Monday, July 08, 2019

Glastonbury Festival 2019: Part 5, Vote For Mavis.

Langa Methodist Church Choir

It was a beautiful sunny Sunday morning at Glastonbury. Time for some religion. I made my way to the Pyramid Stage to see the Langa Methodist Church Choir. I think their appearance at Glastonbury came about when Michael & Emily Eavis visited South Africa to see how the money raised by Glastonbury was being spent in that country. Michael is a Methodist and visited their church and decided to invite them to Glastonbury. I don’t think they had ever left Cape Town before and didn’t have passports, so Michael arranged everything to bring them to England. That must have been a huge logistical effort to get them here.
I secured my place right on the barrier at the front. A lot of the other people there were waiting for Kylie Minogue & Miley Cyrus a few hours later and were dressed in all sorts of garish garb to attract the TV cameras. The choir were wonderful in all their traditional costumes and sang hymns in their native tongue. It was a spiritual uplifting experience to be there. As a mark of respect they sang the British national anthem which might be the first time it has been sung on the Pyramid Stage, even if it was in a language we didn’t understand. You could tell by the smiles on their faces that they were delighted to be here. Their performance put me in a great mood for the rest of the day.

I held my position at the front because the next act was the wonderful Mavis Staples, ‘The bad-ass queen of soul’ as the BBC described her. I have liked Mavis ever since The Staples Singers appeared in the film The Last Waltz in the 70’s. I think the set by Mavis was possibly my favourite of the whole weekend. She revealed that the airline had lost all their luggage on the way to Glastonbury and Michael Eavis had given them all t-shirts to wear. I can’t remember all the songs now, but I do remember a great version of the Buffalo Springfield song For What It’s Worth. Mavis doesn’t think a lot of Trump, that’s for sure. She has always been politically aware, ever since her father Pop Staples was a friend of Martin Luther King. A couple of days after I got home, I watched her performance again on the BBC Iplayer and spotted myself right at the front. Thank you, Mavis, for a great show. Vote for Mavis!
Me, Paula, Bob, Keiron.

I relinquished my position at the front after that and went for a wander. In the market area I bumped into a team of my fellow litter pickers who included Bob and Paula. That provided a photo opportunity. Sean had been telling me about Mik Artistik and I must see him if I got the chance because he was funny. I noticed he was on the bandstand at 2.00 so I hung around for that. He was the funniest, craziest act I saw all weekend. He comes from Yorkshire and his songs are mad. One is called Sweet Leaf Of The North which was all about a leaf that got stuck under the windscreen wiper on his car on a journey from Leeds to London. Lukewarm Lover was another one and a song about a plastic fox in his garden called Plastic Fox. Another song was called Pocket Of Straws where he pulled straws out of his pocket and threw them to the audience. He was brilliant and was selling merchandise afterwards such as Mik Artistik teapots and things like that. After that hilarious episode I wandered on and encountered a travelling séance and a life drawing class where the model was clothed, and the artists were naked which was quite amusing.
Mik Artistic

There were thousands of people heading towards the Pyramid Stage to see Kylie Minogue but I wasn’t interested in all that and thought it would be too hectic. I learned later that Sir David Attenborough appeared and gave a speech about the danger of plastic in the environment and he thanked Glastonbury for its policy of banning plastic bottles.
I needed a rest and a bit of peace, so I headed in the opposite direction and watched Dervish. They are an Irish traditional group from Sligo fronted by a nice singer called Cathy Jordan. I really enjoyed what I saw of their performance, but it was a shame they didn’t have a bigger audience.

 After that I thought I had better go back to base for a rest because I had work at 6.00. I stopped at the top of the hill to watch a bit of Kylie. It was the biggest audience I have seen since Dolly Parton in 2014. She hasn’t got anything like the talent of Dolly though. I did enjoy the song Where The Wild Roses Grow when she was joined by Nick Cave. I spent some of the time talking to a policewoman about her horse called Clifton who was 20 years old and had a nice temperament. He obviously liked people and was very friendly.
At 6.00 I set off on another long walk to The Park where we still had four hours of work to do. We tore into it with gusto and had the Park all nice and tidy again by 9.00. Our leader Andy signed us all off and that was our work finished for this year. 
Clifton, the police horse.

My big regret was that I had missed Madelaine Peyroux because of work. I sat down with my first pint of the day and studied my lanyard. On the major stages I had a choice of The Cure, Christine And The Queens, Janelle Monaie, Rex Orange County, The Streets, Rickie Lee Jones or Reef. I opted for Rickie Lee Jones and I’m glad because I enjoyed her performance. In between the songs you could hear The Cure playing in the distance. “They are The Cure and we are the disease”, said Rickie wittily. I’m not that familiar with her work apart from Chuck E’s In Love but she sang a song by the Mills Brothers from 1928 called Nagasaki and even Sheena Is A Punk Rocker by The Ramones. 
Rickie Lee Jones.

At the end she took off her jacket to reveal a Ramones T-shirt. She came over as a nice person who was enjoying herself. On my way back to base I heard a bit of The Cure but it didn’t mean anything to me. I have never been a fan of theirs, but a lot of people enjoyed it, so I’m not knocking it. When I got back to base it was very quiet because most people were out partying all night long. I was too exhausted though and went to bed. 
Next morning, I had my rucksack packed and my tent down by 10.00. The only sign I had been there was a square patch of yellow grass. ‘Love The Farm, Leave No Trace’, that is my motto. Then I went and said cheerio to Odele who had been a good friend. I had one last can of lager with my mates outside the marquee. In the olden days of the 80’ & 90’s we used to go in a big gang of family and friends to Glastonbury but that has diminished to only me over the years. That is why I am grateful to the friends I have made on the recycling crew because if it wasn’t for them, I would be wandering around like Billy No-Mates. Then I hauled on my rucksack for the long walk to the bus station. I got home at 3.30 Monday afternoon, eight days and two hours since I had set off.
Queue for buses.

I have been home a week now and the memories of Glastonbury 2019 are beginning to fade into the mists of Avalon. I don’t think it was a vintage year. There were no classic never to be forgotten performances like the Stones in 2013 or Bowie in 2000, but Glastonbury is about much more than music, it is about being in a different reality for several days and being with like-minded people. There would be no Brexit if it was down to Glastonbury people. It is about seeing old friends and meeting new friends. Next year is the 50th anniversary of the first festival in 1970 and I hope I will be there. See you next year x

Sunday, July 07, 2019

Glastonbury Festival 2019: Part 4, Hot Saturday.

Saturday is the biggest day at Glastonbury. Everyone who was coming had arrived and nobody had gone home yet. There were about 200,000 people on site now. I was awake at 5.00 after three hours sleep. I opted for croissants and fruit juice for breakfast. I was getting bored with the same old breakfast day after day. I wanted to see The Proclaimers who were opening on the Pyramid Stage because a friend of mine in Westbury had given me their last couple of albums which I enjoyed. I secured my place at the front by 11.00 and passed the time talking to other people. They played a wonderful crowd-pleasing set. 
Proclaimers violin player.

The Proclaimers are the perfect band for festivals because the crowd all know the words of their most famous songs. The band were great, and they had a guest female violinist who played on a couple of songs. I don’t know who she is, but she is a star. My only disappointment was that they didn’t sing Streets Of Edinburgh which to me is a classic song from their Angry Cyclist album. They finished with I Would Walk 500 Miles which had the whole audience singing along. I think I walked at least a 100 miles myself at Glasto this year easily.
Caroline Lucas.

After The Proclaimers I stayed to hear a short speech by Caroline Lucas of the Green Party & CND who gave a warning about the catastrophic effects we are having on the planet and the ridiculous expenditure on nuclear weapons when we could spend that money on the health service or education. I think she is great, and nice looking. If I was Prime Minister I’d have her in my cabinet anytime. The next act I saw was Carrie Underwood who I must admit I didn’t know anything about at all. I have looked her up since and she is huge in the USA and other countries as well. I would describe her as country-rock. She was blown away by appearing at Glastonbury. 
Carrie Underwood.

The security people along the front of the stage were handing out cups of water to the crowd who were suffering in the heat. She said she had never seen that at a festival before. It makes you wonder what sort of festivals they have in the USA. I enjoyed her performance anyway, she was hot.
I was too hot myself and decided to head for the shade of my favourite stage, the Acoustic. On the way I bought myself a new t-shirt in the market area because I had run out of clean clothes. I also looked in the theatre tent at a high wire act. In the theatre field there were all sorts of crazy things going on, even people dressed as sheep on mobility scooters being herded by a farmer. 
Fun Lovin' Crime Writers.

The first act I saw in the Acoustic was The Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers. I didn’t know what to expect from this. They are all famous crime writers. The lead singer is Val McDermid who I recognised from Question Time on the telly. They got together at a crime writers conference where they got bored with talking about crime and started talking about music. They discovered that some of them either sang or played an instrument and decided to get a band together. All their act was songs about murder and crime such as I fought The Law, Psycho Killer, Riot In Cell Block 9, I predict A Riot, Whiskey In The Jar, The Long Black Veil, Watching The Detectives. They also did one song about their day job which was Paperback Writer. I thought they were great and really good fun.
Ladies In The Blues.

The next act I saw was Ladies In The Blues who are four female singers from Ireland with an excellent band who sang either individually or together blues songs by great female singers from Bessie Smith to Aretha Franklin and Janis Joplin. They were wonderful. I think this year was the year of female acts at Glasto. On Desert Island Discs Emily Eavis said 42% of the performers this year were female and it is their policy to get it up to 50% and have gender equality.
After that I went to Pilton Pasta and got some nice food. They have been in the same place at Glastonbury for 20 years and I always try and support them because they are nice people, the food is delicious, and the profits go to support a children’s hospice. It was getting cooler now, so I made my way back to the Pyramid Stage.
Janet Jackson.

Janet Jackson
was on when I arrived. It’s not really my type of music but I watched because it was quite spectacular and brilliantly choreographed. I was surprised that I actually recognised a few of the songs. I felt a bit sorry for her though because she had trouble with her microphone which was at the side of her head. It was ok when she was sideways on to the audience, but when she was facing the audience it looked sometimes like she had a comic relief nose on. You could tell she was aware of it as well. I bet somebody got shouted at afterwards.
The next act was Liam Gallagher. I have never been a big fan of Oasis but I watched for a bit to see if his brother Noel joined him on stage, but he didn’t. It was getting chilly now so I went back to base for a while to get a jacket. When I returned the crowd were waiting for The Killers to appear. 

I watched for about half an hour from the back of the field. They were good and quite spectacular, and they obviously love Glastonbury. After a while though I thought I ought to go and watch Hawkwind for old times sake because in the early 70’s we used to follow them everywhere. They were second only to Pink Floyd in the psychedelic rock genre. I met up with Bob & Paula for Hawkwind. I don’t know if any of the original band are still there, but they were spectacular and the light show was incredible. In the olden days they used to have a female dancer called Stacia and they have two new dancers now, but I don’t know their names. My only disappointment was that they didn’t play Silver Machine which was my favourite, back in the day.

After Hawkwind, me, Bob & Paula went round to the crew bar and got chatting to a few people. I met a couple who used to live in Westbury who knew lots of the same people I do and a lady who lives in Norton St Philip. It shouldn’t be that surprising though because Westbury is only 25 miles away. Eventually we headed back to Tom’s field and called it a night. The most  exciting day of all was only hours away.
TO BE CONTINUED…………………………….

Friday, July 05, 2019

Glastonbury Festival 2019: Part 3, A Face From The Past.

Friday had arrived at Glastonbury and I was looking forward to a long day of music. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and even early in the morning it was already quite hot. After breakfast Odele was off to do some yoga so I walked with her as far as The Park. We stopped off at the Terence Higgins tent where they were giving away free sunscreen which was essential. After I said cheerio to Odele I had a couple of hours to kill before the music started so I thought I’d go up to the top of the Ribbon Tower. It has been a feature at Glasto for at least ten years, but I’d never been up there before. You get a fabulous view of the whole site from the top and I took a few photos.
View from top of Ribbon Tower.

After that I went for a walk along the pier which is a new feature at Glastonbury. It is built on the side of the hill so you really get the feeling that you are at the seaside. The sounds of sea gulls and waves adds to the effect. The only difference is you look out at a sea of tents and not a real sea. They have all the seaside attractions such as Punch & Judy, fortune tellers and amusement arcades. I wanted to play on the machines but didn’t have the right change on me. It was all good fun. At the entrance to the tipi field there was a café in a yurt so I sat in the shade and had a cup of tea.
Punch & Judy on the pier.

Then I wandered on towards the Stone Circle. As I approached the stones an ambulance drove by me. There was a woman unconscious on the ground, and they couldn’t wake her up. She must have been up there for the party the night before and passed out. Why it took until 10.00 in the morning to notice her I don’t know, and where were her friends? Anyway, they put her in the ambulance and drove away. I expect she was ok because I didn’t hear any stories about fatalities or bad injuries this year. You have to remember that it is a temporary city of nearly 200,000 and any city is going to have incidents over a weekend.

Incident at Stone Circle.

Finally, it was time for some music. Lankum were the first band I wanted to see. They were on the Park Stage at 11.30. They are a young folk band from Dublin who I had heard great reports about and seen on YouTube. They are Ian Lynch (uillean pipes, tin whistle, vocals), Daragh Lynch (vocals, guitar) Cormac Mac Diarmada (fiddle) and Radie Peat (harmonium, accordion, vocals). They didn’t disappoint and played a blistering set of songs and tunes. They aren’t afraid to voice their political views either. You could say they are Irish folk with a punk attitude. After that rousing set, I had my first pint of the day in the shade of one of the beer tents.
Lankum on the Park Stage.

We get these things called lanyards that you hang around your neck. It has all the info about the acts on the various stages. Sheryl Crow was on the Pyramid Stage at 2.00 which I would liked to have seen but the sun was really hot now and I didn’t fancy sitting in it. I decided to head for the bucolic shady area of the Acoustic Stage. It is nice there and if you sit at the edge there is a nice cooling breeze blowing. When I arrived, there was a singer on called Grace Petrie. She is a socialist, activist singer who isn’t afraid to say what she thinks. By the end of her gutsy performance I thought she was great. 
Julie Felix at Isle Of Wight 1969.

I met up with Peter and Helen and Helen’s mum. The next act was called Lucy Rose who I had never heard of although she has made four albums. I thought she was boring because every song sounded the same. She claimed to have technical problems and kept stopping and restarting songs and complained it was difficult to sing when the audience were talking. I suspect they were talking because they lost interest in her. I passed the time telling silly jokes to Peter & Helen.
Julie Felix at Glastonbury 1987.

The next act I was really looking forward to seeing. In the 1980’s at Glastonbury I used to do a little unofficial bookstall. It was quite successful and used to pay for my festival. I had some famous people visit my bookstall. John Martyn was one and actress Margie Clarke, but my favourite was American folk singer Julie Felix. I had a nice little chat with her back in 87 and I thought she was a really nice lady. I have several of her albums although I hadn’t seen her in the 32 years since. I was delighted to hear that she was on the Acoustic Stage this year. “I bet she does Masters Of War”, I said to Helen when Julie appeared, and she did!. She played a wonderful set. I can’t remember every song but one highlight was “Hey,That’s No Way To Say Goodbye”, which I remembered from her TV show in the 60’s. Julie was a good friend of Leonard Cohen before all the fame. You can see a video below if you scroll down. I wish I had written down a setlist, but I didn’t. Another song I remember was Tom Paxton’s Last Thing On My Mind. Julie is 82 now but still as politically active as ever, campaigning for peace, feminist issues and other left-wing causes. I think she is great.
Me & Julie Felix.

After her performance I thought I would check out Bastille on the Pyramid Stage but as I was leaving I noticed some people hanging around the merchandise area. I wondered if Julie might come out, and she did. I bought a programme from her 80th birthday concert at the Royal Albert Hall and Julie graciously signed it and we took a photo. I tried to tell her about our previous meeting 32 years ago, but she was probably in shock after her triumphant performance and had other people to talk to as well. It was certainly a highlight for me I can tell you.
The Mavericks.

I watched some of Bastille on my way back to base camp. I had a shower and dinner then set out again for the evening. On the way back down I watched about 20 minutes of Ms Lauryn Hill who I have an album by but I couldn’t get into it. I made my way back to the Acoustic where I had a wonderful evening. The Mavericks were fantastic. They deserved to be on the main stage. After that it was Nick Lowe & Los Straitjackets who were brilliant. I have seen Nick Lowe many times but this was the best performance ever. You must go and see them if you get the chance. Nick took a break and the band played some amazing guitar music. What’s So Funny About Peace Love And Understanding? And I Knew The Bride When She Used To Rock And Roll were great songs I remember and Nick came back for a solo performance of Alison which was a hit for Elvis Costello.
The great Nick Lowe.

On the way home I listened to a bit of Stormzy on the Pyramid but it’s not my cup of tea I’m afraid. I got back to Tom’s field and sat around drinking with a few people until I finally went to bed at about 2.00. Another exciting day at Glastonbury was only a few hours away and what a day it would turn out to be!

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Glastonbury Festival 2019: Part 2, Crisis At The Crossroads.

It was Wednesday morning at Glastonbury. The sun was shining, the gates were open, and 130,000 music fans were pouring onto the site. I collected my veteran’s t-shirt and my gloves from the office and met up with my team at 8.00. Because I had broken my litter picking stick Odele had lent me hers as she didn’t need one in her job of trader information. I was a bit wary of borrowing it because she had used it for about ten Glastonbury’s and I was worried about losing it or breaking it. (More on that later) 
Tipis & Yurts.

Our team leader was Andy who I had worked with before. There were fifteen in our team and I remembered a few of them especially Pete and Sean. Once we had all arrived, we set off across the top of the site following our leader. There wasn’t all that much rubbish to pick up as people were only just arriving, so Wednesday was quite an easy day. Every year at Glastonbury there is less and less waste for various reasons. Firstly, this year there was a ban on the sale of single use plastic bottles. That made a huge difference, people could refill their own water bottles at various places around the site. Secondly, people don’t smoke so much these days. Every year there are less cigarette packets and dog ends to pick up. Thirdly, people are much more environmentally aware these days and conscious of looking after the planet, especially with speakers like Caroline Lucas and Sir David Attenborough at the festival. Another thing that made the job easier this year was the nice weather which meant you weren’t picking stuff out of mud.

One amazing thing I had never seen at Glastonbury before was that we met hundreds of people out on an organised early morning 5K run around the site. They had all the running gear on and were taking it very seriously. That never happened in the olden days. We wandered all over the site picking up any garbage we could find. Stopped for an hours break at 1.00 and went round the same route in the afternoon and finished at 5.00. The afternoon was the most tiring because of the heat. In the evening I had a couple of drinks in the Bread & Roses saloon and went for a walk to the stone circle to see what was going on. I was tired though and it was too hectic. There was about 10,000 people up there partying. I sat in the Peace Garden for a bit of tranquillity and then wandered home and crashed out about midnight.

Thursday was much more dramatic. Emily Eavis had asked us to go to the Park area. Because the music didn’t start till Friday everybody had been up that end of the site partying till dawn. The rubbish bins had overflowed and there was quite a mess. We worked really hard that morning and got it all looking nice again. I had a disaster. I went to pick up a can with Odele’s stick and the handle broke in half in my hand. Oh no, I felt really bad about that.
In the afternoon I had another disaster. We were working our way along to the old railway line where it was very busy with multitudes of people going in all directions.
In The Woods.

 I was having a chat with Sean about music. I stopped to pick up some rubbish around some bins, looked up and I couldn’t see my team anywhere in the crowd. It was at a crossroads, which is the worst place to get lost. I had to guess which direction they had gone. I walked one way for about 100 yards but then noticed some rubbish on the ground. “If they had come this way they would have picked that up”, I thought to myself. So, I retraced my steps and tried another direction and the same thing happened. I was getting more and more frantic. The world had suddenly become a lonely and threatening place.
Some of our team.

 I felt like a little kid who had lost his mum. I was the only member of the team who hadn’t bothered to take Andy’s phone number in case of such an eventuality. I decided to go to the Glade and stay there and hope the team walked by. After half an hour there was no sign of them. The only thing to do was go back to the office and report myself lost. By the time I got there I was really hot and bothered I can tell you. The office staff phoned Andy and found out where they were and I was finally reunited with my team by the John Peel stage at about 4.00. I had been missing for about two hours. It made the afternoon go quickly that’s for sure. We finished work at 5.00 and had no more work until Sunday evening.
Fiona with Michael Eavis.

That evening it was the recyclers party. I was watching a band from the entrance to the marquee when a security man tapped me on the shoulder and asked me to move slightly. I turned around and there was Glastonbury organiser Michael Eavis and Fiona which gave me the chance of a couple of close up photos. Later on, a couple asked me if I knew the way to the Rabbit Hole so I said I would show them. That involved a long walk. I had a couple of drinks up in The Park then walked back via the Tipi Field, Strummerville, Field Of Avalon and ended up in the bar at the Acoustic Stage. It was nice and quiet in there which suited me. I had a chat with a nice couple from Northern Ireland and said I'd meet them at the Park Stage tomorrow morning. I finally went to bed about 2.00 but I was quite excited because tomorrow the music would finally begin!


Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Glastonbury Festival 2019: Part 1, Return To Avalon.

Two long years had gone by and it was time to return to Worthy Farm once again. This year was the 40th anniversary of my first visit to Glastonbury Festival. If anyone had told me back in the summer of 79 that I would be still going to festivals 40 years later I would have thought they were bonkers, but here we were. I caught the 1.02 train from Westbury for the short journey to the normally sleepy little town of Castle Cary. Although the gates didn’t open to the public for another three days the train was crowded with site crew workers. At Castle Cary we boarded the shuttle bus which took us to the festival site at Pilton. Sitting on the front seat who should I meet but my friend Odele who I first met at Glasto in 2013. As the bus drove us through the Somerset countryside, we caught up with all the news since last time we met. Soon we arrived at Red gate A and made our way to the recyclers cabin where we handed in our letters and collected our wristbands. Then we hauled on our rucksacks for the long walk across the site to our camping area in Tom’s field near the farmhouse. It is called Tom’s field because a horse called Tom used to live in there. The walk seemed a lot easier than last time, maybe because it wasn’t so hot. Almost the first person we saw on arriving was Fiona who organises the huge crew of recyclers. We had a little chat with Fiona then set up our tents. When I unpacked my rucksack, I discovered I had broken my litter picking stick which was a bit annoying.
Odele in her tent.

Once I had sorted my tent out, I went for a walk down to the market area. There weren’t many places open because most traders hadn’t arrived yet, but I found one nice place and had some food and a cup of tea. Later in the evening I spent a pleasant couple of hours drinking cider in the crew bar at the back of the Acoustic Stage. When I got back to Tom’s field there wasn’t a lot going on, so as soon as it got dark I retired early because I knew I had many long days ahead.           
When I woke up on Monday morning, I looked at my alarm clock and it was 4.45, the sun was shining, and the birds were singing in the trees.  I tried to get back to sleep but at Glastonbury that is impossible. I crawled out of my tent and went to the workers marquee where I sat outside drinking coffee and talking to people I remembered from previous years.
Giant crane in Arcadia.

Then I set off on a long walk around the site. In Arcadia they had replaced the giant spider with a huge crane which they had salvaged from Bristol docks. At night-time it looked awesome when all lit up. They were also frantically putting the finishing touches to Glastonbury On Sea which is a huge pier they have built to give the illusion of being at the seaside. I made my way to the Tiny Tea Tent which has been a favourite place of mine since the 1990’s. I sat there for about two hours chatting to other people, drinking tea and watching the world go by. 
In the West Holts field, I visited Leon’s Vegetarian Cuisine which I knew from previous years. Leon is a nice guy who takes real pride in his food. He has even written a vegetarian cookbook. He was explaining to me all the different dishes he had available. I couldn’t decide what I wanted so he offered to give me a bit of everything for a fiver. That was a great deal and I ended up with a huge plate of delicious quiche, aubergines, red cabbage salad, tomatoes and some sort of green beans that I had never seen before. I eat a lot better at Glastonbury than I do at home.
Tiny Tea Tent.

 It was getting hot now and I stopped in Williams Green for a rest and another cup of tea where I bumped into Odele who was on her lunch break from work. After that I returned to the Acoustic crew bar where I spent the afternoon sitting in the shade.
That evening Martin and Peter and me decided it was time to get a campfire going. We had a bit of trouble getting it started at first until I remembered a trick I learned in previous years. The hand sanitiser outside the toilets has alcohol in it so a couple of cupsful of that soon got the wood blazing away. Then we sat around the fire drinking and telling jokes. It is amazing how quickly a fire attracts people. Before long there was quite a gathering around the fire. People have sat around campfires since man first learned how to control fire thousands of years ago. There is something prehistoric and magical about it. It was a shame that this year our wood pile was depleted by certain people nicking our wood. I had intended being sensible and having an early night but ended up drinking about six cans of Thatcher’s Gold cider. It was only when it started spitting rain that I finally went to bed.
Leon's Vegetarian Cuisine.

When I came to my senses on Tuesday morning it was to the sound of rain on my tent. That didn’t matter though because it stopped at 9.00 and there was no more rain for the rest of the week. In fact, later in the week another drop of rain would have been welcome because it got very hot indeed. After breakfast I sat outside the marquee chatting with Bob & Paula who are a nice couple from Nottingham who I know from previous years. Then I set out on another epic walk. My feet were aching from the previous two days of walking and not having the proper footwear. The grass was still wet from the rain and hadn’t been cut around the edges of the big ground in front of the Pyramid Stage, so I took my shoes and socks off and walked barefoot through the lush clover. My feet loved it. It was really refreshing. I walked all the way to the Beat Hotel before I had to put my shoes on again. 
Lush grass in front of Pyramid Stage.

Then I carried on through Silver Hayes and had a look at the amazing shanty town that had been built.  I carried on past the John Peel stage and into The Wood. This is a very peaceful area and you can go right up into the canopy of the trees and look at the view. This year they had Shakespeare being performed in the wood, but I didn’t get to see that. Eventually I had a slow meandering walk back to Tom’s field for lunch. I discovered some rain had got into my tent, so I sorted that out then had a kind of a nap.
At the quiz, Robin, Odele & Me.

In the evening it was the recyclers quiz. Our team were The Glastafarians. We won the quiz when we first entered it a few years ago and came second another year. We were hoping to reclaim our crown. There were four original members, me, Odele, Peter & Robin. This year we also had Peter’s wife Helen plus a couple of Peter’s friends. Sadly, we only came 3rd this year. That was a bit disappointing, but we will get our revenge next year. I was quite sensible and was in bed by midnight because tomorrow at 8.00 I would start work. As I drifted off into restful slumbers little did I realise the dramatic events that lay ahead…….
Glasto by night.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Rolling Thunder.

I had never watched anything on Netflix before, but thanks to my nephew Dominic, last night I watched the new film by Martin Scorsese called The Rolling Thunder Revue which is the story of the show that Bob Dylan took on the road in America and Canada in 1975 & 76. It was the time the USA was celebrating its bi centennial. I found the film fascinating, but as with everything associated with Dylan, nothing is as it first appears to be.

At the beginning of the film Dylan claims not to remember the Rolling Thunder Revue, it was ‘before he was born and wasn’t about anything’. He comes out with a great quote, “Life isn’t about finding yourself; it’s about creating yourself”. Early in the film I was pleased to see Bob meeting a very young Patti Smith at a party and they both hit it off immediately, both being poetic kindred spirits. Patti shows him a photo of Rimbaud who was a big influence on the pair of them. I started to think the film wasn’t exactly the straightforward documentary I thought it was when this character called Stefan Van Dorp appears and claims to have filmed all the original footage. I had never heard of him and when I googled his name it turns out he was entirely fictitious. Maybe Dylan and Scorsese are making a point about us living in the age of fake news. We shouldn’t believe everything we see. Songs which would shortly appear on the Desire album are a large part of the film and there is a lot of footage and an interview with the violinist Scarlet Rivera who appears to be almost as enigmatic as Dylan himself. There are fabulous versions of One More Cup Of Coffee, Isis and Oh Sister from the Desire album.

When on stage Dylan wears white face paint throughout the film. When asked about that he said, “Everyone should wear a mask, a person wearing a mask tells you the truth”. This reminded me a little of David Bowie during his mime period and I wondered if that was where Bob got the idea, especially with Mick Ronson being in the band. Actress Sharon Stone appears and claims that she gave Dylan the idea when he saw her wearing a Kiss t-shirt. In reality Sharon Stone never saw Dylan on that tour and the whole interview with her is pure acting. By now I was beginning to think that all the interviews in the film were scripted, especially when a character claiming to be a Republican congressman said that Jimmy Carter phoned Bob to get him a ticket for a show.
Bob & Patti Smith.

One of my favourite people in the film was Allen Ginsberg who seemed like a voice of reason in all the craziness and a peacemaker. One of the best scenes is where Allen is reading his mad poetry to an audience of old ladies in a community hall. I also enjoyed the scenes of Dylan and Ginsberg visiting Jack Kerouac’s grave in Lowell and reading from Mexico City Blues. Beat poetess Anne Waldman also appears in the film. It is a very Beat film when you think about it.
Bob & Allen Ginsberg

Other scenes I enjoyed were when Joni Mitchell joined the tour and sang Coyote with Bob & Roger McGuinn. Also, when Dylan visited an Indian reservation and sang The Ballad Of Ira Hayes to an audience of Native Americans. That song was written by Pete La Farge. A very moving scene was Bob singing The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll and visiting Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter in the Clinton Correctional Institution. I should also mention the large contribution of Joan Baez to the film although now I’m not sure if all her interview is real or not either.

One thing you can’t doubt is the music which is fabulous and the genius of Dylan who remains a mystery shrouded within an enigma. It all ends in Montreal with Bob and McGuinn singing Knocking On Heaven’s Door. The film is over two hours long, but I was so engrossed in it that the time flew by. I highly recommend this film which is a must see for all Dylan fans.

Glastonbury Festival 2019: Part 5, Vote For Mavis.

Langa Methodist Church Choir It was a beautiful sunny Sunday morning at Glastonbury. Time for some religion. I made my way to the Pyra...