Before the misery sets in
Last year, in a moment of madness, Bronny and I decided to join our friends Jane, Jo and Brian at the Glastonbury festival. We’d heard of the fun, the music and the drugs, and in hindsight, if we’d started munching Class-A’s as soon as we left the car park then we’d have been far happier people.
When we were young
Even looking back at this photo is hard. So young, so carefree… without the scars and the miserable memories……
I could have gone to Margate
All during the first night, and into the next day it rained. It wasn’t just your ordinary rain, but the torrential sort that usuallly last a few battering minutes. But not at Glastonbury. It battered non-stop for hours. The place has its own unique micro-climate which dictates monsoon weather as soon as more than three people start pitching tents within twenty yards of each other.
Jane’s matching boots and bag ensemble.
Fortunately, we were travelling with Jane, whose a girl. She went to a posh school, and knows all the cocktails and dates blokes called Trevor and Miles. At the mere sight of this downpour, surely, she’d burst into tears, and demand that we hopped straight back into Daddy’s Range Rover and head back to Hampstead?
Jane: bench presses 350 and fights with knives to relax
Regretably, Jane is also a police detective and is tough as old Jimmy-Choo’s. I don’t think she’d even noticed the sheets of water lashing other people into a dazed submission.
Fancy the loo in 40 minutes?
Fortunately, some genius had ensured there was a tent selling warm cider. A brilliant idea, only marred by the fact that drinking such beverages meant using the toilets would be required sometime in the near future.
Exhibit A: Mud
What I started to find quite amazing, was that people actually seemed to be enjoying this purgatory. The mud, the smell of the toilets, the endless marches from A to B to get food, or to go to the toilet……
We could be in Ibeza right now
It was like watching a strange natural history programme. Who were these strange creatures that enjoyed this unique form of torture? It was like an adult version of detention….
Up close and personal: The Killers, somewhere half a mile away
Well OK, some of the music was pretty good. ‘The Killers’ were superb, and ‘The Arctic Monkeys’ lived up to their billing. Maybe if the acts had been James Brown, Stevie Wonder and Curtis Mayfield then I’d have looked beyond the mud…. but wherever I looked there it was…..
Exhibit B: more mud
As the weekend progressed, Bronny and I began to realise that Jane wasn’t going to weaken. There was absolutely no chance of her bursting into tears. Three nights running we left her dancing or cavorting, with energy to burn (usually sometime between midnight and 2am). Off we’d go, to seek the temporary refuge of our pitiful tent, that didn’t fit the airbed – and was next to one couple that persistently communicated their vigerous… *ahem*…. ‘hugging’ with animated grunts and groans while the tent next door blared their music at us with a grim determination.
Having or good time or just delerious?
On the last day, there was nothing for it. Waking up to our now miserable neighbours, faces streaked with mud and tears, as they quietly sobbed over their broken hearts, I chirped, ‘Not so ****ing chipper now are we?’ (I didn’t really say that, but I should have.)
Anyway, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em….
Happy? We’re going home in three hours, of course we’re happy!
It was time to get-down, Glastonbury style. Unable to ‘cut-the-rug’ we squelched the mud….
Quite how Jane managed to look this glamourous, after four days of mud, lack of sleep and a strict diet of warm cider and cold falafels, while lying on an old bin liner, in a field of mud, surrounded by raving luncatics, I have no idea….
Exhibit C: ankle breaking mud
And then, late into Sunday evening, Jane suggested that maybe it was time to make our way home. We avoided breaking our ankles, unlike 13 other poor folk who snapped theirs over the weekend, and left 100,000 people behind us as they enjoyed the final acts.
Shaking our booties
We packed our tents and began the long tramp to the car park. Eventually we reached Jane’s Dad’s Range Rover, and negotiated our way out of the car park. The next day, other souls would spend 10, 12, 14 hours or more doing the same journey we did in two minutes.
Then, as the headlights lit up the motorway infront of us, and as the early morning hours clicked by, I knew my home and a warm bed was getting ever closer. It was one of the few moments in my life I can say without any doubt, that I experienced the purest feeling of joy….