why i don't DO festivals - OR "i am a grumpy old sod"
i've never understood the draw of them.
why be uncomfortable, crammed into a skinny tent with a girlfriend/boyfriend/companion, your filthy stinking bodies itching and cramped?
(by the way - i don't DO camping. if we were made to camp why did god invent the travelodge?)
where was i?
oh yes - i don't DO festivals.
you see one year i did.
i was kind of talked into it - my friends really wanted to go and i had some friends playing there that year.
the year was 1990.
the festival was glastonbury - in fact the last glastonbury in association with CND.
the whole weekend was doomed from the start - i had to drive, i was the only one with a car.
it was a mini cooper.
there were five of us.
and it was an OLD mini cooper.
so i borrowed a roof rack to which i strapped 2 tents, several bags of clothing, the usual camping nonsense.
it took a very very long time to drive down the M5 to glastonbury.
by the time i arrived i'd already decided i was right about not wanting to go to festivals.
then we got onto the festival site.
the car got stuck in the muddy ridges of the, ahem, "road" across the campsite.
that took an extra half an hour to sort out - no one would help, they were all too busy trying to get a good spot for their tents - so much for these events being about brotherly/sisterly love, helping one another and other such hippy shit.
OK, so we get the tents up - we're on an incline but at least they're up.
then it started to rain.
i needed the toilet and so walked down to the designated area.
it was the first morning and the toilets were already full.
and i mean FULL.
so much so that whoever had used them last must have had to balance above the toilet to perch their (i'm sorry there's no other word for it) log on the top.
it was like a pyramid of poo rising from the depths.
i didn't go for the rest of the weekend.
mind you, for me and my rather agrieved friends it was a short weekend.
we spent the rest of friday wandering around the shopping area looking for something to eat.
even cold and damp and caked in mud i was NOT going to pay THAT much money for a potato.
or some tofu.
or some soup - soup? boiled noodle water.
i opted for drugs.
and god how i hate hippies!
gurning fools entering my space with muddied faces, "like wow, hi man. like get into it".
(they were all of 18 years old).
anyhow, the next morning my friends were playing - it was saturday.
the main day i guess.
pale saints came on about 11am and the wind picked up.
the result of this was that, apart from the opening chord of their first number you couldn't hear a single note.
not from anywhere in the amphitheatre.
no, the wind took it all away.
i kid you not.
ALL OF IT.
i went back to the tent and told my friends i would be leaving very soon if this situation didn't change.
"but we really want to see the cure", they replied.
they were headlining that night.
"ok", i said, "i wouldn't mind seeing courtney pine anyway" - he was on at about the same time on the world stage.
and so, at about 7.30pm i found my way to the world stage.
approximately 15 minutes later pine's band came on.
another 10 minutes later pine himself came on, blew one note and decided he wasn't going to perform.
i very calmly went back to the tents, packed them all up, strapped them (along with the clothing, food etc) to the roof of the car and went and found my friends.
they were happily watching tiny dots in the distance who may or may not have been the cure.
"i'm off home, you can come if you like", i told them.
"but we're watching the cure and there's all tomorrow...", they replied.
so i told them honestly - "look, i hate humanity right now and i'm full of BAD DRUGS. if i stay here I WILL KILL SOMEONE."
and so they duly got into the car and we drove.
halfway up the M5 i fell asleep at the wheel and was woken by the rumble strip.
about an hour away from home with the sun coming up the engine started to pack up and i got us the rest of the way, including dropping everyone off at their respective homes on 3 valves.
i don't DO festivals.