Sunday, 11 July 2010

A Very Glastonbury Experience

I have been reluctant to blog about my Glastonbury 2010 weekend because it was not at all the sort of experience that I expected to have and I'm sure whatever words I use to try and describe it now will not serve it justice.

I caught a couple of minutes of Michael Eavis' speech at the Acoustic Tent on the Saturday and he called Glastonbury Festival a "life-changing experience" for some. At the time it seemed rather poignant; I suppose it still does.

In terms of performances, surprisingly (and disturbingly!?) one of the highlights of my weekend was Snoop Dogg. Though closely followed by Muse and Stevie Wonder, Snoop's performance was the only one during which I felt carefree and fully able to enjoy myself - most of the rest of the weekend, though pleasant, is a complete blur in my mind and it is difficult placing events in order of their occurrence. (With the exception of Ray Davies' set, who I absolutely adore anyway, and who blew me away as expected.) And that is perhaps another reason why it has taken me two weeks to form some sort of coherent rambling; I can't "critically evaluate or assess" any of the acts that I watched because, for the most part, time just elongated itself into one long, hot, messy day and I struggle to pick out the finer details.

Some of you (who haven't yet been bored enough to close this window) might well think my disjointed description of Glastonbury is due to some drug-fuelled binge on my part which has eradicated my memory and fried my brain - and though it is true to say I did indeed lose two hours of my life in circumstances not too dissimilar from that (more on that later) - I am sorry to disappoint, for that would've made for a much more light-hearted story.

In actual fact, on Friday evening one of the twelve volunteers that I had come with (courtesy of the musicians' charity I used to work for) passed away outside his tent. He was a remarkable man of 70-something, a first-time Glastonbury attendee, who was continually expressing his amazement at being in such an incredible environment with so much astounding "stuff" around, and may he rest in peace. Without wanting to dwell on it for too long, suffice it to say that I was genuinely moved by the team's support of one another...we did good. And so did he.

* * *

Moving on to the anecdote promised earlier - I may (or may not) have inadvertently smoked some crack at Glastonbury. (And if it wasn't crack, it was definitely something!)

On the Sunday afternoon I was so excited about seeing Ray Davies. I remember listening to him play last year in the Acoustic Tent and not being able to see a bloody thing 'cos it was so packed and I am not so tall at all! And so this year he came out onto the Pyramid Stage and sang his beautiful songs - Waterloo Sunset being my favourite - and I sipped away at my G&T. At one point, a Random Stranger wandered over and asked, "Could I please have some tobacco for my joint?", and I replied, "Yep, no worries!", and handed him a mess of 'baccy.

Ten minutes later, Ray was nearing the end of his set and I had reached the bottom of my bottle. And so I thought to myself, 'I'll go find Random Stranger and ask for a toke of his joint. One toke won't hurt, what's the worst that could happen?!' And so I did just that, found Random Stranger and asked, "Please could I have a toke of your joint?", and his very kind response was "Yeah of course, it's not got much weed in it though." And I thought, 'Great! Even better! I'll just get a slight woozy, cosy feeling to end my afternoon and Ray's set with!'

So, I took a long drag of his joint, walked back to Zoe, the girl I was stood with - and promptly lost two hours of my life! Ray played three more songs - 'Lola', to which I suitably changed the lyrics to 'Zoe' - and 'Waterloo Sunset' and Days' - during which I continuously kept falling into the people behind us, and apologising profusely and in what I imagine must have been a pretty incoherent manner.

I have no recollection of walking from one place to another, but after Ray's set we randomly bumped into one of the guys on our team - and I refused to talk to him unless he had his sunglasses off. I lolled back on forth on his England flag for a bit, before throwing up - rather conscientiously I thought, into the black 'general waste' bins - about four times, until a lady took pity on me and asked if I wanted a wet wipe. I lost my chain of blue flowers, as well as all memory of walking over to the Other Stage, where we found our Team Leader. At some point during the proceedings I'd left my bag God-knows-where-and-how - but it got returned to me so it can't have got too far...and then I remember being plonked on the floor next to our Team Leader, crying "I've no idea what the hell I'm on - literally! What is this?! I only took one toke...what the hell is this?!"

And then next thing I know it's 8pm and I'm back at the Pyramid Stage watching Faithless and everything's fine!

So, I have learnt the hard way not to take drugs from strangers.

I am hoping my video embedding has worked below. Ray's set, despite what I earlier said about Snoop Dogg, was actually the best hour and half I had that weekend. I hope you enjoy the taster.

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