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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Keep off the grass

It's that time of year again. Glastonbury has become an English institution. I haven't been for twenty years, and have no intention of going ever again. For a start, camping out for the weekend at a pop festival is a rite of passage, part of the process of shifting from childhood the prolonged childhood that is post-modern adulthood in an affluent society. I went a few times and it was great: sitting here typing I can recall some of the happiest times of my life. Jumping up and down singing along to the Paul Jones and The Blues Band's version of Bob Dylan's "Maggie's Farm" (I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more) a couple of years after my working class first-time Tory vote had brought Mrs. Thatcher to power. Laughing myself into a pharmacologically-assisted vegitative state after watching John Cooper-Clarke deliver the Daily Express (This paper's boring, mindless, mean / Full of pornography, the kind that's clean). Yes, great days: look at the 1981 line-up (when it was still only 24,000 people, including me -- see below) and then tell me that today's is better.


Now the tickets are proto-ID cards, the bog rolls are recycled only and it can only be a matter of time before Glastonbury bans smoking as well as drugs because they will get the field designated a place of work. How long before they confiscate booze, too, on the basis that it’s bad for the liver - and junk food, because, as Jamie Oliver warned, that’s bad for us and the environment, too? It just doesn't sound very much fun to me, and that's without the continuous Green hectoring and Saga motorhome campers.

I don't want to sound like Victor Meldrew in every paragraph, but now that Glastonbury is the new Glyndebourne (not that the old one has gone away), I can't imagine anything more hideous that standing soaked to the skin in a field, surrounded by management consultants and their spouses, and watching Shirley Bassey while stone cold sober.

What youthful rebellion can be accompanied by tickets that cost 150 quid, policemen with spy cameras and Lily Allen? No thanks. And while I can see "the kids" wanting to go and see The Arctic Chiefs or whoever, if you wanted to see The Who, then you should have gone to see them at Charlton Athletic Football Ground in 1974 like I did.

In the future, everyone will be famous to fifteen people.
[posted with ecto]

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