Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I'm taking requests now...

and this one is for Damien, in the comments section a while back. There's a much-shortened version of this in the new Eye (out tomorrow), but I thought you deserved the full horror....

“All 137,500 tickets for the Glastonbury festival sold out in a record 90 minutes yesterday,” reported the Guardian, which just happens to sponsor the festival, on April 2. And that, you might think, would be that for the 60,638,738 residents of the UK – at least a million of them readers of the Guardian – who did not buy them. But you would be wrong.

21 April: “Going to Glastonbury this year?” enquires the paper’s motoring page, apropos of nothing. “You'll need Land Rover's new Freelander 2, then. No other car has got its festival head so well sorted.”

7 May: Stop the presses, there’s a hot scoop in the news section: “Glastonbury plans new stage”.

28 April: Kate Moss launches a range of clothes at Top Shop. There are some people queuing outside. They are wearing wrist bands. This is enough to prompt deputy fashion editor Hadley Freeman to wonder “has Glastonbury come early this year?” How unlike her coverage of the Primark Sale three weeks earlier, which she pointed out caused “a stampede rivalling the competition for tickets for Glastonbury.”

28 May: Vital information in the home news section: “Hundreds of metres of fence at the Glastonbury festival will be decorated it with tapestries showing the history of radical protest”.

1 June: “Dame Shirley Bassey once said that she was happiest when sleeping three to a bed in Cardiff's red light district and working in a sausage packing factory,” observes the paper’s news section. “Such stoicism will shortly serve her well. In three weeks, the spangle-clad septuagenarian will perform her most unlikely gig yet: sandwiched between James Morrison and the Manic Street Preachers on the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury.” Over in the Film and Music section, the entire line-up of the festival is exhaustively listed. “If you weren't one of the lucky 177,500, look away now,” the paper enthuses. The vast majority of readers promptly oblige.

2 June: Millets is offering a new “eco-friendly camping range.” Who would be the ideal customers for their recycled sleeping bags? Yes, “sleep-deprived Glastonbury visitors”.

6 June: Maev Kennedy pens a 900-word profile of the Welsh singer Shirley Bassey, who will, we are reminded, be appearing in “the living legend slot at Glastonbury”.

6 June: England are to play Estonia – fortunately it is an away game, for, as the paper’s sports section observes, “at Wembley the pitch is so bad it has been compared to playing football at Glastonbury.”

9 June: New website isanyonegoingto.com offers car-shares for environmentally-friendly travellers. This is particularly useful, the paper notes, if you “need a lift to the Glastonbury festival.”

14 June: A scoop for the Arts section: “A photograph published exclusively in the Guardian today… Banksy's latest installation, a replica of Stonehenge built on the site of the forthcoming Glastonbury festival.”

15 June: In the fashion section Jess Cartner Morley has advice on how to put together a summer wardrobe. “'Summertime, and the living is easy.’ Not any more it's not, sunshine. Clearly, George Gershwin never tried to pack for Glastonbury.” Over in Comment, Simon Jenkins muses on the politics of the food industry: “Yoghurt, sesame and nut extract were once strictly for beards, sandals and Glastonbury. Now they have taken Kensington High Street by storm.”

16 June: The paper’s Business section reports on a campaign against the private equity industry. “The GMB union… said the next stage of its campaign would arrive in Glastonbury next week where the expected 175,000 revellers will be allowed to vote for the ‘worst rogue’ in the industry,” notes Phillip Inman.

18 June: “Thanks to its frequently muddy conditions, reminiscent of a first world war battlefield, revellers at the Glastonbury festival have long considered the event as much a war as a celebration, a four-day skirmish against the forces of nature and the ever-present mud,” muses Esther Addley over an entire page of the news section. Staff on the paper’s G2 section clearly consider this insufficient: that day’s “The Question” column asks “Will Glastonbury be a mudfest?”

The gates of the festival open this Thursday. Guardian readers are advised to look for their news elsewhere over the long weekend.

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