Friday, 1 July 2011

Glastonbury 2011 wrap-up part the second

After the Wu, we attempted to catch a bit of Katy B in one of the dance tents, but, as I predicted when I originally saw the line-up, we couldn’t get near it for love nor money (not that I attempted to bargain using either, it has to be said). So, again, we gave it up as a bad idea and re-grouped.

We had been hearing various rumours regarding the ‘very special guests’ at the Park Stage. This was a bit of a difficult decision for me, as I rather wanted to see Morrissey, but the rumour was that the special guests would either be Pulp, Radiohead or The Killers. In the end I decided to take the gamble (helped by the fact that no-one I was with wanted to see dear old Moz). If it was Pulp, I would be elated, if it was Radiohead, and they played the old stuff, it would be cool, and if it was the Killers, well, I could go to the bar. We made the wise decision to get there early, which meant we caught Big Audio Dynamite’s set, which was actually pretty good, although Don Letts is a much better DJ than he is a singer (well, I do change my mind a bit later on. How’s that for foreshadowing in my narrative). Between bands things get a little crushed however (we were pretty close to the stage). And, although most of the crowd around us are having fun and making jokes, quite a lot of the aforementioned pushy young people are out in force and determined to get further in despite the laws of physics being against them. After a while, we started chatting with everyone in the immediate vicinity and making up rumours that the band were not going to be anyone good at all, which culminating in my leading the entire crowd in a chant of ‘Susan Boyle! Susan Boyle!’. This was possibly my finest achievement ever.

What Radiohead thought of hundreds of people chanting for SuBo just as they were about to go on is still making me smile....

So, yeah, it was Radiohead, but they confused me by coming on and saying ‘hello! We are Radiohead’ whilst not looking like Radiohead. It was about 5 mins in until I realised that it actually WAS Thom Yorke, albeit with very long hair. My heart sank, however, when they announced that they would be playing stuff from their new album. Oh. I lasted about 20 mins before a difficult fight back through the packed crowd to get booze and food. Still gutted I missed Moz but the SuBo chanting pretty much made up for it.

Eventually all our crew re-grouped and headed to the rather cool Cubehenge stage in the pouring rain and danced to Red Dwarf’s Mr Craig Charles. He surprised me actually – I was expecting a bit of Northern Soul, some James Brown etc, but what we got was funky breakbeat, and very enjoyable. Was surprised at his DJing too – He doesn’t mix as such, but cuts between tracks of similar tempo in a pretty effective way. He doesn’t half make some faces when he plays, though, that Craig. Far scarier than any Xenomorphs in Red Dwarf..

Unfortunately our crew had to cut it a little short as it was time for the headliners. Rather than submit ourselves to the will of Bono and his U2 band, we decided to hotfoot it over to the John Peel tent, where DJ Shadow was about to take the stage. Quite possibly my favourite thing of the entire weekend (SuBo expected) – for the first twenty mins or so he played, I kid you not, in a giant ball. There were 360 degree visuals projected onto the ball, and every once in a while it would light up so you could just about see Shadow’s shadow doing his thing. The music was brilliant, as well, mashed up versions of many of his classics, usually going double time for some drum and bass action, and eminently danceable. After about half an hour, the Shadowsphere turned around, and there he was, hunched over decks, drum machines, samplers and all kinds of gizmos. He even spoke! A little bit about how much of an inspiration John Peel was to him and how much it meant to be headlining that stage. Awww! I made friends with the only other man in the crowd who recognised I Gotta Rok too. Awesome.

After that I was a bit knackered and had been drunk off my face for about 9 hours, so headed back to the tent and sheltered from the rain, before drifting into a very deep sleep!

Pt 3 soon come, containing Secret Pulp, dubious hand signals and pop stars with damaged limbs.

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