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>Tumblrweed…

29 May, 2010 Leave a comment

>Today’s soundtrack:  Cornershop – Handcream for a Generation

As always, following in the footsteps of my youngest, I’ve extended my blogging wings across to the next big thing, Tumblr.  A slightly prettier blogger, a wordier Twitter, it just might catch on.  I’ll still keep posting here, for all you blogger diehards, but will port everything across to my Tumblr page as well.

Neatly, I can also link my Tumblr page directly to my own personal website – so those of you who’ve looked in vain for some content on www.paulwaring.com – look again!  Given the nature of Tumblr, you might find some additional content up there that won’t ever appear on this page – so get bookmarking…

A while since I’ve posted – a combination of work taking up most of my time and precious little exciting to blog about, but what else is a boy to do on a wet Bank Holiday Saturday?

With the festival season approaching, the wetness needs to be having a word with itself and disappearing to foreign parts.  Weather something like that we had last weekend will do very nicely, please!

And a very pleasant weekend it was too.  Went over to Huddersfield to see The Boy, and we ended up in his drinkery of choice – The Parish.  No bands, just a nice couple of pints in the sunsheeine and one of the best burgers I’ve ever eaten.  Tasty!

And speaking of festivals, tickets arrived this week for both Glastonbury and Cropredy.  Spent the day “working from home” waiting for the Glasto ticket – which finally arrived…at 9:15 in the evening.  So a day wasted – but ticket firmly in my grubby paws.  Yay!  In other Glasto news, U2 dropped out due to Bono’s back-knack, to be replaced by Gorillaz.  All well and good, but I’ve got a dilemma now.  With U2 playing, it was a no-brainer – off to the Other Stage to see the Flaming Lips (and finally be persuaded – one way or the other – whether they are The Most Wonderful Thing Ever or The Emperor’s New Clothes).  Now, it looks like I’ll have to see the audio-visual extravaganza that is Damon Albarn’s side project (or side-side project, not sure which).

Or I could just sit quietly in a corner somewhere, up to my gills in Strawberry Cider.

Cropredy should be interesting – backup festival with Simon, given that Latitude went and sold out on us.  Looking forward to some folksy jiggery-pokery, washed down by the odd gallon of real twiggy ale, in the hot August sun.

One band I won’t be seeing this summer on the festival trail is Cornershop, that excellently-named fusion of Asian rhythms and western rock/hip-hop/reggae embellishments.  Often too eclectic for their own good, they are always interesting, if easier to admire than like.

Here they are, ‘Staging the Plaguing of the Raised Platform”, which is easy enough for them to say.

>Day 204: T-Day!

5 October, 2009 2 comments

>Today’s soundtrack: ‘Til Tuesday – Coming Up Close – A Restrospective

Up early – very early – this morning, to catch as much of the Grand Prix as I could, then to sit at the computer pressing the F5 key until See Tickets coughed up a Glastonbury ticket for me.
Luckily, The Hunter was up for an early morning stakeout, so any chance of inadvertently oversleeping was removed. Six thirty, and I’m making coffee and watching cars driving round in circles.

The Grand Prix was a bit of an anticlimax really – missing the start didn’t help, and by the time I was watching the shakedown for the final positions was all but complete. A win for Vettel keeps the championship race interesting for a couple more weeks, although points for Button and Barrichello really means the inevitable is just delayed slightly.
So – in front of the computer by 8:30, ready for the ticket rush. Really, I wasn’t sure why I was bothering to get sorted so early – for the last couple of years, tickets have taken weeks, if not months, to sell out, and the level of ‘noise’ around ticket sales didn’t give the impression it was going to be an almighty struggle this year.

But still, better to be sure than sorry. Last year, See Tickets had sneakily opened sales a good hour before the ‘official’ time of 9:00, so I thought it was worth trying early again this year. And sure enough, I managed to get onto a live sales site by about 8:50. Worryingly, the website ‘fell over’ a few times as I was going through the booking process, but I got the successful transaction screen just before nine – and the official confirmation email about an hour later. Simple – sorted. No mad panic.
Sent a text to The Boy just to make sure he was up and about, and getting himself sorted, then logged on to the Glastonbury forums to see how the day was unfolding (and to soak up just a bit of early Glasto ‘vibe’, man). To my surprise, it looked like things were getting a bit tough out there as the day went on – half the tickets sold by 10:00, according to the official Facebook page, with no sign of sales slowing down.
A few other successes – The Boy got a couple of tickets, as did Timmy and Moggsy, then Rhys – but one other member of the Wells Massive was having registration number difficulties.
A few issues with confirmation emails coming through, but again, updates from the organisers confirmed that they were taking ages to get issued…so don’t panic, Captain Mainwaring! I was fine though, and could leave for the footy safe in the knowledge that I was sorted, at least.
And still the sales continued, and the website was rammed. Some early signs of mild panic on the forums, but no-one really believed they would sell out today, did they? Well – they did, apparently, ‘Sold Out’ notices going up at about 9:00pm.
Pleasing in one sense – it means that only the really committed will be there next year, not the people who decided to go on a whim – but also worrying that a good few mates might have been caught out by the rush.
Wonder who’s going to be playing next year? A minor detail, though.
And so the footy. Had to go by myself today, father out at a birthday party and nephew playing football himself. You would ordinarily expect to be beating Stoke City at home – but they are a big, physical team and not really the sort of team you want to be playing on the back of a long European trip in midweek. Given recent injury problems, we had a pretty decent team out – but no Yobo or Pienaar meant starts for Bily on the left of midfield and Johnny Heitinga coming in at centre back.
And the game panned out pretty much as expected – a tough, physical game with few chances. Those chances that did arise in the first half came mainly to us – unfortunately we didn’t put any of them away, something we would come to rue later in the game.
All square then at half time, but with us ahead on points. A situation that became irrelevant five minutes into the second half when Stoke took the lead from – inevitably – a set piece, Huth heading home from a corner.
Oh dear.

We continued to play pretty well, but with little penetration – but five minutes later we were level through a spectacular goal from Leon Osman. Captain for the day, and playing well, he exchanged passes with Johnny on the edge of the Stoke area before crashing in a left-footer from 25 yards off the underside of the bar. A lovely goal, totally out of character with the rest of the match.
After that, we kept pushing and should have taken the lead but Cahill’s header from six yards was straight at the keeper. We flung on Jo and the Yak to add to the firepower, but this seemed to unbalance the team (Moyes, to his credit, admitted this was his mistake after the match) and the game fizzled out to a 1-1 draw.
Disappointing, but the unbeaten run stretches to six games now, and with more games under their belts, the newer players are beginning to settle in. With injured players still to come back, I remain optimistic for the season ahead.
‘Til Tuesday on the soundtrack today. Mid ’80s powerpop from the band that gave us Aimee Mann, and although it all sounds a little dated now, there’s still some good stuff in there. They were never particularly successful in the UK – and not that much more successful in the States – but are worth seeking out.
Here they are performing ‘Voices Carry’ in New York back in 1985. Not convinced by the hair, chaps…

>Days 117-119: Slipping Standards

13 July, 2009 Leave a comment

>Today’s soundtrack: AC/DC – If You Want Blood, You’ve Got It

I know, I know, there’ve been rather a lot of combined days’ postings going on recently. So much for a single post every day, what happened to that? Well let me tell you, it’s not easy coming up with fresh stuff to write every single day – especially when one day is much like any other at the moment!

But I know I’m slipping – when I get Latitude out of the way, I promise to do better.

So Jayne won Masterchef then, as we thought she might. I won’t give you a blow-by-blow, it’s been done better than I could by Andrew Collins here – but once she’d got away from the pressure of the professional kitchen she managed to cook something that looked (and, presumably, tasted) better than anything the others could produce. Roll on Normal Person Masterchef!

While all that was going on, the footy pre-season started with Everton’s first friendly, away to the mighty Bury. Everton’s back four included three kids I’d quite literally never heard of, and while the rest of the team had some pedigree, it was no real surprise that they lost 2-1 in the end. Nice to see Jo back for a season-long loan, but that’s not really where I think our priority lies for strengthening this season.

In other sporting news, England managed the raggedy-est draw possible in the first test after looking dead and buried at the start of the final day. Not really a huge cause for celebration, we looked (and were) crap for most of the match and it is difficult to see where any improvement may come from. I remain distinctly underwhelmed by cricket as a spectator sport these days – years ago I would have watched test matches from first ball to last but now I just can’t maintain the enthusiasm. I did sit through the German Grand Prix though – it does begin to look like a Red Bull charge in the second half of the season will make things pretty interesting as Brawn go slightly off the boil. And whilst it was nice to see a competitive Lewis Hamilton come through qualifying in some style, it was disappointing (although massively amusing) to see him set off like a loon and blow (quite literally) his chances at the very first corner. Still, good to see Mark Webber winning his first race (from his first pole) – seems like a nice guy who, like Button, is long overdue some tangible success.

I spent a lot of the weekend trawling the Internet for snide downloads of Glastonbury performances, and hit paydirt with some decent recordings of Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen and The Gaslight Anthem. I even managed to find a video of the Springsteen guest spot with The Anthem (although I was unable to spot myself in the crowd). Converting them into iPod-friendly formats (and getting the right titles for the songs) took a bit of effort but we got there in the end. I also picked up The Sunday Times for the free Specials CD, which is also sitting proudly on the iPod now.

Culinary treat of the weekend was one of the simplest – toasted bagels with cream cheese. We don’t have bagels that often, and I’d forgotten just how much I enjoyed them. With some smoked salmon and a twist of black pepper, they’d have been even better. Next time.

The bagels were almost outshone by Saturday brunch though – just the thing to cure the marginally thick head I’d woken up with on Saturday morning. Between myself and Mrs W, brunch comprised the following:
Cumberland sausage x4 (healthily grilled in the Formby)
Back bacon x4 (cooked in the frying pan)
Black pudding x2 (cooked in the bacon fat)
Mushrooms (ditto)
Fried egg x4 (ditto)
Fried bread x2 (cooked in the juices saved from the sausages)
Plus brown sauce for me and red sauce for Mrs W.
Now if only we’d had some beans and hash browns in…
Finally a bit of heavy stuff on the soundtrack. And it doesn’t get much better than Bon Scott era AC/DC, does it? If You Want Blood… also has the advantage of being live, and includes the wonderful ‘Whole Lotta Rosie’, about one of Mr Scott’s more, ahem, Rubenesque groupies. 42-39-56, you could say she’s got it all!! Hell yeah!

And here they are in Colchester, of all places, back in 1978. Rifftastic!

>Day 106: Glastonbury Monday

2 July, 2009 Leave a comment

>Today’s highlight: Beating the queue!

Woke up early to hear the sound of rain beating down on the tent. Instantly panic set in, remembering the quagmire in the car parks two years ago. So up and packed as soon as possible. Got The Boy galvanised, and the two of us were ready to go before seven. And a good job too, as we got to the car park to see a line of immobile traffic already leading towards the main gate. Luckily I’d spotted a kind of ‘inside track’ on the walk back to the car, that might allow us to cut a corner or two.

And so it proved – we managed to drive quickly parallel to the main queue, then nip in at the head of the queue without offending anyone or making it too obvious just what we were doing. And luckily, the rain, although torrential had not (yet) destroyed the car park.

So on the main road well before nine, with just the local traffic and a detour to Huddersfield to negotiate. A pretty uneventful (albeit inevitably slow in places) trip saw me home by about three. Ready for the three ‘S’s’ that were desperately needed on my return (shit, shower and shave, if you must).

That’s another Glastonbury down, and another good one. Some great moments (Gaslight Anthem, Neil Young, Dead Weather) some good (Bruce, Roger McGuinn, EODM and the Tap) and very few that were not so good. I could have paced myself better, I should have got away from the Pyramid more than I did, but there’s always next year for that.

The weather was extreme – either extremely hot, or extremely wet – and we still did not get a mud-free festival, but it was good enough. The company was – as always – excellent and there was little general lairiness from the rest of the festivalgoers. The cider and the food (when I got round to eating!) was as good as it always was.

Thanks to everyone who made it what it was – to Jo, Oz, Rhys, Billy, Tim, Hannah, Rose, Nell and Craig for their company, to Trefor, Sarah and Gareth for their friendship….and, of course, to Matt for refusing to be embarrassed by his dad and for persuading his great friends to put up with the old feller yet again.

And finally to Mrs W for continually indulging her old man’s refusal to grow up gracefully!

Categories: Glastonbury, Matt

>Day 105: Glastonbury Sunday

2 July, 2009 Leave a comment

>Today’s highlight: Roger McGuinn

Ouch. Oh bloody hell.

Perhaps bed would have been a better idea last night. I did get to bed, at some stage, when the autopilot kicked in…but when and how I have no idea.

The first job of the day was therefore to do something about the hangover. I adopted a six-stage approach to the task in hand (once I realised that quietly whimpering was not, of itself, going to do me any good).

Stage One: Rehydration salts begged off one of the boys. Taken with plenty of water. At least stopped my tongue sticking to the roof of my mouth.

Stage Two: Juice. More precisely, a ‘Detox’ blend from one of the many juice stalls dotted around the site. Comprising carrot, beetroot, celery and apple, juiced and blended to order. Better.

Stage Three: The Orange Refresher Ice Lolly. Not a recognised hangover cure I know, but it numbed my aching tongue and got some sugar into my system.

Stage Four: Water. A litre and a half of Glastonbury Spring

Stage Five: The Healing Fields. A long walk from the campsite, and a chance for some peace and quiet. I sat up here for a while just chilling, taking in the peaceful vibe and watching the ‘healers’ massaging, chanting and meditating. A nice Hare Krishna man gave me a piece of fruit ‘for meditation’. Not knowing how to meditate with fruit, I ate it instead.

Stage Six: Curry. A Goan Fish Curry to be precise, something of a Glastonbury tradition.

And in the end dear readers, I beat the hangover. But remember – it’s not big and it’s not clever.

I enjoyed most of today’s music from a distance, sitting up at the campsite before and after my wander to the Healing Fields. First up were Easy Star All-Stars, performing most of their dub version of Sgt Peppers, and very good it was too.

Next up were Status Quo, in the early Sunday slot filled by Shakey last year. They didn’t disappoint either – all the hits, lots of boogie, no more than three chords per song. What’s not to like?

Got back from my wanderings just in time for Tom Jones. Traditionally now, the mid-afternoon Sunday slot goes to someone who has, shall we say, been around a bit. Shirley Bassey, Neil Diamond and – this year – Jones the Voice. We got all the hits – Delilah, It’s Not Unusual, What’s New Pussycat, The Green Green Grass of Home – as well as some of his newer stuff – Sexbomb and Kiss included. The boyo’s still got it!

Next up – Madness. And again, they judged the festival audience perfectly. All the hits, lots of cheery banter, note-perfect throughout. The crowd (and I) loved them to death. the Son still hates them with a passion, though.

I spent most of the day undecided about how to finish my Sunday. I’d spent the last two days at the Pyramid for the headliners and really didn’t want to make it three out of three, although Blur were an attractive proposition. also, I was not too worried about missing some or all of Nick Cave, as I’ll be seeing him in a few weeks at Latitude.

In the end I decided to head over to the Acoustic tent to see the final two bands there. I fancied a low-key end to the festival, with some real quality. And that’s what I got.

Firstly, Roger McGuinn. The former Byrds leader played totally solo, playing Rickenbacker electric (natch) and his own 7-string acoustic. A delightful set, with some long, rambling introductions describing how the songs came about, and the genesis of the Byrds sound as ‘Beatled-up folk music’. A lovely man, who responded to the genuine and warm applause from the audience with a series of ‘peace’ signs. Bless.

And finally, Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames. Georgie is also an excellent (if slightly grumpier) raconteur, and he still knows his way round a Hammond. Tight little band, nice blend of jazz and blues, an hour and a quarter flew by in his company. In one of the biggest festivals in the world, this break in one of its most intimate corners was a welcome rest from the full-onness and hurly-burly going on elsewhere.

Back in the wider festival, Blur had gone down a storm – as had The Prodigy over on the other stage – and the Pyramid Field was now a kaleidoscope of fire and flares as people wound down (or wound up) for the final night.

Back at camp, I resisted the temptation to go up to the Stone Circle or over to Trash City – and I’m glad I did, as within an hour the heavens opened, the thunder and lightning crashed and flashed and the festival gods took their revenge. Suitably chastened, I retreated to my tent and turned out the light.

>Day 104: Glastonbury Saturday

2 July, 2009 Leave a comment

>Today’s highlight: The Gaslight Anthem

Oh dear. Mobile phone problems this morning. The ‘doss everything in your sleeping bag’ solution to tent theft is fine, until you fall asleep on top of your phone, fully draining the battery in the process. The degree of charge loss was so great it proved impossible to kick-start back into action for the rest of the festival!

Never mind. Raging thirst this morning soon put right by a pint of orange juice and a coffee, followed by some kedgeree from the Goan Fish curry stall. Stomach suitably lined, it was back to the campsite to prepare for the day’s activities.

First off, it was down to the front of the Pyramid for a trio of fun bands.

Firstly, Tinariwen. This group of nomadic Touaregs play a smooth blend of desert-infused rock, played on a mix of traditional and Western instruments. Their natural home is the Jazz World stage, and they looked a bit lost on the Pyramid, although the blazing hot early afternoon sun fitted perfectly with the origins of their music. The rain of Friday morning seemed a distant memory as we frazzled in the heat. Two years ago, I’d missed Tinariwen through a combination of fatigue and bad timing, so it was good to see them this year.

So from the sublime to the (deliberately) ridiculous. The Eagles of Death Metal are a real good-time band, with a touch of the cartoon and with tongue firmly wedged in cheek. We’d seen them a couple of years ago supporting Foo Fighters in Manchester, and they didn’t disappoint today, working the crowd well, striking all the right poses and playing a succession of rockin’ good numbers. They’re not The Eagles, and they don’t play Death Metal, but my, they are good fun.

Up next – Spinal Tap. Not a real group (but you knew that, didn’t you?), they still came on and rocked the house. All the ‘hits’, special guests (Jamie Cullum and Jarvis Cocker), audience members shaking their booty during ‘Big Bottom’ (“your body fits me like a flesh tuxedo, I’d like to sink you with my pink torpedo”) and an inflatable triptych (and dancing dwarves!) during Stonehenge. What’s not to like?

Off next to the John Peel tent, stopping off only for posh hot dogs (regular hot dog for The Boy, Polish gourmet shit for me) on the way. Off to see The Gaslight Anthem, possibly the highlight of the whole festival for me. I was aware of the group, having downloaded their album from eMusic a couple of months ago on the back of some rave reviews, and a fine band they are in the studio. Live though, they were a completely different proposition – and in a good way. Tight as a gnat’s chuff, all the stage presence you could want and some rattlin’ good tunes to boot. Brilliant. And to cap it all, a special guest. On one of the smaller stages at the festival, accompanying his fellow New Jerseyites, we got Bruce Springsteen playing along to The ’59 Sound. Cue absolute mayhem! A great ‘Glastonbury Moment’ and great to see The Boss enjoying the occasion as much as the band (and the crowd). Could Bruce himself top the moment later?

Back to the campsite, listening to Crosby, Stills & Nash in the distance. Very pleasant, but I was still buzzing from The Gaslight Anthem to pay too much attention. The kids all disappeared to watch Kasabian close up, whilst I decided to recharge before going to see The Boss.

And fell asleep.

Woke up having missed the bulk of Kasabian, but in plenty of time to get down close for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Found a reasonable spot and waited for the fun to start. And it was…..good, probably better than good, but not transcendental – not a real Glastonbury moment for me. Firstly, where I was stood, the sound was awful – far too much bass, far too little guitar. Secondly, Bruce misjudged the crowd. This was a festival crowd, not a ‘Bruce’ crowd, and it needed more crowdpleasers, earlier in the set. Now that’s not to say there weren’t some wonderful moments, and Bruce worked as hard as he always does, but there’s no doubt he got the pacing wrong. Still, great versions of Thunder Road, The River and No Surrender (this time with The Gaslight Anthem guesting with Bruce) meant there were still plenty of memorable moments to cherish.

But it could have been sooo much better…..

Back at the campsite, the kids were back, and just a trifle giddy. Now I could have left them to it and quietly gone to bed (as every fibre in my body was crying out for me to do) or I could stay up and join them in a drink or two.

What was it to be?

>Day 103: Glastonbury Friday

2 July, 2009 Leave a comment

>Today’s highlight: Neil Young (amongst many others)

Bugger. Rain.

Heavy thunderstorms in the night and early Friday had managed to turn the site into a mini-quagmire. Why is it that every Thursday night at Glastonbury it rains, just as the fun is really about to start?

No matter, that’s why you bring wellies and waterproofs. In any event, I had something to do this morning – I had to eat.

Didn’t feel like it much, but needs must. So off into the marketplace to find something suitable. Chanced upon a crepe stall and opted for the cheese and ham crepe, which actually went down a treat, especially when chased down with a fresh orange juice.

With protein and vitamin levels suitably enhanced, it was back to the campsite to do a bit of planning. Truth be known, there wasn’t a lot I was desperate to see today, the the plan was pretty much to go with the flow until Neil Young came on in the evening, incorporating some intriguingly anonymous ‘special guests’ up at the Park.

So sat round the campsite listening to Bjorn Again open proceedings on the Pyramid. Cheesy, but pretty accurate, Abba copyists got people dancing and generally put a smile on faces, despite the weather. Then I headed off on a roundabout route that found me at the Jazz World stage, just as Speed Caravan were being announced. A new band on me, French-Algerians performing with (the world’s only?) electric oud, I was intrigued enough to give them a listen.

And I was glad I did. The sounds the oud player was able to get from his instrument put me more in mind of Jimmy Page than anyone else, and the parallels with the Page/Plant experiments with African sounds were pretty strong to my mind. They got better and better, whipping up a great deal of audience enthusiasm as they went. Unfortunately their set was concluded abruptly – maybe a power cut, although I suspect the plug was deliberately pulled as they were overrunning a fair bit. A shame, but the first excellent band of the Festival and a classic case of chancing across something wholly unexpected and completely wonderful. Happens every year at some stage and makes the festival what it is for me.

Left the Jazz World stage and slowly wandered up to The Park and settled down on the hill behind the Park tower. The views of the site are excellent from here, and I was happy just to sit and chill for a while, taking in the views and the sounds from the main stage. As the weather slowly improved, I took in the soul stylings of James Hunter – another new name on me, playing a deliberately retro blend of soul and r’n’b that was extremely pleasant if a little unchallenging.

I then wandered down towards the Park Stage and took up a position by the mixing desk for the first of the day’s special guests. Some overenthusiastic punters had been talking about Muse and Coldplay – totally unrealistic for this stage – and it turned out to be a newish band (duo, actually) called Hot Rats, who played a really entertaining set of cover versions taking in everything from David Bowie, the Beastie Boys, The Doors and Gang of Four. Part way through the set, it slowly dawned on me that Hot Rats were, in fact, Gaz Coombes and Danny Goffey from Supergrass, revisiting their roots and influences.

My original plan was to then head down to the Other Stage to see White Lies, then head back to The Park to see the second of the day’s special guests. But given that a) I had a cracking speck where I was, and b) I couldn’t be arsed with the treck, I stayed where I was. As a result I caught the set by Emiliana Torrini, who is (obviously) Icelandic (albeit of Italian descent) and someone else I’d never come across before. Clearly a very talented singer, with a tight backing band, she delivered a high quality set that was perhaps a little too polite for my tastes, but didn’t make me regret hanging around.

And so to the second of the two ‘special guests’, who turned out to be Jack White’s latest side project, Dead Weather. This was a source of great excitement to Son No 2 – and also to me, to be fair. Jack (literally) takes more of a back seat with this band, playing drums pretty well throughout, although he reverted to guitar for the last couple of songs. He also passes most vocal duties to Alison Mosshart, whose day job is in The Kills. And what an excellent racket they make! Jack White is clearly as good a drummer as he is a guitarist and Dead Weather are at least as entertaining a proposition as The White Stripes or The Raconteurs. How refreshing it is to see someone who just wants to create, as often as he can with as many different collaborators as he can, and who in doing so can maintain such a consistently high standard of output?

Oh, and the day capped by Guy Garvey walking past me with a couple of ciders in his hand. Nice one Guy!

Big smile welded in place, it was back down to the campsite, where I caught the back end of The Specials set. I was a bit cynical about the reformation, which excluded Jerry Dammers, the Group’s driving force, but any cynicism was blown away by the quality of the set and the enthusiasm of a packed Pyramid field.

Which left Neil Young. Been a fan of Neil’s for many years, but had never seen him live. We hoped for a grungey set rather than a folky one, and the old grumpmeister didn’t disappoint. He paced his set perfectly, opening with a noisy and tight ‘Hey Hey, My My’ which delighted The Son no end. Other highlights included a heartfelt ‘Needle and the Damage Done’, ‘Heart of Gold’ and a version of ‘Down By The River’ that seemed to go on for hours. He closed with a suitably rocking ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’, with five (count ’em!) false endings. Where could he go from there? Well, to a sublime encore of ‘A Day in the Life’ (identified as a Bowie song by the young lad stood in front of me) that ended with five of the six strings on Old Black snapped amid a squall of feedback.

Neil might look like the oldest of rock dinosaurs, but my, he still rocks like a bastard.

So back to the campsite for a well-earned rest and a couple of looong gin ‘n’ tonics to relax before Saturday’s exertions.

>Day 102: Glastonbury Thursday

2 July, 2009 Leave a comment

>Today’s highlight: Friends and reunions

Woke up to hear, sadly, of a few tent robberies in our vicinity although, thankfully, none of them affecting our little party. It helps, I think, camping as a largish group, with plenty of us coming and going all the time – and, of course, by taking sensible precautions – all my valuables (which basically means wallet, keys, phone and camera) stay with me in the sleeping bag at night, and travel with me during the day.

Wolfed down a couple of cereal bars and then some of the boys headed off to the Pyramid Field for a touch of Frisbee. I went along for the ride and managed to avoid too much diving around, opting for the role of Official Chronicler of the event (all right, I sat down and took a few photos).

Back at the campsite, got a text from an old school mate of mine. I’d not seen Trefor for around 30 years, but here he was, attending his first Glastonbury at the age of *cough* and up for a meet.

And where else to meet but the Cider Bus? Another Glastonbury institution, the Cider Bus is famous for its apple cider, in both cold and ‘hot and spicy’ versions. And mighty fine it is too! So a couple of pints and a hearty reminisce with Trefor (And hasn’t he grown? Upwards, I mean, not outwards – although there’s a bit of that too if I’m honest). Really nice to meet him – not seen the lad for thirty years and we get straight back into the banter and conversation as though it was just the other week. It helps that I’ve not changed a bit, of course.

Left Trefor with his wife and mates and off to meet up with Sarah and Gareth. Sarah and I used to work together and this was also her first Glastonbury, so I’d agreed to show them round. Owing to the vagaries of the site’s mobile coverage, it took a while to make contact, but when we did, she suggested a good place to meet up.

And where else to meet but the Cider Bus?

*Hic*

So a few pints later, we did a mini-tour of the top end of the site, back to our campsite, round the main stages and the Dance Village, and finished up in Jazz World, where we needed to buy yet more comedy sunglasses. Sarah and Gareth then headed off to get ready for East 17 and I think I went back to the campsite.

Whilst thing were beginning to pick up on the entertainment front today, there was nothing that really pulled at us so we hung around the campsite for the most part this evening, although some of the more active team members went off to the Dance Village or up to the Stone Circle. Truth be known, the pace was beginning to tell and somehow I’d managed to go another 24 hours eating nothing but a handful of peanuts and a couple of cereal bars. So feeling rather sorry for myself I sloped off to bed early.

Memo to self: EAT SOMETHING!

Categories: cider, Glastonbury, Sarah

>Day 101: Glastonbury Wednesday

2 July, 2009 Leave a comment

>Today’s highlight: Brother’s Strawberry Cider

Early start this morning, on the road by half five in a desperate attempt to beat the rush onto site, and to ensure we got our customary pitch in Hawkswell, north of the Pyramid Stage. Traffic reasonably light on the way down, until I reached the outskirts of Bristol when a major incident on the M4 necessitated a wide diversion on my way to Wells.

Got to Wells around nine-thirty, then stopped off to pick up Son No 2, and Tim and Hannah, two of his mates who were camping with us. Off then, with a completely stacked out car, to Pilton (via Tesco’s, to pick up the final few cans of lager necessary to keep the boys fuelled).

Traffic onto the site was heavier this year than last, and it took a while to get onto the car park, a touch further away from the main gate than we would have liked. A walk that proved to be too much for Tim’s collapsible wheelbarrow, that took its description all too literally on the way to the front gate.

In true Glastonbury spirit, The Boy and I left Tim and Hannah to flounder and headed onto the site. Wristbanded and laden with cloth bags, guides and programmes, we got round to the site and pitched up alongside our other companions for the week – Oz, Billy, Rhys, Jo, Nell and Rose. Got the tents up, got the chairs out and then – aaah, the first cider of the weekend! Bliss!

Tim and Hannah finally joined us and, pitched, tented and gazebo’d, our little 10-strong village was ready to party.

With all the action really kicking off on Friday, the first two days of the festival are all about exploration, re-visiting old favourite sites and, not to put too fine a point on it, drinking. So in an attempt to combine all three activities into one, we headed off to the Brothers Bar in the Jazz field. The Brothers Bar is one of two key cider-drinking sites (more on the other tomorrow) and is famous mainly for its ‘Festival Strength’ (7%) pear cider which comes in three flavours – pear, lemon and strawberry. Now whilst the pear and lemon ciders are truly fine drinks, the strawberry cider is something else completely. Possibly the original alco-pop, it slips down a treat and, sat in the sun on the grass, has little apparent effect on the senses. And then you try to stand up.

Suitably lubricated, it was time to fritter some cash away on festival jewellery and scarves, and comedy sunglasses. As you do. And then, after stocking up on fluids at the campsite, it was off to the Stone Circle to watch the sun go down over the site. Met up with a few more people at the circle, chilled and drank a bit more, then as twilight approached, we wandered back to the campsite, chatting to friends and strangers alike as we went.

Back at the campsite for a few sundowners, a bit of chat and eventually to bed. Early night tonight – must have been around one-thirty when we hit the sack!

(Oh, and note to self – remember to eat tomorrow, Paul!)

Categories: cider, Glastonbury

>Days 98-100: The Excitement is Building….

23 June, 2009 Leave a comment

>Today’s soundtrack: Sigur RósÁgætis Byrjun

Where has all the time gone these last few days?

I’ll tell you where. Getting giddy about Glastonbury – checking weather forecasts, planning where to go and when, checking the weather again, sorting out clothes and stuff – oh, and just having one more check on the weather front.

Sunday however, I did the decent thing and went down to see my old man on Father’s Day. Well, that was the plan. Of course I got down there and he was out. Apparently he’d called me at home and twice on my mobile…none of those calls actually reaching me for some reason. He’s old, and he was using a mobile phone. He could have been calling anyone.

Still, had a quick chat with him on the phone, left his card there and had a chat with my Mum instead. Which was nice.

For my part, I had a card off Son No 2 and a present from Son No 1 – a Van Morrison CD that he’d somehow divined that I wanted – I must have put it on my Amazon wish list…either that or he’s telepathic! All good stuff, just glad they remembered!

Watched the Grand Prix and, naturally, as soon as we get to the UK, the wheels (not literally, thankfully) come off the Button bandwagon and he is well beaten by the Red Bull team, who appear to be running into a bit of form and consistency. Might be a ‘season of two halves’ which would liven things up no end come the final few races!

After moaning about the general flakiness of my home computer, I ordered a new box from Dell which arrived on Monday. Just the box, all my other accessories – monitors, keyboards, mice etc – are all fine. Spent most of the day copying stuff from my old machine onto my new machine, via an external hard drive – with variable success, it has to be said – email and web bookmarks came across like a dream, but iTunes was a nightmare – looks like my ratings and play counts have been lost forever, although most of my playlists seem to have transferred ok.

The new machine is running Vista, which looks very pretty, but I can’t say I’m convinced by some of its quirks – quirks that seem to have been eradicated in the early version of Windows 7 that I have seen. Still, will give it a go and – touch wood – it seems pretty robust at the moment. No doubt while I am away it will stop working for Mrs W. And that will be my fault.

Early post today for Day 100 (is it really 100 days already? Where has the time gone?). Just back from the supermarket, having done the booze shopping for Glastonbury. It breaks down like this:

Cider: 6 litres of Weston’s vintage organic (7.3%).
Wine: 3 litres of chenin blanc/chardonnay
Gin: 1 litre of Sainsbury’s finest (43% and delicious)
Vodka: 1 litre of cooking vodka.

Plus various mixers, tonics etc, including 4 litres of Sainsbury’s own brand Red Bull equivalent.

Oh, got some wet wipes and bin liners too. Food? Cereal bars, sweets and peanuts, most of which will come back unopened.

The booze should see me through to Friday though.

Early start tomorrow to pick up Son No 2 in Trowbridge as early as possible, then off to Wells to pick up a couple of his mates. Hopefully camped up before midday, and cracking open the first cider around lunchtime.

So it’s going to be quiet for a few days – but full, extended Glastonbury report will follow early next week.

If I’m still alive, that is.

Soundtrack today – Sigur Ros, who are not touring this year but who headlined Latitude last year and were totally excellent. Bit of a ‘Marmite‘ band, but they’ll do for me. Ágætis Byrjun is their second album, and the one that brought them to mainstream attention. They opened Latitude with one of the standout tracks on the album, Svefn-g-englar. And here it is, not from Latitude unfortunately, but from Bonnaroo on the same festival circuit.

Wish me luck all – see you when I get back from Glasto!