The Last Word Goes To Sidney

All this festival malarkey has got to me a bit this weekend. I got around to catching Radiohead’s set on YouTube. I’ve been a fan since seeing them at the acoustically challenging Southampton Guildhall, in 1995. This morning I enjoyed a bit of Royal Blood, over a cuppa, and I even managed a bit of Foo Fighters before lunch. But is Dave Grohl morphing into Barry Gibb?

Yesterday we got along to the village fête. It was a shower-free afternoon, well spent. People seemed generally happy and there was a buzz about the place, aside from the one generated by a dodgy PA system. And I connected with a face from my past. I was as surprised to see a former line manager in her role as a Guide Leader, as she was to see me in the company of three grandchildren. In fact, she didn’t recognise me and was subjected to several prompts before saying, “Oh yes, of course. You’ve lost weight since I last saw you.” Actually, is that any better than someone telling you that you’ve ballooned to a point beyond recollection? Well, I was on secondment and it was 14 or 15 years ago. Although you’d have thought she’d recall the daftest job title I ever had – Postgraduate Research Web Information Officer, or, as it turned out, MUG, for short.
Anyway, we politely exchanged stories and brought each other up-to-speed. We had, as she would have said back in the day, “touched base”.
Remembering faces or putting names to them isn’t something that comes easily to everyone. But one face that has stayed fresh in my mind, is that of Sidney Westerfeld. He appears in the introduction to Woodstock – the movie. I think he’s great. The then owner of an antique tavern…Monmouth Valley, New York State, delivered this short but classic monologue. He’s obviously been touched by festival magic.

Muds and Rockers

In 2000 I was all set to be an Oxfam steward. It was an exciting prospect, as I recall.

The application had been straightforward. A list of do’s and don’t’s, things to bring, things to leave at home, was provided. All was well with the world. My tent was proofed and my wellies had no holes. I was ready for whatever a festival weekend might throw at me. Then, on the eve of my departure for Worthy Farm, I went down with a dose of the “squits”. Travelling was out of the question, and several phone calls later, between visits to the loo, it was mutually agreed that I sit it out *literally* and recover.
Sixteen years on and the grossly commercialised festival has my stomach churning for different reasons. Still, it is what it is, and I’m just an old fart moaning about how fings ain’t what they used be. Glasto has never been more popular, has it? Around 170,000 souls all lumped together for rewritten rituals under English summer skies. A weekend of tunes and temptations, all for around £243 a ticket – prices may vary
For stay-at-homes like me, there’s blanket coverage available across all devices. I don’t doubt it’s possible to pick up Radiohead on the food mixer, with a bit of effort.

Last time I went to Cambridge, in 2012, this left me speechless.