Aha! Festival time! The season when all publications pull out their stock book of cliches and plagiarise themselves in a transparent effort to seem at one with the zeitgeist! Huzzah! Boomshanka!
As if you weren’t sick of it already from the endless coverage in every publication other than music magazines (that shithouse NME aside), as if you hadn’t puked real tears from your colon upwards upon seeing ‘style thermometers’ in the broadsheets recommending which designer wellies to shove on your pointless feet, as if you hadn’t already ticked off which hopeless, mediocre, electro-punk-fuzz rock/pop fusion supergroups you were going to lap up in lacklustre fashion like an artificial indie drone when you finally got to the hell of the desecrated countryside, they then go and put Glastonbury ON THE FUCKING TV as well.
For the purposes of this blog and in the vain hope of seeing a half decent performance (in comfort rather than from the back of an enormous marquee while trying to avoid a flag some South African twat keeps waving), I tuned in. I V plussed the whole lot and forwarded a hell of a lot of the crap.
That’s a lot of forwarding. A hell of a lot. My forward finger’s gone all bent.
Before I start, I should point out that I don’t for one moment think that watching all of the BBC’s output gives any insight into the festival itself. I’m clear that this is a BBC production and that many of those who went to Glastonbury won’t have seen any of the crap outlined below and will have had a jolly wheeze. This is really a criticism of the rubbish on BBCs 3, 4 and 2 more than Eavis’s garden fete. So if you went, don’t get all defensive.
Trying to keep a chronological list of what I viewed would’ve been logistically difficult, so I’ll highlight and lowlight what I absorbed.
Full-on, MOR bilge
Mark Ronson, step right up. Hours were dedicated to this little shyster playing his coffee-table cover versions. Except he wasn’t really playing – he was whacking a cowbell while a team of session musicians joylessly flapped about behind him. To distract the audience from this fact, special guest after special guest was invited out to ruin perfectly good songs. The best example of this was Lily Allen shitting on the already shitty Oh My God by the Kaiser Chiefs.
Flat, atonal, vocally weak, if this wasn’t an abject lesson in why famous peoples’ kids shouldn’t be indulged on the strength of their name, I don’t know what is.
In addition to this, we suffered KT Turnstile, James fucking fuck’s sake Blunt, Will Young (?!), Goldfrapp, Crowded Fucking House and yes, Vampire Weekend. Despite claims to the contrary, this band are as middle of the bloody road as a centrally plonked white line in a central motorway along the equator. So, so dull. Sting. The Police. Get lost.
Rubbish, weak, noughties indie
Pigeon Detectives. Kate Nash, Get Cape, Wear Cape, Get Lost. The Enemy. Editors. All of these were showcased on the BBC while interesting bands (interesting because I quite like them) such as Los Campesinos, Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Young Knives were all overlooked in favour of the flavour of the month, which inevitably left a bitter taste on the buds.
A handful of highlights
A song each on the main coverage from Spiritualized, Band of Horses, The Verve, MGMT, The National. Despite the fact that the latter were rather sullied when Edith Bowman made out she’d invented them. A few full sets on the red button (including some of the above groups) were alright as well, but were also non-recordable – which was handy.
Hip hop at Glastonbury
I’m a fan of a fair bit of hip hop music but as I’m middle class and from the midlands I try not to talk about it in public for fear of sounding anything like Tim Westwood. Jay Z’s set was alright, considering live hip hop usually sounds abominable. What was hard to digest was the constant adulation the BBC presenters gave businessman and occasional rapper Jigga.
He’s made a few great to excellent tunes, fair enough, and he’s sold a lot of records, but he does put out a fair bit of shite. Anything he’s done with that berk Pharrell is unlistenable. The constant ‘bringing hip hop to Glastonbury’ celebration the presenters brayed about was ludicrous – hip hop has been at the festival for years. Why don’t the likes of Roots Manuva get the honour of bringing the genre to a festival it’s already at? Nonsense.
The bloody presenters
Mark Radcliffe dithered but was amiable. Lauren Laverne was her usual geeky self – likable but irritating simultaneously. Phil Jupitus was wheeled out for nostalgic reasons. That Rufus chap with the comedy moustache had the unenviable task of showing the odd stuff that goes on away from the music at Glastonbury to entertain people on drugs and pierced bozos. All of these I could bear. Even that Grimshaw fellow was alright. The rest of them were horrible.
Jo Whiley, a woman who seems to be permanently wincing, kept trying to tell her audience that they were missing out by not being there where all other presenters were trying to convince them that they were better off at home watching footage. I’ve followed Whiley’s career from the off. I remember her first ever transmission where she kept talking over a live Teenage Fanclub set on Radio One and she’s not improved. Not one jot.
Annie Mac looked extremely vacant. She earns bonus points for having passively dissed Mark Ronson, but aside from that she was nothing more than a curly blur. Grimshaw (is that his name or have I made that up?) kept her afloat. She was clearly on hyper-intertia-drugs.
The booby prizes undoubtedly go to Edith Bowman and Zane Lowe.
It’s baffling to me why these two are in gainful employment. Edith talks so earnestly and joylessly about stuff that’s completely pointless that it makes the viewer roll their eyes frequently enough for it to resemble epilepsy.
Zane Lowe, on the other hand, sits like a twatty teenager thinking he’s above everything. His wisecracks are second-rate, his wannabe laidback style conceals panic inside and his attempts at cool come off as horribly desperate. Putting these two together was a low shot from the BBC, designed to annoy the sit-at-home festival goer so much that they got to the point of watching the stuff on the red button, just to prove that people use that neglected function.
Apart from that – nothing to report. Amy Winehouse was a coked up, furry, stick-insect arsehole again – but what’s new? I wish that fan had punched back.
CAN’T WAIT FOR NEXT YEAR!!!!!!!