Bristol 28.6.19

Woke this morning at about 2.30 and was awake til 4.30 listening the gulls caw-caw-cawing first more distant and then getting much louder and more urgent as the light leaked into the sky. A yellowish crescent moon rested with a thin scarf of cloud wrapped around it above the buildings behind Buck Vale and the wind blew through the trees. I kneel like a moslem to the East but take break half a pill and place it on my tongue like it’s communion bread. It still takes almost an hour to work.

Truthfully, though, my sleeping has been much better. It just suddenly wasn’t something to worry about a few weeks ago and the adrenal madness slipped away over a period of 24 hours. My new shrink in Montpelier tells me it’s exactly this that is the reason. Having good thinking – not overthinking. Sleep happens when you’re not worrying about it. And hopefully the same with anger and anxiety. Anger creates anger. Anxiety creates anxiety. Anyway, I’m still buzzing but it’s not so prominent and I still wake and immediately think what today? What to do? Before I’ve even looked at the curtains or the ceiling or to see what type of day it is. But things are better.

It’s Glasto this weekend and it always forces me to rewind the years. When was I there? ’94 / ’97 / ’98 / 2000 and 2003? I think. ’94 was baking and then ’97 and ’98 were probably the 2 wettest /muddiest on record and one of them was the year the fence came down and it turned into a free for all. As far as I can recall it was always like that anyway wasn’t it? The only time I paid was the last time apart from giving a tenner to the son of the farmer next door who took us in hidden under loads of firewood in a high-sided trailer on the back of his tractor. Very different these days, I imagine.

I was reminded all of this while watching a decent documentary on the Beeb called ‘A-Z of Glastonbury Headliners’. Whenever I watch Glastonbury or these type of programmes I end up blubbing like a baby. Why? I think because of the emotional impact of the music but also the wave of nostalgia that I get associated with being young and carefree and crazy in that place. There was some great footage of the Levellers – they were Glasto staples along with The Cure (headlining this Sunday night). They reckoned when The Levellers played in ’94 they had 300,000 people watching. Again, pre-fence days! Also, Britpop – Liam, Damon, Jarvis – all looking so young, just a bit older than me when I was in my university days and just after. And Orbital.

What is funny is how many of those bands I MISSED. Too interested in drinking, sleeping, drugtaking, listening to the late night house music of smokescreen, DJing and going to the smaller stages. I walked through Radiohead’s epic headline set in ’97 to go and see Primal Scream! What?! It was before I got into the clearly better band (just listening to MD115 or Radiohead’s ‘Minidiscs Hacked’ on Bandcamp). I was drinking cider at the cider bus as people streamed to the Pyramid Stage to see David Bowie. I remember listening to him just half a mile away preferring to laugh and talk shit and get drunk. Again, it was only later that I realised I’d missed a genius. I also remember walking away from Glastonbury up the side of the valley feeling exhausted and seeing the small purple speck of James Brown gyrating on the Pyramid.

I did catch Massive Attack (Horace Andy looking like a giant yellow astronaut), The Beta Band (the best live band I’ve seen?), The Prodigy (they tore shit up even though they were 45 mins late the whole field jumped as one), Terry Callier (genius), Toots and the Maytals (off our heads again in the mud), Eat Static (more mud but me and Sam sitting on the scaffolding near the central speaker stack), The Bishop of Bath and Wells trying to moralise to a field of crusties on Sunday morning. The response? ‘Show us your knickers!’ Get off!’ Sam and I crying with laughter. It was about the little funny silly situations and hanging out with your mates more than the whole thing about following your favourite band. Besides back in my twenties it was all about dance music.

It seems like another era. It was another era. And it went so fast. And that is the saddest part. Here I am on the verge of turning 45. FortyFuckingFive. And still wondering what happened, where to go next, what to do with my life. It gives me panic attacks, this incessant thinking about the future. Another thing to talk about with David (my man in Montpelier). I’ll be in Somerset but nowhere near the craziness but with the old folks in the cottage. How time..? Don’t start. I’ll see Sam, I hope and we’ll get stoned on Mexican Hats and giggle like the old days.

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