Alexei Sayle: My classic hits at Glastonbury

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Indy Lifestyle Online

After all, there were 148,000 people there and plenty of them were ordinary folk enjoying the vintage cars, the racing and associated events. I have to admit that my celebrity VIP status was also second-hand since I'd been invited to Goodwood as a last minute escort for a friend who was judging a classic car event on the Sunday morning whose husband couldn't make it.

At one point on the Saturday night the two of us were interviewed by ITV and I told the reporter that I'd been hired by my friend from an escort agency that specialises in providing dates with celebrities from the 80s and that she had the choice of me or the lead singer of Haircut 100. For the remainder of the night the reporter gave me pitying looks that I was so down on my luck.

At least I didn't disgrace myself in the way I did the last time I was at Glastonbury. This was in the late 80s and for the whole of Sunday I was emceeing the event from the main stage. When I arrived on the site I had to travel across the rough track to the artists' enclosure. The classic Rover P5 that I owned chose this moment to develop one of its many, many faults - this particular failing was that when I let the speed drop below 15 mph the engine stalled and wouldn't fire up again for several hours. This duly happened, which meant I had to be ignominiously pushed through the gates of the back stage area by emaciated hippies. I compered proceedings throughout the day and then once I'd ushered Elvis Costello, onto the stage it was time to leave.

Starting up the big V8 of my sinister black car as Elvis launched prophetically into "Accidents Will Happen" the gates of the VIP enclosure were swung back. What I hadn't realised was that many visitors to the festival had erected their tents and teepees across the track that I'd come in on and were now sitting round camp fires with their families digging the happy vibe and singing songs. So now they hear the screaming of a powerful engine and at the wheel of his huge black limo comes the famous left-wing comedian, who only minutes before has been tearing into hypocrisyfrom the Pyramid Stage, swerving, headlights on high beam, refusing to stop!

It was horrible. I can still remember people calling out, "Hey Alexei man I really lik... aghhh, dear God no!" as I hit them with my big chromed bumpers. I tried to shout back, "Terribly sorry! Problem with the compression, can't let the old bus drop below fifteen or she'll stall!"

Pretty soon an angry mob bearing flaming torches was pursuing me across the field. You know it's surprising how fast a hippy can run if you've annoyed him by driving over his sitar. Finally I managed to reach the lane that connects Glastonbury with the outside world just ahead of the enraged horde, I swerved onto it and with bits of cheesecloth still flapping from the imposing grille of my Rover, I headed for the welcoming sodium lights of the M4.

motoring@independent.co.uk

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