Uncut Editor's Diary
“Old Glastonburys never die, they just move to their own field...”
Sunday night I was not, I must admit, watching Kasabian on the BBC’s coverage of Glastonbury. Instead, I was… well, gripped would be the wrong word, but somehow compelled to watch every last hideous minute of the match between Greece and Costa Rica, a game that acted as kind of evil payback for all the good football karma this World Cup has accrued. Applying this logic to rock music, a friend pointed out, I probably should have been watching Kasabian, too.
Anyhow, looking for distractions from the elegant skills of Theofanis Gekas, I noticed that Stephen Dalton had just posted his 13th Glastonbury blog of the weekend on the Uncut website (you can read it here). The blog is titled “Yoko Ono, The Wailers, assorted hippies”, and it features reviews of at least two of those people. A better title, perhaps, might have been “Old Glastonburys never die, they just move to their own field.”
Over the course of 15 blogs across the weekend, Stephen tackled, as well as mud, an impressive range of music that many of you might find interesting: at the bottom of this blog, you can find links to all the reports, featuring Robert Plant, Jack White, The Black Keys, Blondie, Arcade Fire, Toumani & Sidiki, the Pixies and many more. On the blog in question, though, he found himself moving beyond the marquee names and the TV coverage, into a Glastonbury world fondly remembered from the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.
“Here you will find bicycle-powered launderettes, nappy recycling stations, anti-fracking protest camps, crystal-gazing mystics and much more,” Stephen wrote, vividly. “Behind one cluster of trees, 1980s New Age travellers spill from graffiti-covered buses. Behind another, early 1990s rave survivors get totally spannered to vintage acid trance.” Old Glastonbury memories are probably about as interesting to read as drug nostalgia, but it did make me recall a long night long ago spent looking for a Wicker Man, but which instead climaxed at Club Dog, who seemed to have set up acid-trance operations through a hole in a hedge.
Club Dog has been on my mind in other ways these past few days, since writing about the Aphex Twin’s “Caustic Window” album, finally available after having been put on baffling hold in 1994, reminded me of some nights in those environs 20 years ago. But Stephen’s great work at the festival really caught the enduring joys of Glastonbury; ones which unfailingly transcend the headline stories about Dolly Parton’s vocal practices or even, amazingly, the weather.
It’s not so much about the curated eccentricities of the festival, so beloved of the mainstream press, it’s about the Utopian margin-dwellers in the Green Fields and beyond, whose enthusiasm is so pervasive, whose vision of a better and kinder – or at least different – world is so persuasive, that for 72 hours I always found that a proportion of hard-earned cynicism and worldly pragmatism could be put on hold – at least until I had to deal with the strip lights and solid floors at a motorway service station on the way home. Stephen’s piece made me wish I’d been back there (as did the tweets of another friend, who seemed to be spending most evenings atop Glastonbury Tor).
If you spent a long weekend down on Worthy Farm, we’d be interested to hear your stories: a reminder that our new Feedback address is email@example.com. In the event of Argentina vs Switzerland dragging a little, please drop us a line.
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