I’ve by no means been eager on festivals – not even after I was a teenage music reporter, and was despatched to the 1977 Studying Pageant for cheeking the editor. I took one have a look at the bogs and headed straight again to London to make up my report. How I hugged myself when a credulous colleague informed me that my write-up was so atmospheric he might odor the gang! So might I, the soiled beggars, and I’d solely been there for 10 minutes.
Glastonbury, the UK’s largest and most gushed-over music competition, which lastly wrapped up yesterday, is now as institution as Glyndebourne – simply one other approach for the bourgeois to play, however with added skid marks and dream catchers.
Simply have a look at this from Politico, noting all of the politicians who attended this 12 months:
‘Employment minister Man Opperman revealed how his expertise of Glastonbury had developed… enterprise and commerce committee chair Darren Jones praised a panel he took half in on the local weather… Shadow tradition secretary Lucy Powell was impressed with Rick Astley and Blossoms… SNP MP Stewart McDonald declared what a “class act” Lewis Capaldi was… Mayor of Larger Manchester Andy Burnham stated he was having fun with the “agony of the tradition warriors who can’t bear the sheer constructive pleasure of it”.’
I’d say ‘go the sick bag’ if the hygiene requirements of ‘Glasto’ didn’t render such niceties completely superfluous.
The Left Subject part of the competition appeared like an editorial assembly on the Guardian: ‘This 12 months, within the “Left Subject” space, there’ll once more be a collection of occasions curated by Billy Bragg. These embody: “One Minute to Midnight: Can politics ship on Local weather Motion?”, that includes Ed Miliband.’ Excitably, the web site burbled: ‘As the form of the post-pandemic world begins to type, it’s clear that individuals are extra keen to face up and be counted… Whether or not it’s radical views or nice music you need, arise and be counted at Left Subject.’ I’d wager that after 24 hours ingesting the doubtful fungi so standard at Worthy Farm, the punters weren’t in any match state to rely to 10, not to mention arise.
Caitlin Moran, the Vera Lynn of Glasto, reminded us in The Instances what an enormous coronary heart the organisers, the Eavises, supposedly have, with ‘£2million being donated to Oxfam, WaterAid and Greenpeace’. ‘However other than being the one large competition that yearly makes large charitable donations out of its income’, Moran simpers, ‘its (for need of a extra advanced phrase) goodness is sensible, and radical. The week earlier than the competition opened, Gary Lineker travelled right down to formally open 20 new social properties within the close by village of Pilton, including to the 32 the competition had already funded.’ How good of Saint Gary to point out up, glowing with advantage and that £1.35million a 12 months he earns, squeezed from the pockets of hard-working licence-fee payers.
At one level, Moran observed ‘overhead, the BBC Information helicopter’. There was multiple, I wager, seeing as one estimate by the Each day Mail put the BBC presence at Glastonbury this 12 months at between 500 and 1,000 staffers: ‘4 motels, all believed to be four- or five-star, [were] booked up… many had been staying within the Charlton Home Resort, the place rooms value as much as £400 per night time.’ However ‘the get together spirit pervading the company’s Glastonbury protection is on no account shared by everybody’, says the Mail, in mild of ‘swingeing cuts and job losses’ on the BBC. ‘We’re all fuming that the cash is so free and simple for these luvvies whereas they reduce thousands and thousands from native radio’, one ‘insider’ informed the paper.
Was there ever such an odd but completely suited couple? Glasto is the BBC’s work outing and the BBC is Glasto’s moist nurse. Final month, the BBC director of music, Lorna Clarke, boasted that the BBC would ‘current extra Glastonbury protection than ever earlier than’ this 12 months, following an extension of the company’s unique cope with the competition. Hilariously, in 2017, the BBC refused to disclose the price of that protection, claiming it might breach European human-rights legal guidelines. So your guess is pretty much as good as mine as to how a lot cash adjustments palms.
The remainder of us are clearly not getting our cash’s value from the BBC. However when did we ever? It’s not a public service however a propaganda machine, pumping out the opinions of the ever-more irrelevant liberal institution, preaching inclusivity and variety – like Glasto – whereas marginalising anybody who doesn’t mouth the identical stale mantras on every part from immigration to Israel. And most of all, on Brexit. Certainly, watching the gurning hordes final week, I recalled the Glasto of 2016, when the response to Freedom Day was bitter to say the least. I couldn’t assist smirking remembering how the Eavises had warned punters to register forward for a postal vote as there have been no voting services on the web site. It’s scrumptious to suppose that Glasto might need swung the vote even barely. On-site Remainers can have woken up figuring out they’d forgotten one thing, earlier than placing it right down to leaving a 3rd of their brains within the Therapeutic Subject after caning the shrooms too enthusiastically.
Smugness is the overriding attribute of Glasto goons and this 12 months’s lot was no exception. It featured superannuated and super-reactionary performers similar to Elton John (who as soon as yelled at a journalist that he hoped she’d die of most cancers of the clitoris) and Yusuf / Cat Stevens (who as soon as hoped that Salman Rushdie would die of the fatwa). As for the crowds, no event is now full with out the usual nepo infants, like Romeo Beckham and Rafferty Regulation (son of Jude). There was even a band performing known as the Entitled Sons, that includes the 4 sons of tv presenter Sarah Beeny.
The Glastonbury crowds remind me of the DH Lawrence poem, ‘How Beastly the Bourgeois Is’, particularly the ending:
‘How beastly the bourgeois is!
Standing of their 1000’s, these appearances, in damp England
what a pity they will’t all be kicked over
like sickening toadstools, and left to soften again, swiftly
into the soil of England.’
However that’s only a stunning dream – and, I concern, one as elusive as Elton John lastly which means what he says about retiring, and going away and by no means coming again, for actual.
Julie Burchill is a spiked columnist. Her ebook, Welcome To The Woke Trials: How #Id Killed Progressive Politics, is printed by Academica Press.