There are myriad ways to kill a day at work: take up smoking, take up working or rip-off the Guardian's hugely successful sporting YouTube roundup. Ahem. Anyway...
I've just got my tickets for Bjork's upcoming tour and I'm a bit excited about it. So what more reason is needed to post the Michel Gondry-directed video for Declare Independence?
Transitioning smoothly from Gondry (whose new film Be Kind Rewind looks brilliant) to his Partizan community bedfellows Ramon & Pedro. It's the video for Smile by French hip hop outfit Hocus Pocus ft Omar for no other reason than I like it. Ramon & Pedro were also responsible for The Grey Video that accompanied Danger Mouse's Grey Album.
Perspective corner - When was the last time you really listened to Stevie Wonder? Go have a listen to Innervision and remember that he wrote and played it all himself. Makes you take a long hard look at whoever's the current most hyped artist/band doesn't it? Plus the guy can play a mean drum solo. Incredible.
Early in 1992 the Sugarcubes finally had the hit they deserved with the aptly titled 'Hit'. The track was a genuine indie classic and finally brought the haunting tones of Bjork to a wider audience, allowing her to embark on a hugely successful solo career a year later.
It also brought to our attention Einar Orn Benediktsson, the 'creative' juice behind the band and seen here with a very red face and a neck brace rapping unintelligible nonsense. Perfect.
The Sugarcubes reformed last year for a one-off charity gig in aid of Smekklesya SM, an Icelandic non-profit organisation that helps to promote new bands in the country.
Bjork has confirmed that Radiohead lead singer Thom Yorke has sung backing vocals on a new single `Nattura` hoping that the wonky-eyed messiah won`t do the same for her career as he did for Drugstore back in 1998 (the band were largely unheard of from that point on).
Released today, the single is available through all good digital outlets with all profits being donated towards the `Nattura Campaign` which gives its name to the song. The campaign aims to encourage sustainable environmentally friendly options in Iceland, for more info check here and their official website.
With today officially Iceland day on Culturedeluxe (and, by that, I mean the country and not those television adverts with that vacuous twunt Kelly Kantona) here's some news that should interest anyone worth their musical salt.
Iceland's number one export Björk teams up with cohorts Sigur Rós tomorrow night in their native country for a free, open air Náttúra concert designed to promote awareness of the impact of the growing aluminium smelting activity on Iceland's natural landscape. Even better, you don't have to jump on a plane tonight to see it (thus soothing your conscience and keeping your carbon footprint light) as they're broadcasting on worldmusic.nationalgeographic.com from 8pm BST (or 7pm locally).
“One of Nat Geo Music’s main goals is to offer artists and experts who care about global culture and the environment an outlet to create awareness for important issues. Spotlighting these amazing artists performing live in a spectacular backdrop allows our worldwide audience to enjoy great music and become aware of Iceland’s environmental concerns and join the conversation,” said David Beal, president of National Geographic Entertainment.
Commenting on the gig, Björk said: “Too often battles being fought for nature turn into something negative and into mudslinging. We will not go that way, we are not saying that this and that is forbidden, we are rather asking ‘what about all these other possibilities?’ The 21st century is not going to be another oil century but rather a century where we need to recycle, think green and design both power plants and our surroundings in harmony with nature.”
Sigur Rós, who released its fifth album, “Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust,” this week, believes the issue of aluminum smelting in Iceland is one that can no longer be ignored. “We are not a political band and don’t think musicians should set themselves as spokespeople on anything at all, but sometimes you see things going on in your own back yard and find that just as a human being you cannot stand by and do nothing. The changes that are going on in Iceland need to be the subject of debate and not snuck through the back door because no one lives in the wilderness and there is urban apathy or a general lack of awareness,” said Sigur Rós vocalist Jón Thor Birgisson.
See you down the front then! However that works digitally...
Bjork has announced a stack of gigs in England, one in Northern Ireland and, curiously, none in Scotland or Wales this Spring to coincide with her new single 'Wanderlust' released on 14th April. The track comes from her latest album 'Volta' released last year.
The tour calls in at:
April 2008 11 - Manchester Apollo
14 - London Hammersmith Apollo
17 - London Hammersmith Apollo
20 - London Hammersmith Apollo
22 - Plymouth Pavillion
25 - Wolverhampton Civic Hall
28 - Belfast Waterfront
May 2008 1 - Blackpool Empress Ballroom
4 - Sheffield City Hall
The Brit Award nominations were made last night at Camden's super-venue the Roundhouse and it was a good night for indie - providing you consider indie to be the weak-brewed, identikit rubbish that haunts the UK's Top 10.
Arctic Monkeys snapped up three deserved nominations for Best Group, Album and Live Act while Kaiser Chiefs matched them, gaining recognition for the year's finest number one single 'Ruby' and deservedly missing out on a nomination for their bitterly disappointing second album.
Mercury veterans Klaxons and Bat For Lashes gained two nominations. The former making a baffling appearance in the 'Best Live Act' category with Natasha Khan taking full advantage of the notoriously undercontested 'Best Female' category.
The awards show takes place on 20th February at London's Earls Court, presented by the unintelligible Ozzy and the unlikable Sharon Osbourne.
Full Nominations List
CDX tip in italics
Best British Male Jamie T
Best British Female Bat For Lashes
Best British Group Arctic Monkeys Editors
Best British Album Arctic Monkeys - 'Favourite Worst Nightmare' Leona Lewis - 'Spirit'
Mark Ronson - 'Version'
Mika - 'Life in Cartoon Motion;
Take That - 'Beautiful World'
Best British Breakthrough Act Bat For Lashes Kate Nash
Best British Live Act Arctic Monkeys
Muse Take That
Best British Single The Hoosiers - 'Worried About Ray'
James Blunt - '1973'
Kaiser Chiefs - 'Ruby' Kate Nash - 'Foundations'
Leona Lewis - 'Bleeding Love'
Mark Ronson - 'Valerie'
Mika - 'Grace Kelly'
Mutya Buena - 'Real Girl'
Sugababes - 'About You Now'
Take That - 'Shine'
Best International Male Bruce Springsteen
Rufus Wainwright Timbaland
Best International Female Alicia Keys
Best International Group The Arcade Fire The Eagles
Kings of Leon
The White Stripes
Best International Album The Arcade Fire - 'Neon Bible' The Eagles - 'Long Road Out Of Eden'
Foo Fighters - 'Echoes, Silence, Patience, Grace'
Kings of Leon - 'Because of the Times'
Kylie Minogue - 'X'
Over the past few years increasingly impressive nanotechnology and a series of smoking bans has seen the mobile phone replace the cigarette lighter as the popular peripheral of choice at gigs. Cheap memory and an increase in sound and picture quality in phones means that an average gig-goer will stand with their hand in the air for an entire song, sometimes an entire gig, `recording it for Baz who couldn`t make it`.
At a recent Happy Mondays gig I very nearly smashed the phone of one punter who had it trained on Bez for the entire gig. He hadn`t gone for the music, he hadn`t gone for the experience. He`d gone because he had the chance to capture a `celebrity` (by virtue of Big Brother) up close and personal. I, meanwhile, had a terrible experience securing tickets for this reunion show and the sight of a kid gaining no more enjoyment or participation than he would have from watching a Youtube clip made my blood boil. Fortunately support for my plight has finally come from Bjork in last weekend`s New Zealand Herald. She said,
"I don`t want to be rude or anything. I understand they come to the show and they want to keep a memory. I appreciate that. But after two or three songs I just have to say `Listen, if you want me to be here in the moment with you, then you`ve got to be too`. It sounds weird but I really have to feel that we`re doing it together. A live concert is all about being there in the moment. You just have to let go. What bothers me about it [is] you prepare yourself psychologically before a show and you go on stage and you open up and you want to be open. It`s a bit like going out to dinner with your friend. You`ve decided you want to trust them with something really important and the minute you start talking he picks up his mobile phone and starts texting and you think, `What? wait a minute! Are you listening to me, do you care?` It`s like, `Look me in the eye`"
With major festivals no longer `being about the music`, e-bay touts ripping off fans and now this, is the concert experience being ruined by big business and technology? What would they have made of this at Woodstock?
Guillemots combine indie pop with a certain traditional sound of folk, jazz and general obscurity, so it's no surprise that they've been approached to provide the tracklisting for the latest 'Back to Mine' compilation. They also boast a leader who is the spit of our own Chris Jones - but does his musical taste compare to that of his lookalike?
The collection takes us from the lo-fi alt-rock of Sonic Youth, through the strong female vocals of Bjork and Joan Wasser to the double edged avant garde blade of Charles Mingus and Liars. All in all an engaging compilation.
Tracklisting 1. Sonic Youth - Providence
2. Roots Manuva – Witness (One Hope)
3. Four Tet – A Joy
4. Joan As Policewoman – The Ride
5. Esther Phillips – And I Love Him
6. Daniel Johnston – Speeding Motorcycle
7. Kenickie – I Would Fix You
8. Tartit – Eha Ehenia
9. Bjork – All Neon Like
10. Amon Tobin - Reanimator
11. Charles Mingus - Tensions
12. The Supremes – My World Is Empty Without You
13. Liars – The Other Side Of Mt. Heart Attack
14. Cartola – Preciso Me Encontrar
15. Raphael Saadiq – Still Ray
16. Buffalo Springfield – Expecting To Fly
17. Sandy Denny – No End
The collection is released in October through DMC.
Jakobinarina Hit Out at Miserable Shower of “Alternative” Acts
Jakobinarina, who?? Well they are young, Icelandic and make an incredible racket!!!
Their new single 'This Is An Advertisement’ gleeful parodies the chronic lack of integrity (both musical and political) displayed by the current miserable shower of “alternative” acts. “We will even change our name to the Coca-Cola band!” spits vocalist Gunnar in a faux-desperate plea for the holy grail of brand sponsorship
Ummm..they are signed to EMI
However they do make quite an agreeable sound and are going to bring their own brand of Icelandic noise on the road with Cajun Dance Party :
Saturday 7th July: Bedford at Esquires
Sunday 8th July: Manchester Night and Day
Tuesday 10th July: Edinburgh Cabaret Voltaire
Wednesday 11th July: Glasgow King Tuts
Friday 13th July: Nottingham Rescue Rooms
Saturday 14th July: Sheffield Plug (Shuffle Night)
Monday 16th July: Brighton Pressure Point
Wednesday 18th July: London Luminaire
You can check their new video here
This Is An Advertisement
We published a rumour list some time ago on the site and a few hardy internet kids called us 'rubbish' over on another forum, so this time we're sure we've got this year's Glastonbury line-up correct!
Friday 22nd June
The Magic Numbers
The Arcade Fire
Super Furry Animals
Reverend and the Makers
Mr Hudson and the Library
Saturday 23rd June
The Good, The Bad & The Queen
The Long Blondes
Sunday 24th June
Manic Street Preachers
The Marley Brothers perform 'Exodus'
The National Youth Orchestra
The Go! Team
Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly
Cold War Kids
So, a little something for everyone there, including a performance from everyone's favourites Kharma 45 for the Sunday early birds - if they actually turn up to this festival...disappointment caused by their Reading no-show last year was huge.
Obviously Glastonbury has a range of other stages including the John Peel stage, One World, Circus and the Hungarian Performance Art Circle. So, don't spend too long ogling at these middling indie bands will you?
Happy Mondays recently announced that they`re signing with Sanctuary to release their first LP in 15 years - which, as yet, doesn`t have a name. Previous rumours that the band were signing to Oasis` Big Brother proved to be false. As reported last year, the album was recorded with Quincy Jones` grandson Sunny Levine at the producer`s desk and was mixed by Howie B and Bjork.
Shaun Ryder recently kicked his methadone habit and has recently taken up a rigorous fitness regime, presumably following all the calls of `who is that fat git in the Gorillaz?` in 2005 when he guested on the cartoon band`s number one `Dare`.
Bez, meanwhile, has done little of note since he won 2005`s Celebrity Big Brother (where the novelty of having someone honest and not relentlessly chasing fame on the show really hit a spot with the audience).
Both, however, are sporting brand new pearly whites - courtesy of those unexpected paydays in between albums.
Back behind the drum kit is Gary `Gaz` Whelan, but no other former Mondays have rejoined - not even Shaun`s brother Paul. Instead, it`s likely session musicians will be recruited for the band`s first performance of the new material at Coachella and then back to the UK for the first tour since 2000.
Tour Dates May 22 - Inverness Ironworks 23 - Aberdeen Music Hall 25 - Sheffield Leadmill 26 - Middlesbrough Town Hall 27 - Hull University 29 - Cambridge Junction 30 - Northampton Roadmender 31 - Preston 53 Degrees June 1 - Dudley JB`s 8 - Manchester Ritz
It`s back! Glasto returns after a year of `rest`and brings with it the usual rumours, gossip and denials.
The most notable change from two years ago is the latest in anti-tout trickery. Hopeful fans will have to pre-register their details during February, including a passport-size photo, and only these people will be allowed to attempt buying tickets at 9am on April 1st (...Meaning this could all be a big joke with no festival happening, you heard it here first). Tickets will have your photo on them. Neat.
Now onto the bands:
- The Who say they will be playing and Eavis has confirmed although things aren`t `100% in place`
- The Arctic Monkeys will be headlining
- Bjork will be performing
- It has been hinted that Canadian rock band `Arcade Fire` are appearing
- The `biggest band in the world` have contacted Eavis about performing. After intense speculation this has been refined by saying they are a `Modern Band`. Your speculation is encouraged.
- Kylie will not be performing due to a busy schedule.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of their debut single `Birthday`, The Sugarcubes have announced they`ll reform for a one-off show in their native Reykjavik on November 17th.
Most of you will know them as the band that Bjork began her career with, but I prefer to remember them as the quirky band with the red-faced, neck-braced rapper (in the promo for 1992`s `Hit` anyway) Einar Orn Benediktsson...and, yes, he`s back too.
A statement on Bjork`s official website tells that all profit from the gig will go to Smekkleysa SM, a non-profit organisation that works with up and coming Icelandic artists.
The nominations for this year`s Brit awards were announced at 7pm today and they are as follows.
British Male Solo Artist
Antony and the Johnsons
I`m confused at Ian Brown and Will Young`s inclusions here for what amounts to one single each when I would argue Mylo had a considerably more successful year with a huge album and a string of top 20 singles. This one will be fought out between Blunt and the panel`s favourite Mr Williams. Neither deserves it either.
British Female Solo Artist
This category has always been notoriously thin on the ground, and Kate Bush used to frequently get nominated having done nothing the previous year. This year she came back with a very well received album and will fight it out with KT Tunstall. The others need not bother turning up, and Natasha Bedingfield must wonder how a year sat on her arse saw her more fit to be nominated than Jem.
This is the first of the Kaiser Chiefs 5 nominations and is not a category they are likely to win. This is a huge three way tussle between Coldplay, Franz Ferdinand and the band I think will beat them all - Gorillaz.
MasterCard British Album
Coldplay - X & Y
Gorillaz - Demon Days
James Blunt - Back To Bedlam
Kaiser Chiefs - Employment
Kate Bush - Aerial
I haven`t heard Back to Bedlam. But this will fight it out with X & Y and Employment for the statuette.
British Single (Winner chosen by UK Commercial Radio listeners)
Coldplay - Speed Of Sound
James Blunt - You’re Beautiful
Shayne Ward - That’s My Goal
Sugababes - Push The Button
Tony Christie ft Peter Kay - (Is This The Way To) Amarillo
Commercial radio - the aural equivalent of Kentucky Fried Chicken. An army of wacky local characters talking about Eastenders in between adverts for the local glazier and the latest Robbie Williams record. So, this category is hereby declared null and void. Unless the Sugababes win.
British Breakthrough Act (Winner chosen by Radio 1 listeners)
Now, Radio 1, there`s a station. Wacky "fat" or "gay" DJs talking about Coronation Street in between Madonna records. Ah, but at least there`s no adverts for the glazier, eh? It really depends on which shows this is advertised on and I`d really love to see the Arctic Monkeys grudgingly accept the award. But I see this as a two way between evil (Blunt) and good-ish (Kaiser Chiefs).
British Urban Act (Winner chosen by MTV:Base viewers)
Well, it has been a thin year for British urban acts hasn`t it? Kano must win this, despite a dodgy track record in singles. The others have barely done a thing.
British Rock Act (Winner chosen by Kerrang! TV viewers)
Enough to make Kerrang readers sob into their Metallica t-shirts. The rock award has been fully taken over by "alternative" acts. As a result I expect Oasis to win, but it should go to Franz Ferdinand.
British Live Act (Nominees chosen by a panel of experts in association with The Live Music Forum. Winner chosen by Radio 2 listeners)
The experts consulted here have obviously never been to an Oasis gig or they would have realised it to be the most boring experience of anyone`s life. Two hours watching five blokes standing stock still with a lead singer who can`t sing in tune. Awful. While the Kaiser Chiefs put on an awesome live show, I expect this to be won deservedly by Coldplay...three blokes standing stock still with a lead singer who CAN sing in tune.
Pop Act (Winner chosen by CD:UK viewers, readers of The Sun Bizarre column, and customers of O2 and Motorola)
This should be renamed the Westlife act. For the second year in a row I have to wonder why American acts are nominated for this and not for anything else though.
International Male Solo Artist
There is only one winner here and that is Kanye West. Late Registration is the best hip hop album in years, and the only reason John Legend is in that five is due to Kanye`s production!
International Female Solo Artist
Madonna`s latest reinvention (read rip off) gave her one of the singles of the year. This should be enough to secure the statuette.
Black Eyed Peas
The Arcade Fire could pull off a surprise here, and with one of the best albums of last year they would deserve it. Green Day, however, must be favourites here, with the biggest threat coming from those awards-friendly Black Eyed Peas.
Arcade Fire Funeral
Green Day American Idiot
Kanye West Late Registration
Madonna Confessions On A Dancefloor
U2 How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb
Green Day or The Arcade Fire could pull off a double here. But I think the favourite is likely to be Madonna`s, rather Jacque Lu Cont`s, recent album which was a massive critical success.
International Breakthrough Act
If the Arcade Fire don`t win this then I will stick my foot straight through the television set. If Daniel Powter`s on the screen then expect it to come out the other side.
Outstanding Contribution to music
Ha! Well, I`m prepared to admit the Jam were pretty good. The Style Council had their moments, well one or two, and up until Stanley Road it looked like he might have been going in the right direction as a solo artist. But, this man had a hand in the destruction of Oasis. His influence on their atrocious third album Be Here now is there for all to see...and the Brits want to honour him? Nonsense.
A month ago the excellent Help - A Day in the Life was recorded and rush-released on the web. All money raised went to War Child to help children affected by the ravages of war across the globe. If you've bought your copy then great, and even if you haven't you can help by downloading one of the following exclusive tracks including highly-collectable demos, remixes and cover versions.
All tracks cost 99p and feature sneak previews so you can hear what you're buying. War Child Music would love to present the charity with a five figure cheque, so if you like the sound of some of the tracks above then get your credit card out and enjoy!
Over this last week, I`ve been listening to a lot of Bodenstandig 2000 after hearing a track by them on the Radio 1 Breezeblock mix by Bjork. She played `Saureschnauze` and had the following to say about it.
"I think I heard this track in 1999 when it came out, and its basically four guys in a bedroom doing an acapella rave track. I have to thank them as it did some eternal damage to my brain and did have a big influence on me making my album"
The album in question is, of course, `Medulla`, which has been championed all over the place and is, itself, made up of acapella and organic sounds, noises and is out today.
The latest in the 'Back to Mine' compilation comes from folky weirdniks Guillemots who probably live in a murky cave in rural Shropshire. So, having dodged the stalactites and found one of the comfier rocks to perch your behind on, what can you expect from an after-club
Just like the Guillemots own musical output, this is a peculiar mish-mash of various styles all brought to one collective table and, quite understandably, creaking under the weight. In just over an hour Guillemots promise you avant-rock, hip hop, jazz, MOR, lo-fi, bhangra, drum 'n' bass, motown and more!
As with all compilations, however, there are a few you'll skip on repeated listens. In particular, Tartit's 'Eha Ehenia' gets its point across in the first fifteen seconds and at nineteen times that length drags on for so long that you'll never be so glad to hear Bjork's voice on 'All Neon Like'.
That said, when it hits like on Amon Tobin's fiery 'Reanimator' duelling with Charlie Mingus' free-form 'Tension' or Kenickie's finest legacy 'I Would Fix You' standing shoulder to shoulder with The SUpremes in heartbreak mode and Liars at their coherent best, it really hits.
Finishing with the twin malaise of Buffalo Springfield's 'Expecting to Fly' and Sandy Denny's 'No End' brings the collection to a sombre, sleepy close. Plenty to reflect on as you climb into bed with your choice of horlicks or alka-seltzer, or if you're Guillemots, both.
From the light of the bar I pushed through the crowd in the darkened venue, trying to avoid standing on too many toes while my eyes adjusted. Leila was on stage rolling out punishing, glitchy, industrial rhythms; electronic swathes draped over breakbeats, punctured by the occasional snatch of recorded speech.
It was an awesome way to set the scene - a slightly intimidating and otherly noise. It was a little disappointing when the lights came up at the end of the set to reveal that we were still in the comparatively mundane surroundings of the Civic.
The mundanity disappeared soon enough. The lights dipped again and a roar went up form those assembled - not a full-blooded sound but one tinged with tremulous excitement. Various people filed on stage - an Icelandic brass band/choir, Damian Taylor and LFO's Mark Bell taking positions behind electronics, Jonas Sen on keyboards and Chris Corsano on percussion - before the pixie-genius herself skipped on stage and kicked off 'Earth Intruders'.
Then followed one of the most compelling gigs of recent memory. Pummelling martial beats gave way to ululating beauty. Accompanied solely by a harpsichord for one song and by a cacophony of voices, percussion, electronics and brass for another. The breadth of Björk's vision and talent is reflected in her palette of sounds.
The scalp-tingling moments kept on coming - 'Pagan Poetry's heartbreak drama, Army Of Me's thrilling visuals and the segue from Hyperballad' into the relentless bass pressure of LFO's 'Freak'. Lasers, strobes, flames and glitter showers all added to the spectacle.
The setlist drew from across Björk's back catalogue with a slight emphasis on the new. The parting shot was 'Declare Independence', the crowd trading chants of 'Raise your flag' and 'Higher! Higher!' with the instigator on stage. I'd been waiting a long time to finally see one of the most radical yet popular artists of this generation and left wonderstruck. I still am.
I always miss the support band. Unintentionally. Kicking off proceedings tonight was Ever Records label-mates Ungdomskulen's brand of ‘math-rock’. While they were augmenting the arpeggio I was up-ending my third cocktail at a local watering hole. Ungdomskulen and Courtney Tidwell are part of blissful indie label Ever Records - also home to Cyann and Ben as a satellite label of the K7! Collective. However, it was Courtney Tidwell I came to see, and with ten minutes to spare stumbled into a half-filled Luminaire.
Showcasing songs off her debut proper, 'Don't Let The Stars Keep Us Tangled Up', Courtney stutters then soars in the intimate but strangely empty, Luminaire.
I must admit I knew little of Courtney Tidwell apart from what I first heard on a 6Music live session and what you can find on her Myspace page (www.myspace.com/cortneytidwell).
There are obvious vocal comparisons to Bjork, but with classical training and further into her performance, Sunday’s singer Harriet Wheeler and sonically Mazzy Star in bed with Oceansize. With this amalgamation of influences you wouldn’t be amiss in assuming they might be difficult to pull together. And Courtney certainly lets the music do the talking; in fact the one interaction with the audience amounted to Courtney commenting on the unusual heat she was experiencing in London. So in parts the performance comes off a little impersonal, but drawn-in by the reverent silence at the Luminaire and her bands brew of heavy atmospherics, country-tinged acoustica and blues-blown Nashville soul, you can’t fail to be impressed. But it’s her dedication to the performance and genuine surprises that lets her music ebb and flow around you.
With artists like Courtney Tidwell, Feist, Cat Power, Joan As Policewoman, Joanna Newsom and the Cowboy Junkies upcoming Don’t Look Back performance of ‘The Trinity Sessions’ coming up, the state of female musicians pushing forward their own brand of beautiful music is in a very good state indeed. Consider me untangled.
If ever you need to confirm the strength of human spirit in the face of adversity, a rainy Glastonbury Festival is all you need. OK, by worldwide standards it’s pretty cushy with shelter, clean water and plentiful food. Indeed it strives yearly to improve conditions for the world’s poor, but to the average westerner, it’s ‘roughing it’.
As you will have heard, it was wet. The rain that usually splashes your car windscreen is running down your neck, The mud you’d walk around in the park is in your ears and the pie you turn down at the train station is in your hand getting soggy and dissolving into your fingers. You turn slightly feral, you suddenly have no problem wiping your hands on your clothes, or using a toilet that harbours more diseases than a Croydon brothel, or smoking a roll-up that’s ‘only a bit muddy’. You replace your anally retentive habits and thorough, sensible routines with music and everyone has a party.
This was particularly apparent whilst watching The Who, surrounded by ecstatic people in the cold, pouring rain, witnessing these gods of rock n’ roll playing the perfect gig. The music was what we were there for and was quite literally all that mattered. A similar transformation occurred on the Other stage on Saturday when the flamboyant CSS turned a muddy field of rain into a Brazilian beach party using little more than a sparkly jumpsuit, some bubble blowing kits and boundless enthusiasm.
Willy Mason transformed the Park stage from a slippery hill into an almost religious experience, his encore of ‘Oxygen’ bringing tears of joy to his followers. Meanwhile the incredible Bat for Lashes morphed the John Peel tent into an exotic dreamland of magic and mystery. In doing so she provided what I believe was the performance of the festival as well as the prettiest smile.
With such magic being woven it seems unbelievable that there could be any disappointments (other than the weather). Sadly Lily Allen’s Glastonbury debut was pitifully weak and littered with childish comments. When she wasn’t talking about willies as if she’d just learnt what one was, she was caterwauling her way through her embarrassingly meagre repertoire, regularly reminding us that she hadn’t even performed her first gig a year ago. It sooo showed. Likewise the Kooks betrayed the trust that came with being second on the Saturday bill and the Guillemots' Pyramid stage performance was a little too experimental and failed to stop me catching the end of the Long Blondes (officially the sexiest act of the festival).
All that aside, the headliners made the weekend. Monday night’s Arcade Fire / Bjork combination was a wholly euphoric experience with a remarkable laser display upstaged only by the Killers' fireworks (both physical and metaphorical) on Saturday night. As overjoyed as I was with Brandon and Co. I cannot help feeling a little jealous in missing out on Iggy and the Stooges. Most of my party were there and two of them contributed to the famous stage invasion (Dan got on the BBC coverage, the jammy bastard).
Non-Musical highlights included Hot Cider, the Ghostbusters crowd at the Cinema field, happy Kiwis, the sonic forest (gotta love any art installation which confuses stoners), people watching at the silent disco, coffee and donuts at 2am, flushing toilets at Worthy farm and last but not least Bill Bailey’s 3am Sunday night stand-up, performed to the coldest, tiredest, wettest crowd in Glastonbury history, who were despite it all, as happy as a gig in mud.