The Patch

June 29, 2007

Friday 29th June – My Glastonbury

Filed under: Music & Film — Free Edinburgh Podcast @ 1:00 am

With my various allergies (stupidly overpriced tickets, huge crowds, hippies, mud, camping, traveling for hours on public transport, being wet and dirty for 5 days street with no hope of a nice warm bubble bath, and Kaiser Chiefs) I did not attend Glastonbury this year. In fact, I have never have done, and I probably never will. It just all seems so irrelevant now. There are many over festivals around the country without nearly the same amount of fuck wit Nathan Barley sorts, and girls aspiring to be Kate Moss in aviator shades and out of place mini-skirts, yet being able to boast a just as impressive line up. Latitude and Connect for two. I myself shall be attending Indian Summer in Glasgow in a couple of weeks where the likes of The Teenagers, Wilco, Flaming Lips and Emma Pollock shall be entertaining me over what I hope shall be a lovely weekend, full of sun, reasonably priced food and gin. Enough of my hopeless romanticism though, here’s how I spent my Glastonbury weekend.

Friday was quite a nice day. The sun was out and there was a garden to sort out and I sorted it out so. Before sitting down to an evening’s entertainment watching Glastonbury on BBC’s 3 channels that have decided to show some coverage. This was my first Glastonbury experience in possession of a functioning ‘red button’ allowing me what I thought would be unadulterated access to all the various artists that form the rather ample line up of the biggest such even in Europe. Oh, how deluded I was.

Instead, what would seem to be the sensible option of dedicating a certain screen of this digital plethora to a certain stage, guaranteeing that viewers at home would not miss out on any band that may have interested them, was forsaken for repeated showings of the both of Amy Winehouse’s performances, along with copious amounts of Bloc Party and Kasabian, because, you know, they are the only artists that anyone at home is at all interested in seeing.

Eep. “Oh well”, I thought to myself, “I’ll give the actual channel’s coverage a go. They seem to be showing the best bits from all the stages. I might catch a bit of Modest Mouse seeing as they are the best band of the last 20 years, or perhaps something interesting from one of the less commercial stages.” Alas, over the course of three days of pretty hardcore viewing, Isaak Brock’s bark and Johnny Marr’s delicate fingers were nowhere to be heard or seen, respectively. And no footage was even to be found on the BBC’s rather sparse amount of online performances (no Arcade Fire!?!?!???!?!?!?!??).

That bracketed aside leads me onto another, rather more personal, bug bear (what the hell does that even mean?) of mine. As we all know by now, Arcade Fire are probably the greatest live band on the planet when playing very good songs, but as we all sadly know by now, Neon Bible doesn’t have many very good songs at all. Yet the BBC’s televisual footage of those kerazy Canadians seemed to dedicate itself to ignoring this fact, shoving yet another fatuous piece of tedium in the way of the audience in the shape of ‘Black Mirror’ or ‘My Body Is A Cage’, completely ignoring what is probably the greatest moment in recent live music history of the band’s wonderful ability to seg straight from ‘Power Out’ into ‘Rebellion’. A similar case was had with Bright Eyes’ set, with focus on tracks from the disappointing ‘Cassadaga’ given precedence, though that may be due to Conor Oberst more than the BBC, so I shall forgive them on this occasion.

Good points were to be found in the links between live performances as, ignoring Jo Whiley’s hideous desire to be cool and deep and Colin and Edith’s general ability to be as irritating as humanly possible, the other 3 did a fine job. Lauren Lavern is a dear and should present everything that is music related, being a jolly woman who is both funny and knowledgeable. Similar respects must be paid to Mark Radcliffe and Phil Jupitus as well, the former being probably my 3rd most enjoyed radio presenter of my time (after John Peel and Janice Long, natch) and managing to carry on this affable, comical persona in the face of incredibly muddy adversity.

Another figure to brave the mud and cold to entertain all who observed was dear Rufus Wainwright, looking fabulous in a fetching black skirt and make up, before doing a set full of wonderfully uplifting songs that were fit to grace any stage. His Hallelujah is better than Buckley’s as well, even if his sister did fluff it up a bit.

And so it was that four lads from Sheffield became the biggest band in the country after 2 years, and a headlining slot on the Friday of Glastonbury was their reward. They’ll have been pleased.

It did look astonishing however, seeming to be the only act over the weekend to have the audience completely in their grasp as they sang along to every word and embraced every glorious note of their spectacular pop punk. I really, really like Arctic Monkeys, and I think I’ve touched upon this before, but they really are just a phenomenal band, with fantastically addictive tunes, intelligent lyrics and a mindset of the most humblest yet sarcastic bunch of 20 year olds in the country. And they looked to have proved themselves here, including a nice little old to Dame Shirley (more on her later).

Saturday then. And instead of emptying all the overnight rain from wellington boots, before cleansing my face with some baby wipes and swallowing some foul toothpaste because there is now to spit, I indulged in some Mark Lamarr on Radio 2 as he replaced Jonathan Ross for the day, whilst eating bacon sandwiches and stroking my lovely cat.

As for the festival highlights, the first footage I caught was of the usually loathsome Lily Allen. HOWEVER, she was far from loathsome on this occasion, as for some reason it all just clicked and she seemed a nice pretty girl with some very nice pop ska tunes. A cracking cover of Gangsters (completer with Terry Hall and Lynval Golding!) certainly aided to that cause, with it being one my viewing highlights.

Disappointment came my way though, as it so cruelly obliges itself to do, as the BBC decided to shovel copious amounts of pointless rockers, Biffy Clyro, and the really not very good at all, even if Carl is incredibly cool, Dirty Pretty Things, in the viewers’ direction when clearly early sets from The Hours and The Pipettes were the wise options to have on the multi screen. Oh well, at least Lovefoxx from CSS provided some glorious entertainment with a seemingly riotous ‘Let’s Make Love…’ and her wonderful attire. Having met her in real life, I can vouch for her utter beauty.

Klaxons came and were mildly interesting, but footage of Pete Doherty’s Babyshambles was showed them to be nothing like the horrorsome little mob so many paint their live shows to be. It was most dull in fact. Even ‘Time For Heroes’ with it’s solo as sloppy as semolina pudding (what an analogy. What an an analogy). Balls.

After some rather great footage of the striking K’Naan as the token ‘world music’ act, there was a tremendous looking set from Editors. I may just take this moment to point out that if you don’t like Editors, you are really only cheating yourself. They are really the only one of these Futurefranzparkpartys that actually look as if they can move on from the whole angular, feisty guitar post punk of that, even this soon, so tiresome phase of British music And they have a collection of tunes that sound awesome from a stage so large. Well done them.

I gave up on The Killers as I hate them, and instead indulged in what was a rocking performance from 60 year old Iggy Pop and his stooges, including the rather wondrous, and oh so just, appeal for the return of the Wispa during the stage invasion. More stages should be invaded. Mr Pop did cause confusion in the BBC studios afterwards though with his reference to ‘Paki shops’, which made me cringe ever so slightly. I’m sure he meant it in a rockingly non offensive way however. He just seems so nice.

As for Sunday. THE LITTLE ONES PLAYED. But where was the footage? Nowhere to be seen. This made me sad. So sad. What did cheer me up though, in a really nice surprising way, was the set from the sublime Dame Shirley Bassey. I tuned in for the whole joke/camp factor, expecting her to maybe raise a smile, but she astounded me with her terrific performance that was probably the highlight of my viewing experience. No , really. After an iffy and ill-advised take on Pink’s ‘Get the Party Started’, it was one glorious tune after another as she belted out classics such as ‘Goldfinger’ and ‘Big Spender’. Amazing, as the French would say, as they’re all speaking English now so they can read Harry Potter.

Some James Morrison highlights followed. I say ‘highlights’, but a a highlight from James Morrison’s set of songs is like a healthy Jew at Auschwitz.

Only one Go! Team song was heard, and for a band who have been among the 3 best acts at the 2 festivals I’ve seen them at, this is a very sad thing. A whole channel should have been dedicated to what surely must have been the sweatiest set of the weekend. Or maybe second sweatiest, as the rather great Young Knives extruded a fair amount of body fluid as well. Like a young Gang of Four, their guitars were sharp and their energy was in abundance. A vastly under-rated band.

Mika looked fun, Chemical Brothers looked all modern, and The Who looked like they were melting, but one act who, like Shirley, impressed me greatly on the final night, even if I wasn’t expecting them too, was The Gossip. My thoughts on Beth Ditto have been heard before on this website, so I wasn’t expecting anything particularly enthralling, but instead receive a punk fueled set that looked alive and exciting, especially with Ditto’s efforts to fully embrace the crowd. So good for her.

And so ended my viewing experience. And instead of walking back to a tent now probably submerged in 3 feet of mud surrounded by a parade of drunken buffoons, I settled down to hot chocolate, a comfy bed and an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. For that is how Glastonbury should be.


Top 10 Viewing Highlights

1. Shirley Bassey – Her whole set
2. Lauren Lavern being lovely

3. Stooges stage invasion

4. Young Knives – She’s Attracted To (the video, as there’ no live footage either on teh BBC website or You Tube, which is a shame as it loses a lot in the studio version)

5. Lily Allen with some Special guests (HA HA HA) – Gangsters

6. Arctic Monkeys – Diamonds are Forever

7. Rufus Wainwright – Get Happy

8. K’Naan

9. CSS – Let’s Make Love

10. The Gossip – Standing in the Way of Control (it’ll be at the end of that)


Record of the Week

I’ve missed the boat on the whole Grease thing, what with Danny and Sandie now chosen, but here is the Facebook generation’s Summer Loving in the form of Homecoming by The Teenagers. Enjoy that American cunt.


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