Tuesday 7 June 2011

Glastonbury, Surveying and the Great Escape

It’s June and so as with most years the excitement is building for another Glastonbury I’m not going to go to. I’ve not been able to go to Glastonbury for ten years now, eleven even which is a shame since I previously went with the same bunch every year, back in the 1930s anyway. Then and before there were walls, security, food stalls, tie-dyed shirts, music or nylon tents we gathered to sing as we hiked with our canvass backpacks in a manner that would later see three out of five of us dead in Spain. Back then and as you can see by the photograph, since this was twenty years before music had been invented we contented ourselves instead with a little light surveying.
I suppose though that it is the festival in later years that you will be more aware of, and indeed which whilst I am excited enough to produce a teaspoon of wee I am as I say – not going. But right now I am as much there as anyone that is going, so for the moment at least I sort of am going.
I went for years and back when you could get tickets the week before, and without being inspected by former members of the STASI. Now they use their organisational skills and intensity regarding borders to demand full cavity searches, in advance, and most likely with your own web cam. I usually did pay too. I might have enjoyed any and varied free festivals but this was blinking Glastonbubble and once you’re up on that hill, looking down and breathing that pollen ripe-air nothing bad there lurked.
Admittedly I once caught fire in that top field but people kindly put me out. True in a fitting hat and stick I was teased at by witches with designs upon my youthful limbs – for a soup I have to presume. Again and yes it was on a couple of occasions no more a music festival than the two mile reserve camp for the Somme. Well also and I rarely went anywhere near the main stages. Bit crowded and all that. But it was Glastonbury and I remember Glastonbury - at Glastonbury I’m loads younger and much better looking. There’re less children demanding face painting, or at least they’re not mine. And playing a game where starting in the morning with a full bottle of cider one has to keep it full, from whatever can be scrounged, all day, seemed a tremendously spiffing idea.
I bought a ticket because I was ever unlucky at breaking in. When our first tunnel collapsed Ives went crazy and was shot down on the wire. Of three hundred of us making a single play only about a hundred of us made it – and I was almost to the Tiny Tea Tent before I was caught by replying to two simple words, ‘Good luck’.
So it’s Glastonbury and I’m excited and whilst I’m not going, I’m just as much there as you who are, for the now at least.
Pictured – Glastonbury 1936 (left-to-right), Rob Nott, me, Simon Lindsay, Maurice Thomas and Jerry Taylor. Click for larger picture.   


  1. Thing is and oddity aside - that really does look like me about fifteen years ago. It's all a bit Twelve Monkeys

  2. Hot cider and good times

  3. Better still, everyone else's cider when having gone to the bus they expected something fizzy. Tremendous, five pints of harsh scrumpy at lunchtime then oblivion. And on into Friday. Or indeed the year.