"for the happy, the sad, I don't want to be, another page in your diary"

Tuesday 30 June 2015

Too Much Socialising

I take an extra day off after Glastonbury, not to recover but to get some deliveries. John Lewis rang me and offered to deliver my new wardrobe on that day and I have also managed to get British Gas to come to service our eccentric boiler on the same day. I’ve also managed to get the people who are going to be putting external wall insulation on our house to make a site visit. I did try and get BT to come upgrade our internet to fibre but they are unavailable but the dogs will, no doubt, be thrilled at all this activity.

The wardrobe arrives early and that is soon assembled. Although it did cause them a slight challenge getting all the assorted bits up our steep narrow stairs.

The gas man is next. He replaces everything on the boiler, as usual. The dogs are already exhausted just with the socialising.

The insulation chaps arrive at 2pm. The boys think ‘oh no not again’ and are then totally knackered having seen everyone off. This means I can slip out in the evening to Rock City.

Carl Barat, again. Small world. From a crowd of fifty odd thousand plus at Glastonbury on Friday via Russia on Saturday to a sparse early Rock City crowd in Nottingham tonight and probably similar in Manchester last night. Barat is being a busy chappie at the moment, that's for sure. Whether it’s with the Libertines as special guests on the Pyramid or tonight in a more standard supporting role to Black Rebel Motorcycle Club with the Jackals, he's putting the hours in. I wonder which is the day job?

Will tonight be as shambling as the Libertines Glasto set? Not a bit of it. Tonight Barat’s Jackals are more structured and more organised. He even has his bandanna tied around his own waist this evening.

The songs are perhaps not as clever and inspired as his Pete Doherty shared compositions but tonight’s material was certainly delivered with far more flair and definitely far more enthusiasm. They’re also far heavier. This is British garage rock at its finest.

Don't give up the day job Carl, it this one is it.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are back in the UK promoting a new live album before playing a few festivals and seeing them at Rock City is always a treat. The trio, mainstays Robert Levon Been and Peter Hayes, together with drummer Leah Shapiro, have (as usual) pulled a big and loyal following tonight into what must now be a close to capacity crowd.

They take to the stage, like Barat and his Jackals, in all-black attire on what is the hottest evening of the year so far. There must be a dress code tonight.

They open with the title track from the 2010 album ‘Beat the Devil's Tattoo’ which is followed by a couple from their latest studio album ‘Specter at the Feast’ including ‘Let The Day Begin’, a track first recorded by Been's father’s band The Call, and now re-recorded in posthumous tribute to him.

This is the start of a two hour tour through their expansive back catalogue with Been and Hayes swapping between electric, bass and acoustic guitars throughout. As ever there is a mix of the epic, such as ‘American X’ and ‘Heart + Soul’, slower numbers like the country swagger of ‘Ain't No Easy Way’ and the thundering rock and roll of the likes of ‘Weapon of Choice’. They may even have chattered to the crowd a bit in between but most of what they said was inaudible.

Sadly too is a mid-set acoustic interlude, when the harmonica mic which worked so well on ‘Ain't No Easy Way’ appears to fail for ‘Complicated Situation’ and no one can hear the song. Disappointingly it makes an acoustic ‘Love Burns’ fall well below par as well. These are the only down points though of a generally storming set which ends with ‘Spread Your Love’ stirring up a predictable sweaty mosh in front of the stage.

With the band now running out of time before the 11pm curfew they return for just two more, ‘Shuffle Your Feet’ and ‘Whatever Happened to My Rock 'n' Roll’ which sees Been jumping into the crowd at its riotous finale. Good to have you back again guys.

(Tuesday 30th June)

Monday 29 June 2015

Beating The Rush

So now it’s time to leave 'Glasto' (as the cool 'dudes' call it) and I’m really sad to. A few of our neighbours have already gone on Sunday night and we get up a 6am to beat the rush. However most of the rush are already up, packed and ready to go. Consequently we have to wait almost an hour to get the shuttle bus back to Castle Cary but once on it, they navigate us down another traffic free route and at the station a train is there waiting for us.

We are soon back at Bristol Temple Meads where we have time for a Full English Breakfast before getting the train back to Derby and then the bus back to Nottingham. We are reunited with the dogs by 2.15pm which is actually too soon as the kennels are shut 1pm - 3pm but we don’t realise this and they let us spring them free.

I need to make it up with MD quickly as we’re dog training tonight.

(Monday 29th June)

Sunday 28 June 2015

Glastonbury 2015 - Day 5

It rains overnight and up to about noon, so we stay under canvas. There’s not really much happening down at the festival until the Palma Violets at 2:15 anyway.

We head down eventually and visit Silver Hayes which we’ve neglected so far. Princess Slayer is up on BBC Introducing and we pop into see Ruth Royall in the lovely named La Pussy Parlure. As we wend our way back to Other, Adam Cohen is just finishing. He is then followed by an excellent set from the Palma Violets.

Yet again, despite the earlier rain, the site has once again rapidly dried out and returned to a practically bone dry state.

Could it now be time for Lionel Ritchie? It does look very packed in the Pyramid field with a plethora of Lionel masks, flags and t-shirts asking what it is you’re looking for (various variations). However we desperately wanted to see the Biggles Wartime Band in Croissant Neuf. Some Irish lads we’d met had implied this could be Mr Biggles’ (aka Jolly Jock) farewell gig. They provide an entertaining set including an awesome reworking of Robert Palmer's ‘Addicted to Love’ among others and a guest appearance by Sammy the fish.

There are more cover versions over at the Acoustic next with the Bootleg Beatles who are running late and cut short by the same harassed stage manager who seems almost about to combust in frustration.

Life is much more tranquil up on Other to Belle and Sebastian but we don’t stay. We swerve around Paul Weller (no offence) and opt for a patch of grass up on the Park hill, an Otter Ale having belatedly discovered Trickett’s real ale bar and The Fall.

Impressively through our five days here we've bever had to queue for food, toilets, beer, phone recharge or anything. As regards the toilets, despite dire predictions, these are nowhere near as bad as you'd think or the ones I've been to say at the Leeds Festival, which were truly dire.

Tonight's food is Soulfood from Manchester, well more of a Mancunian Mexican Pulled Beef Chilli creation with that black rice stuff. It's been an excellent food week. 

Then it’s back to Other for a burst of Jamie T but then do we do the The Who or head for Leftfield and the Buzzcocks. Good choice, what a way to close the festival. I mean the Buzzcocks not the Who.

Although that’s not the end, just yet. There’s still time to make our first trip to the John Peel stage (sorry John) and FFS. The collaboration of Franz Ferdinand and Sparks, who are excellent.

Saturday 27 June 2015

Glastonbury 2015 - Day 4

In the morning we find that our late night visitor has left her wellies and her cardigan in our porch. I put them outside the tent and they are very quickly claimed or nicked.

We head down to the main site, which has rapidly dried out and we go in search of money. There are numerous cash machines around the site that charge a £2.50 fee but there is one set of machines at the main entrance that are free, which is at the opposite side of the site to Worthy View. So we hike up there and find no queues.We've not had to queue anything and that's not bad with 170,000 on site.

Of course as it's Saturday, L should be parkrunning but that's something they haven't thought of here, yet.

First up today on Other is the perfect festival fare of Frank Turner, who confesses he’s already played an intimate set around the campfire in Strummerville. If only we’d known, it’s just at the bottom of our hill. I wonder if he saw Ride there. His set, as ever, is brilliant even if he does make up sit down and the get up again for ‘Photosynthesis’. There are no concessions for the old folks’ knees.

We get to Pyramid early today, in time to stretch out on the grass in the sun and listen to the Waterboys. You could almost stay there all day. Then George Ezra comes on and brings half the festival with him. Folk who also seem intent on staying all day. 2,000 is company, 70,000 is a crowd. We decamp, which is a shame as we’d quite like to have seen Burt Bacharach who is up next, just for the novelty.

Next stop is the Acoustic for Tom Robinson. Who now looks quite an old man but still rocks like a youngster. When he finally gets on stage that is, as they seem to have problems setting up his equipment and the harassed stage manager gets more and more harassed as the precise punctuality of Glastonbury gradually goes t*** up, in the Acoustic tent at least. Then when Tom finally gets on and after a brilliant ‘Up Against The Wall’ he breaks a bass guitar string (no mean feat) and has to improvise. After taking requests from the crowd he plays a real favourite in ‘Grey Cortina’, which has probably never been done acoustic before and probably never will be again. A real treat.

We had intended staying in the Acoustic tent for a while because Texas were on next but they have cancelled and their replacement Rainy Boy Sleep is currently pulling the biggest crowd of his life with those who haven’t heard the news.

We slip around the corner to that impossibly small tent on William's Green and Courtney Barnett, who we wave at from a distance as we can’t get inside (again).

Today's t-shirt, my Brakes' 'Won't you shut the f*** up? I'm just trying to watch the band' one, also goes down well. We're not the only ones who hate people talking over the bands. Tonight's dining experience comes from Morocco as we have a Tagine.

We then return to the Acoustic tent for the triumvirate of Nick Lowe, Paul Carrack and Andy Fairweather Low. They are a brilliant collaboration playing a collection of each other’s songs but also a few too many covers of other artist’s songs when really their own back catalogues are rich enough to be plundered.

Next in the still impossibly small William's Green tent are the Palma Violets and again, we wave from a distance. No matter, they are up on Other tomorrow.

On the way back to camp is the Park stage, although we pass Leftfield on the way where Enter Shikari (again) have the place rocking. Up on the Park are Spiritualized, as impenetrable as ever. We debate the long, possibly mile long, hike to the John Peel to see Suede but opt for the camp site bar instead. There was always Kanye I suppose. Nah.