Wednesday, June 27, 2007


I didn’t really enjoy the BBC’s Glastonbury coverage too much. This may sound pompous but I thought the Pyramid Stage’s fare was rather conservative and predictable and, sadly, the corporation appeared to stray from that arena rarely. The like of The Killers (who are they?) and the tiresome Kaiser Chiefs mean little to me and I was crying out for something a little more leftfield. The few times the cameras pitched up the John Peel Stage were worthwhile. I’d never heard of Jack Penate before but I appreciated his energetic and witty set. I blow hot and cold with the whole Glastonbury scene. Having been three or four times in the late eighties and early nineties when less hype surrounded the festival, I feel a touch of nostalgia for those days. It was huge back then but I don’t recall the media going overboard about it all and there seemed to be more quality control; perhaps I’m wrong but style over substance appears to be the order of the day. Having said that, I wouldn’t mind going again. I always liked the myriad of stalls and shops as well as the tremendous array of foods available. The comedy and theatre tents were always great to sample too.

It is funny how one’s mind works. I was contemplating my festival-going history at the weekend – effectively a handful of Glastonburys and Readings – and at the same time thinking and writing about Battles and searching online for a decent photo of the New York electronic rockers. Having ruminated about how good a picture the one below was, I had to rush and find my all-time favourite band picture which actually isn’t of a band at all. I took the above photograph myself at 1989’s Reading Festival by our tents. My beautiful and ancient blue Ford Fiesta creeps into the foreground. The picture was in no way posed. I just shouted a warning and everyone stopped and looked at me. It does look like a fabulous band shot though. If I didn’t know the individuals in the frame so well (left to right, D, N, S, S and S) I could easily be persuaded that the quintet was really a hardcore noise terrorist collective from Belper. It has always been known, with affection, as ‘The Band Photo’ and I know that dear S (who hasn’t aged more than a minute) treasures it.

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