Monday, June 25, 2007

My weekend

Well, Summer's here. So I thought I'd spend most of the weekend doing what so many British people love doing for the weekend at this time of year...

Sitting in traffic

Sunday was particularly special - we managed to cover the 240 miles between Devon and London in only just over nine hours - an average speed of just over 26mph

This was partly due to the fact that directly in my path between my home and my destination lay the Glastonbury Festival - that annual celebration of youthful counter-culture where people pay £150+ for a non-refundable, non-transferable ticket so they can grub around in mud for four days and listen to the kind of music used in car adverts

There's no way that event has been subverted and co-opted to serve the interests of large corporations. Not a chance

Glastonbury Summer 2007 - similar to Ypres Summer 1917, only with less poison gas and more Shirley Bassey

Another reason for our near intergalactic travel speed this weekend was the rain...

Lots and lots of rain

June has turned out to be a bit of a wash-out. No doubt at the end of the month someone will announce that this has been the wettest June for the last however many years and attribute that to man made global warming. Just like April when we apparently experienced one of the warmest, driest Aprils for 350 years - which was also attributed to man made global warming

...because every single variation in the weather is now attributed to man made global warming. Surely by now everyone must realise that the weather isn't supposed to show any variation from one year to the next

which is my way of linking to an essay called - Global Warming: Truth or Dare? It's on the long side but it does include gems like this...

The fact that the global warming myth has now attained this degree of media promotion and entertainment industry integration means not only that the issue is not threatening to power but that it has also come to be understood by power to be quite useful. In this regard, the global warming myth has joined the other useful media-supported myths that include: increasing crime rates, the terrorist threat, the American dream, that we live in a democracy, that greed and selfishness are unavoidable overriding consequences of human nature, that we all attain the economic status that fits our talents and efforts, that we help developing and Third World countries, etc...

Anyway, back to my weekend...

We spent Friday night in Exeter. A city that, I am glad to say, even though it lies 800 miles away from the site of her disappearance, with the Bay of Biscay in between, is still 100% behind the Find Madeleine campaign. There were posters all over the shop. Several shops actually...

Presumably this heart-warming behaviour is replicated all over the country but I wouldn't know as this is the first trip I've made out of London since Maddie disappeared and the shops in my part of South London refuse to put pictures of small children in their windows unless they include a price.

(Not) Finding Madeleine has become such a popular passtime that Sky News has set up its own page dedicated to all things Madeleine where you can discuss the latest advances in the search for Madeleine (
none), see what the weather will be like tomorrow when searching for Madeleine (wet) and vote on how well you think the police are doing (badly)

The reason why we were in Devon was to attend a wedding in Salcombe. A town with the dubious honour of having the second highest property prices in the country outside of London

Salcombe also appears to be protected by some kind of invisible force field that keeps brown people out

Salcombe does however have a healthy community of minimum-wage East European migrants who tend and serve the kind of people who live in and visit a town with the second highest property prices in the country outside of London.

It's not that I'm picking on Salcombe but the place does typify the voodoo economics that now hold sway in this country and the massive and growing disparities between those who have (usually as the result of property ownership) and those who do not and a virtually unchallenged orthodoxy which maintains that rising asset prices are good but wages, particularly poorer people's wages, rising at anything like a similar rate is bad.

We are sleepwalking into a world where the majority of people will be indebted for their entire lives and never able to escape from economic serfdom. This might also explain, as discussed in this lengthy but occasionally gem-studded piece, why music is so shit these days (cf. Glastonbury Festival)...

"...The economy of the sixties cut us a lot of slack, leaving time to travel, take drugs, write songs and rethink the universe. There was a feeling that nothing was nailed down, that an assumption held was worth challenging. The meek regularly took on the mighty and often won—or at least drew. Debt-free students with time on their hands forced the Pentagon to stop using drafted American kids as cannon fodder and altered the political landscape of France..."

"...What you're getting is a contribution of hundreds of millions of lower-cost workers coming into our economy. It's very positive for all economic activity…"

"...The tightening of the fiscal screws that begain with the 1973 oil crisis may not have been a conspiracy to rein in this dangerous laxness, but it has certainly worked out to the advantage of the powerful. Ever since, prices have ratcheted upwards in relation to hours worked and the results of this squeeze can be seen everywhere..."

One thing did amuse me this weekend though...

The wedding service took place in Salcombe's Holy Trinity Church - the very epitome of a rural English place of worship. The grey haired, slightly dotty priest also looked the part. As did the choir of middle-aged women all dressed-up in matching green costumes; chanting and smiling at each other like they all shared some kind of secret that city folk could only guess at.

Part way through the service the priest communicated a few of his thoughts on the subject of marriage which went something like this...

"What is Love?"

"I'd like to answer that question by taking the word apart, letter by letter and exploring the symbolism of each"

"L reminds me of someone holding one arm up to God and beckoning people to share God's love with his other arm"

"O reminds me of infinity and the eternal nature of God's Love. This is also symbolised by the exchange of wedding rings"

"V reminds me of someone holding both arms up to Heaven and praising God with joy and love in their heart"

"And the final letter..."

"I've been thinking a lot about E lately"

"In fact only a few days ago I was up most of the night thinking about E..."

at which point three people in the congregation, including me, started to giggle uncontrollably

I guess you would have had to be there


Other things that pleasured or interested me this weekend included...
  • seeing this picture taken by Lord Patel of police at an anti-war demo looking like they're about to launch into a Busby Berkeley style song and dance number...

  • being sent a link to a picture of another policeman who looks like he has more than a song and a dance on his mind
  • reading about how Britain's burgeoning underclass managed to kill no less than eight of its own number in the space of a couple of days. No doubt much to the delight of the kind of people who cultivate underclasses and who work very hard to ensure that those underclasses never get round to figuring out who they really should struggling against


The Antagonist said...

There were a couple of gems at Glastonbury this year, aside from more cops than ever before and wearing new cop-jackets fitted with cameras, FOR YOUR PROTECTION, of course....

If it's songs for a new generation you want, here's Bjork performing a track from her new album, Volta, on Later with Jools Holland, a song she used to round-off her set at Glastonbury on Friday night, and one with an interesting take on the theme of, "the only decent flag is a burning one".

But, best of all and speaking of chaos from order....

During his Glastonbury set on Saturday, the living legend that is Iggy Pop, after security thugs repeatedly stood in the way of his being able to walk along the front of the crowd, urged the assembled masses to get up on stage with him during the performance of Real Cool Time / No Fun ("No Fun to be alone").

"No, fuck it, come here! Get up here! C'mon. Get the fuck up here! I can't stand this bullshit any more! Get up here and dance!"

He then proceded to shout at the hired thugs who were trying to stop people taking Iggy up on his invite before shouting at the crowd, "We want you, we want you! Fuck this shit..." and then introducing the next song with, "NO FUN! NO FUN! C'MON, TAKE OVER!" Sure enough, that's what people did!

The hired thugs didn't really know what to do with themselves as they were completely outnumbered by festival-goers and resorted to roughly dealing with anyone in the vicinity of his Iggyness.

I sincerely hope that those who mounted the stage, and indeed everyone else present or who witnessed the event, took away the message that the people, united as one, when they put their minds, bodies and souls to it, can never be suppressed by a tiny minority that wish to control the actions of each and every one of us for gain and profit. Michael Eavis and his pyramid-stage moneymen are all still smiling.

For those that missed it, you can watch Iggy's performance here and the whole episode starts around 30 minutes into the performance.

The irony of this? Kaiser Chiefs performed their "I predict a riot" at some point over the weekend and everyone sat back politely, sipped a Pimms and enjoyed the song, all of which complemented perfectly their other song, "Everything is average nowadays".

Iggy was reported to have turned 60 recently. It's nice to see the old timers still have a bit of rebellious fighting spirit in 'em!

The Antagonist said...

BTW, what's all that "LOOK INTO MY EYES" junk on that poster?

Next you'll be telling me it was co-produced by Derren Brown....

paul said...

this on the rancourt site is also a valuable read, al gore should have called his roadshow a convient opportunity

Me I apparently missed the gig of the year when DEVO brought their dynamite to glasgow barrowland

Apprentice said...

We used to visit Salcombe in the late 70s and 80s, the kiddies grandparents had a house down there, and a fishing boat. It was the holiday/retirement mecca for rich Midlanders. Ghastly.

Fwiw, any church service makes me giggle. Unfortunately there are more funerals than weddings these days.

I have to say, I have never been to Glasto, as it is now called. Rah!!

Anonymous said...

"You call Glastonbury Glasto
You'd like to go there one day
When they've put up the gun towers
To keep the hippies away"

Ahh Half Man Half Biscuit!

Another excellent post Stef

01-811-8055 said...

Glorious stuff, that man.

I'll have to post my funny wedding/vicar story sometime - it was about a year ago so I'll probably be safe.

Stef said...


Your link isn't working for me - I'm guessing that you are referring to this long but worthwhile read...


It was the holiday/retirement mecca for rich Midlanders. Ghastly

what do you mean 'was'?


Nice lyric, and one I hadn't heard before. Ta