With or Without U2

Picture the scene; You are standing in a desolate wasteland. Supplies have run dry, sanitation has gone out the window; you have only a multipack of Doner Kebab Pot Noodles to get you through the next few days.

Yes. You are at Glastonbury.

It’s Friday night, and you’re stood beside The Other Stage, eagerly awaiting the presence of the Flaming Lips. You’ve made it to the end of the first day without passing out, getting stuck in the tyrannous mud, or having eaten properly since Wednesday. But you are there in the moment; the excitement of the crowd in these final minutes of anticipation before Wayne Coyne and company take to the stage, with their musical-visual extravaganza. You feel tired, lifeless; but you don’t care. You are in this moment, and it will forever be a part of you.

Then, you turn to your left, and the anticipation turns to dread. Beside you, you see a man with expensively styled hair. His name is Kevin, and Kevin is an estate agent. But this is not the most instantly repulsive thing about him, oh no. He is wearing a pink polo shirt.

You see, Kevin is an idiot. When he booked his Glastonbury ticket, he and his annoying chums opted to attend solely based on the three headliners; the legendary Stevie Wonder, the mind numbingly dull Muse, and that most musical of hideous abortions, U2.

When the announcement came through that U2 were forced to cancel their headline slot owing to grand master Bono injuring his back (as explained by Mark Thomas via his twitter account), Kevin was gutted. He only owned The Joshua Tree and their greatest hits collection, but by God he was planning on rocking out to the Edge’s blistering solos. Alas, for him, it was not to be.

And so, on this Friday night, Kevin decided to do something audacious. He picked up his expensive tub of hair wax, spruced up all good and proper, and ventured on the journey to one of Glastonbury’s smaller stages for an evening’s entertainment. A journey which culminates here, approximately 2 feet to your left.

Suddenly, your excitement towards seeing the Flaming Lips becomes subdued. They are due on stage in five minutes, but you can no longer work up the enthusiasm for them; instead, you are forced to listen to Kevin and his chums regaling the time that Kings of Leon’s Sex on Fire came on in All Bar One, and Mike jumped onto a table, took off his tie, and sang along.

The band take to the stage. Several songs in, they perform Yeah Yeah Yeah Song. Kevin and his friends go mental, jumping around in each others’ arms, shouting “YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH” an insurmountable number of times. They do not know any of the other lyrics from this near five minute opus.

The band finish the song, and Kevin and friends woop incessantly. Their enthusiasm is at least forgivable, but they are proving themselves to be more and more irritating as time passes.

“These guys rock!” You hear one of the group shouting to his counterparts. You reach near breaking point, as the use of the word ‘rock’ in critical analysis ranks highly on the list of musical sins, just short of buying a Scouting for Girls album from HMV as a present for a friend, without buying a Black Rebel Motorcycle Club album to prove to the pretty girl at the till that you do actually have some musical appreciation, and that you aren’t really a vacuum of taste.

You start to vent your frustration. You tut loudly. Those around you look at you, feeling your pain. You are united against the estate agent army in spirit, though physical action would be frowned upon under the Glastonbury code of being nice to each other.

But then, you reach breaking point. Just as the band tear into their 2002 single Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt 1, you witness something unforgivable. Kevin raises his hand, and uses it to form a symbol of such musical ineptitude that you are forced to take action; Kevin raises devil horns.

Enraged, you lose control. You furiously march over to Kevin and tap him on the shoulder. He turns around, and you are no longer yourself. You do the one thing that can restore decency to this God forsaken set of circumstances, and punch him squarely in the jaw. You injure a finger in the process, but you don’t care. He falls to the ground, and you return to your spot. Those around you applaud your audacity, and offer you drinks by way of gratitude. Kevin crawls back to the tent, allowing everyone to become immersed in the musical moment once again. All is right with the world.

Unfortunately, this will be a common occurrence at this year’s Glastonbury. The 60,000 estate agents who would have gone to see U2 will no longer be huddled together in one easily avoidable space, as was the purpose of their booking, and forced to venture out into the festival’s unknown. In fact, the only winners of Bono’s bad back will be viewers of the BBC’s coverage, who will now be spared the sight of the shades-clad one.

So spare a thought next month for all those music fans whose weekend will be ruined, ironically, by the lack of U2.


~ by chrispresswell on May 25, 2010.

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