22 July 2007

Mud, mother! Mud! Mud!

Yet again I have been on the road for some time, and unable to post anything. A succession of hotels and tents, most of which for some reason did not have free wifi, have made the last few weeks difficult to chronicle with any accuracy. With that caveat in mind, I am going to try and post some of the highlights.

The first trip of note was to Glastonbury, a small festival in the south of England that you may have heard of. The Very Understanding Girlfriend and I went there a number of times in the 90's, and these experiences almost single handedly cured me of camping for ever. To begin with, as we were pennyless students, getting there inevitable involved a 24 hour journey by ferry and train, followed by a period of skulking around the entrance trying to find someone to bribe to let us in. The worst year involved arriving late, camping 100 meters from the Dance Tent and mud so bad that the area was declared a disaster zone. The Very Understanding Girlfriend's brother awoke one morning to discover worms in his pocket, I was almost overturned inside a portaloo, and there was an unfortunate incident in the Dance Tent involving a septic-pit draining truck spraying human waste onto the ceiling of the tent, which later solidified and rained down upon the unsuspecting clubbers a few hours later. Not a happy experience at all.

In fact so adverse to camping am I as a result of this experience, that when my friends heard I was planning to return all they could say was, "But Dave hates camping", over and over again like a mantra. But you see, this time was to be different, this time we were not students and experience was on our side. Firstly, we had backstage tickets, courtesy of my amazing sister. This meant flushing toilets, private camping area, an escape from the maddening crowds. Secondly, we had money. This meant a nice tent, inflatable mattresses, flying to Southampton (with flyBe, the greenest airline in the UK) and proper raingear, just in case. Thirdly, we had providence on our side. After a succession of miserable, mudlogged experiences in the 90's we were confident that we had paid our dues and this year would be the sunny halcyon experience that we had always dreamed it would be.

Well, two out of three ain't bad.

It rained. And rained. And rained. And when it wasn't raining it oozed. It was everything it was in '98 and worse. But at least we had flushing toilets, cleaned on a regular basis. And showers. In fact I actually managed to have three showers over the five days that I was there, one of which was an illicit, purloined shower in the Artists' Shower backstage; Never have I felt so clean, and yet so dirty at the same time. But apart from the weather it was actually great. In addition to the Very Understanding Girlfriend and her brother, who returned not as wormfood but as an artist on the Acoustic stage, my sister and her fiancee were also there, as well as my Aunt and Uncle, both of whom are in the music industry, and their two young kids both of whom spontaneously referred to me as "Unkie Dave!" - which was simultaneously cool because it is highly unlikely that they read my blog and so the nomenclature was indeed spontaneous, and uncool, as it clearly demonstrates that they have a tenuous grasp (at best) on our biological relationship. My sister = young = cousin; me = old = uncle. Sigh.

Anyway, the music was good, stayed well away from the Dance Tent and went to all the old people's music at the JazzWorld and Acoustic stages, though also saw Bjork, !!!, CSS, Karsh Kale and Mideval Punditz, as well as an amazing group of Francophone Afrique artisis jam with the Magic Numbers, Damon Alburn and Billy Bragg on a version of "Rock the Casbah" in French. Amazing!

All in all a great five days were had, but once again I have been well and thoroughly cured of camping.

Unkie Dave hates Camping.


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