Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Jen, Music, Good Films, A Lawnmower with a Bag and a Pressure Washer

I think about three years, I realised that I really don't need a lot of money to be happy. My happiness list was, in this precise order: Jen, Music and Good Films. All of which is pretty affordable. Apart from Jen, obviously. She's not for sale (that didn't sound right, it's not like I own her. Or could put a value on her. Look, she's not yours. I have got a VHS copy of 'The Big Lebowski' going free though if anyone wants a good film).

In the last few weeks I've found two things to add to the list: A lawnmower with a bag and a pressure washer.

I heart my pressure washer. I'm going to clean everything with it: the patio, the car, neighbour's cats, my teeth. For the first time in my life I actually left work early because I was looking forward to cleaning something. I'm a changed man.

So, that's my happiness manifest : Jen, Music, Good Films, A Lawnmower with a Bag and a Pressure Washer. Try it yourself. You'll need to find your own Jen though.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Jack Russell in a Pram

I last went to Glastonbury as a wide-eyed clean-shaven twenty one year old. It was essentially the last gasp of my student life; I had found out my degree results a week before and decided to start looking for a job as soon as I got home (I actually received a phone call from my Project Supervisor the Monday after Glastonbury asking if I was interested in a Research Position. I am a jammy bastard).

My first Glastonbury didn't quite go to plan. In 2003 it sold out fast and as all my friends had jobs I was the only one to be on the phone early enough to get a ticket. I ended up going with Kim's then boyfriend and his mates who were all five years younger than me. Don't get me wrong, they're cool people but spending the final weekend of my student life with a bunch of people who couldn't legally drink wasn't exactly what I had intended.

I remember the precise moment that I really got Glastonbury. It was when Doves were playing 'Satellites'. I think it was probably a mixture of the beer, lights in my eyes, tiredness and loud music but I was suddenly blown over the by the whole thing. Unfortunately it was about 11pm on the Sunday so I didn't have much time to make the most of my new found Glastonbury Zen.

I know what I really got wrong with Glastonbury that year. I treated it as just a music festival. After all, Loads of my favourite bands at the time were playing - Radiohead, R.E.M., Turin Brakes, Doves, Macy Gray, Manic Street Preachers. Because of this most of my time was spent walking between the Pyramid and Other Stage rather than exploring the vast site. Another mistake was the three pints of cider before Radiohead. The only thing I can remember about the gig was having a go at some strangers because they didn't recognise the b-side 'Talk Show Host'. What a Twat.

This year getting tickets wasn't difficult at all, probably because the process is now akin to getting a applying for a passport (except cheaper*) and demand is lower as every farmer and his dog have setup a festival. And when I say dog, I mean money-grabbing corporate-sponsored opportunistic events management team. Unlike 2003 the lineup wasn't perfect, but still better than most which meant there was loads more time to wonder around and take everything in. I'm not sure if writing this up chronologically would be interesting, so here's some random thoughts:

Randomness : Rihannon was convinced that she saw an evil Jack Russell being pushed round in a pram. We all mocked her for seeing things, it turned out to be true. Seeing a man climb a flag in the Jazz World field; as he reached the top it started bending to the floor, with him clinging on for dear life and hitting the ground at speed, huge cheer. Everybody at the Park Stage going mental when ever the sound check guy said 'Mike's Mike'. Hearing about MJ's death emerging from the tent early Friday morning for the long walk to the toilets and hearing a 'Shamone Muther Fucker' from every fifth tent.

Standing in a crowd with Maximo Park behind us watching Thriller on a big screen and everyone having a go at the zombie dance.

Beetle Juice singing Lionel Richie's 'All Night Long' in the Queen's Head.

Human Sized milk carton walking past us while watching Blur. Being accosted by the Green Police (see 'Staff'). Blokes walking around in their boxers and tight t-shirts - did someone steal their clothes? Trying to wave some friends over and having two blokes walking up and asking what we wanted. After we explained that we weren't waving to them they told us get over to the Dance Tent quick to see East 17!?. Getting a coffee Friday morning there was a man asleep on a chair that had fallen over, back to the floor. He suddenly jumped up and said 'right i'm off mate' to nobody and stormed off. Food stall selling the interestingly named 'Growler', dedicated to Pauline Fowler. A friend successfully walked a sizeable amount of 'treats' into the festival. Unfortunately they forgot they had them and left and re-entered the festival the next day when they were searched and the 'treats' were confiscated. whoops. Meeting some people at the front of the Pyramid stage Sunday 4:30am who were saving a space for Tom Jones. I think they may of been lying.

The mess in front of the Pryamid stage early sunday morning that was so disgusting it was almost beautiful

Being chased around Shangri-la by weird monsters barking at us.

Music : Managed to fit in alot of stuff. This is everything we saw in order.

Friday. Dan Black, Rumblestrips (Opening song 'Girls and Boys in Love' was brilliant. Left a few songs later when the lyrics descended into 'my first song' territory, I kid you not - 'I'm lying on my back, looking at the clouds, Lying on my back, looking at the clouds (x3)'), Fleet Foxes (I don't think the music scaled well to such a huge crowd), Friendly Fires (Amazing, loads of energy and the best/worst dancing you'll see from a front man since Ian Curtis), Lady GaGa (Not the car crash I was hoping for expecting. Left early so didn't get to enjoy all of GaGa's pointless anecdotes about being off her tits on acid), Fairport Convention (I wouldn't normally listen to folk-rock, but I did enjoy that song with 12 versus and one chorus. Kept having to restrain Jen from doing comedy barn dancing), Animal Collective (Saw them play 'My Girls' and 'Summertime Clothes' and then conceeded that we weren't drunk or high enough to get into it so headed for sleeping bags).

Saturday: Theoretical Girl (As John said, sounds like the Smiths if Morrisey was a girl), Eagles of Death Metal (good mix of The Eagles and Death Metal), Spinal Tap (including little-people dancing around a henge of stone), Dizzee Rascal (huge!), La Roux (we took a chance based on a few singles. can't win them all), Florence and the Machine (climbed up lighting rig wearing heels, crazy woman), Bon Iver (sounded amazing), African Sound System, Keith Allen (4am in Arcadia. He was going at 10 cpm (c*nts-per-minute) and spent 10 minutes plugging his keyboard in).

Sunday: The Rockingbirds (Unintentional listen. I would never of thought Country & Western would of made me fall asleep so quickly. Heard them laying on a hill in The Park having a sleep in the rain), Tom Jones, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Ladyhawke (Storming set, was worried about being disappointed but Pip Brown was on form), Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds ('Stagger Lee' was the most filth I've ever heard sang to a family crowd, loved it), Blur (Never listened to Blur much first time round, this was epic).

Staff : Nicest staff ever! Every person we talked to were nothing but lovely, always hoping we have a good festival. A toilet cleaner even offered to hold a lock-less toilet door closed for us. For unpaid volunteers, the spirit of them was amazing. That said, we did get accosted by the Green Police, 10 men and women dressed up as fairies telling us not piss in the bushes. This was outside a toilet block so I can't help think that they were preaching to the converted.

Driving : Driving to the festival was the only really affordable way of getting there. We set off first thing Thursday and arrived at 12pm at which point the heavens opened and Glastonbury Festival FM (the most amateur radiostation you'll ever hear) informed us that all camp sites were full, not the ideal start. Luckily mates had saved us tent space. We didn't quite consider how far the car park was from the camping when we packed. I swear on one of our three trips to and from the car my body was preparing itself for a blackout. It took 3 hours to get out of carpark Monday early morning and we got back at 9am. I have never been so terrified driving as I was for the first 20 minutes on the motorway. It wasn't that I was sleepy, I was just concentrating so hard on not having an accident it was inevitable i'd plough into the back of the car in front of us. Thank god for sleeping in service station car parks.

So did I get Glastonbury this year? Yeah, I think so. It was midday Thursday just after the first sip of Cider in the beating sun with my mates.

* HA HA! Biting Satire.