I've already posted this in several parts, but thought it could do with sticking together. Apologies for the repetition.
Weds - arrive later than intended. Brandy on train. V long hike across site - shattered - but view worth it. Hour up in stone circle then bed.
Thurs - glorious day lots of pottering about. Dance area huge. IDSpiral nice lots of white aty things and little tables to sit at on floor. Crepes for lunch with Jan and Owen. Then wander through Green Futures. Realise catching sun and head back to tent. Chilled in shade with Rick and Ed - impromptu jam with some other guys - acoustic guitar, bongos, harmonica and some crap singing fun. Spent evening doing poi and hanging out in stone circle again - talking to Richard the Cambridge naked cyclist enjoying the evening and the perry.
Friday - Woke early to the storm. Don't know when it started 6ish maybe. Lightning galore and heavy rain til about 11 when we all crawled out of bed and ate breakfast. They hadn't been able to start the music because of the weather (stage apparently struck). So Undertones were first band. Watched from borrowed gazebo in the rain as it tipped it down again. They were OK but didn't really grab us. Now the sun's out and the John Butler Trio are playing gorgeous guitar music - sounds a lot like Chris Whitley - lovely music. Time to go do stuff soon.
Writing by the light of my keyring torch, as the White Stripes belt out Jolene. I'm back at the tents alone after a great day. Mike Ed Rick and I headed down the hill after faff and I sat on an isolated dry spot while the others wandered off - Mike to catch The Editors and the others on unspecified errands.
Contacted assorted people by text but didn't manage to meet up. Mike however reappeared to find us partway through The Thrills which he'd been looking forward to and recommending. He was a bit disappointed though, and I have to admit to only finding them mildly diverting. Ed + Rick wandered off part way through and we caught the again at the Other Stage after a minor amount of wading through nearly boot-high water. There we found Hot Hot Heat - they only played one familiar track but it's one I like (even if I can't now recall) and I must investigate more.
Then on en masse through another small lakte (this one with tents in - poor sods!) to the John Peel stage for "your codename is: Milo" who were OK I suppose but noticable most for the opening "your codename is: Milo, your codename is: Milo, I think you're called Dave". Also rather lovely was the quote from Teenage Kicks balancing out the "John Peel Stage" sign. Brought a slight lump to my throat.
Next planned stop was pyramid stage for Elvis Costello - but the route from J.P. to P. had an unfortunate ford part way. Mike took his shoes off and paddled bare foot - I though my boots might just cope but I was _so_ wrong. After that I took them off, wrang out my socks, and paddled on in just tights. Quite pleasant in some places and nice to stop worrying for a bit, but overall a bit grim. Seemed wise at this point to head back to the tent to dry out and clean up a bit - heard E.C. from up there and I rather enjoyed much of it and sang along. Others seemed less impressed.
A programme reading error on my part lead to Mike and I making an impresive time down to the Other Stage to catch Johnny Wav and BlocParty who were excellent - wish I'd heard them properly in advance. An hour's break to get back for the Killers lead to unexpected catching Alabama 3 as we stopped by the JazzWorld Stage for noodles and a pint of perry (a random girl asked what the seaweed was like, on her friend's behalf, the answer was unfortunately "a bit bland really" but the rest was good - and she complimented me on the Terrorvision Tshirt too). Lots of people dancing to "Peace in the Valley". As before I enjoyed it more than Mike but I think it was a nice way to pass the time.
And we found Jamie in time to paddle through the shallowish mud into the middle of the Killers crowd for a _storming_ set. Highlight so far and I think it'll be hard to beat.
J+M headed for Fatboy Slim but I decided my feet and legs had had enough and kissed them goodnight. I'd have quite liked to see some of the other stuff on last thing tonight (including The Tears, or Oysterband) but nevermind. Mike no doubt will prob go for Tears - and Silent Disco in dance area after - but I think this was right choice for me - and although Meg's drumming is still a bit weak (ha) I'm enjoying the White Stripes - inc stuff from their new album which is cool. Lots more choices tomorrow - but hopefully no regrets.
It's wet, it's muddy, one dance stage is closed due to collapsing after being struck twice by lightning, I'm shattered and I've not seen half the people I'd like but I am having a fabulous time still. Wouldn't miss it.
The grey of Saturday morning meant a better lie in than on sunny days, and we woke to the soundchecks on the Pyramid stage and watched Heyseed Dixies from the tent while we talked and faffed with layers of sock in damp boots. The purchase of overknee socks from a stall the previous evening turned out to be an inspired decision though, and two layers meant feet were almost dry nearly all day. Mike and Rick headed down to see them closer up, while Ned and Beth and I followed later. It was the only time I really saw much of those two to be honest - Beth's sunstroke on Thursday had taken it out of her somewhat. We had a rather excellent breakfast however of french sausage on a bed of sliced potatoes in a cheese sauce with bacon bits in. Yum. Then we pottered along to the Acoustic tent to catch Martha Wainwright. I think it was partly just that I vaguely knew the name, as I certainly didn't know the music. I enjoyed it more or less, though we only caught the second half of her set. It didn't grab me enormously though apart from the last track. Then we wandered back down in the circus fields and sat on a bench trying to work out what to do next, for long enough that by the time we'd decided and made our way to the Avalon field we'd already missed half the Broken Family Band set. Which was excellent, and included a couple of tracks I vaguely recognised. And the singer mentioned his good friend Chloe in the audience, who'd been going to gigs for years, and said this was a very special day for her because she wanted to take this opportunity to ask her partner Sam to marry her - and he said yes! Much cheering ensued.
Afterwards and outside we bumped into Rick and Mike (and Ed) who'd been there for the whole thing on the other side of the tent - and apparently we just missed Jan and Owen too. I'd been planning to catch a bit of the levellers next before wandering to the main stage, but the opportunity of company changed my mind and Mike and I headed over earlier and caught the end of the Goldie Lookin' Chain set: which was good at what it did (getting that many MCs on stage all working together is quite impressive) but not really my cup of tea. At this point I got a call from my dad saying they'd found a cheap cornet in a junk shop in Whitby and should they go think about buying it for me? In a fit of enthusiasm about being more involved in music I said yes, and they hung up, hoping whatever was next would be an improvement on what they could hear of GLC in the background. And it was. Because it was the Kaiser Chiefs, who were wonderful. I've not listened to their album much, but enough to be able to sing along to much of it, and their energy and enthusiasm was catching. The lead singer bounced around like a mad thing (there's a great photo in the paper of him in mid-leap with tambourine and muddy wellies) and also tried crowd surfing. He failed to wrestle the giant inflatable dinosaur back to the stage with him, so instead got Security to pass it up and adorned it with his tie while they played on. Priceless showmanship. By the time they got to "Oh my god I can't believe it" they had the crowd in the palm of their hands. Enough so to play an entirely new song as their last and still leave everyone cheering and happy. Excellent set all told.
Mike wandered off at this point for something else, I think he caught The Departure, and I stayed for Ash, though first there was the official "moment" and an unexpected appearance from Bob Geldof on the main stage to encourage us all to hold hands and chant "Make Poverty History". A cynical part of me found it all a bit too calculated in its tear jerking and enforced good-cause-ery but he really was sincere and in the end I was quite touched as I held hands with the strangers beside me. It was quite a tough act for Ash to follow I guess, but they did it well. A mix of mostly hits and old favourites, one of which has been running round my head all day today "Yeah we've been walking barefoot all summer" - they played quite a few summery ones despite the grey day. The crowd jumped up and down despite the mud. A guy in a tigger suit near me went crowd surfing and reappeared with an enormous beaming grin. It was a feel-good set. And a lovely pared down duet between lead singer and bassist on a cover of "Teenage Kicks" dedicated to both John Peel and Joe Strummer. A nice moment.
After this I realised Mike was out of phone batteries, and I had no idea where he'd be for quite some time. So since that was at the Avalon stage and there were a couple of other things I fancied up there I pottered on over, stopping for some nachos and homemade lemonade on the way. Did I mention how much I love the variety of food? By the time I got there I'd missed Session A9's set though, and they were just being thanked by the compere. I did unexpectedly get to listen to short set by Polly Paulusma, who had been due to play the previous day but missed out due to the tent being out of order. Nice stuff, possibly worth investigating more. Lovely voice. And after her came Rory McLeod who I last saw at Ely Folk Festival a couple of years ago when we'd gone for the day to catch Oysterband. He played a nice set, including London Kisses, which is about my favourite track of his, and his missus Amy sang backing and played percussion, while he played guitar and harmonica and the spoons. Fun to dance to. I began to look out for Mike and Rick and Ed at this point but there was no sign of them, so I danced to Hayseed Dixies on my own near the front, and just grinned at strangers instead of friends. The set was a little too similar to the one on the main stage in the morning, though not having heard it properly there this didn't matter to me so much. Sabbath and ACDC and Led Zep amongst others, plus some tracks of their own penning (which weren't really that good) and some fab banjo and mandolin playing. Sadly they didn't do the Green Day cover again, but still, was fun. OK and I admit I felt a bit smug for knowing ACDC better than Mike does when I managed to catch the others afterwards.
We had a nice wander down through the Glade towards the John Peel stage again, though Ed and Rick abandoned us in the Dance area and Mike and I went on for the Magic Numbers alone. This was definitely a huge highlight of the weekend. I really like their album, even if I've only heard it a couple of times. The music is lovely and rich and well played and the lyrics are great, and they're obviously wonderful musicians, but what they are more than anything else is awfully awfully sweet. They weren't in a million years prepared for the reception they got, and the more they blushed and looked almost teary and bewildered the more the crowd went wild. Saw a lovely review on 6Music's webpages somewhere (ah here which really summed it up well.
We split up again at that point and I caught Razorlight on the Other Lake. OK so that's a slightly unfair name for it. I did have to wade through the lake a bit to get into the crowd proper, but after a few tracks my legs were aching so I waded out the other side and was pleased to find some land dry enough to sit on. I carried my mac around all weekend, not to wear but as a handy seat. Invaluable. But yes, it was a good set and I enjoyed it but would have enjoyed more if I'd been less cold and achy by that point. Fish and chips on the way back to the tent was the order of the day, and accidentally got caught in the coldplay crowd, and had a brief chat to a teenage lad who'd obviously loved it while I sat on one end of a semi-submerged bench. When I struggled up hill to the tent Mike was there already and a bit sorry for himself for having wussed out so early in the evening, and it seems Ben had slept half the afternoon and the whole evening away in his tent after a few too many of something or other. A drunken Ed who'd been at the spicy cider popped his head in the tent for a while, necessitating a quick hiding under the sleeping bag from me, and he said Coldplay were good too. Perhaps there's something in it. As we settled into bed the traditional cries of "Bollocks" echoing round the field were disrupted by a wag who interjected "Catherine Zeta Jones" and a new game was born. Later Rick got back too and we could hear his dulcet tones joining in with cries about Stephen Hawking, assorted bad TV quiz shows and presenters, and the refrain of "Up the arse". And so I giggled myself to sleep as it continued into the night.
Sunday morning began, as is traditional, with the Town Band playing on the pyramid stage. They opened with the imperial march from Star Wars, which is a glorious tune, and continued with various things including a medley with Beatles tracks in and the theme to Hawaii 5 O - which made me smile particularly since our band used to play it when I was a kid. We watched and listened from up at the tent, which was good for the loud bits but I think we lost a lot of the quieter stuff. After that the next act on stage were a belly dancing troupe! Mike and I went down to see them from closer up, and discovered the front near the stage was now like standing in a hay stack. But the dancing was nice to watching, especially in the sunshine.
After that we headed over to the John Peel tent hoping to catch a band called Client who Mike has vaguely heard of - only to discover while waiting and reading Q Daily that the entire programme had moved up a slot due to the headliner (Ryan something?) pulling out. So instead Gear were playing, and they were quite nice boring indie :-) Boring enough for Mike anyway, especially when we realised that in fact Client weren't going to be on next after all, because Hard-Fi had had to pull out too, so they were on in the evening instead. It was definitely a bit of a shock to find that the clashfinder (which Ned had printed out for us in advance, and which we'd highlighted and had relied on happily all weekend) was no longer our friend - at least for that stage. But worse news from Q was that Cake was cancelled. I'd been quite looking forward to seeing them, and for Ed they had been the expected high point of the weekend. Bum.
This news all left a bit of a gap in my intended schedule. We wandered over to The Crown near the Other Stage to catch Rick and Ed, hearing a bit of Thirteen Senses on the way past (Mike rather disparagingly said they sounded lots like Coldplay) and bought some beer, then suddenly realised that in fact because Cake were no longer on we could go and watch Jools instead, which we'd all ruled out because of the clash and promptly forgotten about. So that's what we did, and sat in the sunshine pleasantly chilled out for a while. Faye and Art spotted me as I wandered past them and texted a hello ("was that you in the pink stripey hat?") so when Jools took his bow I wandered over to join them for Van Morrison, and was pleased to fing doop too. Faye lent me sunblock, Art bought me chips, doop bought me cider - I definitely owe you all a pint. And we sat and talked and listened, and chatted to the nice couple sitting next to us and their smallish boy. And well, it was *great. He played a lot of lovely feel good music and we did. And as he played Gloria near the end doop and I got up to dance, and were briefly caught in the act (short video clip avi, 3.4MB) - oh dear oh dear. Joools and Van together with the sun beating down was just perfect glastonbury relaxation for me though. Glorious.
After he was done I went for a wander, pottered up through the circus field and looked in lots of the shops and at the strange statue things. Tried on rings with no success, and looked at cute cuddly frogs, but in the end didn't buy anything. Then back through the main market area stopping for some food and just taking it easy, while Brian Wilson played. More nachos to eat, this time with Buffalo chilli, which was indistinguishable from ordinary beef actually, plus guacamole and sour cream and cheese and salsa - yum. Then it was time to potter back to the main stage for Garbage. Tried to get hold of various people but failed entirely, so find myself a spot to the right of the sound stage where I could see both stage and screen and settled down to sit comfortably through a good set. Shirley Manson stealing a blow up sex doll from the crowd and climbing on top of it and crooning a song into its face was priceless. And she bounded back and forth along the stage in her stripey minidress with great energy. Lots of the hits, good stuff. Well worth seeing.
The rearrangement of the John Peel stage meant that the next band on were LCD Soundsystem, and Bright Eyes were going to finish. This cheered Mike up no end since it meant he could go see Tori Amos in the acoustic tent without missing the latter. But while just about everyone I know seemed to go with him, and apparently it was very good, I decided LCD Soundsystem were more my cup of tea. The sea of mud en route was gone, and I had time to buy a couple of odds and ends: a very pink studded belt for me, a couple of bracelets for Mike and a squeaky duck keyring for rjk (not that I'm pred or anything) and to grab a waffle with strawberries and chocolate sauce, before joining a very long loo queue and having an amusing conversation with a couple of people in front of me. Not that they'd been taking E and turning extremely cheery and garrulous as a result or anything - oh no. LCD Soundsystem were good anyway, though I did feel I'd have done better to go inside to listen, and to have heard the album a few more times before seeing them live.
It seems nearly all the rest of the gang (Mike, Ed, Jamie, Rick, Ben, Johnny, Ned) all came over for Bright Eyes. Mike led me and Jamie into the crowd and got separated from us during the first track. Then there was a long pause. There was a technical problem but he just stood there looking like a muppet and was a bit cross with us for not being enthusiastic enough. A couple of tracks later Jamie decided he'd had enough and went to find something more cheerful. And at the end of that track there was another glitch and another silence, and we were encouraged to clap our credit cards together because it was all for making Poverty History, and to be honest at that point I think I decided he was a bit of a wanker. I'd had enough of being in the increasingly bemused and pissed off in places crowd, and headed for the edge and a sit down. Moments later Johnny emerged too, and joined the others who it turned out were right at the back edge, and they all decided they'd had too much and left. I stayed however, and despite the repeated cynical jabs at John Peel and Make Poverty History the music remained good so it was worth it, even if it was the oddest gig I've ever seen - especially for a finalé! He cheered up a bit right at the end though, for the amusing reason (which I couldn't see from my spot on the floor) that a naked girl came on stage and snogged him lots. Way to go. And soon that was that.
Mike and I wandered to find the others, and discovered Jamie where expected. Later determined Ed, Rick and Johnny were backstage and after much faffage Jamie headed off to sleep and Mike and I were brought out passes and could go in to join them. They've got quite a nice bar behind the East dance tent it seems, with sofas and big tables and chairs, and a DJ was playing too. We didn't stay terribly long though since Johnny was shattered and needed to be up in the morning and we left him nodding off into his pint. The pie stall next door turned out to be a favourite haunt of Ed and Rick, and we were tempted into trying their wares. Real mushy peas for the first time in ages, plus pie and mash and cheese and gravy: great. We wandered off stuffing our faces (having decided the silent disco queue was just too much) and bought some "recycled fuel" on the way back to the tent to light a campfire. It was strange up in the field since various gaps had appeared from people leaving early, and with the lack of landmarks people kept getting lost. But it did mean there was more space to light the fire in. Which promptly went out several times and had to be coaxed with lots of loo roll and torn up stella box. By the time it finally got into its stride it was 4am and we were flaking out, so we went to bed just as it was beginning to get light.
Monday morning it was kind of sad to wake up around 9:30 and know it was time to go. We packed up in reasonable time, and Jamie kindly gave me, Mike and Ed a lift off site in the car, which was quite a hike away. It's annoying being the least fit one because you're constantly struggling not to get any more left behind than you are already and going as fast as you can the whole time, while they're pottering more gently *and* get to rest a bit while waiting for you to catch up now and then. We made it eventually though, and the drive off site only to 15-30 mins or so, despite the usual dire warnings to avoid the busy times and the fear of mud. We drove off through the pretty countryside in the sunshine, with the car complaining of all that weight. Reached Chippenden station in time for the 12:55 train to Paddington, and hence missed all the crush of queueing for buses and trains, which was fabulous. And we spent the train journey chatting and playing I-Spy with the people on the table next to us: 3 teenage girls and the mum of two of them, who hadn't been able to get Glasto tickets this year and were heading off to London to see Coldplay as a treat to make up for it. They seemed really nice, and it helped the time pass.
And with a tube across to Kings Cross and a semi-fast from there to Cambridge we were soon home. Snogged farewell in the station carpark before Mike and his bike headed one way and I headed another to get home and unpack a little and get clean and sleep. A quiet end to a loud and wonderful weekend. Can't wait for the next time, and even now several days later I wish it hadn't had to end. Taken my camera in to be developed today, so hopefully tomorrow I'll have some pics to go with all this text.