Glastonbury: Day 2

Captain’s Log 25/06/16 11:13

IMG_3497I head over to Strummerville. Joe Strummer’s one of my favourite musicians, so visiting the place he used to hang out is a bit like Mecca for me. I pass the stone circle on the way. This side of the Glastonbury has a really different atmosphere to where I was yesterday; you almost forget that you’re at one of the biggest festivals in the world. Instead of mud there’s grass. Wide open spaces. People lounging, stretching.

IMG_3503When I get to Strummerville it’s quiet, the London Calling Café is closed. It’s pretty early. I go down a little muddy path and find the campfire that stays constantly lit in honour of Joe. It’s surrounded by sofas and people are cabbaging out on them. It looks like the aftermath of the world’s most insane party. Some people lay unconscious, some are quietly murmuring. A man plays a tune on a guitar. I talk to two girls on a sofa. ‘Do you want a poem?’ ‘A what?’ ‘A poem.’ ‘A pern?’ ‘P.O.E.M, a poem.’ ‘A what?’ ‘Poetry.’ For some reason ‘poem’ in Geordie isn’t working at all. ‘Oh poetry!’ I do the intro, three people are listening but two stop halfway though. One murmurs something about not being in the right headspace. I get the feeling this might be twisting their proverbial melons; it looks like these people are having serious trouble processing sounds, nevermind words.

IMAG0569‘Unification’ says a lady called Lu, as soon as I finish talking. ‘What’s important about unification?’ I ask. ‘We can always retreat, but it’s harder to come together,’ she tells me. ‘What’s important about coming together?’ ‘I think if we could appreciate that we’re not an island in this universe, that we are connected to things around us, we could solve most of the world’s problems.’ We get talking about how animals seem to appreciate their link to the world around them better. ‘I sometimes wonder if animals think we’re stupid,’ I say. ‘Particularly birds.’ Lu agrees. ‘If a bird could say what it thought about people, what do you think it would say?’ I ask. ‘It would say we had forgotten how to fly,’ she says. ‘And how to sing.’ ‘A bird sings for the sake of joy,’ she adds, ‘Poets do that too.’

Before I head off Lu says she has a gift for me. The first chapter of something called The Knowledge Book. ‘It allows you to receive the appropriate cosmic alignment,’ she explains. ‘It’s not available on earth yet except from this particular source. We need to update our wiring system, we’re all plugged into, say, a 12 volt cosmic voltage and it’s going to increase to 240 volts. We need to re-align all of our electrical signals. You read the book and you get an upgrade; we become fully functioning cosmic human beings.’ I had absolutely no idea I needed an upgrade, this better not be like Windows 10. As I leave, her friend Joey starts to play some music on the guitar. It genuinely sounds really beautiful and is almost impossible to put into words. They both sing, it’s kind of punk/folk with no words, them talking to each other using only sounds. After a few minutes I wave goodbye. I bet Strummerville is a lot of fun at night time.

IMG_3513I decide to take a walk over to the tipi field. As I’m strolling around I pass three people sat outside their tent. ‘I like your briefcase,’ says a man, who I find out is called Asher. I do the poem for the three of them. ‘So what’s important to you?’ I ask. ‘Well, I don’t know if this counts but we can’t move the logs on our fire,’ says Asher.


IMG_3508I walk over to the logs, they are massive tree trunks to be fair. I look in the centre of the fire. A whole chestnut trunk has burned- you can still see the rings in it. ‘We’ve got three big tree trunks which form the heart of the fire,’ says Asher. ‘A JCB brought them over which was a mission, the soil being damp, the wheels tearing up the grass. But as the fire burns, they move further apart because the ends are being consumed and we’re feeding wood into the middle. Yesterday morning we managed to push one downhill about three inches. This morning about 9 of us, decisively aided by three very strong Welshman, shouting in Welsh, pushed one up the hill about 10 inches. We’ve rolled it back and forth but can’t get it to where it needs to be.’ I tell him I think this is a perfectly good idea for a poem.

I’ve really feel like I’ve seen the old school roots of the festival today. It’s the nuclei that everything’s built around.

The Robins’ Song

Avoid them like the plague,
they’ve forgot how to fly
and sing selfish songs;
singling themselves out like islands,
pretending not to be one
of us.

They pull apart the world
that makes them great,
replace it with dead stones
like they want everything to look
as uninspiring as the insides of their brain.

Don’t give them the time of day
unless they drop crumbs…
And even then.

Rowan McCabe



What do you do with your massive trees
From a JCB at Glastonbury?
You build a fire outside your tipi.
That’s what you do with your massive trees,
Your massive trees at Glastonbury.

What do you do when the fire gets small?
Some chopped up wood you start to haul
‘Till the fire is burning tall.
That’s what you do when your fire gets small,
When your fire gets small at the festival.

What do you do when the logs burn down?
Try to drag them along the ground
To get them back where they begun?
You can’t, they weigh a fucking ton.

You get three Welshmen to grab the trunks,
Count to three in their native tongue,
Heave along your massive trees,
Your massive trees at Glastonbury.

Rowan McCabe


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