Sunday 28th October 2007
Blimey, it's been a while hasn't it. And why? I'm not sure - laziness probably, although work has been intense for about 3 months, and obviously, like everyone else, I've devoted my spare time to looking for Maddy.
Time trundles on and not much changes. My last momentous blog gave me the opportunity to write something vaguely original on, say, Glastonbury, but instead it consisted in the most part of a cut and paste job from the BBC website.
I did go to the Glastonbury festival this year, and it wasn't the best. But this says more about the five previous Glastonburys I've troubled with my attendance, as I still had a good time at Pilton in 2007. But I'm not going to write about how I rose above the mud and the rain, my Blitz spirit demeanour shot through with an admirable sense of fun, because that wouldn't be true. On the Monday after the festival, Claire and I spent over two hours standing in a field, waiting to get off the site, while the wind contemptuously drove rain into our faces - but the endless mud and perpetual downfalls got to me before that. This was mainly because once the entire site was covered in mud, walking anywhere was exhausting.
On the first day, with Claire and Simon, I eagerly approached the Pyramid Stage to see Bloc Party - but huge swathes of the area in front of the stage, all the way back to the mixing desk, were under a gloopy grey soup. We eventually found a relatively hazard-free spot, but any kind of movement, even the most nonchalant of toe-tapping, was an effort, as feet immediately stuck to the ground. I wasn't up to that level of physical exertion. A few hours previously I had survived a long dark night of the soul, which was perhaps no less than I deserved, it being brought on by meeting people from the internet.
The previous afternoon I headed down to the Cider Bus to participate in a "Glastonbury meet-up" organised by users of a London website. They all seemed very pleasant people, but a nervousness that one of them was going to cut off my penis and fry it hadn't dissipated, so I hit the hit the hot cider quite hard, as well as the "spicy" cider, within which lurked the probable agent of my destruction, brandy.
Apparently I was in a bit of a state when I got back to the tent. I don't really remember much of that. What I do remember is waking with a start in the middle of the night, convinced my brain was haemorrhaging, so intense was the pain. Lying in the dark while my head slowly ate itself wasn't doing any good, so, with difficulty I pulled on some clothes and wellies, and lurched out of the tent. And lurched back onto it, snapping one of the poles. Undeterred I wandered off down into the festival site, desperate to walk off the pain. It was a grim and arduous journey, especially since I hadn't put my contact lenses in. Dull lights and figures moved around the festival's many paths. I kept moving and blundered on for about an hour, pausing only to throw up against a tree. I then wandered back up the hill to the farmhouse, and found the Christian tent. A nice man gave me a blanket and I went to lie down in their shelter marquee, and miraculously, dropped off to sleep. About an hour later I woke again with a suppressed scream. The pain was back, as bad as ever. I sat up breathing heavily, and the nice man came to ask me if I was alright. After answering in the negative I made my escape, and, ungrateful wretch that I am, disappeared around the back of the marquee and vomited all over it. By the time I staggered back to the tent, dawn was breaking.
Over the next few days I enjoyed lots of music - Bjork, Manics, Gruff Rhys, Arcade Fire, various fortuituouly found randoms in the Green Fields (Alice McLaughlin, The Bohemianists) - as well as comedy (Bill Bailey), a good mime (oxymoron though that may seem) and the infinite range of other entertainment the site had to offer. But despite all this, by Saturday afternoon, the elements were winning the battle for hearts and minds. Claire, Matt, Sally and I trudged up to the Park, a new area apparently curated by Emily Eavis. It may as well have been called The Somme, as any grass was buried under about 2 feet of a particularly viscose strain of mud. While the others queued in the driving rain for some damp Mexican food, I found refuge in a bar and skinned up, amused by an ongoing hip-hop karaoke competition.
Two things consoled me. The first was thinking back to the train journey from London. Sitting at a table in front of me was a group of fresh-faced students, exhibiting that nauseating smugness that comes naturally to those safe in the embrace of further education. Festival first-timers and foolishly clad in new trendy clobber, their incessant na´ve patter and insistence on cheering whenever blue sky emerged over the passing Wiltshire plains tried my hungover patience. When one of their party excitedly remembered she had forgotten to retrieve something from her rucksack, she clambered onto the table to access the luggage rack, wiggling her tight jeans, enjoying the appreciate murmurs from some blokes further down the carriage. Four days of shit later and I wondered if they were as complacent in their youth. Did that girl still carry her petite frame so confidently - or was she crawling through the mud, crying for her mother, her mind destroyed by exposure and drugs, her gut riddled with parasitic worms? Probably not, but the thought comforted me as I struggled with the moist cigarette papers.
The second consoling thought was that we were in the Park to see Lou Rhodes. Of course, her set was incredible, the absolute highlight of the festival. It doesn't get much better than that. It even beat the one and a half hours I spent in the Hare Krishna tent the night before. That was special. And a bit odd.
I saw Lou Rhodes again the other day at the Bloomsbury theatre. Look, here's my ticket!