Friday, January 06, 2017

Glastonbury 1995, BOLLOCKS!. (My Thirteenth Glastonbury)

I will always remember 1995 as the year that I put the bollocks into Glastonbury. I never claimed responsibility but other people have insisted that it was me that started it. Here is how it came about. It was another scorching hot year and this year we were all camped opposite the main stage just in from Muddy Lane, (It wasn’t always muddy, that’s just the name that lane became known as over the years) It was Friday night about 3.00 in the morning and I was sitting on my little chair by the campfire. I remember it vividly because we had all been having a sing-song of Beach Boys songs. Anyway, somebody was walking home up Muddy Lane and they spotted us through a gap in the hedge.
“Alright”, shouted this bloke, “Having a good one?”. I immediately thought of a witty reply.
“Bollocks”, I shouted back.
“Oh, well bollocks to you”
“No, you bollocks”
Then somebody else nearby joined in.
“Hey, you lot”
“What?”
“Bollocks !”
“Bollocks to you as well mate”
Then it spread.
“Hey, I’m trying to get to sleep”
“You can bollocks as well then”
“Don’t you bollocks me!”
“Oh bollocks”

More and more people joined in and before long everyone was shouting bollocks at each other. I went to bed just before dawn but when I woke up later that morning all you could hear in the whole field was people shouting bollocks at each other and anyone else who had the misfortune to walk by. Chanting started as well with people shouting out the names of the politicians and celebs of the day.
“John Major”
“Bollocks”
“Bill Clinton”
“Bollocks”
“O.J.Simpson”
“Bollocks”
It gradually spread from our field to all the others till the whole festival site was shouting “Bollocks!” at each other. In front of the main stage it was all going on. Finally, I don't know if it's true or not but on Saturday night Robert Plant & Jimmy Page came on stage and apparently Robert Plant said, “Hello Glastonbury”, and 100,000 people shouted back, ”BOLLOCKS !!”
Another thing I remember about that day was that when I emerged from my tent was that my little fold-up  chair had disappeared.
“Bollocks”, I said to Kim. “ Some thieving scally has nicked my chair”
Later that day we were in a beer tent and I noticed a chair in there. “That’s my chair”, I thought to myself, so when were leaving I picked it up and took it back to our campsite.
“Somebody nicked my chair”, I said to my sister Margaret, “but I saw it in the Beer Tent and nicked it back again”.
“That’s not yours”, said Margaret. “I saw you had left yours outside so I stored it safely in our tent”. So now I had two chairs. They were breeding!

I did well on my bookstall in 95 but I made one bad mistake. One day I sat on my stall for about six hours in the blazing sun and all I had on was a pair of shorts and no sun block. Next morning when I woke up my legs were burned red raw and had swollen up. I could hardly walk. I had to go to the medical centre and the nurse put on loads of calamine lotion. It was really painful I can tell you. Another thing about Glasto 1995 was that the gate-crashing had reached epidemic proportions. Glastonbury in the 90’s was crazy and 95 was possibly the craziest year of all. The official attendance figure was 80,000 but anyone who was there knows that it was at least twice that. Up in Kings Meadow at the top of the site a whole section of the fence was dismantled from the inside and thousands of people just poured in through the gap.

Musically it was just as crazy. For some strange reason they decided to put Portishead on in the Acoustic Stage. They were huge at the time, one of the most popular bands in Britain. Their album Dummy had won the Mercury Prize and about 15,000 people tried to get into the Acoustic tent. How a disaster didn’t occur I don’t know. I can’t remember a lot about the music that year. I watched a bit of Jeff Buckley but I left because I thought he was boring. I regretted that later when I discovered his album Grace and thought it was fabulous and I never got the chance to make amends because Jeff died less than two years after his Glastonbury appearance. Another band that I missed which I wish I had seen was Pulp who had replaced the Stone Roses at short notice. My niece Katherine came back to the campfire raving about how great they had been. I expect I was watching some folk band in the acoustic at the time. I enjoyed the Saw Doctors who are a great fun band to see live and I had some of their albums. I remember me and Kim watching Gilbert O’Sullivan in the acoustic. That shows what an old git I had become even in those days. 1995 was the year that they introduced the Dance Tent with the likes of Massive Attack and Carl Cox which was a huge success although I never went to it. I think that might have been one of the reasons for all the gate-crashers because this was the era of the illegal raves and acid-house parties which were sweeping the country and Glasto was the biggest rave of all.

Michael Eavis had stomach cancer in 1995 so there was no festival in 96 while he recovered. I think the festival needed to take a break anyway in order to take stock of the situation. Kim and I had to move house a few days after Glasto and I was still in pain from the sunburn but never mind, it had been worth it and 97 turned out to be another unforgettable year.


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