Dollars To Pounds: Glastonbury From The Couch


I didn’t go to the Glastonbury Festival this year, and here’s why. As it happens, I would have been struggled to drag my broken body around the thousand-acres of rustic terrain, after knacking my knee ligaments playing football. So like it or not, my only recreation this weekend was watching other people at Glastonbury on the telly. The BBC's frighteningly comprehensive coverage only served to reinforce my view that, these days, Glastonbury is little more than a glorified Radio 1 roadshow, staged solely to provide the BBC yoof channels with content for the next few weeks. Was Jay-Z really kept waiting in the wings until Zane Lowe had done his piece to camera?







Anyway, good to see Jay swipe wittily at his detractors by coming on stage with a guitar round his neck to leer sarcastically through a verse of "Wonderwall" before launching into "99 Problems," even if the "controversy" about his headline slot had been blown on out of all proportion. Only in the recent, dumbed-down Emily Eavis age has Glastonbury ever been a monocultural indie-rock festival.




Before Jay-Z, we got to see Amy Winehouse at alarmingly close quarters. God knows what anyone 50 rows back would have made of her consonant-free slurformance, or the revelation partway through this confused soliloquy that “Terry Hall used to live next door to me."



Later in the set she stumbled toward the crowd and appeared to elbow a punter. Are we despicable voyeurs just for watching this?

Here’s Hot Chip and Wiley doing "Wearing My Rolex." Highlight of the whole shebang from where I was sitting (on the sofa, finger hovering over the red button in case the Ting Tings came on again). But was it better than Dizzee and Calvin’s acoustic face-off? Er, make up your own mind here.




Franz Ferdinand played a "secret" gig on the Park stage and unveiled some new songs. Can we stomach another album of arch punk-funk?

It’s easy to be sniffy about the Verve reunion and their Dad-friendly new single "Love Is Noise." But amid a blitzkrieg of strobes on the Pyramid Stage last night, it actually looked pretty awesome. Sadly no-one seems to have isolated this song and stuck it on Youtube yet so you have to wade through plenty of Urban Hymns plod and the occasional pleasing psychedelic squall to get there.




Which means it’s probably not as good as the Verve’s hairy, hypnotic, shoes-off, space-jam ceremony from ’93’s festival, back when it were all fields, etc. Have a gander here, along with proof that feckless VJs were adept at ruining the Glasto magic for viewers even a decade before Edith Bowman.

And as far I could tell from BBC’s coverage, NME’s blog and the testimony of several friends who spent most of the festival blootered in the Glade, that was about it. Frankly, I think I made the right decision keep my tent packed away in the loft.

From The Collection:

Dollars To Pounds
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Dollars To Pounds: Glastonbury From The Couch