As we all climb out the gentle coma that the fuzzy summer months brought, the last memories of long, light nights and slow, grinding hangovers are still memorable – just. A quick scour of Facebook quickly highlights those still clinging onto the last of it: wellies on, tents in the background, ‘Didn’t I have such an AWESOME time at [insert festival here]’ smile etched firmly across their faces. Some are looking ahead to 2010 already: Glastonbury tickets for what will be the festival’s 40th Anniversary sold out last weekend within 12 hours. I was all but stunned when I heard the news, not due to the rapidity of the sales, that’s standard, but my own incompetence in organising the purchase of a ticket. How did I miss that one? By that time, worryingly, all my exams will be finished, essays handed in, and, the University will be turning me out into the world of work, clutching a very expensive piece of paper which tells people they ought to hire me. I will need something to keep me youthful, and Glastonbury was going to fill that degree-shaped void.
How did this oh-so-important date sneak past me? 40 years of Glasto is one party I’m not too keen on missing. My fresher brother delivered the harsh reality with unforgiving brutality: “You’re getting old.” Excuse me? I’m just twenty one. Further probing revealed a rather distressing image that I’ve been unwittingly projecting to all and sundry: “You know, you’ve got like a Q Reader, very middle of the road. Festivals aren’t your thing anymore, surely.” It was a statement, not a question, I’m sure…
Shit. Am I that person? How did this happen? On closer self analysis, the disturbing truth is probably much worse. My most distinct musical memory of late is being stood in a club in London moaning that the music was just too loud. Everyone around me (including girls) was wearing a hoodie, and there was no real ‘dancing’ as such, just wide-eyed, vacuous faces staring at a makeshift DJ booth – and lots of swaying. Every second audible word was to the tune of ‘sick’, ‘dank’, and other such London jabber my Northern ears could not comprehend, but as the music was so loud it didn’t really matter anyway. It was like being in a cross between Thriller and Human Traffic, but only with added permanent ear damage.
I didn’t quite bank on what York would do to me, musically. It’s been a long time coming, but it’s ground me down. Eventually, the cheese penetrates your tough, cool, exterior. You can fight it, and many do, by sitting in a room with all your friends and partaking in the gentlemanly sport of musical masturbation: sitting around a laptop and taking it in turns to put on the most obscure track in existence. For those who don’t want to live such a cool but banal existence, the only other path – the middle way – involves sucking it up, going out, and hoping the cheese won’t get you.
What comes with this uncharted musical territory? Well, the inevitable purchase of Q magazine, despite your friends clawing at your vintage Levis… and it’s probably also the time to invest in some cords.