Category Archives: Blog

Glastonbury 2007 Sunday Blog

Dan Davies is staying the distance… but it feels like a marathon.

The rain was patting on the roof of the tent when I woke up today. The thought of facing it filled me with dread. So I went back to sleep again.

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It takes a long time for the rain to stop, when it does I venture out and notice we now have a considerable amount of tents in front me have now cleared. Leaving a long green patch leading to my porch and mud caked boots.

I leave our camp site and bump into some friends. “How’s it going,” I say. ‘Not the best,’ says one of my mates. We silently trudge up to the main stage. You can see the look in people’s faces, mostly staring down at the mud, taking one difficult step after another and hoping that the mud-torture will please stop. You have to be honest, weather aside, a lot of the doom is chemically created. Sunday’s fallout is not good anywhere but at Glastonbury it’s magnified.

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We go and watch two of Marleys performing ‘Exodus.’ The sun comes out during ‘One Love’ the audience visibly lifts. With a more pronounced suck on our boots we bounce over to the further-a-fields once more. As we pass the Left Field tent I’m drawn in by laughter and hear Mark Thomas. He’s ranting about running circles around the loopholes for the right to protest in Parliament Square… as long as you apply to do so in writing.

Feeling suitably moved to the left I continue up to the Avalon stage to catch Billy Bragg perform a set of new torch songs and festival favourites. He’s on fine festival form chatting his way through songs, without being too preachy about it. The set has a busky feel, and he even plays us a busking classic ‘Waterloo Sunset’ which we all sing along and sway to. Next he plays a cover version of ‘One Love’ with amended Drop The Debt lyrics – and actions! ‘Tank Park Salute’ brings a tear to my eye, and an affectionate homage to us, the audience, came with ‘Faith.’ This is my Glastonbury.

Trudging further through Eavis’ topsoil, I head over to the Jazz World stage. I delight in another festival discovery, found in Beirut. A group from New York but bizarrely with a name like Beirut, it doesn’t sound the slightest Krautock. Instead it had a distinctly Latino feel, or the soundtrack from a lost Western. A bloke in a cape stumbles past on a brassy trumpet fanfare, slips and falls on his arse. He starts rolling a ball of mud around and makes it into a smiling face. The clown then tries to get people to appreciate it but it all turns into a bit of a mud slinging match.

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We pack up the contents of the tent to a Go! Team soundtrack then left the tent behind to catch Jamie T. I swear the boy looks about 15, wearing a cap that made him look even smaller. For a slight lad he completely holds sway over the audience as he jitters through his hits. We stay at the John Peel stage for the final act of the night, we make the mistake of going to get one final drink though we find that we can’t get further than the outer rim. We can only guess and get second hand rumours of what’s going on with Beth Ditto as she spends a lot of time off the stage. With ‘Standing In The Way Of Control’ screaming in our ears, we leave. The rain batters our heads as we wait for a bus but we no longer feel it.

Click on the words if you want to read Friday or Saturday.


Glastonbury 2007 Saturday Blog

Dan Davies gets down and dirty on day two of another Worthy Farm mud bath…

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If you’re doing Glastonbury right, then you should have missed all the bands you like and discovered some that you’d never heard of. You should have everyone’s phone number on your mobile which has a dead battery. You should have missed the headliners and just drifted.

This is exactly what I did Saturday. After my phone died – I did drop it in a pint of cider on Friday night, which didn’t help – the day was devoted to band randomness. In addition to the kooky broken English and disco beats of CSS, I also trudged across an excellent little string and piano band at the bandstand. I stumbled into Jazz World and saw Mr Hudson and The Library, another piano bashing, lyrical lead, pop band – kind of like Ben Folds being fronted by Prefab Sprout. The Infadels are always up for a laugh in the Dance East tent with their impassioned devotion to ‘the band’. A quick samosa and then a snatch of Yoda had us giggling.

As the sun set there was time for that Glastonbury moment which you might just see on the telly, Paul Weller singing ‘Broken Stones’ as the sky went golden. As The Kooks came on and were predictably Ronseal about their performance, it was time to slide sideways again. I grabbed a toastie and treacle-waded up to the Trash Field and it was like skidding into Mad Max. Pneumatic souped up cars and Bravestar style steel horses encircled the area. I’m immediately drawn to a crashed plane wreck, behind this is two dirty bed-sit buildings, hacked out of 1970’s New York and dropped, complete with trannies, into Glastonbury. The building was the entrance to Downlow, a disco-tech in the style of Studio 54. It was free with a moustache – or a pound without, and a free moustache. After a good boogie, I grabbed six donuts to get my sugar levels up.

After watching ‘Space Cowboy’ suspend weights by fish-hooks from his eyeballs and swallow various objects which could have caused multiple nasty ways of dying, I went in for a 15 minute Freakshow. Thankfully it wasn’t just plain freaks on display but some clever pupeteering and costumes. These featured a pig lady who had to escape a closet abbatoir before she turned into bacon, an American woman with a tumour that looked a bit like Tom Jones (and sang like him too), a shrunken heads organ and Elephant Man Elvis.

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I stomped down to the Circus field and was drawn to the sound of hip hop breaks and a steel band. On stage there are people rapping and performing some truly exceptional B-Boy moves and a possee of streetwize wee pappa girl rappers. The show was athletic and exceptional. However, the only downside to Glastonbury randomness is that you don’t have a programme to check what their name was.

As the night draws to a close and the birds start singing, I grab a pasty and descend into a Bedouin run by the Theonian Community. I sit round the fire, ‘Danimal’ (like Dan, and animal) and ‘Tang’ turn up, with an acoustic guitar and play some of their own songs – and a Prodigy cover. A girl stands up and announces her “Rule number five for staying young: laugh lots and often, and if someone makes you laugh, spend lots of time with them.” Wisdomic.

By that rationale if you could have Glastonbury every weekend, you could potentially live forever.

Click on the words if you want to read Friday or Sunday.


Glastonbury 2007 Friday Blog

The intrepid, slightly clumsy Dan Davies tackles Glastonbury in the best way possible – with no plans and no clue…

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One of the first things that can knock you slightly sideways at Glastonbury is the culture of random kindness. More than this, even those who aren’t going to the festival seem to ‘get’ the sunshine vibe. The first act was at the train station coming from Bristol on Thursday. I alighted at Taunton to be greeted by a Station Master (a pleasant round bellied chap with a stout moustache), who identified me as Glasto bound.

“What you want to do right is go to platform two and wait there, one to Castle Cary should be around in ten minutes, lovely.”

Okay, I might have added the “lovely” but you get the idea. It actually felt like I was blessed, everyone, even the blue rinse pensioners on day trips to Bridgwater were spurring me on.

Walking through the gate when I got here, there’s a burst of rain. I see my girlfriend and give her a hug. Suddenly, a guy in a sun hat and sun glasses lurches in and tries to hug us. I admit I did administer a quick jab to the kidneys to get him off. I’m sorry I know that in your mind you’re just being friendly but to mine, it’s flailing limbs attached to a Manc monkey, desperately trying to latch onto something before you falls flat on your bum-bag.

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Later, at the festival I go for a wee, in a urinal which is on an elevated platform that had no roof or walls and looks straight out onto the street. I’m very surprised as I have previously suffered from ‘bashful bladder’ when confronted with a dark portacabin full of men coughing and farting, from behind, I often sink into a paranoid hole. Not a problem when they’re in front of me on the street, it seems. So I was happily pissing in the wind when a girl waves at me.

“Well wave back then!”

“I’d love to but at the moment… I’m busy pissing!”

As we all knew it was going to, it did absolutely bucket it down on Thursday night. Soon all the green areas had turned brown and I wonder how many times people have said the words: “But it didn’t dampen spirits,” over the last 30 years with reference to the festival.

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It’s certainly true. People embrace the mud, quite literally. I saw one girl in a poncho and shorts with a carrier bag tied in the stereotypical British ‘seaside handkerchief’ stylee covered from head to toe in mud. She stumbled to a donut stall where she performed a little Gollum dance for the smile-feigning, sober staff. Elsewhere I see some kids making a mudman – to be honest, not nearly as aesthetically appealing or, indeed as stable as a snowman.

Even without actually getting tangibly involved with the brown stuff, most of us however are content to just slop along. When you’re dry and content it’s actually really mesmerising looking down watching the flecks of chocolate milkshake fly from your boots. Later in the Lost Vagueness the mud has the consistency of a sticky poo supporting your ankles, allowing you to sink slowly and demurely. Hang around too long and it sucks your wellies in. You have to call out for some helpful hippies, who are only too happy to kindly oblige…

Click on the words if you want to read Saturday or Sunday.