Adding up all the time I’ve spent at Worthy Farm over the years comes to a good few months of my life – ‘good’ being the operative word. This was the 10th year I’ve worked for FMS (festival medical services) popping blisters and strapping ankles in the medical tent, which was thankfully quiet this year (means a dull session but a safe festival). I was working on the Thursday (after torrential rain!) and Friday but managed to take a break when Metronomy were playing the Pyramid stage. Me: “Do you like Metronomy?” Fog: “I’ve been beaten into submission by Marc Riley”
They coped really well with the big stage, playing beneath huge drawings of themselves (? self portraits) and pulled quite a crowd. They played on the Sunday too but we didn’t manage to catch that one – sorry guys (and gal). I’d just got back to work when they started ‘The Look‘ – rats!
After my shift I got a quick change and headed past the Pyramid to go see the Jim Jones Revue. I had to walk through the Pyramid field and waited around to see BB King. His band came on, did 2 very long numbers before the cameras showed BB himself being led to the stage. He had the look of someone who had no idea where he was, but put a guitar in his hands and he knows what to do……for a couple of minutes then starts introducing the band……time to move on….
I leave for Jim Jones who were on top form! Yeaaaah!! No Elemental but ‘Shoot first’ made up for it. Different keyboard player from last time I saw them but still a tour de force including speaker climbing antics – THIS IS WHAT THEY WANT!!!!!
Got a text through to say the Special Guests at the Park stage at 8pm would be Radiohead (thanks Marc!). Decisions, decisions…..be miserable with Thom or miserable with Moz? Fog and I decided that Moz, then U2, was just too good to miss and would also mean a lot less running about, so started telling everyone we met about ‘Radiohead’ so we could get closer to the front – One girl in particular was ecstatic with the news and ran off to get there……most people though seemed to know already – it was packed out. We wandered past the Avalon stage where Chumbawamba were playing but neither Fog, Lee or Si wanted to stay so I sadly followed suit. Nice ‘Bono pay your tax’ T-Shirts tho!
We got settled in nicely by the side of the mixing desk, with Nicki joining us for Morrissey Fancy seeing me here!. He did a great set that had us (and all the 40-something blokes around us) arms aloft, singing/shouting along with every line. He did a version of Satellite of love (..I hate to watch things on TV) and the half dozen Smiths songs generated man hugging on a gigantic scale.
The others went off to see Primal Scream but as I’d seen them not so long ago, Fog and I stayed where we were for Bono and his gang and the singing continued. U2 are used to playing on big stages and they didnt disappoint. Having an astronaut from the space station introduce Beautiful Day was a nice touch – Echoes of Space Oddity. There were other references throughout their set to Joe Strummer, Joy Division…etc. most of which worked, except for Jerusalem – felt a bit awkward like Bowies Lords prayer to me… a pet shop boys nod of ‘Just too good to be true’ during ‘Where the streets have no name’ didn’t do it for me either. I’ve heard reports since of how the weather spoilt things but that’s just pampered journo nonsense! There was torrential rain forecast that never arrived and what rain there was I didn’t even notice. We saw the tax protest start to launch “U pay your tax 2” on a big chinese lantern which looked like it just collapsed in on itself from where we were but it seems security pulled it down. If they can do that, why can’t they pull down the bloody flags that spoil everyones view. There’s hardly any at the Park and why…..can’t be cos there’s no TV cameras can it? “Look – there – that’s my flag spoiling everyones view” Grrrrrrrr……
On the way back we saw some fire juggling by some Thai ladies and there were Thai monkeys wandering through the crowd too – crazy!
On the Saturday morning, Si and I set out to have an intellectual time c/o ‘the infinite monkey cage’ but we got there a bit late (10 mins after it started) and the tent was rammed….so we wandered up to see Fujiya and Miyagi instead (lead singer David Best wearing the same Link Wray T-Shirt he’d worn at Leeds). They were great and I spent the rest of the day singing gotta get a new pair of shoes
We dined on French sausages near the West Holts stage and spent most of the afternoon sat in the shade on a bench in the theatre field watching the madness come and go. The mud was thick and gloopy so it was difficult to get anywhere quickly and lots of people were losing their wellies.
My favourite artists were the Aussie Life Guards who were shouting advice to those struggling in the mud – “Lunge with one foot, then lift the other heel – LUNGE & HEEL!” “FEEL THE HEEL!!” There was also this dirty old man character who was chasing women and children and rummaging in peoples bags – you could hear what he was thinking but his lips werent moving……turns out he had a partner always 10 feet away who was doing the commentary that was coming out of a speaker under the other guys vest. Genius!
The seagulls were back, terrorising kids, pinching their sweets and coming to investigate when they saw you taking a photo.
We popped into the theatre and there was an insect circus Matador…..fighting a giant cockroach…… In the audience were 2 giant ladybirds (one male one female, both with moustaches) and when it was announced there was to be a ladybird act they got very excited “This should be jolly good!” and it was.
We then went up on the hill by the park where there was long, dry, clean grass to lie back on, kick of your shoes and snooze.
Tame Impala were playing and as rumoured Special Guest were supposed to be Pulp we decided to stay where we were. Lee, Nicki, Racheroo and Lou joined us and we enjoyed Jarvis and his crew do a wonderful greatest hits show that included my fave ‘Babies’ and ended with Common People – that’s the way to do it Radiohead! (who apparently just played new stuff).
The way back was a bit slow due to the crowd and our attempt at a shortcut down a muddy incline nearly made a great photo
This was Racheroos only late night out and she wanted to see the Chemical Brothers so that’s what we did. There was no way we could have made Elbow which was a shame but you can’t see everything can you. Caught the very end of Hard-Fi en route who sounded great.
The Brothers did their thang with flares going off in the crowd when ‘Hey boy, hey girl superstar Djs’ and ‘Blockrockinbeats’ started. Afterwards the girls wanted to go for cocktails and the boys fire juggling. The girls made the right choice as there was an almighty wave of people heading for Shangri-la and everyone had to be hearded in a one way system – very un-glasto like. We saw some acts one with planet of the apes style monkeys but should have stayed as a gang.
We heard ‘The Beat’ playing in the Croissant Neuf tent and hung around outside til Andy joined us. He and Lee went to the silent disco (300 people dancing with headphones on all listening to different stuff) whilst Si and I headed home.
I was hoping to get to see the Mirrors on Sunday morning but having already been awake for 24 hours longer during the week-end than I would normally, I just couldnt make it (11am guys – come on!). I did join Amber & Andy in the acoustic tent to catch My first tooth who played some top, indie pop.
Then through the theatre field again where we saw a mini strongman, drummers using rubbish as a drum kit and, unbelievably considering the weather on Thurs, a fine shower in which to cool down.
Got talking to one of the ‘tea ladies’ – there was an ace samba band playing and she just lit up a fag, raised her eyebrows and said “what a bloody racket eh!”
Andys cousin Emma is married to Paul who were manning the (wonderful) Songlines stall at the side of the West Holts stage. All the artists that day had agreed to do signings after their sets. We caught Jamie Woons set whilst chatting and enjoying their cold wine and beer (thanks guys).
We then went for food A+A went for French sausages, but Emma had a pizza that looked fab “it’s form a wood burning oven over there” slow but worth it. It was going to be a while til Jah Wobble was on so I joined the queue. The service was tremendously slow. It was a red hot day and the woodburn ovens made it fiery hot. The service was erratic and the poor workers were roasting and sweating profusely. One vendor in particular was getting more and more agitated and stressed as the wrong pizzas were being made and people were complaining about the wait or had no change……etc…. He had a face like thunder and you could tell he was about to loose it when from outside “Remember you’re a Womble” drifted in (The Wombles in full costume were playing the Avalon stage)……he looked slightly dumbfounded at first, then his face lit up in a beaming smile “It’s the Wombles!” he said in childlike wonderment and was positively chipper afterwards – the power of music!
I stayed for some of Jah Wobbles set but left to meet up with Si, Fog and Lee for Pimms O’Clock in the Acoustic tent (shady, cool, real ale bar, places to sit…..it’s the place to be on a hot day) and saw some of Caitlin Roses set (I do love a good slide guitar player!). She finished her set seated as the strap on her guitar broke but that didn’t put her off. She’s playing the Deershed festival this year too – woo hoo!
Si & I met up with his SA pal Justin at the Pyramid field whilst Laura Marling was warbling. We were going to stay for a bit of Paul Simon but opted for shade and nice beer instead so back to the acoustic tent where vocal only group The Magnets came on really clever for a short while but then a bit wearing.
Next was my highlight of the festival – Duane Eddy! We got right to the front and Lee came to join us. When he started with ‘Movin ‘n’ Groovin’ – I just danced my socks off. That guitar sound…..could it be anyone else? Of course not! ‘Dance with the guitar man’, ‘Rebel-Rouser’ and of course Peter Gunn – wow!! Richard Hawley produced and helped write his new CD in Sheffield so was only fair that he came out and joined the fun.
We got in the queue for the signing after and got chatting to an elderly lady who was off to do some work for Cafod. We talked about rock legends (Elvis was her fave) and I mentioned how bad BB King had looked. She admonished me “Blues is a feeling! Just imagine what he’s lived through and seen!” – point taken. We had to wait a while, the sun had taken it out of Duane but he did come out eventually to sign our discs and I got to shake his hand – what a thrill! Nicki joined us to see the Go! Team who had energy to burn with the band leaping several feet into the air and lead singer whipping her hair like a mad thing really rousing stuff!
Met up with Racheroo and Lou before Rach headed back to let Fog off childcare duties. We found a nice spot to sit down and drink in the atmosphere for a while.
As we strolled along the railway line, the sunset was beautiful and this is my favourite shot of the week-end just lovely.
On to the Other Stage to catch The Kaiser Chiefs who were really up for it. New and old tunes mixed well with ‘Starts with Nothing’ being my fave from the new do-it-yourself disc. The guys wanted to do ‘Queens of the Stone age’ but I wanted to see Gruff Rhys so headed for the Park.
It seemed to take ages for the sound crew to get the sound right, lots of feed back and when Gruff + Y Niwl came on the sound was awful. Much as I love them, I didn’t want to end my festival on a bum note so headed back to get some ROCK with Queens of the Stone age (Sorry Alun!).
At the back of the field I got a stone in my shoe so had to sit on one of the stone benches to sort it out. I was next to a great couple (who’s names I can’t recall) and we had a great chat and shared some Jack Daniels. She brought out a little notebook and asked me to write something “I collect them. I love this place and just like to sit here and take it all in”. This was their 16th Glasto in a row and they always end the festival on that seat – hope to see them there again……
We watched the laser show and enjoyed Josh Hommes slagging off of Beyonce “This is gonna rock her fucking bones!” They’d asked fans to vote for their favourite tracks on their website as they had ‘no new product’ to promote so it really was a ‘best of’ show. Si’s highlight of the week-end “By Far!” and as Fog noted “They never let you down”.
At the end, we wandered home through the remains of Beyonces Pyramid crowd who averaged about 15 years old and who’d had a great time. As Si and I were getting up at 5am to be on the road before 6, we called it a night with a wee night cap and smiles all round.
Another bloody fantastic Glastonbury
Bob the Chiropodist
Thanks to Si for some of the photos and for finding my tent for me – cheers dude!
Thanks to Racheroo without whom…….