Saturday, July 04, 2009

Glastonbury 2009 - Friday

Friday - Day 1 of the Festival
Up again and a tasty breakfast from Dad.

Full time job


We were having issues with water - the tap for water was a walk away at the edge of the field, and increasingly it was providing little to no water in the morning. No issue for me as I was wet-wipe showering, but for Dad.. Also as the campervan wasn't flat, the water wasn't draining properly from the shower cubicle, yucks! Plus we were having to empty the bucket under the loo once a day, which is an extremely nasty task! Carrying a heavy container slopping about to the designated tipping place, then pouring all the unmentionables out.. not fun. And the chemicals you have to put in once done... truly awful. Anyway, in terms of filling up with water, we realised it's much easier to pull up the seats and pour straight into the reservoir rather than into the small side-access tube. Though I still made a hash of it and spilled all over the floor..

Delicate pouring operation

Will's worries that we would have finished all 60L of beer by the time he arrived Thursday lunchtime were unfounded, though we were nearing the end of the first pin, and things were getting distinctly yeasty!

First pin dregs

You're supposed to let these pins settle for 24 hours, though our one was being thrown all over the place. We decanted into a bottle to attempt to improve things.

Drinkable? Sure!

As with every morning where the group was involved, it took ages for everyone to leave, which I found quite frustrating. Big queue into Gate C, and Lewis was pulled out for a spotcheck by security, presumably because of his dodgy Kanye West-style sunglasses! Although we found this amusing, as time went on it became clear that the "random checks" were very much picking on younger people, and whilst we weren't caught with anything, the word was that the private security lot often would keep and sell on any drugs that they found. Do they have any more legal right than punters to be in possession of drugs? I suspect not. I guess what they should do is have a big transparent box like at airports that anything confiscated gets dumped into.

Spread 'em

Elaine had been feeling wheezy all night, so we marched at Elaine pace over to the Park Medical centre, which wasn't very well signposted. There she was told that many were suffering in a similar way due to pollen and the humidity, received a prescription for an inhaler, and was told that we would have to go to Ivy Mead to get it issued. Ivy Mead, the other medical centre, at the diametric opposite site of the site from where we were... how annoying! It should be made clear somewhere that IvyMead has the pharmacy and Park Home does not! Don't worry, it's on the list of suggestions I'll be sending through to them :)

To be fair, the medical facilities are very good, and I'd feel more comfortable having a problem on site than in most places. I read after the festival a story of someone having multiple heart attacks, and still ending up well enough to enjoy the rest of the festival and some beers!

So by the time this was done, the rest of the group were watching Regina Spektor on Pyramid.


Cole sisters with Dad

She was quite good, and not the person I thought she was (someone Ben Folds brought on stage last year during his set).

Deprived-of-yoghurt fiend

Jonathan and Dushka

We split up after her, and I headed round to the Maccabees, pausing to pick up a halloumi wrap at Olis stall. Very nice, although I noticed with the cheeky friendly boys behind the counter that girls ordering wraps got at least twice as much halloumi as boys!

Tasty nevertheless, although Elaine made the schoolgirl error of scoffing all the halloumi first so was then left with a salad wrap.

The site was quite muddy and wet, and it wasn't long before we came across the first person who clearly wasn't dealing very well with whatever he had been drinking or smoking. Not dealing very well with standing up at all in fact, to the obvious pleasure of the crowd, who cheered every time he dropped back down or managed to stand for a few seconds!

Balance issues


By the time we got round to Other Stage, the Maccabees had finished, how annoying! Just shows how much time you had to allow for charging about between acts. Decided to not make the same mistake again, so headed straight up to Park, with plenty of time before Emiliana Torrini, with some BBC Introducing stage to fill the gap.

Introducing Line-up finally

When I listened to the Introducing bands on the net, one stood out - I really liked a Belfast band called Cashier No.9. And lo and behold, who should be playing, completely by chance.. but the very same!

Cashier No.9

Marvellous timing! Though the chance element could have been taken out of proceedings by the stage releasing times in time for Halvin to include it on his marvellous Clashfinder, the essential scheduling tool for Glasto.

We popped into Bimble Inn which was nice and warm now the sun had come out. I like Bimble, it has matted floors for sitting on in all weathers, ales, and usually some entertainment. Certainly one of the better bars on site, though apparently all the staff had been boozing themselves and were taking ages to serve drinks!


Entertainment was provided by a nice chap on the guitar, plus a couple of random out-of-it dancers, one long-haired and one with his face painted blue. I'm not convinced they knew each other, but they sure seemed to have a good time.

The entertainment

Further up the hill, some sort of Mad Hatter's Picnic was going on, I love it when people go to the effort to dress up for Glasto, I had resolved to do more this year, but, well, I'll try next year!

Strange people's picnic

I don't know much about Emiliana Torrini, except that I love her song Me and Armini, what a track! She's an Icelandic singer, and musically a cross between Sia, Bjork and Bat for Lashes.

Will went to get the beers, and Elaine and I told him we'd be right up at the top of the hill. Half way up though, we realised that the sound was getting muffled so far from the stage, so came back down. We kept an eye out for him, but of course missed him, until I spotted him right up at the top wandering about with three beers. Oops!


Will charged off before the end of Emiliana, as he's the world's biggest Lily Allen fan and he didn't want to miss any of her set!

The helter-skelter-esque viewpoint I still haven't climbed

Due to some unfortunate planning by your good self, I realised we were coming in on the wrong side of the Pyramid for Lily Allen. Oh dear. Crossing the Pyramid crowd mid-set, never a fun task at the best of times!

We need to be over there

To be fair her songs were not bad, although I strongly disapproved of her "political" song "f&ck you" which had a chorus of aforementioned expletive - not very nice when the crowd is full of children, and this is her intellectual response to the BNP winning a seat in an election about which she clearly had no clue.

Always fun to see the flags waving too, though they are controversial - you don't end up seeing much of the stage with too many about. Personally I'm in favour, but I think there should be a size limit, or at least an encouragement to limit their size - Glasto has never been about rules, and I'd rather not introduce more.

Bye Lily, it's been most pleasant

The reason I wanted to leave early was the next act. Easy Star All-stars. Not that famous perhaps, but today they were allegedly doing one of their more famous sets, that is to say "Dub Side of the Moon", a reggae interpretation of Pink Floyd's Dark Side album. I'd caught a bit on the radio previously and loved it. I didn't want to miss any of this for Lily's mouthing off!

Steady does it, no falling over here!

One interesting and new feature we passed many times between Pyramid and John Peel was the "Wall of Protest Flags". I wonder how they choose the flags..

Anyway, Dance East for Easy Star Allstars performing Dub Side of the Moon, launching into it with Breathe!

They worked through various highlights, including an excellent rendition of Great Gig in the Sky.

Definitely was one of the highlights of the festival for me so far.

Next up we had planned to see the Specials, but to my frustration we didn't have time to get to them then see the Streets afterwards.. so we dropped the Specials. Pains me even to write it here! We grabbed some food then marched round to Jazz World for the Streets, who were playing Fit But You Know It as we approached.

Spicy duck curry

We set up in our favourite part of Jazz World, i.e. the District 6 bar! Good side view of proceedings and beer readily available. Unfortunately we had some idiot come and sit down on our table right in front of us, almost spilling beers all over him. When I cautioned him (to help him from getting soaked as much as anything), he turned round and agressively told me he wasn't moving. This is honestly the first time I've ever come across anyone with an attitude like that at Glasto, and it does echo comments on the boards that there were a lot more idiots than ever before in attendance this year. Shame...

Overall the Streets were fairly mediocre, with the exception of their upbeat well-known songs. I think it was the wrong choice seeing them instead of the Specials. That said, at the end we did nip off through Avalon and by chance come across the opening ceremony of Trash City, something that was fascinating and a lucky find!

After wandering around the pinball machine dancefloor, the crowd-control seemed to be getting a bit heavy, and we wondered why. Asking the stewards, they told us the opening ceremony and vehicle show was about to start. We were treated with huge flames soaring into the sky, transvestites dancing to music out of a crashed helicopter,

Transvestite dancers coming out of crashed helicopter

a giant prehistoric metallic bird stamping about, wacky retro-futuristic vehicles whizzing around as strange actresses danced around with flames leaping off them as they captured and rounded up audience members and caged them to be taken off as slaves!

It went on for a while, the highlight for me being the incredible flames roaring out of the central construct - it seemed they could hammer out a beat by firing different flame-throwers, and they were of a power, especially the main one, that you would jump back for fear of your eyebrows singeing off!

On the way back to the camper, we passed the Cabaret tent. Hang on... I recognise that voice..!

In the Edinburgh Festival last year, we had seen half of a set by a Canadian chap called Tom, before the fire alarm had led to the evacuation of the building and the end of us seeing his show. Remarkably, the same chap was on here, doing largely the same set, and was just about at the point where we left off!!! What are the chances?

Tom Stade

Next up on the way home, the Insect Circus Museum - a wonderful Victorian-style museum of curios, with all sorts of paintings and exhibitions of insects. Will insisted we went in.

Elaine and her ladybirds.. :)

Finally, just before the gate, we passed Mundo Jazz starting up, a comedy fake Mexican band who for the minutes we stayed for seemed riotously funny. Look out for them touring near you!!

Finally back at camper, it was crumpet time then out again, though Will and Elaine decided they had had enough. We headed back to Trash and Shangri-La.

What's more scary, the sculptures or our expressions?!

From Trash there is a long walk along the railway to Shangri-La, designed to slow people feeding in at the peak periods. My feet were not appreciating it though! Once in, we first all needed the loo, and to our horror discovered that there were no urinals, only long-drops! Big design flaw, Glasto!! Cue loads of people (of both sexes) weeing in the hedges. Not pleasant.

We had a look around a few of the venues, before finding somewhere for a bit of a boogie. Good to see Pippi out after 9pm!!

Unfortunately the Arcadian fireball djbox machine was shut down early, at something like 3am, so we decided to take this as a sign we too should retire!


There was one more photo on my camera from that night... but where on earth is it from??? I have no idea where this is... anyone??:

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