Friday 27 June 2003
So we set off after work yesterday afternoon, around 6:40 and had a pretty good drive over. There was a wet bit halfway along the A303 which was a bit disturbing and foreboding, especially as the windscreen wipers mostly seemed to be making things worse rather than better. Arrived sans queues around midnight and staggered over to find the kittens and put the tent up by 1am then stayed up talking and smoking until 2ish. Didn't sleep too well really but then I guess that's not why we're here. Tent definitely designed for short people, so just as well I am one. Woke around 9 and pottered off to find breakfast around 9:30 leaving rjk in bed with a nasty cricked neck.
Brief chat with Jan and August in the middle of the Glade, where they spotted me by the pink hair as I was reading Q daily. I knew it was a good idea really. Felt a bit awkward though. Wandered back to the kittens and we all headed over to watch the Inspiral Carpets. And then it began to rain. Not too bad at first, and still fun to dance in, but by the time they were done I was very soggy. A wander and some shopping with J+A afterwards, which was mostly fun, and did find me some nice cheap dry clothes, but I did feel very gooseberry-like. I know they don't mean to, but especially with them travelling and camping and everything together they are just a rather settled feeling couple together and it does feel a lot like there's no room for me there any more.
Back to tent to drop of stuff and dry out a bit and plan the rest of the afternoon/evening. And I guess just to get away from them for a bit. Which is sad. Rjk looking fed up too, and I'm feeling bad about dragging him here now though it was his idea. Anyway, meeting Mike for Mogwai at 4ish. Just need to work out what to do after that. Zwan (also on Pyramid) seem to consist of part of the ex-Smashing Pumpkins, and I can't see anything I fancy at that time, so I'll probably stay for that. Might manage to fit in a bit of Electric Six before Suede at 7:10, not sure, might just find food instead. Just need to decide what to do between that and REM. Nothing seems to really grab me though I'm really not fussed by the idea of David Gray, which would be easiest.
Anyway, the Inspirals were fun, about 3 tracks I remembered, a new single that sounded rather good, and the rest was OK if a bit bland. They seemed to be enjoying being back on stage, which was sweet. Loved the organ playing, lead singer reminded me of MBM, drummer had impressive grimaces.
All the rain is making it a bit muddy, which is a nuisance, but hopefully (since it seems a bit warmer and brighter now) it won't get any worse.
Found out the reason rjk so miserable is from bumping into August. Had been hoping things were improving there but obviously I've just been seeing what I want to see. Put a bit of a dampener on the rest of the day. Did manage to drag him out for Suede: he didn't seem to enjoy it much though, and I had been hoping to join Jan for it but felt like I couldn't. Haven't seen either her or August since yesterday actually: today we keep being busy when the other is free or something. That's two times they've mentioned that I've been unable to make (seeing twigboy for Jools and rjk back by the time they next suggested) and while I've had an hour or more free in between I've ended up spending it on my own. Wondering if August is even getting my texts, not a drop of affection in any from him. Been glad to have Mike and Twigboy to catch in between things for a bit of stress free company. Too much time crying.
Anyway, the music.
Mogwai: don't know them at all but they seem to be an interesting enough proposition. All music, no singing, interesting blend of dancy and metally sort of stuff but it works quite well. Mostly fairly mellow, but louder towards the end, and good to generally chill out to.
Suede I thought played well, there were a good handful of tracks I knew well and Brett strutted his stuff on stage rather pleasingly. There was little or no rapport with the audience though and he didn't seem to work to improve it much, so overall it fell a bit flat, which was a terrible shame.
By the time REM were on it was a lot colder but we'd been back to the tent and had lots of extra layers. The arena was packed, the atmosphere was friendly and the music was excellent. Great tracks, the crowd sang along, the band all looked like they were having fun and Stipe danced like a mad thing and was generally brilliant and had just enough patter for the crowd. Only thing wrong was a couple of places where there were pauses with nothing much happening, which was a shame, but they weren't too long at least. All in all fun.
Later today Supergrass and Radiohead, other than that just chilling and trying to keep my chin up.
Cool, a giant Jarvis Cocker puppet just walked past, and apparently Jan + August are coming to say hi. Shall try and actually look forward to it. It's hard though.
Last night we met the luckiest lads in the whole of Wiltshire. Working in a pharmacy in a little village some miles from the M4, and in come Death in Vegas looking for Nurofen, and leaving in exchange two band passes for Glastonbury. So here's this lad, didn't think he was going to be there, acting like he'd died and gone to heaven while Radiohead were on, and maybe he wasn't far wrong.
I needed a bit of heaven after the afternoon though. Jan + August did come and say hi, and somehow it all went horribly wrong and Jan and I ended up shouting at each other, apparently more or less over nothing. She walked off, I tried to send August after her but he refused to leave me in that state and instead just held me for half an hour or so while I just stood there in tears. And every time I started trying to think about trying to put anything into words it just all seemed more and more hopeless and I cried even more. It doesn't really feel all that much less hopeless now to be honest. Jan and rjk are still not talking to each other, Richard still feels awful when he sees August, I still feel like a spare part if I'm around them together as well as feeling guilty just for being with them even if it's just as friends since it makes Richard unhappy. And I just don't see any way out. And as I said to August yesterday I really do feel like even if it's not my fault per se that all the people I care about are getting upset it's still the case that if I just wasn't here it wouldn't be happening. Jan and August would be having a good time off on their own and Richard just wouldn't have to deal with them and would be happier too.
I think that's why in the end I gave him a hug, told him to go find Jan and give her a hug from me too and said I'd see them both some time after the weekend. I don't want it to be like that and I feel horrible for having hurt Jan and not having the guts to go and make it up to her properly but it's probably for the best.
Caught up with Richard again after that and went back to the tent and just crashed out in the shade for a bit. I think that helped somewhat. Things aren't fixed but the lid's back on the box for now.
Despite the horrors though overall things are more or less OK. Back with the kittens in a pretty good vantage point for Supergrass, which was good, nice to see Robin of the puffins and "Bloo!" and the silver docs (not present). Supergrass were good fun, if not really anything terribly special. They looked like they were having fun though. Then came the Flaming Lips, entering the stage to a blast of O Fortuna with a horde of people in furry suits. We spotted a dolphin and a duck and a rooster and an owl and bunnies and a dancing monkey (though we didn't learn how to dance like one). They were very strange indeed anyway, and the music was OK in a "not really the point" sort of way.
Then the moment of truth and rjk, Mike and I set off to see how close to the front we could get. In the end we got stuck further back than we'd hoped, but we did meet the nice Wiltshire people at that point and a friendly neighbourhood stoner and stood and chatted for a while and sang along to Oasis and the Doors while we waited. Watched a fight between a pigeon and the incredible hulk (1 all, and no time for a rematch) and then the band appeared.
What an atmosphere, what a show, what talent. I don't have words for it at all, I can't remember all the tracks they played or which one it was I rang my dad's mobile for and waved it along to the music so they could listen. I've no idea if they heard. We sang, we danced, we screamed, we clapped, we laughed, there were moments where I just stood in awe and almost forgot to breathe just at the wonder of it all. The crowd sang for their encore and got it in spades. And Street Spirit for the finale was just the perfect finishing touch to a wonderful set. This is the one everyone with say "I was there" for. This is maybe what I should have been saying for Pulp in '95. I missed that, but I'm glad I didn't miss this. Wow!
Today it looks like the morning might be spent mostly mooching round the main stage. The Leningrad Cowboys should be a giggle, the Waterboys will probably be nice enough, even if I'm not their biggest fan ever, and while I don't know Asian Dub Foundation I've heard of them at least and have vague good impressions in the back of my mind which must have come from somewhere.
Then the afternoon/evening in the Acoustic tent, there are a couple of people earlier on that it might be nice to catch then Eric Bibb and Richard Thompson. I think that's going to be the hardest part of today, seeing that on my own. I can't see any of the kittens being likely to be interested though and Mike will be seeing the Manics and rjk is torn between them and the Ozrics. Still, I'll live, and then back to the main stage for Moby. Should be a good day, and it's lovely and sunny again. Time to go cover up.
Later: Well, best laid plans and all that. Fell asleep, or at least dozed in the shade, and missed the Leningrad Cowboys completely. Wandered through the Waterboys just in time to catch "Whole of the Moon" but didn't stay for any more. Then just went for a wander with rjk. Stuck our heads in the Cabaret tent hoping to catch John Otway but it was stiflingly hot so we heard all of 30 secs of the preceeding Attilla the Stockbroker (not listed in the highlights, shame!) before running away again. A potter up to the stone circle in the blazing heat (what's that saying about midday sun?) and admired the dragon's bones sculpture he'd been impressed with before, then back down through the healing fields (too much incense) for some shade and icecream in the Glade until the smell of the nearby loos being mucked out drove us away. Back in yet another bit of shade now after a late lunch and pondering what to do with the afternoon. Nice to take my boots off for a bit though. Shame this shade is probably too dappled to sleep in. Seems to be a feature of today that, lots of dozing. Things are obviously beginning to catch up with me.
Later still: Got to the acoustic stage in time to sit outside and catch the end of Catatonia's Cerys Matthews. Heard her on the radio the other day so I knew in advance to expect a real change in style but it was pleasant enough. Took a couple of encores which meant that by the time Beth Gibbons was on it was already running half an hour late in here. Probably running later still now as she did an encore too, but I can see why they yelled for it. She's got a gorgeous voice and some of the tracks were lovely even if I didn't know them. I thought I recognised the name and bumping into Toby afterwards confirmed she used to sing in Portishead. Wasn't very chatty though, just let her singing do the talking.
Really quite near the front now which is cool. Dunno how easy it'll be to stay here for Richard Thompson but it's good to get another friend sit down now, since I'm pretty dead on my feet.
Kittens were up and packing at 6 to go get their train. We're not in quite such a rush but it has given us a bit of a head start on what we'd have done on our own.
Eric Bibb was excellent, and we jumped up and down and danced and clapped along to some good old gospelly blues which was cool. After that obviously the right thing to do was move forward through the crowd to try and get a good spot, and by some miracle just as I reached the front someone was leaving the barrier and I ended up absolutely smack in the middle at the very front.
Stopped writing to pack. Now made it safely back to the car which is still there and still in one piece, so cool. Seem to have had more luck than the kittens this morning. Marna had her handbag nicked overnight - recovered but with the contents gone: wallet, cash, debit cars, Sean's phone and both leathermans. And Toby had completely lost Bryony and got left behind when the others left for the train around 7:30. We'll have to see if we get back to Cambridge before they get back to London. Left carpark around 9:15.
Anyway, back to the music. Wow! It's about all I could say last night and I'm still feeling it now. They;ve got an absolutely incredible energy, especially the mad mandolin/sax player. They sang and played their hearts out. And Richard Thompson is far too attractive: he's too old and beardy and he wears a beret, but when he smiles and his eyes twinkle with it too and he sings and plays and moves his hips like that he's irresistable. They played some favourites from Rumour and Sigh and a bunch of ones from albums I don't have but that I vaguely know. And I danced (much to the annoyance of the two aging folkies at the front) and sang along with all my might.
Only one song for the encore, but "Crawl back" is definitely a good note to go out on. Even if it does remind me too much now of sitting and nearly crying to it at August's however many weeks ago that was. And that made me sad but in a bittersweet sort of way.
Took me 5 mins of just standing around in awe, quietly enthusing the one of the other guys at the front who'd been working on the stage all weekend and was going to head backstage and hope for more songs at the after show party, before I could head on back over to the main stage. Took a few mins to enthuse to Emily by text message en route, and walk into a steel guy hawser as a result, plus a brief dance to "You don't dance to techno any more" on the way past one of the cafés on the way. Got back to catch a good half hour of Moby. Which was good, and he's a very entertaining chap, but might have been a little bit of a let down if it weren't for the rendition of "Creep" at the end. Apparently Thom Yorke had spent the entire festival trying to persuade other bands to play it so they wouldn't have to. It was nicely done and a great way to round off the weekend. Then back to the tent in the refreshing rain.
Some quiet thoughts this morning on how to tell the difference between someone not getting your messages saying you love them, not replying because it's awkward and they don't know what to say, or just not caring and wanting you to go away. Overall though, despite the stresses and the worrying and the complete uncertainty about where things can go once we're home, I'm feeling pretty up and positive. Homeward bound for a bath, and the sun's shining. I could ask for more, but for now it's enough.
And now I'm back home and I've just typed up all the things I said to a little purple book over the weekend. The drive back was tiring, with 3 stops to wake up a bit and refresh en route. Small world struck and apparently having left the festival at about the same time and taken completely different routes we ended up in the same coffee bar in the same service station as Jan and August. Said hi briefly and then ran away to a table in the corner since I thought rjk wouldn't really want to talk to them. Felt really really awkward but Jan came over and gave me a big hug and I felt a lot better. Thankyou love. She stayed and talked to us both for a bit and then I went over and left her and rjk actually talking (which was lovely to see) while I went and talked to August for a bit. Before the weekend I was hoping to have dinner with him on Wednesday this week, dunno if it'll be possible but checked he'd still want to after all this stress, which he does, which is cool. Even if he said nothing to a goodbye "I love you" as we went our separate ways. Sometimes even the moments that make you feel a bit better can make you feel a bit worse too. Especially as Richard was obviously still uncomfortable with the whole thing. *sigh*.