Sunday, July 01, 2007

Glastonbury 07: Sunday

WHAT? NO TOWN BAND? Yes, you read right. There was no Glastonbury Town Band this year. Booo.

Perhaps that’s the reason chirpy North London chappies, The Holloways pull a surprisingly hefty crowd on Sunday morning. Now, if this band, by some evil fluke, reached the size of The Kooks, I would think they were the most irritating bunch of snotty-nosed fellas ever. But as it is, they’re currently like a more charming version of The Libertines, bringing their flatmate onstage to play guitar and hamming up their Artful Dodger cockiness, much to the crowd’s delight. After such a smiley start to the day, it would seem churlish to criticise. They were lovely.

Over in the Leftfield tent Ed Byrne’s political comedy is far funnier than anything I’ve seen him do previously. However, it’s hardly difficult to make people laugh at Christian fundamentalists – you need only tell the truth and you’ll have any sane person in stitches. Or tears. A short film with music from Brian Eno on nuclear war followed: if any one else remembers the name of this film, please could you leave it as a comment as I would love to watch it again.

Tony Benn has such dignity and integrity that when he speaks it is impossible not to give him your full attention. Listening to him speak about Trident was a moving and provocative experience, and I hope will nudge me out of my own tendency to become complacent or disheartened. As he reminded us, we are the first generation with both the capacity to destroy the entire human race, and the technology to save ourselves. The right choice is also the obvious choice, but I think we’ve got some way to go before we’re ready to stop relying on nuclear power, both in terms of energy and politics. It’s become increasingly unfashionable to voice your demands for nuclear disarmament, but I think it’s a demand that you cannot voice enough. He’s absolutely right, we need to stop protesting and start demanding. I can’t find any footage of his speech at Glastonbury, but here he is on the February 07 Stop Trident march.

In front of the Jazz World field I enjoy some more cider and gladly give a cigarette to an old man in a dress who confesses he’s meant to have given up smoking, but his wife has taken the kids to the circus, so would I be so kind as to give him a spare fag. Seth Lakeman is his usual virtuoso self as I desperately try to move around in the mud to ensure I don’t sink without a trace.

On the Avalon Stage, minifig, monkey 2, hobbit (monkey 2’s boyfriend) and I are all wowed by Billy Bragg. Explaining that all his electrical kit is stuck in a van deep in the Pilton mud, Billy Bragg presents a stripped-back solo acoustic set, playing a welcome combination of old favourites and new tracks. A busker rendition of Waterloo Sunset rouses the crowd into a giant karaoke sing-along, as does a heartbreaking Sexuality and a rousing Great Leap Forward. England, Half English is superb. By the end of the set, I see several people wiping their eyes…and I doubt it was down to hayfever.

Heading back to the tent, we catch a little of Tinariwen, who although interesting, were a little too dirgey for my liking, but undoubtedly great musicians.


At 02 July, 2007 09:06 , Blogger Newfred said...

I love Tony Benn too, but I really think his views are a bit outdated. I agree about nuclear disarmament in principle, but it's hard to see how it can become a reality. And as for nuclear power, we probably have to bite the bullet and say that this is the most practical way to provide large amounts of low-carbon energy.

Glad you had a good time at Glasto!


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