Friday, 4 April 2014


I've just seen tickets on sale for Glastonbury. I haven't been to the world famous festival since I became a teacher (as it falls during term time and I can't get the time off) but I do have fond memories of meeting really fantastic people like Nicky Big Top (who played the trumpet a 3am), seeing completely awesome performers (I will never forget the Medusa wannabes) and doing things I never would have done had I not been in a field (a-hem). Yes the toilets were pretty bad but not too awful considering how many people were using them (and the topic of going to the toilet had a curious way of levelling everyone). Yes the rain poured and the music never stopped (neither bothered me) but the food was great (if a little on the pricey side) and it was so cool to bump into friends in the midst of so many people. My children were young when were into the festivals but it was such a liberating thing to be away from cars and city noise and to be able to appreciate the stars in a way you just can't in the city.
Speaking of stars, I became friends with Jonathan Cainer at a festival (not Glastonbury but similar only much smaller). Regular readers of this blog and my website will know I am no fan of star sign columns but I really admired what Jon was doing--he was using astrology at its most basic form to reach out to and even teach non astrologers. Of course, he takes a lot of flak (and much of it he brings down on his own head) but he is such a great man. Watching him with his family, his huge circle of friends, fans, clingers on and other astrologers reminded me of how the planet Jupiter manages all its moons, captured asteroids and other objects. True aplomb and confidence!
As for the other astrologers at Glastonbury. . .I think we were just happy basking in Jon's light as opposed to sizzling in the direct glare as he had to do. We did sterling barefoot astrology furiously thumbing through our well worn ephemerides hunched in our rather groovy astro pods. There was even an astrologer who claimed to do "professional" readings completely naked (don't get too excited--there are people who have claimed to be traumatised by the sight of 70+ year old woman stalking across the field in her birthday suit) and with spliff in hand. Needless to say, it was very early days in my teaching career and I was ever conscious of my flegling career and pretended to be normal.
I suppose the most eye opening thing about the big festivals is the mess that gets left behind. We humans are, after all, just big animals who eat and shit a lot--no matter how hygienic we think we are. Seeing the massive amounts of rubbish, abandoned tents and debris left behind was heart breaking. But there was great comraderie amongst the clean up crew and although it took a good few weeks, the earth had pretty much recovered from the trauma of thoughtless humans, ready for the next year!
Festivals like Glastonbury gave me hope for humanity and even though my festival days are on hold, I know I will have to return to see how things are going. If you're going to Glastonbury, drop me a line and let me know what you got up to. . .If it's your first time, be prepared for a life changing experience!

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