Tuesday, June 26, 2007

SWSL Glastonbury 2007 Diary

This year, rather than keeping quiet and then posting the diary all in one big splurge, I'll be serialising it in easier-to-manage day-by-day chunks. Anyway, without further ado...

The filth and the fury; wellies and waterproofs; booze and blues; stripping, stage invasions and serendipitous encounters; peace, love and happiness; and what could be the best pie stall in the world - it's all here, and this year with the odd accompanying image...

Thursday 21st June

The early morning flurry of activity has paid off and we're sat on the train (which - mercifully - is direct to Castle Cary and starts in Cardiff), armed with pasties and coffee. A few flecks of rain spatter against the window, ominously.

The man sat opposite us has just put on a Paddington Bear tie. Suffice to say there won't be any forced wackiness where we're going, only genuine (or at least intoxicant-fuelled) insanity.

Not even on site yet, and already we're bumping into familiar faces - in this case my cousin Claire, who just happens to be sat in the very same carriage as us.

Grey skies greet our arrival at Worthy Farm, but spirits are nevertheless high - the journey has been hassle-free; a prime spot at the top of Pennard Hill has been secured by our party, some of whom left Birmingham at 4am the previous day; and our tent, sent on ahead of us in the boot of someone's car, has already been assembled. A toast is called for - now where did we put that box of cider?

The drizzle's eased off and occasional short-lived spells of sunshine are met with loud roars of approval. We're up at the Stone Circle, watching the Green Police blowing whistles and ticking people off for pissing in hedges, and engaging in a discussion of the practicalities of the cardboard she-pee funnels that is soundtracked by the incessant low thud of bongo-bashing.

Primitive alpha male instincts kick in as we pass a coconut shy. Must show off throwing prowess. We get three throws each, my second ball pinging off the central coconut. It wobbles on its perch but ultimately refuses to fall to the ground. It's like that scene towards the end of 'The Big Lebowski' when Donny is denied a strike by one solitary stubborn pin - except that I'm not subsequently ambushed by baseball-bat-wielding nihilists in a car park, of course.

Jenni and I are collared outside the Guardian's Soulmates tent. Already being a couple is a handy excuse for wriggling out of the speed-dating, though Jenni is roped into a questionnaire. If she could meet any dead person, who would it be? "Admiral Lord Nelson". If she was an animal, what would she most like to be? "A goose"... Meanwhile, a man in a penguin suit pogos past.

Is it the cider, or has someone on Pennard Hill really constructed a fucking geodesic dome? Tent envy - it's a terrible thing.

Overheard: "I have no problems getting an erection, Kate, as you well know".

I rendez-vous with Andy, who's been here since Tuesday working in the property lock-ups for Birmingham Friends of the Earth, and then Olav and friends, who have secured a prime sprawling location on the grass by the Pyramid Stage (yes, really, grass by the Pyramid Stage!), within easy reach of the Burrow Hill cider bus.

Crossing the site we pass a man wearing nothing but a distressingly small thong and carrying a large flag. Andy: "I know him - he's a male stripper. I met him speed-dating"...

Up at the Stone Circle again, and we witness the first thing that will live long in the memory from this year's festival. A man with devil horns clambers up on top of Banksy's Portaloo tribute to Stonehenge and stands with legs apart brandishing bright red flares in each hand. It's a spectacular sight in the gathering dusk, everyone turning to look and cheer - and then, just as Graham is filming it on his mobile phone, cheery preacher and Glastonbury stalwart Lindsey Hamon wheels his enormous wooden cross past in the foreground. The timing is impeccable. We look on in stunned amusement as the cry goes up: "Oi, Jesus, mind my beer!"

Another distinctively Glastonbury moment follows soon afterwards. A man wearing a plastic policeman's helmet and propelling a child in a pushchair at breakneck speed careens through the crowd bellowing "Anyone got any pills?" Five minutes later and we've all joined dozens of strangers in forming a huge hokey cokey circle. This place just has that kind of effect.

Sat in comfort around a table in Greenpeace's Cafe Tango. A guy who looks like an extra from 'Heavy Metal Parking Lot' jigs about to the music on his own and Alison is using her penguin-on-a-stick to joust with a small nervous-looking child. I, meanwhile, decide that this is the time and place to experiment with a new cocktail consisting of flat lager and cheap vodka.

Hurrah! Tents successfully located, we're huddled around a fire. But the early start is taking its toll - it's time for bed, the ever-resourceful Jenni inflating the now empty sac from the box of cider for use as a makeshift pillow.

(Thanks to Jenni for the photos.)

1 comment:

gareth said...

Damn us for not going! I have to admit a certain amount of pleasure seeing all the rain and mud from our cozy living room with a nice chinese on my lap!!