonderful song.
Lucy really wanted to see Amy Winehouse so we got to the main stage as she was coming on. Not my cup of tea but its always nice to hear Specials songs. Amy didn’t exactly shine and after about 4 songs we looked at each other and all agreed to ‘do one’. We caught a set by Reverend and the Makers in the Leftfield after which he ran outside and continued singing to a group of fans. We then moved on to the circus tent where Nina fell asleep in a most unusual position. After a walk around the markets and talking to all and sundry it was back stage again to dance til 3.30, with an ever widening gap on the dancefloor around us.
Sunday had a leisurely start with a full veggie breakfast and a wander around the Green Fields and Trash City before Amber got us the best ice cream in the world in time for The Family Mahone in the Avalon tent. It was drummer and lead singer Mark Radcliffes birthday, and he won the award for best quips between songs of the week-end. Someone shouted out that they loved Feddy (parrot face) Davies to which he replied “For the youngsters who don’t know who he is, he was a sort of Curt Cobain for the slap-stick generation”. A brace of drinking songs (Hurray!) was well received, especially the one with the theme from Robinson Crusoe in the middle – reminded us all of the Summer Holidays…
I hadn’t been up to the new part of the site ‘The Park’ so Si and I tramped up there to see ‘Katherine Williams’ and to sit on the highest bit of the site and contemplate life.
We then headed to the pyramid and got infront of the mixing desk for Neil Diamond. Everyone loved him – cheesy – yes, but the right kind of cheese. The sound ‘went’ part way through the set so we started singing ‘I’m a believer’ which he went on to play later. Sweet Caroline got the place going nuts, everyone ‘reaching out, hands touching hands’ fab! You can see us in this ‘you tube’ clip on the left…..
Goldfrapp was good too – lots of semi-naked dancers on stage but the best bit was having a load of the Pod Squad together in the sun having a laugh and taking it all in.
I love Leonard Cohen so was keen to stay but Si and Andy weren’t impressed “You’re Joking!” so we moved on after ‘Ain’t no cure for love’. We sat up by the acoustic tent waiting for Suzanne Vega and I could hear the crowd going nuts to ‘Hallelujah’….. ah well, at least I got to see him for a bit.
We lay outside the tent listening to Suzanne Vega as our legs were beginning to falter – my calf muscles felt like iron. We limped on to see Billy Bragg in the Leftfield who was as passionate as ever, becoming very emotional singing ‘Tank Park salute’. He got get cape wear cape fly up to play guitar on Greetings for the new brunette. He mused about who would sponcer him if he needed the cash to make records, to which some wag shouted “Help the aged!”.
Leaving there we saw some acrobats dangling from a crane in the distance and went to investigate. There was an angel at the top and 3 women on the barbs of a giant fish-hook that was lifted over our heads then the women rolled down on long robes – amazing.
We were then in the right place for the fireworks and flame throwing (managed to catch it on all 3 nights!).
We then caught a bit of Joan Baez and the last bit of the Verve on the pyramid – you can’t beat Bittersweet symphony can you. Walking back through the pyramid field we saw a rabbit running around – first time I’ve seen one there – And that was that. Another year, another magical Glastonbury.
Big thanks to Rachel and Amber for getting us all together again.
Bob the Chiropodist
PS this email was received by FMS after the festival makes working there worthwhile……
Dear Glastonbury organisers, I am really sorry if I am writing to the wrong department, but just wanted to write to thank the welfare/ hospitality and first aid support at the festival. Unfortunately, I was extremely ill on Friday night and passed out at the dance stage. I was only with one friend and as soon as she alerted security, they moved me and organised an ambulance, who took me to the hospital tent, where I later came round. Everyone who I came into contact with was extremely helpful and caring and made me feel completely safe in what was a really scary situation. It was really reassuring to know that despite the huge number of people and co-ordination the staff are dealing with, they are able to give this much individual attention when things do go wrong. I have been coming to Glastonbury for many years now, and have always rated it as having the most friendly and caring atmosphere and although nothing like this has ever happened to me before, due to the way it was dealt with, I felt completely safe. I would also just like to apologise for any time wasted as the number of people involved in looking after me was nearing 10 ( security guards, ambulance staff, hospital tent staff) and although no one is sure why I passed out ( I was drinking, but not a large amount/ hadn’t eaten maybe combination of things) I do accept responsibility for myself and hate to think I may have wasted peoples time. Thank you for taking the time to read this email – I hope it just gets across how appreciative I am for all the help I got and how sorry I am for what happened (and embarrassed!!) Regards,