Down Low on a Sunday Morning

When I woke up with a fuzzy felt faux moustache stuck firmly to the top of my right arm my initial terror at seeing it – thinking it was a spider – was sluggishly replaced by the dawning recollections of the previous night, which ended barely two hours before, in full daylight.

The stick-on ‘tache is the entry ticket for the New York Downlow, a mobile gay man trannie-shack disco that’s set up shop in Trash City at this year’s Festival. It was one of the few remaining places open at 4am when we were convinced that the thing we wanted most in the whole of Glastonbury, was more lager.

We economised on time by avoiding the field-long queue – the club hadn’t yet been reviewed for GlastOnline, so we needed to get in there pretty quick – and entered the hazy dry-ice-filled world of topless male disco bunnies. We got our beer and I got some sideshow entertainment by watching my two (male) friends cling to the bar, cautiously observing the other side of Glastonbury. While I wandered off to explore – break dancing jump rope; lots of horny moustachioed men mauling each other; and a few lost hippy-trippers – they escaped to the food van outside.

Every year at Glastonbury I try to be a vegetarian. This is partly because I refuse to eat field-cooked chicken and partly because the home cooked veggie food on offer looks far more appetising. Burgers hold a certain appeal, but I don’t like to do things by halves so they’re also outlawed for the five Festival days.

There is just one animal that thwarts my foray into the wholesome underworld of self control – pig, in the smoked, cured and rashered format. When alcohol free it’s pretty tempting, after too many pints of lager and two hours sleep, it’s irresistible. It’s also like the solid version of Berocca – an instant hangover cure.

So, today, at 10.30am, I broke my meat ban.



Saturday at Glastonbury

Today I took a sauna with a load of naked hippies, ate yet more veggie burger breakfasts and went to watch Joan Armatrading, where I officially found my second Hive of the Leztival. This one was the preserve of lesbian mums and clapped out wrinkly old hippie Wah Wahs. Eye candy at every angle.

Yes, it’s been another Gay Day at Glastonbury:

Joan Armatrading sauntered onto the Jazz World Stage on a sunny Saturday afternoon to a warm reception from a loyal band of fans that were clinging to the barriers at the front.

Dressed entirely in black and brandishing an electric guitar like Bruce Springsteen, she launched into tracks from most recent album, Into The Blues, surprising anyone (like me) who was expecting retro pop romp. When I first found out that the singer behind the 80s classic ‘Drop The Pilot’ was a black bluesy-soul diva, better known for her lesbian love songs, I was pretty shocked.

I’m not an avid watcher of blues, soul or female singer-song writers, so I don’t have a reliable benchmark with which to compare Ms Armatrading. Let me be clear, she was good. And with a voice strong enough to reach the opposite side of Worthy Farm there was no way anyone could fail to pay attention.

She’s a lady with a list of hits as long as both of her arms, stretching back over a decade or three. In her hour and a bit long set she managed to skip through her recent blues-folk era (‘Into the Blues’), indulge the Springsteen (‘Me Myself I’) within and touch everyone’s hearts with her best love ballads – tales of traumatic transatlantic girlfriends (‘All The Way From America’) and lonely longing (‘Love and Affection’).

The guitar was dropped briefly, for a haunting almost-whispered rendition of ‘Willow’ which floated out and over the field full of people who were hanging on her every word. Every pause lasting more than two seconds was filled with bursts of rapturous applause from an audience who couldn’t resist the enormous grin and flashes of white teeth from a singer who clearly loved every minute of her Glastonbury experience.

After an hour Joan vanished, without having Drop(ped) The Pilot. She duly returned, like the encore diva that she is – swapping guitar for mic, to play her best piece of 80s pop, finishing one of the most eclectic and interesting performances I’ve seen at this year’s festival.

Copyright Glastonbury Festivals 2008

Friday at Glastonbury!

Santogold earlier this afternoon – awesome.

“For anyone who hasn’t yet seen or heard Ms Santi White (AKA Santogold), try imagining what you’d get if Missy Elliott had her wicked way with Beyonce in a (clean) backstage toilet, with an echoey mic recording every breath. It’s pretty cool.”

Copyright Glastonbury Festivals 2008.

Glastonbury Leztival

I’ve made my annual pilgrimage to Glastonbury and am writing to you from a bus, in a field, with wireless internet. This year’s Glastonbury is going to be a Leztival, I’ve decided. And it’s requiring far less effort than I thought it would.

It’s only Thursday and they are everywhere – mostly in pairs, which are mostly matching. At first I was going to start a photo record of sightings, but given the way I’m going I’d be out of film by Friday. I’ve seen so many lesbians at Glastonbury that I’m almost bored of them already.

So I’ve decided to do what anyone with a boring script would do – that is, create sub plots for my story. That’s why I’m taking notes on the hotspots – i.e. those areas with the highest levels of sightings. Let’s call them Hives.

Question: What do you get if you put a woman with a chainsaw in the Field of Avalon? Shapely tree stumps and a lot of men. And fucking hundreds of lesbians!

Charlie Dimmock’s got nothing on her,” was one of the more polite comments I overheard while watching my first display of chainsaw tree sculpting. Picture a well built woman in jeans brandishing a fucking huge motorised saw, carving up tree stumps like they are pieces of cheese.

I’ve always been slightly bemused by Charlie Dimmock’s popularity, as neither gardening nor Groundforce are particularly cool. Yet her calendar was in the top 5 bestsellers last year.

However, seeing a girl with a chainsaw artfully chopping up tree trunks has opened my mind. Now I’ve seen the effect a bit of female muscle, sweat and sawdust can have on male festival goers, and lesbians.

It’s not really my thing, but I sort of get why it might appeal. Chainsaw Charlie almost had me mesmerised for a moment – until I remembered the task at hand. Hives.

Observing the Dimmock effect in real-life rates as one of the funniest things I’ve seen at Glastonbury. A mixture of wonder, fear and longing evaporated from the huddles of open-mouthed lezzers who seemed to be rooted to the ground around the open-air studio.

I heard one man offering encouragement, with a hearty, “Go on, girl.” Another one muttered, “That’s one way to get away from the kitchen sink.” All that vocal sexism and chauvinism would have bounced off her industrial strength earphones, but she wasn’t wearing goggles so would have to be blind to not notice how many Wah Wahs she was attracting. I’ve officially found my first Hive.

Fond memories of a Town called K

My preference for K-Town over T-Park is no secret and anyone who’s been reading this Blog over the past couple of months will know that I’m finding it hard to adjust to my new postcode. Even if the street code part of it titillatingly looks like ‘SEX’. In fact you’re probably fed up with hearing about it – I know my Homies are (they LOVE our new pad).

It’s not that I don’t like T-Park, I just prefer K-Town. They are such different places…despite sharing a Sainsburys Local.

For example, the local T-Park hairdresser is rather imaginatively called ‘Hair Centre’. In K-Town it’s Kutt Zone (see what they did there with the K-Town ‘K’? Genius). Guess which one I go to to get my hair cut. My Homie, Andrew also prefers the K.

That’s just a taster of the differences between the two places. Newcomers to the North of London can be referred towards a stroll up both K-Town Road and T-Park Road for further info. You will see that these are two very, very different tracks.

K-Town Road is a menagerie of independent shops, including the ramshackle hardware store where I went Tool-Belting, the Kutt Zone hair saloon and Blustons – the original roaring forties granny twin-set boutique, not to mention a plethora of the North’s finest battlecruisers (that’s boozers, for the un-cockney’d among you).

At the top of K-Town Road there are benches under a shelter where the train station used to be, near the current K-Town Tube station, allowing one to pause and reflect on the sights, while repositioning the weight away from the legs and towards the arse. It’s always a pleasure.

T-Park Road is a long strip of large townhouses-cum-terraced mansions. The only respite from the strip is Tufnells, the imaginatively named sports bar, where one can procure a BBQ’d burger and a pint of Fosters to accompany the big screen sport-related ents they have on there most weekends. Like K-Town Road, T-Park Road has a bench, situated outside our flat’s front window.

Initially I had high hopes for this – benches always attract waifes and strays (check K-Town out, if in doubt – there’s always a cider-soaked tramp passed out by the station). And promisingly, on our first day in T-Park a strange blond-dreadlocked lady with a whip and an Alsatian camped out for the day on our new bench. After spending a few hours doing whip-poi and frightening her dog, which then shat near the bench, she left. She returned once, but was ushered away by a parking attendent, of all people! I suppose technically, she was parked there. We haven’t seen her since.

Another K-T difference is the nature of our immediate neighbours. Instead of having a couple of roudy Australian dirty-thirty encore-gap-year goers living beneath us, we now have a reclusive old man and a one-dimensional midget female lawyer.

They don’t live together, but I reckon they’d get on just fine if they did – they both hate bikes and wont allow them in the hallway. That’s why Carson, my vintage Raleigh Vektar, is now camped out in the garden with only a plastic sheet and a strong chain for company, poor thing. He’s really not an outdoor bike – being an 80s legend he’s more at home on t-shirts and in eBay collectors groups.

True it’s quieter, cleaner and far ‘nicer’ and my Homies no longer get disturbed by noisy louts living beneath us, but I miss the edgy K-Town odd-bods and the peeling paper in the hallways in what I fear may have been the last vestiges of my era of student living. Oh it was a sad day when the Homies left K-Town. I even miss those middle of the night wake-up calls from the druggies across the road, who used to hammer down the door of the old man who’s house they went to for their four o’clock fixes…