My Top Ten 'Glastonbury Moments' From Glastonbury 2008. By me.
10. Sunday night, about midnight, my mate Rob and I are sitting waiting for other friends in an old cockpit by a bar in Shangri-La. Man in thick-knitted sweater, worn jeans and wellies sits next to me. Looks at me. Raises hand and starts talking to me through tiny wool finger puppet mouse. I find this perfectly normal behaviour.
9. Friday evening, front row of The Holloways set in the Queen's Head tent. Crowd euphoric as the band plays through their old and new tracks with typical energy. I turn to my right. Sixty-year old black man rests on barrier, looking more miserable than anyone who has ever lived before. He is wearing a colourful furry lion hat.
8. Friday night, Park Stage, I am crushed down at the front of a secret gig being put on by Franz Ferdinand. I look ahead to the front row, just two people ahead of me. A small boy, no older than ten is standing watching the band as his father is slowly pulverised whilst attempting to keep his son from mosh-related injuries.
7. Saturday night, by the Cider Bus. I buy a pint of cider and watch on as a giant wicker turtle, the size of a van, is wheeled through the rabble. Costumed men and women are sitting on top, on a matress inside, whilst a few push it along. People stop and watch, everyone laughs. Until it parks in front of about fifty of them at the Pyramid Stage. No one argues. Who's to say what these people are capable of?
6. Saturday afternoon, Other Stage. Elbow finish their set spectacularly, leading the crowd in an epic singalong to 'One Day Like This'. After they leave the stage the crowd forgo the traditional cheering for more, simply choosing not to stop the singalong. The lines 'Throw those curtains wide/One day like this a year would see me right!' are sung in unity by thirty thousand people for a further four minutes.
5. Wednesday evening, Jazz World Stage. A woman shins her way up one of the many flags that pepper the arena. Crowd watches on, calling out encouragement. When the woman reaches fifteen feet or so, the flag simply snaps in half and the woman falls to the ground, lies for a few seconds, gets up and walks off.
4. Sunday afternoon, Pyramid Stage, Neil Diamond leads seventy to eighty thousand people in a sing along to Sweet Caroline. That's all.
3. Sunday night, about 2am. Rob and I have found his friends and are dancing in a group to jive music in a fifties diner in Shangri-La. One friend points to the side of the dancefloor. Mark Ronson pashes with his girlfriend. We all privately consider going over. No-one does.
2. Wednesday evening, Jazz World Stage. I buy a pint of pear cider, and walking away from the bar hear a huge cheer - the sort you hear leading up to a penalty. A rising 'oohhhhHHHHH' followed by a 'Whay!'. I go over to examine. Amongst a circle of thirty sit three people and their mate, who lies passed out on the floor, cardboard cup of cider held loosely in hand. Between his legs, where they meet the crotch, an empty cider cup has been placed. Towering up from this is a lopsided stack of these cups, at least eighty of them, gathered and piled to create a spontaneous alcoholic's idea of Jenga. Every 'oohhhhHHHHHWhay!' comes from the crowd as they watch another contestant approach the tower and carefully place their empty cup in. The tower topples at approximately ninety cups, but the bloke remains unconscious. He is roused by his friends, and a little surprsied to be covered in cardboard cups and cheered by three dozen people. It is Glastonbury.
1. Walking through the Green Fields on Thursday afternoon I stop to join a small group watching a tranny teach a ten-year old boy how to weld. That is all, but it is all I will ever need.