The flags were flying again over Glastonbury. This time I had the joy of being at the festival before all the people arrived and was able to enjoy the creative hustled and bustle that brings the festival alive. This year was also very different to last in that it rained. It was fascinating to see the verdant hills of Glastonbury in a matter of hours turn to mud as the bulk of the 180,000 people marched in on Wednesday. But nobody was downhearted, it causes great amusement to watch people trying not to fall in the mud and great pride to see that they are not at all deterred by it and in fact embrace it. The humble wellie is by far one of the greatest pieces of footwear on the planet. Mr Wellie, or whoever you are that invented it, I salute you.
We were to make a sand sculpture under the creative eye of Zara Gaze and her company Sandalism. Zara again employed this wonderful concept of a transitional sculpture that grows throughout the festival and we were this year joined by my good friend Dan Glover. If the Incredible Hulk and Toad from the Wind In The Willows were able to pro-create, the Dan would be the spawn minus the green tinge. He is hilariously funny and it is such a shame that Toad did not take up sand sculpting as Dan is one of the best.
We never gave the sculpture a name but it was inspired by the coming into the world of a little bundle of joy called Huxley who is Zara’s new born baby. He is just old enough to crack a most charming smile that makes everybody’s hearts melt. The first phase of the sculpture was to make a group of sperm swimming towards the egg. Enjoy watching the expression on parents faces as their child asks what the tadpoles are doing and then their panic when Zara gives their child a definitive correction: “….they are not tadpoles they are sperm…” The parents are then for a moment speechless before Zara succinctly gives the children their first sex education lesson on conception and the roles of Mommy and Daddy. They then leave the sand pile with a sense of contentment knowing that there is now one very awkward conversation with their kid that they will not have to have.
A day or so later this sculpture then evolved into a six week foetus that most people thought was a dolphin. We even had to write “human foetus VI weeks old” and still people asked what it was, peoples brains are not working quite as well as usual at Glastonbury, It must be something in the air. “It was once you my friend.” After that it then transformed itself into a baby.
But of course the joy of Glastonbury is not the just the sculpture but the music we are able to see and the people that we are able to meet. We camped next to a new band Ellen and the Escapades and then watched them on the Park Stage shouting “We love you Ellen!” much to their embarrassment. These guys are very talented, watch out. We danced and sang with people in the crowd embracing the music come rain or shine, and of course, I got to see my new sister and her wonderful family and friends again.
But there is one secret to Glastonbury that people do not seem to know about. If there is one thing that a sand sculptor always has on him then it is a bucket and spade, no matter where he is going. I even sleep with a bucket as you never know when it will come in handy. So when we took our blue buckets to the concerts we were the envy of all those around us and naturally spread the bucket love as much as we could. It’s an amazing feeling being in a concert, the music and the movement of the crowd. But one thing you do not get is the enormity of it all as you can only see the hundred or so heads around you and that is pretty much it. Most often than not you cannot actually see the performers on the stage breathing life into the festival through their music. You cannot see the 80,000 people sprawled across the fields and up the hill, bobbing up and down to the music with smiles on their faces. But,…and here is the simple joy of the blue bucket, if you turn it on it’s end and stand on it’s base then you can see everything and the joy of the festival reaches a new level. I feel a revolution coming on.