Wednesday, 24 June 2009

My first Glastonbury - my fears of the loos, the mud and the hippies

This weekend I am about to end my Glastonbury virginity at the tender age of just a tad over 40 (a tad obviously meaning roughly five years).

The fact I have waited so long to partake in the Glasto mud is not because I’m averse to music or indeed festivals - far from it.

As some people know I’m a complete music nut (and many think the word ‘nut’ is appropriate in that I’ve seen my favourite band The Stranglers more than 80 times) and in my younger days I actually organised rock festivals of my own for a number of years. And yet, for some reason, the charms of Glastonbury and the like have never particularly tempted me – until now.

I have been pondering a visit to Somerset’s most famous farm for a couple of years but it was only when I started hearing the mere hint of a two-word rumour – “Bruce Springsteen” – that I thought I simply could avoid the Glastonbury temptress no more.


I adore Springsteen and the thought of not seeing him practically in the backyard was unbearable. So, Glastonbury here I come.

The problem with going to the festival for the first time at a not-quite-as-youthful-as-I-was-before age is that so many other people have been and have told me all the potential problems.

I have been told of mud rising up to thigh level, six-hour car park queues, tents floating away down a hill and even more scarily, that the place is full of hippies. Frightening.

And then of course there are the toilets (pictured amidst the mud here).


Maybe it’s because I am that little bit older now but the thought of sharing what have been described to me as the ‘toilets from hell’ with 170,000 other people brings on a mild form of paruresis (that is shy bladder syndrome) and parcopresis (which is bashful bowel syndrome). I wouldn’t even be keen on using public toilets at somewhere like the Ritz so this . . .

And then, of course, there is this camping lark. I love the countryside but I’ve always believed it is better outside of the home rather than as part of it. It doesn’t help that I am, without any shadow of a doubt, the worst person in the world at DIY and the words “putting up a tent” give me the same fears as other people have about swimming with sharks.

I will be accompanied at my first Glasto by my 15-year-old son, Ollie, who’s far more practical than me, and when I foolishly told him of my tent fears, he looked at me, shook his head and uttered the wounding phrase: “When God invented man, I don’t think you were quite what he had in mind.” Cutting.

Thankfully, however, God has invented pop-up tents and that is how we will now be spending our forthcoming weekend. (If only he would also invent pop-up flushing toilets, we would all be laughing).

But despite the reservations about the mud, the loos, the queues and the total abandonment of personal hygiene, I am still very excited about opening my Glastonbury account. The musical line-up looks incredible (I'm especially looking forward to Broooooce, Glasvegas, The Gaslight Anhem, The Specials, Echo and The Bunnymen, Hugh Cornwell, Spinal Tap and more) and I’m looking forward to catching up with some great new bands, some great old bands and many others who have yet to reach my radar.

Hopefully, I might even see some of you at the event – I’ll be the one in a dodgy pop-up tent, wearing a faded Stranglers T-shirt and with a toilet roll in one hand and a ‘how to survive your first Glastonbury’ guide in the other.

Bring it on Glastonbury – do your worst!

1 comment:

ceedee said...

Bumped into your predecessor backstage at the Bandstand just before Spinal Tap.
Turns out this was only his second Glastonbury!
Trust you had a great time despite your fears?