I Capture the Castle – Dodie Smith: It’s a bit like the Famous Five, all midnight feasts and adventures, except in their late teens with teenage angst and snogging each other’s boyfriends.
Emma Watson, aka Hermione Granger, on the tube.
Wednesday: arrive at about 3.30. Put up tent near the John Peel stage, then go and watch last 20 minutes of England v Slovenia. Many people are conspicuously not pacing themselves. The festival doesn’t properly start for another 2 days and they are already hammered and sunburnt. Fewer vuvuzelas than I was anticipating, so that’s a bonus. After the footie we located our favourite tent from last year – Honeybuns tea and cake. Comfy chairs, shade and newspapers to read. That’s mine and Mr Beet’s idea of a good festival.
There’s no bands until Friday, so we wander round the stalls, scrutinise the schedule to plan what bands we want to see (the plan is invariably discarded once things get started, but it’s still fun) and then retire to the tent at around 8pm, ostensibly to pick up jumpers but since we got up at 5am we end up just falling asleep. When I say I’m going to Glastonbury, people who’ve never been always give me a look as if to say “you didn’t strike me as the type to participate in that kind of hedonistic rock and roll bacchanalia.” If only they knew the truth.
Thursday: The weather continues to be scorchio, with not a cloud in the sky, and it’s dusty. The dust adheres to your suncream – Mr Beet keeps insisting he has a tan, but I point out that it’s not a tan if it comes off on a babywipe. We explore the site in full, including the green fields, the healing fields and the stone circle, which we never got around to last year. For those of you who’ve never been, Glastonbury is huge and it’s quite possible to stay in one area all weekend. You have to allow about 30 minutes to walk between the main stages between acts, slightly less this year, because there is no mud. I spot the elephant, thereby completing the full set. Honeybuns. Cinema tent for Four Lions by Chris Morris which was excellent. Bands start tomorrow. Excited.
Friday: We get to the Other Stage by 10.30 to watch the Magic Numbers. It’s already scorching and no shade. The security guards start giving out water towards the end. Afterwards, we head over to the shade and sanctuary of the Circus and Cabaret tents to watch some circus and standup. Feel slightly sorry for the acts who play in here mid-afternoon, when everyone in there is taking the opportunity to have a little nap. Outside there are hula hoop workshops, which Mr Beet loved
and clay workshops. Mr Beet makes an elephant. I make a cat. The elephant is better.
Honeybuns. John Peel stage to watch Kele from Bloc Party (not a fan of Bloc Party but this was really good) and then Ellie Goulding. Then over to see Florence and the Machine at the Other Stage. Back to the circus fields – always something interesting going on there – this time a fancy dress skateboarding show in which the skateboarders are all too intoxicated to do any of their tricks and the compere is too intoxicated to remember his spiel. It was something along the lines of him needing to find a husband for his daughter and getting the crowd to decide which character was the most suitable. The choices included Jesus
James Bond, the Phantom of the Opera, Elvis and what was usually Bob Marley (for the purposes of this performance they had clearly thought that the costume could also pass for Stevie Wonder, so had decided to redesignate this skater, except they still played Bob Marley music for him and referred to him as Bob). What was clearly a bizarre act even when the performers knew what they were doing took on a surreal edge when they were all hammered and couldn’t actually do any of the skate boarding. It ended prematurely, but predictably, with one of the skaters knocking himself unconscious.
Over to the Pyramid Stage for Gorillaz. Despite my pacing myself to the point of not really even getting started, I was tired and we left after about an hour at 11.30ish. We saw Shaun Ryder and Mark E Smith do their guest spots before we left though. Mark E Smith appeared to know where he was and what was happening, I wasn’t confident that the same could be said for Shaun Ryder.
Saturday: Circus and Cabaret until about 2 because it’s just too hot to stand watching acts on the outdoor stages. More hula hooping. More Honeybuns. Shakira at the Pyramid Stage. Editors at the Other Stage. I had to explain to someone who Editors were (umm… they’re a band – I didn’t really know what else to add. It seemed superfluous to try to describe their sound when I would have had to shout over them to do so). He told me he didn’t know much about modern music because he’d been in a dungeon for the past 5 years. I did not ask him to elaborate. We try to decide between Pet Shop Boys and Muse. Plump for Pet Shop Boys and are glad we did.
Sunday: Last day and it still hasn’t rained. My wellies remain in my backpack. Usual routine of small bands and variety acts in and around the circus and cabaret tents – although this time we manage to stay awake through the cabaret acts (Early Edition and Shappi Khorsandi) and take our afternoon nap in the acoustic tent during an american folk act instead. Yet more hula hooping (Mr Beet is now a master of two hoops and briefly hulas with three). Yet more Honeybuns. Stevie Wonder is the big finale act on the Pyramid Stage, and he gets Michael Eavis on stage for a rendition of Happy Birthday! Michael Eavis sings along! Badly!
5. Blackberry Elephant (“Bramble”) beautiful striking artwork with no gimmicks.
4. Filigree Elephant (“Ampersand”) see-through and very tactile
3. Speech Bubble Elephant (“The Illustrated Elephant”) Looks joyful.
2. Camouflaged Elephant (“Russell”) If I’d have got a better photo he really would have looked as if he was disappearing into the background.
1. City Elephant (“The City in the Elephant”) Elephants inside elephants. The most fun. Look at my happy little face.
The Secret History – Donna Tartt. Page-turning, atmospheric, like an episode of Columbo in that you know whodunnit at the start and the story is about the why and the how. It does drag a bit in the middle when everyone just takes drugs and argues for about 100 pages.
Today’s spot is Michael Gove MP. Like I don’t see him enough on the telly as it is. I was in elephant hunting mode, so I very nearly took out my phone and papped him, before realising that it’s rude to do that to people, rather than statues.
Last day for elephant spotting – could I get the full set of 258?
Martin Luther King Elephant
Old London Town Elephant
Fancy Top, Pyjama Bottoms Elephant
Colourful Elephant – I probably could have got a better picture, but if I stayed much longer I might have gone medieval on some tourist arse.
Pink and Black Elephant
Water Damage Elephant
Woolly Mammoth Elephant
Hotch Potch Elephant
Fake Eyelashes Elephant
London Boroughs Elephant
Fancy Skeleton Elephant
Comic Book Elephant
William Morris Elephant
Black Eye Elephant
Chelsea Pensioner Elephant
Final Elephant – No 258! Whoop Whoop!
Finally I can blog about something else.
After coming so close last week I marshalled again this week, so that Mr Beet could have another bash at beating my PB. And he took full advantage of the opportunity – knocking off 25 seconds so the time to beat is now 26.26. Got three weeks off for one reason or another, so will have to fit in lots of speed work to give myself the chance of beating it.
The newsreader on BBC London (MIKE RAMSDEN!) just said the phrase
“[something bad has happened to X people] many of them children“
twice within a minute.
I think 1 child = 5 adults in terms of the journalistic importance of something bad happening to them. They’re just worth more than us fully-grown human beings. The little angels.
It’s not quite as shitty as the journalistic ratio of 1 Briton = 100 foreigners.
“There’s been a [disaster] in [exotic locations]. 200 people are believed to have died, including 3 Britons.” 200 people dying = 200 people dying. It doesn’t count for extra because they had the same passport as me.