Glastonbury 1998

It was 1998, 27 years after my only other visit to the Glastonbury Festival. I’d always wanted to go back to see if it was the magical mystical place that had stayed with me and influenced my life so much.
(There is an account of my experiences at Glastonbury 1971 – here)
I wrote this poem the night before I went back with my family in 1998.

where has it gone?
has it gone?
was it ever there?
was it ever?
or in my imagination?
the green barbarous fields
ripping the soles
barring the way
a divine consciousness shared
and left alone
in a wide green field
where the cows usually shit
and the grown-up children
roll in the mud
thinking it’s cool
and in-touch
but we now know
that illusion
of those times in our young days
in the blitz
or the warehouse
or the hedge
or the army
or a shared house in manchester
or especially in college
where we all were
at oxford and cambridge
especially in london
where the people sit
in shiny metal cans
and reach for the stars
by looking at their feet
with dear daps
slip slop along the concrete arteries
to work
and earn
so that they can sleep on the damp green grass
and smoke the dry brownish stuff
so now
moving back
in body
to almost certain disappointment
to find the egg of enlightenment
fried on a bun
with a neatly round slice of bacon
from a pig’s back
on your head
you continue to choose
the easy life
of taste and feeling
ingesting a thousand screams
on toast
for breakfast
mastitis on toast for lunch
bovine growth hormone soup for supper
served with a slice of horse
So that was written Tuesday night, something past nine, June the twenty-third nineteen ninety eight.
A stream of consciousness? How does it go then? Before my inner eye – not the spiritual one – but the eye of memory and imagination, I see what is and what was, what will be and what was really not. I can remember the times that didn’t happen and I can foretell the future that will never be. Going back to glastonbury tomorrow or maybe very early the day after. What will be there? What won’t? what was? What wasn’t? What is? what isn’t.
Now it’s July the seventh, two thousand and fourteen nearly 11.30 pm.
So, how was it actually in 1998? How did it differ from the first time in 1971?
There’s no big revelation. The Glastonbury Festival in 1998 was a big pile of crap. Cramped, overcrowded, drunken, dangerous, muddy, flooded, frightening, sickening – a festival of consumption and hedonism fuelled by corporations and greedy stallholders.
We arrived on the Wednesday night, struggled through all that crap for two days and escaped before the festival proper started on Friday.
Lesson learned I suppose – you can’t go back – it’s not there.
Anyway – Click here to read about the more interesting trip to Glastonbury Festival in 1971



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