Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Glastonbury Reviews - 2009 - Wednesday/Thursday


"Due to recession festival will close at 5pm today."

8am start from my parent's house not half an hour from Glastonbury. On our approach to the town we got snarled in traffic and spent nintey minutes listening to BBC Radio Somerset. They had a cop on a bike making semi-regular reports on the traffic which by around 10am was beginning to back up on to the M5. Rumours of accidents and bizarre traffic light systems began to filter through, after about an hour the traffic got moving again. On approaching the festival site we noticed that the traffic light system had been abandoned in favour of the police, hurrah! They sorted out the bottlenecks and we rolled in.

No six hour wait for a ticket this year, I had mine clutched firmly in hand. As we passed through the gates we noticed that the festival site had been extended. We'd rolled in through gate D on the south west corner and found ourselves walking through camping fields previously untouched by the festival. More camping space. More people. I kept that thought at the back of my mind as we approached the Park and our target of Pennard Hill. Even by 11:30am it was beginning to fill up, most people had decided that the weather was going to turn to shit by Thursday and so had arrived early.

The programme for Wednesday tends to follow the same patterns. Put up tent, go to the Brother's Bar, relax. It was certainly nice to be back and began to sizzle in the sun.

About 4pm we watched the First Wateraid World Cup. While we weren't too sure about which team was which the game was enthusiastically played and did raise some extra cash for Wateraid in front of the Pyramid Stage.

There now follows a cautionary tale. Don't accept flapjacks from strangers. I mean, it tasted alright and I was fine for a good hour or so and then horizon wouldn't stop moving. Pear cider, contrary to popular opinion, did not help. Finding myself sat with some complete strangers, I decided it was time for bed.


‘Outside it’s raining but inside it’s wet’

It already felt like the campsite was full. Pennard Hill had filled out over night. I went to get breakfast. It took me a while to get going and so enjoyed the sunshine in the Jazz Field for a little longer.

The Thursday at Glastonbury should be a mixture of gentle cidered-up relaxation and exciting discovery of new locations. Sadly most of those new locations weren't erected yet, though the major obvious change was the missing Left Field. Maybe it was an indication of Glastonbury's fatigue of Brown's Britain, maybe Q and Sony made them an offer they couldn't refuse - whatever occurred the Left Field was no more, replaced with the Queen's Head mega-bar. This was to prove problematic when about 5pm the entire festival decided to descend to watch MAXIMO PARK.

Yeah, a terrible idea. The congestion caused by every single person getting down there snarled up a non-performace space. What were they thinking? That a few punters might pop by to catch a near-headliner from the Other Stage?

We went back to our tents for a rest only to be awakened by Zane Lowe firing up things at The Park. Like a teenager at the start of the school holidays, Zane was very excited indeed, like his GCSEs had just finished. Fair enough, the festival was on.

So that night the only other part of the festival that was really open was the Dance Village which had one major attraction:


Who promptly went and cancelled opening the Dance Longue moving to a later slot.

Rumours as usual abounded. We liked to think Brian Harvey hadn’t done enough drugs yet. Luckily there was plenty of time to see:


Who is a superb party DJ cutting up old skool house and rave with some serious dubstep bizness and turns the dance floor into one rolling bass monster of enjoyment. Go see him now!



By now legendary beatboxer who not only does the sounds but also the words and rapidly turning into a hip hop draw in his own right. Knowing his audience well he carefully wove in some shouts of ‘EVERYBODY IN THE HOUSE OF LOVE’ before finally giving way to:


Or some approximation of the original boy band with Brian Harvey leading who found time to do hits like ‘Steam’ and ‘Stay’ but also filled up the set with risible crap like that tune he performed with Wyclef, all copies of which should be delivered to the centre of a neutron star and crushed into a singularity. For Q this was a massive highlight of the festival and whilst I watched from outside the tent with a raised eyebrow (if only for the sheer volume of people who’d turned up to watch), I knew enough punters who came out with huge grins on their faces.

For some of us though, it was another 90s ‘band’ who were Thursday night’s main attraction. A shame as it was a 2 hour wait before they were on, time was spent waving glowsticks and supping beer. Then the phones started going mad with the rumours of Michael Jackson’s death. Any sense of shock was cushioned by the alcohol. We had more important things on our minds, watch your bass bins, I’m telling ya.


Pure old skool heaven. An extraordinary mix from rave pranksters and now, admittedly elder statesmen, Altern-8. They played a simple set… CLASSIC AFTER CLASSIC AFTER CLASSIC. A bit of shame because it meant prior to the festival even starting I’d pretty much peaked, I’d let these boys headline the Other Stage instead of the Prodigy any day, but then, nowadays, I am an old man…

Monday, 22 June 2009

Glastonbury 2005 review

Glastonbury 2005
The weather hit us hard this year. As you’ll see flash flooding struck the festival just as the music was about to start. Sheer bloody misery. And yet, I dutifully stayed on, praying to all the gods under the trance tent for a miracle…

I couldn't believe it on Friday.

Woken up at 5:37am by a clap of thunder that would make the most hardened rock roadie look twice the rain hammered the top of my tent relentlessly. As I write this more rain is predicted for later this afternoon. It's quite exciting now I'm not in a field, a bit like being in Florida. But on that Friday morning as the dampness beneath me increased (careful now) it was a total two fingers up to the 120,000 party people who had spent the previous day dancing, getting pissed, familiarising themselves with the festival and getting more pissed.

Best of all on the Thursday we discovered the new Dance Village. They've scrapped the big tent and introduced two more bars (including after-hours disco and cocktails favourite the Pussy Palure) and two seperate dance tents. And the BIODOME. Where I fell asleep for a bit, such is the power of the Pear Cider.

Yeah, the Brothers Bar was still in full effect, including the better looking bar staff than the Workers Beer Company. The choice of music was not as good though it must be said and once that sound system starts up on the Jazz Stage you don't stand a chance. Also drinks related - the Crown had been moved to outside the Other Stage. The problem with this was that once the rain hit the whole area outside that stage became a huge quagmire. In the early morning it resembled the mud flats of Morecambe Bay, by the late afternoon it was like wading through brown copydex.

The Pyramid Stage faired better with only the front near the stage getting really churned (I hope you idiots with flags ruined your trainers) and a trench of mud appearing right next to the stage. Early on Sunday morning a JCB was employed to clear out the mud and the whole area was covered with hay. All in time for the Yeovil Town Band. Nice.

But by now you've all seen the pictures. Submerged tents, people dragging their ruined kit with a look of abject misery on their face, canoes ferrying people to the bar, Kate Moss with muddy wellies - a lovely weekend in the country, Withnail.

So as I truged past the queue for the Millets tent cursing the day I didn't buy shares in Eurohike I looked into the torrential rain and decided that someone didn't want us to have fun. As the Q Daily put it: 'CHEERS GOD!' But sod 'em, I'd paid the money and goddammit people were relying on me for this review. It was time to see some bands.



Jazz Funk outfit the Fabrics were to have been my first port of call, but their tent had been carved in two by a particularly vicious lightning bolt. Not good. The whole Dance Village had been shut, they wouldn't even let my mate Joe (svengali-like mastermind behind the Fabrics) collect his equipment. Lockdown. The Pyramid Stage was just as bad. We all grimaced at the rain as the Subways' drum kit stared back at us unmoving. Occasionally a roadie stuck his walkie-talkie out, saw more lightning in the sky and shook his head. Eventually the kit was removed and the waiting continued. Then the rain stopped.


Holy crap, was that blue sky? The Undertones kicked off the music on the Pyramid Stage and considering the sad loss of John Peel were the perfect band to have done it. 'Jimmy Jimmy' came first and the crowd began to shout, clap and even shuffle a bit. 'Here Comes the Summer' was my favourite track that, had my feet not been cemented to the floor would have had me pogoing like crazy. 'Teenage Kicks' was, of course, dedicated to John Peel and completely kicked arse. Even my younger brother, Glasto virgin, agreed that seeing the Undertones do 'Teenage Kicks' was indeed 'hard to beat'. We were off!



Yeah, I saw him last time, but the guy's quality. I wish they'd bring back 'Fist of Fun':

"A man turned up at my door and said 'The Answer is Jesus. What's the question? I replied is it 'Born in 0 BC, what 'J'...'


I like these guys. Jonathan Ross showcases their talents well but they seem to enjoy interacting with a live audience. Even if some of the gay jokes went over the heads of some of the teenage audience. The only reason I understood some of the references was because of hanging out with too many Doctor Who fans. However great harmonies and enormous fun - "He's the Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy from Company B!"



This band bores me. Even the stuff I recognised like 'The Last Broadcast' seemed to be yanked out the Indie section and run through a DULL-O-MATIC 4000. They were slow. They thanked the audience for their continued support in a boring way. I could have easily drifted off to sleep no problem. In fact I wished I'd stayed in the tent rather than have sat through that. At least the last tune they played was a piano house tune harking back to their days as Sub Sub. Liked that bit at least.


YES! This is MUCH more like it. A Las Vegas four piece who do upbeat, well-crafted indie pop to perfection. Brandon Flowers came on stage in tux, looking every bit like he'd parachuted into the festival site straight from Vegas. They ripped into 'Somebody Told Me' first which had an already pumped crowd moving. The opening keyboards to 'Smile Like You Mean It' echoed beautifully around the Pyramid Stage to a rapturous response and 'Mr Brightside' blew away anything else that had been on that stage up to that point. A superb band that I can't wait to see again. I left before the end though because well, there was this guy on the Other Stage...


Beats International, The Mighty Dub Katz, Pizzaman and then eventually global success as Fatboy Slim, Norman Cook has continued to be leading figure on the dance music scene since the mid-90s when his e-influenced solution to everyday life 'Better Living Through Chemistry' put Skint Records on the map and suddenly everybody loved a 303. The following album 'You've Come A Long Way Baby' cemented his position and the party just continued. However since the death of the Superclubs dance music has taken a battering, even Norman's own pioneering sound of Big Beat had lost popularity (some journalists believed that the Rockefeller Skank was indeed the pinnacle and subsequent death of the genre) and there were many people criticising the fact that Norman should continue to punt his 'Big DJ' act around the country. Well, I'll tell you this, it's well worth it.

The intro was a long, long, time in the build up. I jostled to as to the front as I could get with my pint. Grabbing a pair of 3D glasses on the way for 'Palookavision', we waited. Kicking off with the opening to 'Praise You' the Other Stage was suddenly lit up by 9 huge video screens forming the back of the stage with Norman occuping an elevated DJ balcony in the centre. Dancers in short dresses and wellies came to the front of the stage, happily gyrating to the sound and we put our glasses on. Without warning every light became a smiley face. This is not me off my wazzock, this is a genuine step-forward in sunglasses technology. Gimmicky? Yeah, but then Big Beat was never a genre to shy away from crassness. '*****ing In Heaven', 'Star 69', 'Slash Dot Dash' all present and correct as well as Norman borrowing some other tunes for the mix. Witness the awesome breakdown of the Bangles 'Walk Like An Egyptian', the cheeky 'Seven Nation Army' bassline (The White Stripes were on the Pyramid Stage at that point), Mory Kante's Yeke Yeke (a fave of mine since forever)... all there. The crown whooped, jumped and gurned. Around 15 huge acid man bouncy balls got thrown into the audience. Some of the audience were then on the stage. 30 ordinary people cajoling the crowd on stage, mixing with the real dancers, while Norman walked among them having thrown his sampler into 'loop'. He genuinely looked like he was enjoying himself and I remember thinking 'god I want his job'. The Beats were still well and truly Big. Awesome.


I awoke early again and decided I needed more money. This required me to queue for TWO AND A HALF HOURS for £20 at ONE MACHINE (there was a bank of three, only one was working, no-one seemed to know why) that then CHARGED ME TWO QUID FOR THE PRIVILEGE. If I had one request of the Glasto committee it would be to get this sorted for 2007. Next time, take more money I guess, but honestly... So it was a very grumpy John that finally made it to the Pyramid Stage for the final tune by...


I'd really wanted to see these guys' whole set, being a fan of the old rock music. Luckily the tune I did catch what was a superbly bluegrass 'Highway to Hell'. Banjos a-go-go they look liked extras from 'Deliverence' but sounded like they'd been clasically trained in the Deep South. Great fun, so pissed off I didn't see more of them.



"You *****in' knows it! Bob Marley's going to be on this stage later as well as Coldpatrol or Snowplay, but now let's have a GLC party!"

There's something so wonderfully energetic about the GLC that makes me wish I was up on stage jumping, drinking and swearing with them. They seemed to love being up on stage, never seen so many swearwords and drug references on the Pyramid before, but ultimately no-one cared. Hits were all performed 'Guns Don't Kill People', 'You Know I Loves You Baby', 'Your Mother's Got A Penis' not to mention my personal favourite 'Rollerdisco'. They put a smile on my face which, considering that by that point I was thinking of the fuel-air bomb option for Pilton, was something.


The biggest gig for the Chiefs to date saw lead singer Ricky Wilson attack it with the relish of man who knows his band have made it to the top. 'Everyday I Love You Less and Less' was hammered out with the crowd screaming along. Wilson got dragged into the crowd. A riot was indeed predicted and an inflatable dinosaur got pulled on to the stage. Wilson leaped and bounced around the stage and just seemed to love it. Which made me love it too! 'Oh My God' is a great single and I yelled it at the top of my voice like I have for so many other weeks down Ramshackle on a Friday. For the Kaiser Chiefs 'Everything was brilliant at Glastonbury'.


Supposedly the kick in the arse Live8 was looking for, Sir Bob Geldof came on stage and urged people to join hands in order to Make Poverty History. I would have... but it would have meant putting my pint down. You see Glastonbury is... political. Five days of debauched fun and frolics aside, you do get rammed down your throat all manner of big causes. The four main culprits are Oxfam, Greenpeace, Water Aid and the CND. Now don't get me wrong, all these charities are a GOOD THING and the world is a better place for their existence, but it does get a bit wearing after a while. Between bands on the Pyramid Stage you get short films playing. These range from the vomit inducing kids singing to 'Drop the Debt' to the ultra sexy, fight-the-power pop promos of Greenpeace, saving whales, base-jumping, clashing with cops all to the New Radicals 'Get What You Give'. Fair enough you might say, but some of their activites are a) extremely dangerous and b) illegal and you could argue that the video is in some way highly irresponsible. Even more so was the CND recruitment brochure doing the rounds that said basically contained LIES concerning the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima (stating it was unnecessary, Japan were about to surrender anyway). I just hope impressionable teenage minds will discover the truth for themselves instead of read that rubbish. Right, rant over...


Legend alert time then. Ash were one of Britpop's biggies (despite being Irish) and have continued to survive well into this decade. Tim Wheeler's four-man faithful pitched out beautifully the pop records that have made the band such a hit. 'A Life Less Ordinary', 'Sometimes', 'Girl From Mars' and 'Goldfinger' all got an airing as well as the tune I still like to play when DJing 'Kung Fu'. Tim thrashed his guitar, Charlotte positively spanked hers while Mark rocked out on the bass. Plus a 'Teenage Kicks' cover dedicated to you know who. A great band that brought back some great memories for me. Another to see again.


So Echo was the drum machine! So much for me and my research, trudging over to the Other Stage (was that Swamp Thing?) I knew that I had to see this band if only to confirm that they were worthy of the status they garnered. Ian McCulloch smoked and occasionally danced his way through a pretty cool set of psychedilia and shoe gazing. My favourite was the last tune they played 'The Cutter'. And Will Sergeant's hair is still indie personified.


Of course when you're watching an act that you genuinely believe is one of the greatest bands in the history of the known universe you tend to get a bit biased. So I apologise in advance but...


Albeit in a kind of 'if we can keep this together for the next 40 mins we'll have got away with it' way. Barney was quite chatty, as was Hooky, Stephen pounded the drums like there was no tomorrow, his head permenantely cocked in the way it has been for 25 years. Here's your tracks then: 'Crystal', 'Regret', 'Waiting for the Sirens Call', 'Love Vigilantes', 'Bizarre Love Triangle', 'Jetstream' (complete with Ana Matronic from Scissor Sisters), 'Krafty', 'True Faith' ("This one has a groove and if you don't like a groove you can ***** off!"), 'Temptation' - representing Joy Division a truly amazing version of 'Transmission' and for John Peel 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' - prompting the funniest moment of the festival:

HOOKY: This is for John Peel

(the band begin 'Love Will Tear Us Apart')

BARNEY: Stop, stop!

(Hooky's broken a guitar string)

HOOKY: I bet John Peel's up there pissing himself.

They finished the whole thing off with 'World in Motion' which was just great to jump with a crowd shouting 'ENG-GER-LAND!' (complete with Keith Allen). But then - NO! - they ran out of time and there was no 'Blue Monday' - DENIED. A shame as it would have been the best performance of the festival. Still amazing to finally see some of my heroes live though. 9/10 - one point dropped for not finishing the set. And so they gave way to...


"Crazy Frog: Where are you now?!" so said Chris Martin during 'Speed of Sound'. You see I never knew Martin was so funny. I had fully expected to go to this gig expecting to hate the guy, but slowly it dawned on me that the way to success, money and women was to write a few ballads, something Martin admits (my album will be out later this year folks - look out James Blunt! ). Coldplay took a gentle stroll through their hits, all great tunes, sure, if not the insane rocking one would hope for on a Saturday night. As the biggest band on the planet outside perhaps of U2, Coldplay looked confident and assured, despite Martin cocking-up the start to one song. 'Clocks' was hammered out as a rock-tastic finale with Martin's chin getting ever closer to the keyboard of the piano, almost like he needs glasses. They finished by playing a cover of 'Can't Get You Out Of My Head' by Kylie as a tribute to Glasto 2005's fallen Pop Princess. Coldplay weren't my favourite act this year, but they did a brilliant set and proved their worth. Endearing.


Once again I wussed out of Saturday's late night activities to rest my weary feet (I'm getting old) and watched the clean-up of the Pyramid Stage in the morning. I mused that I hadn't spent much time hanging out with the Other Stage this year, whereas other years I'm there a lot. But the line-up wasn't my cup of tea this year. So what had gone wrong? The atmosphere? The weather? The twats who insist on stopping suddenly while walking along a busy pathway? Probably all three. Would Sunday raise my spirits? Luckily, it just about did.


Any band that plays the 'Imperial March' from the 'Empire Strikes Back', immediately gets my vote as a great way to kick off a gig. The band, resplendent in their smart uniforms drummed out Broadway hits, 'Ticket to Ride', 'Pomp and Circumstance Number 1', 'The Way to Amarillo' and 'The Muppet Show Theme'. A great way to kick off your Sunday morning.


The guy who drums his bongos in an amazing way smiles like he really enjoys his job. It's not hard to see why. The lithe, sultry, sensual dancers of the Bellydance Superstars performed an X-Rated show on Pyramid for a Sunday morning, but it was well worth sticking about for... Phwoarr!


Sadly some schedling genius put these guys in their form as '2ManyDJs' up against Basement Jaxx so I trooped over to the Other Stage to see them there in their 'band mode'. Unfortunately by that point I was knackered from having packed-up my tent (I decided to leave on the Sunday night, I'd had enough) and kept falling asleep. Sorry, lads. I'll do better next time. Be at the front, promise.


The Fabrics play a scat-riddled, jazz funk set with big keyboards and Alex Lydiate's vocals pitching and falling all over the shop. I like it... but I prefer it when Joe and his frankly insane drummer just do the drum & bass stuff. However, if it is your bag then go see the Fabrics if they're playing near you - go! Go!


Last year we got Macca and so the Beach Boys decided to get even. Even though Wilson's not a young man anymore this was a great gig, energetic and light. He played loads of great Beach Boys stuff (I wasn't so familar with the solo bits and pieces) and especially loved the encore of 'Barbara Ann', 'Help Me Rhonda' 'Surfin USA' and 'She'll Have Fun, Fun, Fun'. This was also the most crowded I'd ever seen the Pyramid Stage area as Brian was enjoyed by young and old alike. Good times, good set, good vibrations.


Yay! A guilty pleasure of mine, Garbage were great. I still love Shirley Manson, even though she'd prbably eat me for breakfast. From making sure the crowd were having a good time, to humping a sex doll for 'Why Do You Love Me?' Shirley and the band rocked out in a way that only an experienced act like themselves can do. They dedicated 'Push It' to Brian Wilson for his letting them sample the Beach Boys on it and whipped the crowd into a frenzy with 'Only Happy When It Rains'. 'Stupid Girl' was there too - marvellous, really, really enjoyed it.


What is Bobby Gillespie's problem? Clearly off his face, he launched attacks on Basement Jaxx, spat on cameras, was an arsehole to the stage crew and just generally behaved like a ****. Which is a shame. You see, I love a lot of Primal Scream's output and danced my arse off to 'Kill All Hippies', 'Rocks', 'Swastika Eyes' and 'Jailbird', but the more and more I thought about the gig the more it left a sour taste in my mouth. Mani was gurning so badly he was going to chew his own face off (even down to playing the bass riff to the Jackson 5's 'I Want You Back' as the band were told to get off stage), but at leats he wasn't abusive. Being rock and roll means attitude, it doesn't mean behaving like a spoilt c***.


However - "Don't Worry! Don't Panic!"

This was a spectacular show, an exercise in good performance. It was funny, soulful, funky and, as the Basement women pointed out "***** that's Bananas! B-A-N-A-N-A-S!" They kicked off with 'Good Luck', instantly erasing the sour taste of Gillespie's antics and pounded through their best hits. Highlights included a guitar laced version of 'Rendevous', a powerful mix of 'Romeo'. 'Red Alert' was elevated to the classic status it always deserved. They ALSO covered 'Can't Get You Out of My Head' turning into a soul record. 'Where's Your Head At?' was incredible and for the encore they brought on a full Brazillian drumming band to launch into 'Bingo Bango'. It was an awesome end to a good festival.

But it wasn't that great. At least not for me. Again it's difficult to put my finger on any one thing. My spirits were dampened, even crushed maybe by the weather and the ensuing welly wearing, but overall it just felt a bit flat this time. I'm glad next year is a year off. Hopefully come 2007 I'll be 'up for it' a bit more. However no huge highs this year (with the exception perhaps of the Fatboy and New Order) and no real 'wow' moments.

Maybe I'll have better luck in 2007

Friday, 19 June 2009

Glastonbury Reviews - 2004

Glastonbury 2004

The weather was a fair bit worse than 2003’s sunshine. The wellies were out and my kagool came home reeking of cigarettes and shit. The Chemical Brothers performance was truly amazing though.


Following on from last year's review this is my take on what I saw at this year's festival. I'll try to include as much as possible. For the record - did I enjoy it as much as last year? No. This was partly due to weather which really got to me after a while. Still, I did have a good time and here, from the Friday through until the Sunday was what I got up to...



Kicking off the Pyramid Stage this year were this fun, slightly unhinged, but rewarding group from Norway. Imagine two Avid Merrions sat on drum kits on the opposite sides of the stage with a guitarist and knob-twiddler inbetween and you get the idea. Pounding breakbeats, squelching and voice samples all contributed to a fun, jaunty act that I would see again as those guys seemed to love playing. "Alan, Kick it!"


And over the Other Stage to see this lot of wannabes. Reminded me of Primal Scream in some ways, but all the tunes seemed to just fade in to each other. Interestingly, I heard one of their tracks on Radio 1 on the way out of the Festival - sounded nothing like the version I heard. Yawn.


Errr... Dull. What I mean is that I'm struggling to remember anything about these guys, at the time I thought they sounded like the Thrills. Um... they supported Starsailor once (more on whom later)... Sorry, these review will get better in a minute.


The new Cast! The other Coral! I don't know. Four scousers who looked and sounded if they were going to break into a chorus 'There She Goes' at any moment. Inoffensive indie/pop that failed to set me off, but who knows?


Hooray! Quality act alert! This three piece were melodic, graceful and had lyrics that engaged, with me certainly, anyway. At one point they were joined on stage by Guy Garvey of Elbow, who had helped to record their debut album 'Natural History'. The gig was only marred by a frankly bizarre incident whereby the band were informed that they had overrun. A Stage Manager came on, spoke to lead singer John Bramwell who then pushed said bemused looking Stage Manager. The bloke walked off-stage leaving Bramwell to launch in to their final song. They got thirty seconds in when all power was cut to the stage. Bramwell was left shouting "I'm not going anywhere!" as their drummer left his seat and took his bow.


Maybe it's an easy listening thing. Maybe it's a London thing. Maybe it's just me. I don't 'get' Badly Drawn Boy. His songs to me are shambling, rambling dirges - no matter how 'upbeat' they're meant to sound. You can tell why the crowd love him, he does engage with them. He has as a chat; is extremely self-deprecating - then declares himself 'better than Bono' (a statement swiftly followed up with the denial 'that was all Bull****' in case anyone actually thought that he might genuinely believe that thus ruining his carefully constructed loveable-talented-but-amateur image). He also kept dedicating his performance to Joe Strummer... who quite frankly deserves better.


Bless Gary Lightbody as he came on the stage clasping his head to his hands overwhelmed by the sheer number of people who had turned up to the Other Stage to see them. Snow Patrol didn't need to win over this audience, all was left was for Lightbody to declare that this was 'their biggest gig ever'. More than just the Scottish Coldplay, Snow Patrol had a beautiful quality to them that marked them out for me as a stand-out act. 'Run' was, of course, magnificent, prompting the sort of sing-a-long reserved for the Pyramid Stage. I have been converted...


If this band haven't put a huge smile on your face yet then I want to know why. Tight-as-you-like, looking like Kraftwerk from the front cover to 'Trans Europe Express', FF were simply great. The didn't hang around, rocking, pogo-ing and posing through their songs as the audience followed suit. 'Take Me Out' was a stand-out moment as we thrashed about for the opening minute and the danced into the pace-change and hook. Cheeky lyrics changing on 'Dark of the Matinee' too ("So I'm on BBC 3 now/Telling Edith Bowman how I made it...) Quite simply, if you get the chance go and see them! Why they weren't on the Pyramid Stage, I've no idea.


Sod Oasis. If you went and enjoyed those guys well good luck to you, for me the words 'currently overrated' sprang to mind. Still it didn't stop the Other Stage from being rammed for a top-notch performance from Tom and Ed Chemical. In the forty minutes leading up to the performance, Kraftwerk's 'The Mix' album was used to keep the punters warm, appropriate really as pure-electronica was what this was all about. Beginning with a looped intro that warmed-up the crowd it wasn't long before the lads appeared on stage and launched into a commanding rendition of 'Hey Boy, Hey Girl'. Surrounded by mixing desks and keyboards, Tom and Ed quickly launched in to the set proper as 'Music:Response' kicked in and a gigantic screen appeared from the back of the stage featuring a bloke silhouetted in white dancing. Cue thousands of people losing it completely. 'Block Rockin' Beats' quickly followed behind. Tom and Ed took it in turns to get to the stage's edge and get the crowd more hyped (like they needed it) as the gig continued. Barney's lyrics for 'Out of Control' got cut-up and reworked and Noel Gallagher's vocals on 'Setting Sun' were just scrapped completely - the tune is big enough for an instrumental version as it is. Woe betide anyone on hallucinogens as a terrifying clown announced 'We Are All Your Children Now' on the huge screen. I don't know what the final track was, but it built beautifully and then cut-out completely, only to have the Brothers restart proceedings a second later - this was a calculated masterstroke, especially after the fifth or sixth time it happened, letting a crowd get pumped further and further. Ingenious, incredible, unbelievable. A legendary gig.

I caught the end of FREQ NASTY down at the Glade which had become rammed due to the belief that NORMAN COOK was going to play in the guise of the 'Drunk Soul Brother'. This was to be followed by the 'London Dust Explosion' i.e. the CHEMICAL BROTHERS. This would have been a neat little trick for those who knew and had picked up on the mysterious special guests in the programme. Instead Orange decided to mass-text everyone that these giants of dance music would be dropping in to DJ leading to a huge gridlock of punters waiting to dance combined with people returning from OASIS. After FREQ NASTY had finished playing they announced that WILL WHITE and NICK WARREN would be DJing until 4am. 'Was that Fat Boy Slim and the Chemical Brothers we saw DJing in the Glade last night?' asked the Q Glastonbury Daily. No, I don't think it was.



The joy of Cassetteboy is a simple one - speech samples and some music are cut-and-paste together in order to create hilarious juxtapositions. This is accompanied by two grown men - one in a track suit with Bush mask on, one in a dress with a Blair mask on, who mime to said samples while most of the time simulating anal sex. This is also the problem with Cassetteboy. It doesn't really go anywhere and the cut-up samples of world leaders is so overused now it lacks interest. Better were the media attacks from the plain rude: 'Harry Potter and the/Under/Age/Blow/Job' to the great fun 'What/is/the/point/of/Big Brother?' Cassetteboy need new material if they're going to continue to greatness.


I had been lead to believe by several people over the years that Spearhead were a fantastic live act that would blow you away. This, unhappily, was not the case. Franti is a talented performer. His energy never wanes and he can certainly motivate a crowd, but this gig was all about... the bloody politics. Fair play to Franti, unlike the mischief making of Cassetteboy, in itself pretty harmless, this man has been out to Iraq and talked to the Iraqi people and US troops. And didn't he like to talk about it. At one point I assumed that the whole stage was going to rearrange itself for Michael to show us the photographic slides of his trip. It was cold. It was wet. I wanted to get motivated. I wanted to dance. I got a lecture. Disappointing.


"They're, like, the greatest band ever!" some enthusiast gushed as I went back into the crowd. Rest assured they're not, but they are jolly good fun. Camper than our tents on Pennard Hill, they arrived on stage in a splash of psychedelia. Jake Shears and Anna Matronic wowed the crowd and got into the spirit of things, Jake wearing a frankly cold looking one piece spandex suit. 'Laura' got people moving, whereas I preferred the 'Comfortably Numb' cover. I remarked they were just the 'B-52s all over again' to which my friend, Nick added 'but with synthesizers!'. A more helpful point to make rather than 'they were the B-52s... on acid!' - which is a rather neat segue into this chap...


"I'm attempting to do stand-up comedy with the tools normally reserved for revolutionaries!" I'm not entirely sure if Lee and Herring are still together, but I'd happily see Mr Lee solo again. The Cabaret tent lost all power some three minutes into Lee's set, leaving the man to stand in the audience and address the crowd with a megaphone. This lead to all sorts of improvisational greatness. Enjoyed this immensely. "Sometimes James Brown wants us to get up. Sometimes he wants us to get down. He should clarify his position."


Starsailor are technically a very good band, with a problem. They don't have any stand-out tracks with a big enough hook for the audience to get in to them. If they perhaps stopped whining a bit and engaged with rock a bit more they could do huge things. I just kept thinking 'so nearly there'... Not great, but not at all bad either.


Watched the first five minutes and then voted with my feet. Rubbish. I maintain my position that they all need a slap.


"He's such an embarrassing granddad... I love him" was the comment from one punter, well I think Paul knows this and plays up to it. Everything was "groooovy" (that's right with four 'o's) and his question "Is it possible to rock in wellies?" was answered for itself. It is and when you've got Paul to dance to, it's an amazing experience. He opened with 'Jet' and just didn't let up. While some of the audience knew the newer stuff it was the Beatles and Wings songs that got the most cheers. Highlights for me were 'Back in the USSR', 'Sgt Peppers', 'Band on the Run' and the pyrotechnically incredible 'Live and Let Die' complete with shooting jets of flame from the stage and Bond visuals behind. An awesome gig from an awesome performer. Thoroughly pleased I saw this. Everybody - "Hey Juuuuuuuuuude..."



Check it out! It's a full orchestra on the Pyramid Stage! This was superb, suitably different for the Sunday and damned powerful stuff. The singers (dressed by Cyberdog) created a doom-laden atmosphere that was wonderful to experience. The singer playing Brunhillde was superb, conveying the character's bravery, but also her respect and defeat in the eyes of her father. Actually the weather got nice and dark as Wotan approached, and he was marvellous too. This was a great success and I hope they repeat it next year. Encore!


Neil Hannon is a bit of a legend really and this (truncated) performance by the 'Comedy only went on to prove this. They rattled off several tunes including the great 'Becoming More Like Alfie' and 'Songs of Love', before launching into a banjo-strumming cover of the Queens of the Stone Age's 'No One Knows'. Thus the crowd were warmed up for a full-on singing of 'Something for the Weekend' and 'National Express'... Except it didn't happen. I don't know why this is. Maybe Neil's fed-up with them, or maybe they were pushed for time? A bit of a shame, but still a great performance.

At this point it's worth noting at this point that I hung back a bit from the bands and had a beer. THE ORDINARY BOYS were on the Other Stage at this point and I didn't pay that much attention, though I do like the new single. The intention was to then get a bit of kip and go and see SUPERGRASS. Unfortunately I overslept and made it to the Pyramid Stage in time for...


When you're Morrissey I guess you can do whatever the hell you like. In this case he kept us waiting, when the curtain began to peel back to reveal his name spelled out in red lights, I wondered if the hype and the ego were going to eclipse the performance. It didn't and I can now begin to see why the man's return to the UK is such a big deal. Launching into 'Don't Make Fun Of Daddy's Voice', the man was a huge, swaggering giant, playing off his trademark misery. His instructions to 'not overdose' during the performance was funny, but also slightly chilling given the drug related death already reported on-site. I didn't stay for the whole of Mozza, cos there was something more important. Yes, really... However given the opportunity I would definitely see this guy again. Super stuff.


Even as I write this the hairs on the back of my neck are standing up. This was important. Massively important. When I first got into dance music back in the early 90s one of the first bands my friends encouraged me to listen to were Orbital. I had arranged the speakers on my stereo to what I believed to be an optimum listening position and then sat down in front to listen to 'Lush 3-1'. As the crystal clear notes bounced and echoed around my room it was like staring into a mirror facing another mirror, notes echoing off into infinity. As I grew-up Orbital grew too. They became scarier, more intricate, sometimes friendlier and often epic. The live shows became legendary and until last Sunday I hadn't attended one of them. This is entirely my own fault of course for not getting my act together. However on Sunday the stage was set. And this time it was for their last show ever.
Maybe not 'ever', the brothers had another gig to play elsewhere but as far as everyone was concerned, this Glastonbury 2004 performance was it. They opened on time and gently taking the time to introduce themselves. Each tune was broken down into its own separate area. This was not the continued sensory assault of the Chemical Brothers. Each piece of Orbital mastery was allowed to stand for itself. 'The Box' has always been an innocently huge record and proved so again here. A sampled Christopher Eccleston opened up some incredible new tunes. 'Belfast' echoed and poured into hearts and minds. 'Satan' continued to be the terrifying party-stopping rocker it always has been. And then they went off...
And came back on again. The effect of 'Impact' on a crowd in many ways defies explanation. A driven breakbeat, followed by a high pitched one note of strings that creates the sense of foreboding that the very sky is about to fall on you. And when it does, my God, it's magnificent. 'Impact' is as close as you can come to my mind for dance music perfection. A reach-for-the-lasers breakdown that becomes an acid riddled thumping piece of techno. "It's... it's like a cry for survival... a cry for survival... survival for them and for us..." This time it was particularly pertinent. In two songs time, there would be no survival for this band.
In the radius of twenty people around me I think I was probably the only one who stuck two hands in the air and screamed as a sampled William Hartnell said:

"One day, I shall come back. Yes, I shall come back. Until then there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine."

Were Orbital talking about the return of 'Doctor Who', the festival or themselves? One suspects all three. I really, really hope they get the 'Doctor Who' gig. In the meantime this was wonderful as 'Doctor ?' rang it's death knell turned pounding bassline into one of the greatest pieces of electronica ever. I don't think my hands left the air as their version of the theme played and then became 'Chime'. Perfection had just got better. 'Chime', like 'Impact' is in many ways a simple house/rave record with techno trappings... a simple piano line that sounds like bells being hammered across the universe. We all danced like idiots at the time, it's only now that the whole gig provokes a feeling of immense happiness and immense sadness. All Orbital did was bow and leave the stage. No second encore. That was it.

Maybe it's time to grow up. The finish for Orbital and the finish for Glastonbury 2004. Game over. Mission accomplished.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Glastonbury Reviews - 2003

Glastonbury 2003

This was the first review I ever wrote festival wise, and it doesn’t really get across what a glorious sunshine filled four days it actually was. 2003 was a wake-up call for me, especially since I’d missed all this sort of thing as a teenager.

The best bit about reading it back now are all those bands that I was convinced would be around for a while - Electric Six, Junior Senior and, um, the Polyphonic Spree.

OK, here's a band by band account of what and who I saw at Glastonbury with
additional bits thrown in.

Crispin Mills new project, had to resort to doing a Kula Shaker song in
order to get some sort of crowd response. Passable.
This is more like it! A Ron Jeremy look-a-like who's favourite word is
'f*cking', Har Mar appeared on stage with the fabulous Manumission Dancers
who writhed and jiggled their way around him. Best described as 'disco
ballads' the songs were about s*x and little else. Hilarious. He'll be on
your telly soon, no doubt.
BRISTOL REPRESENT! Basically the latest project from my mate Joe who I've
known for years. A mixture of Jazz, Scat, and Drum & Bass. Weird, but kind
of fun.
Genuinely great heroes of Hip Hop. They rocked and I loved the way they
hated doing 'Me, Myself and I'.
More hero worship for two geeky looking chaps from Brighton accompanied by
first visit to the Dance Tent.
Great rock, heavy, unrelenting from a band recommended to me by Mr Nick.
Sequenced beats made sure you could pogo and keep your dance credentials
sound. Started to realise how great everything was.
Yes, Dick Valentine is my new hero. Standing in front of the band, hands in
pockets, leaning back, grin on face - he's a great entertainer. Thoroughly
enjoyable. It got better when HAR MAR SUPERSTAR came on stage and announced
to Dick. "I'm on a lot of Ecstasy, dude. And I'm surprised you haven't
invited me to the f*cking GAY BAR!" The crowd went nuts, the guitarists did
their stuff and laughed our asres off. Great fun, would LOVE to see these
guys again. FIRE IN THE DISCO!
Novelty act number 2! I didn't go all the way into the New Tent to see
Denmark's Best Dance Act (Remember who broke them in this country folks - it
was me). I listened from outside the tent, I am reliably informed that they
were good, although the number of people who left after they did 'Move Your
Feet' left us shouting "You only came for one song!"
After some recovery time I ventured back to the Dance Tent to see another
hero of mine. Uncle Norman's beats were big, but due to poor acoustics where
we were dancing wasn't the greatest in the world. However I did 'put my
hands up in the air' when commanded. OK.
Yeah! We stayed for a couple of songs one of which was 'Rocks' - pretty
special by all accounts.
Seeing Jo Whiley trying to contact people on her mobile while also looking
at Junior Senior.
Some harsh rock. Good looking bassist though. Very cute in her boots and
Bluesy rock. Very good actually, enjoyable!
In a word: magnificent. He did all his classic tunes and grooving in the sun
to his voice and reggae beats seemed like the most natural thing in the
world. I felt honoured to be there.
Weird, religious cult types with upbeat California-loving style music. By
now heat exhaustion was setting in and everything seemed a bit strange.
And then after a rest...
Hey Girl!
Hey Boy!
Here we go!
And so began my favourite performance of the whole festival. Yes there were
loads more technically adept performers, better singers, bigger bands, but
for me Soulwax, three skinny indie kids, mixing Electroclash, hard house and
throwing in Rock tracks was amazing. The Chemical Brothers, Nirvana, The
White Stripes, The House of Pain, The Cult, Beyonce Knowles, Justin
Timberlake, NERD, Salt N Pepa - you name it, they played it. We were at the
front, jumping like idiots, getting water thrown over us, I was screaming
'GET YOUR F*CKING BOOTLEG ON!'. Utterly inspiring for me and 100 times
better than Fatboy Slim. I grinned like a loon for hours afterwards.
"Hello Hippy Scum!" Bill's great fun live. He did three encores and made me
laugh. A lot. Will definitely see this man again.
And... I'm not entirely sure what happened after that. A lot of Pear Cider
was quaffed, Brandy Coffees... I ended talking to the Samaritans at 8 in the
morning... fell asleep by the Pyramid Stage...
A quite obviously munted Sara Cox and Norman Cook introducing Emily Eavis on
the Main Stage to talk about not 'P*ssing in the streams'. Norman then
informed us 'Don't touch the Brown Acid."
ARRGHH, Ouch what happened?
Harsh Bhangra beats. Oww... my head!
The hangover vanished for half an hour while those gorgeous sirens came on
to the Main Stage. While they didn't really rock Glastonbury, it was a lot
of fun and, of course, 'Freek Like Me' was amazing.
The rain came down, the angst came out and it was great. I found I
remembered more about these guys than I'd thought and sang along with the
rest of the indie kids. Brought me close to tears at points. Incredible.
Spliff in hand and near incomprehensible lyrics close by, Tricky ranged from
unmoving statue to epileptic nutcase. Rock met drum and bass and the
offspring was actually quite groovy.
To be honest... who cares?
Bumping into BEZ!
And that's it. It's fairly easy to see where I peaked! Great fun, will
definitely go again.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Praying to the weather gods

Thanks to the proliference of Twitter in the last 12 months I've been more aware than ever of the amount of hope and fear put into the weather during one week in June.

I don't think there's any other event that generates the same sort of interest - short of England's Ashes campaign being weather dependent - Glastonbury attracts the most fervent weather-watching.

Firstly the Met Office is by far the most used Government Website and so this week actually raises peak traffic to government sites, so Glastonbury helps some anxious civil servants meet their traffic targets. Secondly there are a huge host of sites outside the BBC and Met Office that each have an opinion about the skies above. Netweather.tv has its own blog entries and forum discussion about the Festival weather. Meanwhile there was the 'Monsoon theory' that scored some well-timed publicity for the University of Southampton. Whatever happens, pack your mac* and your wellies.

*Not that Mac, the one you wear to keep the rain off.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Sunday 29th of June

In which John pulls a Jack Bauer (by which he means he almost stays up for 24 hours).

My original plan for the Sunday morning was to go and distribute some more books, only the weather had other ideas. That and on approaching Pedestrian Gate C to get back to the car the queue to get back out of the festival was immense. Were these all the townies who'd had enough post-Jay Z?

Deciding my time would be better spent elsewhere I went and interviewed Wooden Books in the Green Futures Field. It's a strange place the GFF, not content to be the domain of bongo-playing hippies small activist tents are present. The CND sits uncomfortably alongside the Ramblers Association as if to say if you like coastal path walking you should also be anti-Trident. Most forlorn looking is the Anti-Coca Cola tent, which has a few t-shirts with slogans attacking Coke milling about in the breeze. It fails to make me feel guilty about the can I had for breakfast.

I stole away to the Jazz Field. The site didn't seem busier, on Sunday, Glastonbury opens its doors to local residents with complimentary tickets. The litter was now sweeping across the site that four days ago had seemed so empty and green. A dwelled in the field with friends, summoning up the strength to visit a poetry slam. As you may imagine it was a Herculean effort.

The afternoon drew on and I found myself outside the Pyramid watching BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE about whom I remember relatively little, though they were more competent than their smacked-up appearance in this documentary had lead me to believe.


was better and I saw him do 'Red Red Wine', a fine performance. Only at that point I thought I'd lost my wallet and that sent me scurrying back to my tent as soon as I possibly could. I hadn't, but I was running low on funds.

I decided to brave the cash machines on the corner of Pennard Hill. As I queued the unmistakably smug and evil voice of MARK RONSON drifted over to me. Now here was a man who knew how to get the party started. Inviting a pink-haired LILY ALLEN on-stage to do her cover of the Kaiser Chiefs 'Oh My God' Lily wowed the crowd by relating the sad news that her Grandma 'Nanny Allen' was dead. I imagined Keith and Uncle Kevin chewing gum and drinking lager while stood over a coffin, itching to get back to the festival.

Grabbing some dinner while THE PIGEON DETECTIVES bored thousands through their set, I considered the fact that this was all pretty much over for me. Two acts and one night to go. I'd arranged evac from the site from my good friends Matt and Angela. This would take place at approximately 5am following meeting at 4...


I'd be lying if I claimed to be there for the Zutons music, though I enjoyed most of the gig. I was probably more there for Abi Harding's legs. 'Valerie' got its third play of the Festival in it's more laid-back form, which would probably have better suited the crowds a few hours back from this evening performance. Overall though, I find them a band that it's impossible to dislike and who deserve bigger fame than they've currently got.


I find it hard to believe that up to this point in my life and being a fan over ten years, this was the first time I'd actually seen the premier league dance act play live. They did pretty much everything on this greatest hits performance. 'Madder', 'Song 4 Mutya', 'At the River', 'I See You Baby' were all present, though the highlight was an ultra-pounding version of 'Chicago' from the first album 'Vertigo'. As usual, being the last act, they were allowed to use the lasers and the light show was pretty impressive. They finished on 'Super Stylin' was which was mega. As I rapidly ran out of superlatives it was back to the Brothers Bar to finish the night there.


At about 4am I was making my way up to the Dance Field to meet Matt and commence the long trek home. Managing to overbalance with my rucksack, tent and sleeping bag on my back, I decked myself into the grass, breaking the arm off my glasses and giving myself a scar on my face and bruise on my leg that I still have. I hurt.

Dawn broke as we trekked back to Pedestrian Gate C and the vast Disneyworld-like car parks. We were on the road by a quarter to five, the sun emerging brilliantly over the Somerset Levels.

A swift trip to Bristol saw me getting on a train to Paddington by 6am and passing out. When I woke up, I discovered we were on our way to Swansea.

Panic set it, while realisation crept up on me. I got the right train, only I'd slept to Paddington, slept through the changeover and was now on my way in the opposite direction. Scrambling for my stuff I jumped out at a commuter riddled Reading to get on a train going back into London. Everything had that special extra-sharp quality that only sleep-deprivation provides. People stared. They knew where I'd been, though what I was doing on a Reading platform wasn't that clear.

I made sure I stayed awake all the way back to London.

Monday, 7 July 2008

Saturday 28th of June

The sun was shining when I awoke, slowly baking inside my tent. I checked the time and realised I wasn't late.

I scurried down to the Pyramid Stage, had a truly pathetic taco for breakfast (I was beyond trying to observe regular rules for meals by now) but was in the perfect position to see a living legend take to the stage.


Shakey's still got it! Tapping into some of my earliest memories of bouncing on my parents bed to 'This Old House' Shakey delivered a rock and roll spectacular that proved he could still sing. If there was some disappointment it was the refusal by the Welsh star to perform 'Green Door' which must have really annoyed the guys who carted an actual Green Door down to the Pyramid Stage (it was dual purpose, having a message for JAY-Z on the other side). Overall though a great way to kick off the Saturday.

It was then time to leave the festival, albeit briefly. I went and met Mark and the 5th Estate Estate and picked up a load of books for distribution on site. The east car parks at Glastonbury are vast, extending as far as Oxfordshire. After a good 35 minutes of wondering I finally found Mark and loaded up with copies of the 5th Estate Sampler. There was an eerie quiet in the car parks. The festival seemed distant. This must be what it's like for residents of Pilton I thought...

I wondered back into the site and distributed some books. The take-up was actually faster than the Hay Festival which was encouraging. People who like cider, like books, was my conclusion. Dumping my big rucksack back at the tent, I went in search of the Socialist Bookshop, more on whom later and then all the way round to the Other Stage for


Who for me were the biggest and best surprise at this festival. A side project of the SUPER FURRY ANIMALS' Gruff Rhys and Bryan Hollon AKA BOOM BIP Neon Neon was a glorious return to 80s electro, forged via a concept album about John De Lorean, automobile entrepreneur. While this is precisely the sort of tenuous bollocks that would have me running for the hills the whole thing actually works, brilliantly so. Evoking Depeche Mode and even New Order at times, Gruff duetted with Cate Le Bon on the great 'I Lust U' and then upped the ante with bringing out club favourite HAR MAR SUPERSTAR belting out the brilliantly seedy 'Sweat Shop'. I like Gruff in his Super Furries guise, but this was so odd, interesting and downright fun I hope NEON NEON stick around for a while.


Cassetteboy is actually two grown men in silly masks who perform mime to a selection of genius cutups. 'Harry Potter and the Underage Blow Job' is a particular highlight. DJ Rubbish is not a DJ at all, but an MC with a DJ in a Mexican wrestlers mask. This is exactly the sort of thing that would liven up the Jonathan Ross chat show occasionally.

Was my album of the year until I heard Neon Neon. Duffy took the stage looking like the sort of pop pixie that could out-Kylie Kylie. And she almost bloody did too. Her voice is something else, motown/soul quality from one so little. While most of the crowd were there for her top hit 'Mercy' her versions of 'Distant Dreamer' and 'Rockferry' (my personal fave) were more incredible, she's top-notch and look forward to seeing if (hopefully) she tries her hand at some Goldfrapp style reinvention...

And now a note about flags. Regular readers of my Glastonbury blogs will know how much I detest these standards waving about in front of the stage, you may as well write 'I'M A MASSIVE COCK!' on each one for all I care. During Duffy, I found myself stood next to a man carrying one of the flags. So I asked him about it.

"It's for identification mainly, so other members of our party, there's four of us, can see where we are."

Four of you! There's about 15 of us, but we don't feel the need for a flag... Or in this case a retractable pole with a pathetic windsock on the end of it... Think people, think before you give into the flag madness!

I had a nap now, the first time in four days I'd needed a siesta, I was holding up better than last year.


Surprise band on the Park Stage who weren't Tenacious D (how do these rumours start?). I didn't stick around.

My phone, despite changing batteries was running seriously low on power. I decided for the first time ever to drop into the Orange Chill and Charge Tent. This was a seriously bizarre experience, in the middle tent the size of a barn, a DJ plays techno while people sit around tables waiting for their phones to charge, for the most part not making conversation, but staring into space, only stopping to check their phones. While I was grateful for the rest I was struck by the strangeness of the activity. Phone charging is not something that should be attempted socially. Not to mention that for ages Orange have been flogging the Nokia 6300 (my phone) and yet only had about six points to actually charge it at. I wonder how much the electricity costs over the weekend?


I saw the last three songs. She was wasted, falling over herself, talking gibberish and yes, punching the crowd. She can sing though, she just needs to lay off the booze and drugs before she does. They're for afterwards, Amy, afterwards!!

The main event. Everything about the weekend seemed to be hanging on this performance. Arguably one of the biggest names in the world, the first hip hop act to headline Glastonbury had to be something extraordinary. And it was. Beginning with a video clip of Noel Gallagher laying into him, other clips followed, watch the whole thing below.

The show that followed was all about one man and his mission, Jay-Z strode out to Wonderwall, his two fingered salute to Noel and then pounded the stage with '99 Problems', awesome isn't the word. Covers of 'Smack my Bitch Up' and 'Rehab' followed with huge hits like 'Girls, Girls, Girls' and 'Big Pimpin' kept the crowd moving. If we have one complaint it's that Jay-Z didn't use the other weapons in his arsenal. We'd been promised special guests like Beyonce, Chris Martin and Rihanna - none showed up. The man had decided that he needed to do this alone and he did so spectacularly. Good entertainment is good entertainment full stop, no matter what your music background is. 'Hardcore, do you want more?' Yes, yes please!


Time for some late night raving at the Glade with theatrical dance act Vexkiddy. For those that don't know Cuthbert and Strangeways, they're a Bristol based outfit who dress their manic hardcore rave up as a Victorian Time Experiment (that's the experiment going wrong again on the left). However their shows appear to have been increasingly more shambolic. This time around as they were playing the 1am slot which is a Silent Disco. Unlike the Silent Discos up at the Park you had to pay £10 for hiring your headphones. This confused late arrivals. Secondly a lot of people didn't understand Vexkiddy's way of playing out scenes between the music. So people started booing when the music stopped and the two guys started chatting. It ended with microphones everywhere, a decimated stage and some disgruntled looking roadies.

On the way back up to the tent I got stuck behind some guys with a huge flag. On the flag it read 'TEXT ME ON 077998...'

I was so glad I'd charged my phone. I texted away, but didn't get a reply, which I assume means he took my message of 'YOU'RE A MASSIVE COCK' the way it was intended.