Spare me your ‘Glastonbury vibes’. At our age, the only reason to camp is a humanitarian disaster

Your kids would rather be on a Thomas Cook holiday, not observing you skanking


The gates opened at Glastonbury 24 hours ago, and the armies of festival-goers (and most of my friends) are en route, which means – hooray! – only a few hours now until everyone’s phone batteries die, taking their incessant droning about the “great Glastonbury vibe” with it. Glorious silence.

Like most human beings with dignity, I stopped attending festivals in my early 30s. No one needs to witness me gurning to Disclosure or dancing with my arms in the air at 4am to 808 State in Bez’s Acid House. I’m pretty certain this looked passable a decade ago, but these days I look frighteningly reminiscent of my mother letting loose to her Klaus Wunderlich cassettes.

Typically I am against age barriers. I will defend to the hilt Madonna’s right, aged 54, to show us her vacuum-packed camel toe in a boy scout uniform. But I firmly believe Glastonbury should be banned for the over-35s. When I went in the 1980s and 90s – younger, dafter, more willing to listen to any old tat if the bassist looked shaggable in denim – I would not have wanted to meet me now.

So let me say this loudly, and without shame, on behalf of Glastonbury refuseniks: from now on, I will sleep under canvas and queue to empty my bladder in a makeshift hole only after a humanitarian disaster. Neither have I the energy in my body to feign excitement about hearing the Arctic Monkeys crank indulgently through their difficult second album. And although I am fairly sure hearing Mumford & Sons after a pile of MDMA powder would be wholly exhilarating, so would spinning round and round on an office chair in a Staples showroom, and both of these activities would be followed by nine days of anxiety, depression and regret.

Also, after many decades of thought and experience, I can say this now: I don’t like hippies. I’m hippie-ist. There is not one person in the Green Field doling out positive vibes and head massages whom I don’t believe wouldn’t benefit from some solid employment and regular exposure to a bar of Cussons Imperial Leather. And while I’m here, people dragging your toddlers to Glastonbury: this is child cruelty. Your kids would rather be in a tiddlers club on a Thomas Cook holiday in Lanzarote, not observing you skanking to The 2 Bears, in scenes that they will vividly retell during therapy sessions in 2036.

I know this is difficult to hear, but I say this with love, and also the advantage that I don’t suffer from the great 21st century Western-world scourge of FOMO – “Fear of missing out”. FOMO on that legendary Glastonbury vibe – the one you’ll hear about all weekend from reporters and presenters – has led to a lot of otherwise sensible people living in a one-man tent, washing their claggy crevices with wet wipes.

In fact, whenever one hears about this great “Glastonbury vibe” during BBC broadcasts, it’s worth remembering that not one of these windbags is camping in the main punters’ sites, downwind of a latrine block beside a 20-person amateur beatbox crew on a stag night from Kirkby. They are sleeping in Winnebagos and self-catering luxury teepees. They are staying at Babington House or being helicoptered in for the afternoon from London. They are staying in local luxury B&Bs and watching the last bands in bed after a lovely bath. Their pants are lemon-fresh and their bowels have been evacuated into porcelain WCs.

My prediction for this year is that Kate Moss will show up at some point, keep mainly to her Winnebago and then be photographed by the side of the stage during The Rolling Stones, looking elegantly wasted in a AAA pass. Predictions for myself include going to B&Q to buy a hanging basket and then catching up on The Archers omnibus. You can keep Glastonbury. In Ambridge, there’s a very tense atmosphere in the village shop. I know who’s got the better deal.

Senator Davis issues the perfect response

I’m full of respect for the tenacity of Democratic Senator Wendy Davis, who took to the floor of the Texas Senate in pink tennis-shoes on Tuesday night to begin the 10-hour filibuster of an abortion Bill. Senate Bill 5 (SB 5) would ban abortions after the 20th week of a pregnancy. The Bill would give Texas some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country. That’s a dirty trick to play on Western women by lawmakers, who display little empathy or respect for why they might need to make the choice to abort.

A filibuster – talking and talking as an obstruction to delay or prevent a vote – was an apt and delicious response, as if to say: “You can come with your laws trying to drag women into the past, but ultimately you can’t shut us up”.  At the age of 19, Davis was a divorced single mother raising a daughter in a trailer park. She took two years of community college courses, went to Texas Christian University, became the first person in her family to graduate from college and then went on to Harvard Law School. If anyone is worth listening to for 10 hours about a woman’s right to choose, it’s Wendy Davis.

Brady shows the value of a real life-sentence

This week, the Moors murderer Ian Brady finally got what he wanted for many years – to speak about his misdiagnosis, lobbying to escape Ashworth Hospital and return to prison and kill himself. Brady is a very rare sort of murderer; a lifer actually serving for life. He is serving exactly the sort of sentence – locked up after his “recreational” (his words, this week) crimes, never to taste freedom or his own free will again – from which the public draws some comfort. From Brady’s behaviour in his tribunal this week, he clearly thinks he’s on a higher intellectual plane than everyone around him, and it’s making him completely miserable. Death would be an end to this ongoing, eternal misery. It’s much more fitting, due to his crimes and lack of remorse, to adamantly keep him breathing.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Director - Tech Startup - Direct Your Own Career Path

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Telephone Sales Advisor - OTE £35,000

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Telephone Sales Advisor is re...

Recruitment Genius: Appointment Maker - OTE £20,000

£14000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An office based Appointment Mak...

Recruitment Genius: Healthcare Assistant

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This provider of care services is looking for...

Day In a Page

Read Next
George Osborne walks down the stairs from a submarine during a visit to the Royal Navy's submarine base at Faslane on August 31, 2015 in Faslane Scotland  

Sorry George Osborne, but it's Trident that makes us less safe, not Jeremy Corbyn

Kate Hudson
Fighters from Isis parading in Raqqa, northern Syria, where the ‘Islamic State’ has its capital; Iranian-backed Shia militia are already fighting the group on the ground in Iran  

Heartlessness towards refugees is the lifeblood of jihadist groups like Isis

Charlie Winter
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent