Sunday, 29 June 2014

Put your tongue in


H.I. wanted to watch Blondie at Glastonbury on catch-up last night, so we ended up watching a few other acts as well.

Debby Harry was her old self - 70 year-old self by now, I would think - and although the whole set was perfectly performed, it was just Blondie, as they always had been, albeit with a bit more grey hair and a bit more blonde dye.

We tuned into 'Haim' - the American three-girl band - and they were really very good. Although it isn't the sort of music that I would rush out to buy and sit listening to of an evening, it is so refreshing to hear modern music that isn't two-dimensional and flippant, like Lily Allen's who we also watched.

Haim wear ordinary clothes and have ordinary bodies like most of the audience, but their music is far from ordinary. The only concession to any extreme visual physicality was the bass-player's mouth. She must know how fascinating her gaping and grimacing is, because she was the only one wearing bright red lipstick - her lipstick bill must be colossal.

I get sick of watching bimbos like Mylie Cyrus flashing their pudenda on stage, so Haim deserve medals for not being pushed into that direction by their manager - their music is what it is all about.

I went to the first Glastonbury Festival on Worthy Farm all those years ago, and I didn't like it.

I borrowed a friend's Triumph 500 Twin motorcycle and rode from Surrey to Somerset - well, I made the classic mistake of riding straight into Glastonbury itself, not knowing that the event was in nearby Pilton and not the town.

Somehow, I managed to get permission from the top police checkpoint to ride straight onto the field itself. I actually parked the bike right up against the side of the main stage. Try doing that these days.

I wandered about for the afternoon, looking at all the free stuff on offer - free entrance, free food, free drinks, and even free psychological counselling - the queue to the Acid Casualty tent was quite long. Now, I am told, this service is provided by The Samaritans, and is possibly the one free service left at Glastonbury.

Quite early in the evening, I decided that I had had enough, and found a large, brown-paper bag of the sort which were being issued as sleeping-bags then (also free), and crawled into it, right next to the Pyramid stage.

The last words I heard before I fell asleep came through the stack of speakers - "ALL YOU PEOPLE AT THE FRONT OF THE STAGE, KEEP AWAY FROM THOSE CHICKENS. THEY ARE GOING TO EXPLODE!" I remember thinking that they were probably rubber chickens, this being the predominantly vegetarian 1970s.

I slept all the way through Alice Cooper as well, and that's no mean feat.

Bright and early in the morning, I picked my way through the prone bodies which littered the field like WW1, climbed on the bike and rode home, burning the clutch out on the way.

These days, now I am living 35 miles away from Pilton, I get inside information about how the event has developed over the years, and some of my friends have become quite wealthy by buying concessions to run bars, etc. there. Nothing is free, and there are banks of cash-dispensers, I am told, just in case the vendors are not wired up to a card machine.

Sometimes, as I sit in an empty pub at this time of the year, I get a twinge of regret about missing out on the party, but it doesn't last long.

I had just such a twinge last night, then there was an almighty clap of thunder, followed by about one inch of rain in fifteen minutes. I ordered another pint of beer and allowed myself a wry - if unworthy - smile.

Why is it that nobody ever feels sorry for the festival-goers when it rains?

(I have just been looking through images of Haim to find the ones above and below, and was deeply disappointed to find that - in many of them - the girls are sticking their tongues out. Stop that right now! Do you hear me?!)


18 comments:

  1. I attended the Free Festival at Worthy Farm too, went there in my Triumph Herald S and left it at the roadside and just as well for the entrance was ten inches of deep mud. Had a brilliant time, free food & sleeping space thanks to the late Arabella Churchill who later became a friend.
    Visited the G fest many times afterwards & always got in for free !
    Don't recall seeing you though.

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    1. I was hiding in a paper bag at the time.

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  2. I went on the 25th anniversary, stayed in the green field and litter picked in lieu of a ticket.
    Am not a fan of Mylie Cyrus' need to exhibit herself either, but have got Haim's Falling on the ipod- having three teenage children means you get exposed to all kinds of music, some good, some bloody awful :-)

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    1. It can be quite luxurious these days, if you take your compact Winnebago.

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  4. Being soaked at a festival is not quite the same as walking home from the pub in the pouring rain.

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    1. No - the walk to your tent at Glastonbury is about two miles, but the walk from the pub is about a quarter, and when you get home, there is a roof waiting for you - hopefully.

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    2. You're no wetter in two miles than in a quarter, are young and exuberant, with like minded friends, sharing an adventure. Life is different when you're young.

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    3. You would be a lot muddier in 2 miles, though - with no way of washing it off when you got to your tent.

      Life wasn't so different for me 20 years ago.

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  5. Debbie Harry was wearing a wig. No grey hair in sight. I am not just talking about the World Cup but don't bother to look if you don't want to.

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    1. I was talking about the grey hair of the male members of the original band.

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  6. I have always been a Debbie Harry fan and I really didn't think she had changed all that much over the years. Wish I had worn as well.

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    1. She was about 45 when they first hit the scene - no Spring chicken even then.

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  7. I like Blondie, wig or not, she kept well - and her music was always as simple as her (programmatic)-name.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. I saw Debbie Harry with Blondie about five years ago at a small-ish venue in San Fran. The show was fab. I remember thinking, she still has it!

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    3. She played a few years ago near Bath, and gave Green-Eyes a special wink when she spotted her at the front. Nice lady.

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