Glastonbury: Wear your best all the time.
I’m awakeat 4.30am, the taxi arrives at 5.30amand my Ghanain driver’s been working all night. It doesn’t stop him sharing histaxi driver philosophy. We discuss Zimbabweand Britain’sduplicitous role as both coloniser ofits past and arbiter of its present. White people, he tells me, you can not trust them, I’m not saying blackpeople are perfect, but you can’ttrust white people. I can empathise wiht his position. And however you look at it, if a white personsaid the same about a black person it would have a totally different root cause. Howdid they hurt you I think to myself. Howdid they hurt you.
He despatchesme at The South Bank, Megan is shooting the long shadows as the river Thames stretches from my office. We are off to The Glastonbury festival. By the artist entrance the sleepy vocal orchestra. aregathering. I am a special guest of theirs throughthe musical direction of Shlomo, the centrefugal force of Music ThroughUnconventional Means. Shlomo is artist in residence at Southbank centre. In the seat in front of me is Pete Lockett a special guest percussionist. Other special guests include DJ Yoda, get cape wear cape fly, martina topley bird Martha Wainwright but most of them are already at Glastonbury.
PeteLockett and I played the same event some years ago in Tunbridge Wells. It was years ago but Iremembered him from the quality of his playing. Checkhis website, he is prodigous, having writtenthe percussion for five bond films and The Incredible Hulk to name a fewprojects. I mentioned shooting earlier. A pilot documentary for Sky TV is being made about myself, by babycow productions the company owned bySteve Coogan and more effectively, Henry Normal.. Megan shoots a lot of Pete and I in discussion, he is witty as hell. One of the greatthings about touring is other people.
The Coachis fun, conversations are light. We eventually, two and an half hours later, pass Stonehengewhich is beautiful, some kind of trick. The Egyptians have pyramids, theAmericans, mount rushmore & we have a stone age domino set. Glastonbury soon appearson the horizon! The hills are alive withthe sound of music! The coach wends itsway through west country and virtually parks next to the stage. Absolutely freakin perfect
Loving your sneakers man, says DJ Yoda at the artists canteen,but why you bringing them here, mine areall home in their boxes. Glastonbury is notoriously dirty. I sense the logic but mentally counter it withwhat a fashionista said to me. She said, why wear your best only on certain occasions, why notwear your best all the time. It’s such a clear statement of intent on howto live life. Why not wear your best allthe time. . And your best could justas well be a kurt Geiger shoe as an air force one sneaker from LA. It’s like, why not be your best all the time. As part of the show I read the poem Let There Be Peace and Shlomo works it through a voice box. The aim was to distort my voice, almost beyond recognition and to interpret the poem through distortion.
The twohour event takes place. The audience of thousands basks in the sunshine and roar in the presence of Shlomo who directs a near perfect twohour show, an encore ensues. Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys is back stage. See kate moss at back of stage. Group picture taken. Gear packed. Done. My first sober Glastonbury. Within the hour we are back in the coach and arrivehome back in London12.30am. I think the best compliment ofmy forty second contribution came from the southbank centres Glen Max youdelivered he said you delivered. That’s an eighteen hour day for one minute onstage as part of my residency here at The South Bank. Shlomo will be famous. When I say it was worth every minute, I meanit. I take my bike from the office by the river and cycle home. At 3am I amasleep. Done.
But as I cycled home I thought about the taxi driver. Whoever has hurt you, however they have hurt you and for whatever reason, life is about dealing with hurt. On the cycle ride home I listen to Stevie Wonder blast through my head phones. He is a poet and there's Very Superstitious Writing On The Wall.
Very superstitious, wash your face and hands,
Rid me of the problem, do all that you can,
Keep me in a daydream, keep me goin strong,
You dont wanna save me, sad is my song.