Friday, June 25, 2004

SOFABURY: Watching the Glastonbury festival through the BBC isn't entirely unlike being at Worthy Farm for real, of course: you nip out for something to eat, and come back to realise you've missed P J Harvey (but, at least, there's the option to catch the set later on Listen Again); you find yourself at the wrong stage at the wrong time; and you have to share your time with some horrible, horrible people.

If you're at the Festival, you can at least sidle away pledging an urgent need to join the cashpoint queue. With BBC Three's coverage, though, you're stuck with the empty eyes of Colin Murray and the downtrodden Edith Bowman - she's like Cinderella played by Jo Wylie. Introducing the Rapture (Rolling Stones Go To The Indie Disco) she showed sparks of enthusiasm and excitement; the real thing, we mean, not the spray-on scent of 'excited' that Murray wafted over himself whenever he trailed the Oasis headline set - look, anyone who cares that much about Oasis would either be at the festival or still stuck desperately in 1995 trying to figure out text messaging; we're at home, and we don't give a fuck about them anymore. You're there, and you know deep in your heart you're not that bothered. We suspect, to be honest, that even most of Oasis view their commitment to play last on the Pyramid stage this evening as little more than an irritating gap between drinking and bedtime. Let's not pretend that it's an event the whole world is waiting for.

The other big irritant of the BBC coverage is its inability to hold its attention for long - Goldfrapp are on stage, Alison in thigh high boots, with a horse's tail swishing from her ass; poledancing deer are on behind her. It's good, but they're suffering from the curse of festivals: some bands just don't work in open air, in daylight. But before you get a chance to consider this, we're off to see Colin hanging about in a field - "ooh, Oasis in less than TWO HOURS", he squeaks, which is also a handy countdown towards last orders, of course, and then, boom, we're in the middle of the Kings of Leon. Without the beards, they've gone from looking like Tom in Reggie Perrin to looking more like puritans awaiting persecution. But - hang about, we're off again - back to Goldfrapp. (For whom, by now, the sun is setting, and who are really hitting their stride.) Then it's another track from the Kings, and we're off again to have an interview with Nick Moran. Why? In god's name, why? You're at the premier music festival in the calendar, you've got cameras trained on three or four stages. What's the point of padding out coverage with interviews?

Then we hit ten o'clock - BBC Three has cleared the schedules tonight, even the News and Strictly Come Dancing have been cast aside to make way for the festival (hey, they need the time to cram in some extra interviews with the likes of Nick Moran) but nothing can stop the Eastenders juggernaut in its tracks. So the coverage slides behind the Red Button.

Actually, we'd been a bit pissed off to discover that the much-mooted Red Button didn't have anything available before ten pm - we suppose the interactive streams had all been prebooked by BBC Sport for Wimbledon and Euro2004 and so they can't stick Glasto stuff on until all the boys are off getting showered down. And, awkwardly, despite Colin and Edith telling us to press red to leapfrog onto the service, at this point, the thing isn't working, so you're stuck with a spot of button pushing and cursing until they reappear. Then, bucking the trend for leaping about like Pogo Patterson riding on Spring Heeled Jim's shoulders, the coverage sticks with The Bees. For their entire set. They really are Ocean Colour Scene all over again, down to the dull, faultless but passionless music and the Oasis support slots.

With the main features back on BBC Three proper, the world of Press Red is left in the hands of Gill Mills. Mills is actually a pretty good presenter, in a 6Music sort of way, despite two distractions - very, very pronounced nipples which are so low and to the side they look set to meet up with her butt cheeks at any moment; and a faint suspiscion that she might actually be Ro Newton, back from a jungle she was abandoned in many, many New Years Eve Whistle Tests ago. She's left with a thankless task, trying to fill the gap while Spiritualized take forever to get ready on the New Bands stage, but she fills like a trooper - aided by having access to John Peel, who can ramble an anecdote out to the required length in the most agreeable fashion. Although even Peel is starting flag (second time with the "come across something you've never seen before" piece this link), so long is Jason Pierce taking to get his wah-wah peddle re-aligned.


r_ said...

Spiritualized on "New Bands" stage... what did I miss?

Simon Hayes Budgen said...

It's the same stage Television are due to play on - tonight, I think... presumably "New" in the sense of "New to people who come to Glastonbury because they can't afford to get to Chiantishire this year..."

Post a comment

As a general rule, posts will only be deleted if they reek of spam.