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Saturday 26 June 2010

Creating Glasto at Home: Why It's Never Too Late to Give it a Go

Okay, first, let's examine the facts. I have never been on the receiving end of a stage dive or in the thick of a mosh pit. I have never stood swaying, my lit lighter held aloft in the dark, unless I was half cut and trying to light a fag. The last live gig I went to was a jazz guitar evening in a converted church where there was ice cream during the interval. In short I am not, and never have been, what might be called a regular frequenter of down and dirty live music spectaculars.

Even in my youth I would stand, plastic glass of warm beer in hand, feigning ecstasy at a Red Lorry Yellow Lorry encore, secretly thinking "What wouldn't I give for a seat and a bit of Luther Vandross."

So it will surprise no-one that I have never been to Glastonbury. Indeed, (whisper it) I have never been to any music festival. Nope; not once; not ever; no way. Not even WOMAD and it's practically Glyndebourne.

This is a fact of which I was once inordinately proud. It became a badge of prematurely middle- aged honour to roll my eyes at fellow 20 somethings hitting the festival circuit. "Ooh yes!" I would sneer, "Take me to the nirvana of gut rotting samosas, damp underwear and petty crime that is T in the Park, so that I can listen to every song in Cornershop's back catalogue!"

But the uncomfortable truth is that the comedy value of acting middle aged diminishes in direct proportion to the rate at which one becomes, well, middle aged. And yes, the youthful confidence that there will be endless opportunities begins to wane.

And so it is only now, with the spectre of being past it looming, that I am starting to flirt (embarrassingly) with the notion of giving Glasto a go. But there are so many questions. What does one wear? How should one talk? Should I do da dub step wid da dudes in da Dance Village?

Yesterday I decided to peruse the website, but it does little to calm one's fears.Turns out it's a cross between ancient Rome, Blade Runner and Bluewater - themed areas stuffed to the gunnels with alcohol, carb stations and a forest of firm thighed young women in eye-wateringly teeny shorts.

I read the details of the Shangri- La Area and became increasingly alarmed. There is no sign of a Costa Coffee, or a Waterstones, nor a LIDL tent where one could eat pretzels or buy a wetsuit. Instead it is home to a variety of other mini-zones like The Alleys, or 'Badlands', 'a seedy maze of wrongness...dark and steamy, chaotic and sexy..home to a myriad of bizarre nano-venues". Blimey. While I recognise most of the words in this sentence, I realise that I have absolutely no idea what it means.

So last night it occured to me that a trial run, creating Glasto at home, would be the best way to ease oneself into it. Excellent. Yes. That is the plan. First, I leap headfirst into the compost bin and roll around for a bit, drying myself off with the newspaper that lines the guinea pig hutch. Earthy aroma : tick.

Next; wardrobe. Channeling Florence that has the machine and Le Roo (see, I've been doing my homework) I fashion a strapless romper suit from a National Trust tea towel and some M&S control knickers. Stylish and secure, I am liking it.

Recognising that my open toed shoe boots are are asking for trouble in the chemical loos, I pack several pairs of blue plastic overshoes, nicked from accident and emergency. But still it lacks something. Squinting at photos of the crowd I see that some kind of head gear is de rigeur. Aha! I fall upon our Cath Kidston peg bag which will also give sun protection to the back of my neck. Tacking on some tassels and a rape whistle finishes it off to a T. Outfit: Tick.

Of course I now need somewhere to lay my fashionably attired head, so I drape a sheet over the clothes horse and sit inside it. I immediately want some warm diluting orange juice in a scratched plastic beaker and a cuddle from my Mum, but I just suck my thumb for a minute and it passes. Accomodation: Tick

It is now that the outmoded nature of my dance stylee begins to trouble me. Do people still twist each other's melons man? I try to remember the routine me and my mates used to do to Firestarter but can't get past the bit where we pretend to light a match. There is nothing for it then but to switch on the telly, watch a bit of Glasto and try to emulate the crowd.

I lie down on the floor and look up at the telly to try and get a sense of the scale of it. I jiggle my hands around like that lovely bit in "Gregory's Girl". The Pyramid Stage glows like a beacon. The tiny points of light in the crowd ripple across the screen. Thousands and thousands of people all swaying, whooping and singing in the dusty hot night, absolutely right in that moment. A sense of endless possibilities while the music is playing.

And I think, that looks bloody great.