I've lied so often about having been to Glastonbury that I honestly can't remember whether I've actually been or not. I'm pretty sure that I haven't. The very concept of the place fills me with fear and loathing. The idea of joining a mass traffic jam to Somerset in the English summer to live in an enormous hippy refugee camp surrounded by people trying hard to be "alternative" is not one that appeals. When I visited a real refugee camp on the Syrian-Jordanian border this year I remember wondering what on earth the poor inhabitants would make of photographs of Worthy Farm in full flow? "You mean those people are there voluntarily? But the mud, the squalor, the terrible clothes …."
And yet, when people waffle on about "Glasto" I find myself unwilling to admit that I have never been and start nodding at "amusing" stories of being wrecked on mushrooms while watching Tony Bennett dressed only in one welly and a cock-sock. I give the impression that I've been there, done that, got the tie-dye T-shirt. It's easier to do this than to give reasons I have never fancied the thing.
A lot of it has to do with the weather. If there were guaranteed sunshine, and I could helicopter in and out, and I could legally shoot anybody wearing a stupid hat, then I might be up for it. As it is, I can sit in the comfort of my own home and watch the whole thing on TV with the ability to switch bands at will without having to set off on a seven-mile yomp through a post-apocalyptic world in which vegan grebos seems to have been put in charge.
Maybe it's the ex-Goth in me? I was always a glass-half-full type of Goth but never enjoyed big crowds or excessive displays of happiness. Goths are not really equipped for outdoor activity – it's difficult to apply your eye-liner properly and there's never anywhere to plug in the crimpers.
Possibly I have just never taken the right drugs? Maybe if I headed off down to Glastonbury in my camper van with a spare tyre chock-full of industrial LSD then the whole thing would make more sense. I'm just not very good on hallucinogenics. I once got the munchies after smoking a strong joint in Madchester circa '91 and ended up consuming a magic mushroom omelette intended for 12 people. I spent the rest of the night lying under a 2CV parked outside the party thinking that the undercarriage was slowly melting on to my face.
I did go to Glastonbury once …just not when the festival was on. I dressed up as a ludicrous TV presenter and did an interview with the rather lovely Michael Eavis. The joke was that I kept name-checking totally made-up bands that had supposedly played legendary sets at previous Glastonburys ("Loaded Manchabo" being my fave). Eavis seemed very bemused by me but nodded in agreement at my nonsense.
No, you can keep Glastonbury. My only festival outing is to my local one, Cornbury. It's the sort of event that Glasto types would loathe. It's small, civilised, quite posh and I can get back in 23 minutes. Tune in, drop out and drive home, man. That's the way I roll.Reuse content