Monday, June 25, 2007

The Great Unwashed

It’s Monday morning, It’s teeming down outside. Rain of biblical proportions. The train pulls in (late, of course) to Bristol Temple Meads. These things combined, make for a pretty miserable morning. But what’s this at the station? Life is about to get a whole lot worse.

Standing on the platform are hippies. They’re the early risers from Glastonbury. Actually, to call them hippies is unfair. Glastonbury is not attended by hippies any more, if indeed hippies still exist. No, Glastonbury is now attended by white, middle-class, sixth-formers and students.

And these students smell. They smell really bad. A group sit on the table across the aisle from me. Another group further back the carriage stink like their pockets are full of shit and their squelching makes me think they probably are. The regular commuters make sympathetic faces at each other.

I noticed this phenomenon last week, when a handful of early arrivals to Glastonbury were on the train on Wednesday and Thursday last week. Yes, that’s correct, they smelt bad before they had even got to Glastonbury. So that’s the type of person who goes to Glastonbury. Students with little interest in personal hygiene.

My friends have often asked me why I have never been to Glastonbury, or any other big commercial festival for that matter. It seems strange to them that as a lover of live music, and of camping, this would not be my idea of heaven. It’s not. It’s my idea of hell.

I have been to day festivals in Hyde and Finsbury park. I’m not a fan of standing three miles away from a band I love watching their distorted instrumentation on a big screen virtually incomprehensible due to the sun. And no matter where I stand I always seem to get hit by a bottle of piss.

The thing I love about camping is the peace and quiet. I like to go to a National Park with my tent, do some walking, read a book and enjoy an ale or three in the local hostelries. Sharing the camping experience with tens of thousand of other people who are intent on falling over onto my tent is my idea of hell.

And the final reason Glastonbury is not for me; I am the proud owner of a reasonable standard of personal hygiene.

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