How To Do A Cover Version

Is it strictly speaking a cover version if you co-wrote it?

Ah, what the heck.

Last weekend I got a text from Hel at a most unseemly time of day:

It may have taken me nigh on twelve hours to reply (I WAS ASLEEP) in my usual candid manner, but she was bang on, as she often is.

Here you go:

Johnny Marr – Bigmouth Strikes Again (Glastonbury 2019)

More soon.

Last Weekend/Yesterday

It’s been a funny week for me, listening-wise.

Ordinarily, I would go about my business with my iPod on shuffle, listening to whatever it decided to feed my ears.

But this week, three things happened which made me focus in on three particular acts for a while.

Phase One, and the most short-lived of the three, Kylie at Glastonbury.

In a set only spoiled by the appearance of Chris Martin and the denegration of the majority of Can’t Get You Out Of My Head into an unnecessarily-acoustic version of the mega-hit. To these eyes, Martin always looks like the sort of person who has trouble controlling his saliva, and has to keep sucking it in before it spills out of the corners of his big shit-eating grin. Nobody wants to hear a mostly acoustic version of Can’t Get You Out Of My Head just so he can strum along to it; we want to hear it in all its full-on banger glory, without the interjection of a man who thinks it’s perfectly acceptable to name his children after fruit.

I say “spoiled”, but that’s not quite true. Nick Cave was there too, to accompany Ms Minogue on Where the Wild Roses Grow. I’d seen a lot of summaries of Kylie’s career in advance of her appearance on the Pyramid Stage, all of them, it seemed, bemoaning this particular period of her career as being the least succesful and therefore dullest. I beg to differ: it was around this time that Kylie suddenly got interesting in my book.

And when I say “spoiled” I don’t mean that Nick Cave spoiled it, because of course he didn’t. But if you can conjure up Nick Cave and Chris Martin, then surely La Minogue could have also cajoled Jason Donovan into joining her to duet on Especially For You? I mean, it’s not like he isn’t in the country. It would have made the inevitable airing of the song almost bearable.

Truth be told, I got a little emotional during Kylie’s set, especially when she did her speech about why wasn’t able to headline the Sunday night as planned back in 2005. See, I was there that year, and while Basement Jaxx proved to be a thoroughly enjoyable replacement, I’d have much rather have seen Kylie. Plus, the merest mention of someone beating cancer these days sets me right off, for reasons regular readers will be fully aware of.

Anyway, here’s Kylie and Nick performing that song:

Kylie Minogue & Nick Cave – Where The Wild Roses Grow

Phase Two: The Cure, headlining the Pyramid Stage on Sunday night.

I thought they were incredible, even though much of the first hour of their set was comprised of songs from their Disintegration album which I know I’m supposed to love, admire and respect as their masterpiece, but to be honest I’ve always found it to be just a bit too gloomy for my taste. Controversial, I know.

But that last half hour or so, when they just started belting out the hits, was magnificent; their Greatest Hits album Standing on a Beach, was a massive part of my indie-music education when I was a teenager, and I found myself, not for the first time that weekend, rueing the fact that I wasn’t there to witness it in person.

Now, I’ve not managed to find a decent clip of a song from the set I like enough to post yet, so you’ll just have to make do with the non-live version of this, which was a real highlight of their set for me:

The Cure – The Caterpillar

But there can be no doubt what the absolute highlight of the weekend was. Until last weekend, I had no idea who Dave was (other than a TV channel renowned for showing episodes of QI and Top Gear on repeat ad infinitum, or the name Trigger incorrectly calls Rodney throughout Only Fools and Horses), and only slightly more of an idea who Thiago Silva is.

I definitely had no idea who Alex Mann was. But I do now (plenty of effing and jeffing in this, by the way):

Phase Three: having spent the whole of the week listening to nothing but Kylie and The Cure on my daily commute, I went to the cinema on Thursday evening…and here’s some words I never thought I’d type…to voluntarily watch a Richard Curtis rom-com.

Let me get my disclaimer in really quickly: Yesterday is also directed by Danny Boyle, who I love and would watch anything he’s been involved in. He’s responsible for some of my favourite films ever (Trainspotting, Shallow Grave, 28 Days Later to name just three) along with the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics (remember 2012, when we were proud to be British, rather than embarrased as we are now by Brexit MEP morons turning their backs on Beethoven?)

Don’t get me started.

But I’ll take any excuse to post that glorious opening ceremony, thank you very much:

And so I weighed it up: did my love of Boyle outweigh my distaste of Curtis? Yes it did.

You’ll be aware by now of the premise of Yesterday, but just in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks as Boyle, Curtis and leading man Himesh Patel have done the promotional circuit, here’s the trailer:

Here’s the plot: Jack Malik (Patel) is a struggling musician, stranded in Suffolk, who when cycling home one night is hit by a bus at exactly the same moment as the whole world experiences a power cut. When he wakes in a hospital bed, he slowly realises that, for some unexplained reason, The Beatles and their entire back catalogue have been expunged from everyone else in the world’s memory. Only he can remember the songs, which puts him in a bit of a dilemma: does he start performing the songs and claiming them as his own – indeed, can he even remember all of the words? – or does he…erm…let it be. He chooses the former, or course (it’s be a really dull film if he didn’t) and is promptly propelled to super stardom. But who are the two people who seem to know his secret? (Well, it’s the criminally under-used Sarah Lancashire and Justin Edwards, as it goes.)

I have to admit I rather enjoyed Yesterday, despite it’s many flaws. The cast is really good, and it’s practically a Who’s Who of current British comedy acting talent, as you would probably expect from a Curtis movie.

And once you get past the gag that is people not knowing any Beatles’ songs and consequentially mis-naming them, there are a few funny jokes, one at the expense of Oasis, another at the expense of Coldplay, another still at the expense of Ed Sheeran. (I’m doing it a disservice here: I laughed more than three times.)

Ah, yes. Ed Sheeran. I’m not a fan, suffice it to say. But his involvement here does make perfect sense plot-wise. It’s just…well, he’s in it quite a lot, as himself. And James Corden also makes a cameo appearance, also as himself, and again this does make sense: he’s a successful British actor with a chat-show in the US, so he will be recognised on both sides of the pond. It’s just I’d rather not spend my time and money looking at or hearing either of them, thank you very much.

That said, there’s a couple of clunkers: dotted throughout the film, Jack mentions something which also got wiped from the collective conscious during the power outage, and the inference is that they are in some way therefore linked to collective amnesia about The Beatles. To extrapolate: if The Beatles don’t exist, then nor can these things. But the things in question are cigarettes (and, other than a mention of having ‘a smoke’ in A Day In The Life, I can’t think of any other reason for this) and Coca Cola (perhaps the biggest clunker, this seems to have been excluded simply so that a Coke/Cocaine joke can be ham-fistedly crowbarred in.) I mean, The Beatles didn’t write Lola, wherein perhaps the most famous Coca/Cherry Cola reference resides.

And if the idea is that as well as The Beatles disappearing, so anything linked to or based on them must also not exist, then there’s a reference to Cilla Black which makes no sense, given that she was discovered by The Beatles at Liverpool’s Cavern Club.

What the film does have – apart from a surprise, uncredited appearance by Boyle-stalwart Robert Carlyle – is the songs, and it’s really quite lovely that these were recorded with Patel performing them, and not in a totally reworked kind of way as (I understand, I haven’t seen it) happens in the recent Elton John biopic Rocketman.

No, these versions are remarkably faithful to the originals, and includes one absolute belter, for the live version of Help! is rattlingly good:

Jack Malik – Help! (Live At Pier Hotel)

Over all, I rather enjoyed it, despite myself. There are no surprises here: it’s a Richard Curtis rom-com, we all know how it ends before it even begins, but it’s enjoyable enough. Perhaps wait until it starts cropping up on ITV2 rather than forking out to go see it in the cinema, though.

Ok, to round things off and tie up all the loose ends, here’s Paul McCartney’s headlining set from Glastobury 2004. I had the pleasure of being at this, although I’ll admit I only watched him because…well, how often do you get to watch an actual Beatle play live? Turned out to be one of the finest gigs I ever saw, which really shouldn’t come as any great surprise:

Paul McCartney – Live at Glastonbury 2004

There’s a bit of an oddity about that, in that the opening song (Jet) appears twice at the start, which I’m sure many of you will assume is just an excuse to post this:

I’d skip to around the 5 minute mark if I were you.

The second occasion Jet appears over-writes the actual song in the set, which just so happens to be one of my favourite Beatles songs ever, from my favourite Beatles album ever. You can keep your Sgt. Pepper, give me Revolver any day of the week.

The Beatles – Got To Get You Into My Life

That should keep you busy for a while.

More soon, and all that (you need is love).

Be Llyrious

One of the first posts I wrote in memory of my recently deceased best buddy LlŇ∑r was one recalling the time in 2015 when we went to Glastonbury together, and sat getting drenched watching Mary J Blige on the Pyramid Stage.

Truth be told, I have at least a hundred memories of Glastonbury and LlŇ∑r. I simply cannot think of the greatest festival in the world without thinking of him, the two are utterly inseperable.

So this weekend has been tough for me, and doubtless for everyone else who knew the boy wonder.

That’s one of the reasons I’m not there this year. See, every year that I went to Glastonbury, it was with LlŇ∑r – and often his sister Hel – at my side, and I wasn’t sure I would be ready to attend again without him, so soon after he passed. Not that I think that will get any easier as the years pass; when I next lug my festival paraphanalia through the gates, collect my wrist-band and Grauniad-sponsored weekend guide, I know I’ll be looking round for him.

The other reason, of course, is that I didn’t get a ticket.

At the reception after his memorial service (note: not a wake), Hel and I were waiting to be served at a fairly packed bar. In front of us was a bunch of LlŇ∑r’s work colleagues, Cardiff girls doing what Cardiff girls do really well: getting some shots in. Suddenly – mostly because they recognised Hel as being LlŇ∑r’s sister, but partly, I think, because we happened to be in their vicinity – a shot of I know-not-what was thrust into each of our hands. We of course dutifully necked them, it would have been rude not to do so.

One of the girls in the group, Hannah, asked what our names were, and after I’d told her mine she stared, open-mouthed.

“Oh my God,” she said, “You’re Jez! He fucking loved you! He was always talking about you!”

Not for the first nor for the last time that day, I forced a smile and held back a tear.

“You’re a lot older than I thought you were,” she continued. “He never told me you were old.”

Holding back the tears suddenly became a lot easier, as my shoulders shuddered in laughter.

Anyway, Hannah had been to Glastonbury with LlŇ∑r on at least one of the occasions when I hadn’t managed to get a ticket; neither of us were going this year, so we made a pledge that we’d do our darndest to go in 2020, and if we managed to get tickets, we would make it LlŇ∑r’s Farewell Tour.

Where am I going with this? Oh yes….

In 2003, LlŇ∑r and I and a whole bunch of friends – there was around ten of us, I think – went to our first Glastonbury. The headliners on the Pyramid Stage that year were R.E.M. on the Friday night, Radiohead on the Saturday, and Moby on the Sunday.

None of us watched Moby (Doves were playing on The Other Stage, so of course that’s where most of us were), the group was split between R.E.M. on the Pyramid or Primal Scream on The Other Stage (you can probably guess where my affiliations lay), but – and if memory serves me correctly, it was the only time this happened over the whole weekend – we all saw Radiohead together.

A couple of weeks later, back at home in at the flat of filth in Cardiff, LlŇ∑r burst into the living room, triumphantly brandishing a CD he had just burnt off.

And on it, scrawled in marker pen, were the words: Radiohead Glasto 03.

“Here you go, dude,” he said as he thrust it into my hands.

And here you go, dudes:

Radiohead – Glasto 03

More soon.

Be LlŇ∑rious

This is the series where I remember my recently passed best friend¬†LlŇ∑r¬†by posting songs which remind me of him.

Today’s song reminds me of LlŇ∑r for two reasons.

Firstly, because, knowing that I liked it but would probably never get round to actually buying it for myself, he bought me the CD single of it for Christmas one year.

And secondly, because of Glastonbury.

The last time I went to Glastonbury was in 2015, and on the Friday, having caught The Charlatans and The Cribs on The Other Stage, LlŇ∑r and I headed over to the Pyramid Stage, lugging our foldaway camping chairs and all the booze we could muster with us.

Having stopped en route to buy a couple of pints each, and knowing we’d be here for a few hours, we positioned ourselves towards the back of the field: chairs out, pints supped, box of red wine ready to go, suncream applied.

Of course the latter proved to be pointless, as the heavens soon opened. But, seasoned Glastonbury pros that we were, we were ready for this, waterproof clothing whipped from rucksacks and quickly donned.

We sat in the pouring rain watching¬†Alabama Shakes come on stage, be brilliant, and leave. This was a rare occurance: they were a band who I knew and liked but who LlŇ∑r was unfamiliar with. It’s not often I get to say that. He really enjoyed them, thanked me for persuading him to come and see them; we’d finished the gin and tonics I’d prepared in advance by now, all of the pints we’d manage to carry between us were done, so the assault began on the box of wine I’d brought. We clinked plastic glasses of wine, toasting our friendship and our resilience against the elements.

Between acts, we sat in the rain, drinking, surveying the scene before us.

“I’m having a lovely time,” said LlŇ∑r, without even the slightest hint of sarcasm.

And then there was Mary J Blige. She too railed against the rain, putting in a truly show-stopping performance, culminating in No More Drama. And then she was gone, or so it seemed. Because of the tight schedule and turn-around between acts, they don’t usually come back on for an encore, and at this point I was disappointed as she’d not performed today’s tune. Moreover, my slack bladder could be ignored no longer, and so, grumbling to LlŇ∑r about her failure to do my favourite song, I set off to the Gents.

And of course, no sooner had I got there and begun to do what needed to be done, than I heard her come back on stage and strike into this:


Mary J Blige – Family Affair

When I got back to him, I found LlŇ∑r up on his feet, dancing and whooping along to the closing few bars. As he saw me trudging back into view, ruefully shaking my head, he raised his wine glass up in my direction, chuckled at my obvious dismay, gave a little ironic cheer, and greeted my return with the immortal, often-uttered words: “Oh Jez, you twat.”

More soon.


LlŇ∑r’s younger sister Sian is running the London Marathonthis year, raising money for the Brain Tumour Charity. I don’t think Sian will mind me saying that she is not normally the running type, so for her to do this deserves a massive amount of respect and, if you feel so inclined, some money. Thanks once again to all of you who have been generous enough to sponsor her so far – I know who (most of you) are and it is massively appreciated; if anyone else would like to help, you can do so here:

Thank you.


Cue the Kazoo

Last post of the weekend, honest.

For those of us who weren’t able to make it to Glastonbury, the BBC footage was invaluable in feeling anywhere close to being there. Frankly, just this weekend makes the cost of the TV licence worthwhile to me.

Not least because every now and then, there’s a little treat that’s thrown up from the BBC set, which not only allows for the likes of Mark Radcliffe,¬†Jo Whiley and some of those young people I don’t recognise¬†to noodle on like they’re of some importance, but also allows bands to perform a song from one of their sets.

It was through this that I first encountered First Aid Kit doing “Emmylou” a couple of years ago, so, as always I was keen to see what they had lined up for this year.

Much of which failed to ignite the Dubious Taste passion, with the exception of one song. A song I already knew, possibly one of the greatest songs ever written.

Oh, and played acoustically, with an orchestra of kazoos on the fade out. Of course.


Chris Difford & Glen Tilbrook – Up The Junction

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

Just as it’s impossible to see everything you want to when you’re actually at Glastonbury, so it’s almost impossible to watch everything that the BBC screens from the biggest and best festival in the world. I have an awful lot stacked up on my recorded/to watch list.

I’m writing this before the Foo Fighters headline the Saturday night (I’ve seen them a couple of times before – once supporting Oasis in Cardiff, which has always struck me as being the wrong way round, and once headlining at Hyde Park, with Motorhead, and Queens¬†of the Stone Age supporting them¬†–¬†and I expect them to be fricking awesome), but my highlights so far have been The Pretenders, Royal Blood, Lorde, Katy Perry and, of course Radiohead.

The Oxford group delivered a breath-taking set, getting the balance of their more avant-garde bleepy moments and The Hits just about right.

One particular highlight was their rendition of “No Surprises”, not least for the spontaneous cheer that goes up after the line “Bring down the Government, they don’t speak for us”:


Radiohead – No Surprises (Live at Glastonbury 2017)

To mark the 20th anniversary of the original release of the OK Computer album that first featured on, the band have¬†recently released a¬†remastered¬†and expanded version of the album;¬†here’s the same song lifted from that:


Radiohead – No Surprises (OKNOTOK Remastered Version)

And finally, around the time of the original release of OK Computer, the band developed a reputation for producing visually stunning videos. I’ll leave you with the promo for “No Surprises”. Don’t have nightmares, now will you?

More soon.

Glastonbury, So Much to Answer For

It certainly hasn’t escaped my attention, but I bet you haven’t even noticed,¬†that Glastonbury officially starts on Friday and I am¬†not there.

I mention this because the last time I went, two years ago, it was the Wednesday before it officially kicks off that I arrived.

Actually, I arrived late on the Tuesday night, but you’re not permitted onsite before Wednesday morning, so I, along with the group of folks I was camping with, only one of whom I’d met before, had met in one of the fields doubling up as a¬†car park, like some weird dogging jamboree where everyone had arrived thoroughly prepared to get drunk to dull the pain of what was about to happen.

From there, we set off to join the impressively and annoyingly big queue for the gates.

And there we remained until early Wednesday morning, when the gates opened and what had been a reasonably orderly queue transformed into a mad free for all scrum to get inside.

Once inside, our group reconvened at our chosen spot for camping, and we all set about constructing our living quarters for the next few nights.

Although the gates had opened at 9am (I think), it was mid-day before we reached this spot, and, just like today, it was a gloriously hot and sunny day:


Noel Coward – Mad Dogs and Englishmen

By around 1pm, my tent was up, my mattress fully inflated, the contents of my rucksack strewn across the floor of my tent to make any potential thieves think someone had beaten them to it, and so it was at this point, with sweat dripping from every pore, that I decided now would be the moment to demonstrate to my new found buddies just what I do better than anything else in the world.

Have a kip.

I reckon if you asked any of that gang their thoughts on me by the end of the weekend, they would probably say: “Sleeps a lot.”

And they’d be right, and I’d be rightly proud.

But on this occasion, I had made one fatal error; I crawled into my tent, flopped down on my back, and lay with my feet and lower parts of my legs sticking out. It would create an amusing image for any passers-by, I thought.

When I awoke an hour or so later, my legs and feet were, of course, very sunburned, making any attempts to walk for the rest of the weekend an unpleasant and painful chore.


Violent Femmes – Blister in the Sun

I soldiered on, of course. Aided by lots of tactical snoozes throughout the weekend with my legs safely covered.

More soon.

Must I Draw You a Picture?

Glastonbury 2003.

R.E.M. are headlining the Pyramid Stage on the Friday.

My little gang – me, Mike, Vicky, Mark, Val, Claire – are relatively close to the front. We are 8 or 9 songs into the set when I turn to offer Mark a cigarette.

He declines.

“I like to have a smoke when one of my favourites is on,” he says by way of an explanation.

Fair enough.

Song 10 starts.

“Now I’ll have one,” says Mark.

The song? This, and whenever I hear it, I think of Mark:


R.E.M. – Fall On Me

I mention this now because Mark is an amazing artist. Here’s something he sent me the other day:

Mark Stipe

Yes. That’s a drawing (the blue spot is my fault, can’t get rid of it, sorry!) of a photo that featured in – if I remember correctly – a Melody Maker article, circa 1989.

Amazingly good, isn’t it?

You can follow Mark on Facebook at “Must I Draw You a Picture” (which is a genius name, as any Billy Bragg fan will tell you); ask him nicely and he’ll do something for you, for a nominal fee, of course. I’ll be eternally grateful if you did.

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

So the other thing I’ve been doing this weekend is catch up on all of the BBC’s Glastonbury footage. I wasn’t there this year,¬†and having seen how muddy it was on the Wednesday morning when everyone arrived, I’m kinda relieved about that.

I’ve been there when the weather was foul, and the ground underfoot fouler. But never when I arrived; the bad weather generally happened at some point when I was on site.

So before I go any further: actual 2016 Glasto-goers, I salute you.

Had I been there, then the first band I would have watched was James, opening the Other Stage, although I believe they had to be rescheduled to later in the day due to the bad weather.

This seems to be a new thing they do at Glastonbury: make the first act on the Other Stage an established indie band. Last year it was The Charlatans, this year James…my money’s on Inspiral Carpets for next year.

I’ve watched what footage there is of James on the BBC, and there is much to love about them. And they played my favourite James song ever, so I doubtless would have forgotten about the mud and just danced and sang to it in exactly the same way as I did when I watched here in my flat:


James – Sometimes

Putting aside the fact that this is the song which, more than any other in their back catalogue, led to the “pretentious” tag I’ve talked about previously here, this is one ¬†song that has special memories for me.

In the early 1990s my friends Daints, Louise, Paul, Helen and I used to frequent an Indie club in Cardiff called Subways, which was underneath a bar named GW’s. There was a pillar in the middle of the dancefloor that I used to swing round doing hilarious (ahem) Morrissey impressions. Cos I’m THAT funny.

One night/early morning as we emerged blinking from the underground bunker Subways¬†was located in, it was, you’ll be unsurprised to learn given this was Wales, pissing it down.

As Daints and I stood in the doorway, surveying the wetness and shivering in our little indie t-shirts and cardigans, Daints uttered these words:

“There’s a storm outside”

Now I’m not a fan of musicals. But this was straight out of a (bad) musical script, for we both looked at each other, launched ourselves out of the doorway, like Butch and Sundance,¬†into the rain, and into a rendition of “Sometimes” that, every time I hear that record, I’m immediately reminded of.

On further visits, we tried to recover that walk home magic, but as it wasn’t raining I don’t think we ever managed to get through the whole song again.

But that night was perfect. There’s very little that beats a drunken sing-song on the way home with one of your best mates, and any time I have to go out in a storm now it’s “Sometimes” that is my soundtrack.

More soon.

Glastonbury, So Much To Answer For… (Part 4c)


Sunday Morning. I hate Sunday Morning at Glastonbury.

Hate is maybe too strong a word, but there’s an air of sadness and resignation about the whole place. Everyone knows it’s the last day of fun¬†we have before we must¬†go back to our boring, normal lives. Back to being mothers, partners and daughters, as the FA so succinctly, and sexistly, put it after the Women’s World Cup.

As I stir from my slumber, I am confronted by Chad, avec sausage.

I should clarify that.

He is cooking breakfast, as he has done so masterfully every day we’ve been here. Chad also swerved the Kanye fiasco the night before, but he went to watch (deep breath): The Mothership Returns: George Clinton,¬†Parliament, Funkadelic & The Family Stone.

Chad and I¬†had discussed the Saturday night headliners we would watch in advance, and I had proffered the argument that at every Glastonbury, there is an act that I probably wouldn’t pay to go and watch (see Paul McCartney 2004) but who I would watch just because they were there and I would never see them again, and that this year, 2015, The Mothership Returns: George Clinton,¬†Parliament, Funkadelic & The Family Stone, were that act.

But they were up against Suede, and I couldn’t ignore those boyhood (okay, early manhood) urges any longer.

Chad’s argument was that they’re exactly the sort of¬†act he would pay to go and see and that was reason enough not to miss them. I have to admit he has a point. Especially when I watch this.

But I am perfectly happy with my choice of Saturday night headliner. Could’ve been worse. Could’ve stood through Kan Nay.

So, for Chad, here’s a download of the above, fill yer boots.

But as we all know, Sunday at Glastonbury is the day we all get to gather at the Pyramid, indulge in a bit of a sing-a-long, and watch a classic artiste strut their stuff. This year, it’s Lionel Richie, and Llyr and I head off, determined to meet up with his flatmate James for this. Up until now, he has¬†eluded us.

James is not camping this year; he has managed to wangle the use of a camper van for¬†free (Sorry, I can’t type the words Camper Van without linking to a bit of Beethoven) (NB – It’s not actually Beethoven) and our paths have not crossed, although a valiant effort was made on the Thursday night and again on Friday afternoon.

On Sunday, at the Pyramid Stage, we finally manage conscious coupling. We find James just as Patti Smith is welcoming The Dalai Lama on stage. In a year where the headliner on Saturday has been interrupted by some comedian running on¬†(Jarvis at the Brits it definitely wasn’t), I was slightly disappointed that the Dalai’s stage invasion didn’t involve¬†him busting a few moves and¬†breaking into an accapella¬†rendition of “Blurred Lines”, but there you go. Can’t have everything.

Speaking of everything,¬†Patti Smith is everything you could hope a punk poet priestess¬†would be, and I find myself slightly ashamed that¬†I haven’t caught her complete set, but I am there in time to see her do People Have The Power¬†as well as Gloria and even My Generation, which is jolly nice of her as it means those of us who don’t want to watch The Who later have an excuse not to bother,

And then, there is Lionel.

I’d had my reservations about going to see Lionel before I got to Glastonbury. I’d never really been that much of a fan, other than of Machine Gun from his Commodores days. But Sunday afternoon at the Pyramid is one of those “must-see” events, and I know I’ve had a blast at every one I’ve been to previously (Brian Wilson, Shirley Bassey, er….that’s it) so I figured, nothing ventured…

By the time Lionel comes on, the Pyramid is strictly Standing Room Only. We appear to be positioned at a point where people cut through the crowd, so I spend much of my time before he comes on organising random strangers around me into a barricade so folks cannot disturb my watching pleasure by tramping through on their way in/out.

Lionel spends the next hour churning out his schmaltzy-hits, starting with Running With The Night, through Easy (regardless of what it says in the Guardian, he did do it), Penny Lover, Three Times a Lady, Say You Say Me before we get to the holy trinity: Dancing on the Ceiling, Hello and finally All Night Long (All Night).

Anyway, here’s his whole set if you want to watch or just listen.

Although it’s not really captured in the footage, James and I notice Lionel has a tendency to wipe his fevered brow with a towel before throwing it done on his piano. It seems to be his signature move. That and looking shocked and asking “What the Hell is going on???”.¬†He gladly indulges us when we all chant for him to glug his cranberry juice down in one, and we all¬†love him for trying, even if it had been much better had he been swigging from a plastic flagon of scrumpy. In short, he seems to have as much of a blast as we all do.

Dancing on The Ceiling also has the added extra of what I believe is called a “flash-mob” throwing some shapes to it. It’s the security at the front of stage¬†but what I wish I could find some footage of, but can’t, is the dance that is happening close to us. A bloke dressed in, as far as I can see, a pair of wellies and a some gold hot pants, stands on his head throughout Dancing on the Ceiling, his little legs gyrating for all their worth, in what we used to call “The Dying Fly” when I was a kid, whilst all his mates held on to him, keeping him upright but¬†more importantly, clutching¬†his shorts, ensuring¬†there¬†is no cock and balls wardrobe malfunction type incident. He gets a massive cheer as he finally flops to the floor; Lionel looks on shocked and asks “What the Hell is going on???”. Too complicated to explain, Lionel. Throw a towel down, why don’t you?

When it gets to “Hello”, and the wonderful sing-a-long reaction it invokes, I can’t help wondering if Lionel is in on the joke: we all know it’s an awful song with an awful video, but we love it in a kinda post-ironic, self mocking kind of way. I think he thinks we all think it’s a great record. He is wrong. Or I am. Probably me.

By rights, “All Night Long (All Night)” should be the end of his set, but Lionel isn’t finished yet. He decides to remind us (in exactly the same way as I did about Live Aid in Part 4a) that it’s 30 years since “We Are The World” came out, the yankee version of our Band Aid, which effortlessly outclassed us by having everyone from Lionel, through Stevie Wonder and Diana Ross, through Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen and er….Huey Lewis involved. They saw our Jody Watley and raised us one Dionne Warwick. Cash your chips in, they win.

But¬†Lionel doing We Are The World on¬†his own doesn’t have quite the same “Name That Singer” novelty value as the original does and I get the impression that the crowd would have been quite happy if Lionel had quit whilst he was ahead i.e. after “All Night Long (All Night)” – (mustn’t forget the bracketed bit)

I’ve probably mentioned this before on these pages, so forgive my self-indulgence, but Bob Dylan really does sound like Cartman on his lines in that, doesn’t he?

My plan for the rest of the day is to flit between the Pyramid, the John Peel and the Other Stage, but as anyone who has ever been to Glastonbury will tell you, flitting between stages isn’t really something you can do successfully, not if by successfully you mean watching all of the band you want to catch at the next venue anyway.

And so Llyr and I head off to the John Peel, to catch Charli XCX. Although he doesn’t say anything. I can tell Llyr is delighted I’ve suggested going to see an out-and-out pop act. It was when I lived with him that Llyr reminded me that it’s absolutely fine to like pop songs and that you don’t have to try to be achingly-cool all of the time (which I definitely wasn’t anyway), advice which I gladly took on board, proceeding to buy¬†some truly awful pop records almost immediately. But more of this when I return to more¬†normal business ’round these parts: suffice to say I wanted to catch Charli XCX, but just getting out of the Pyramid Stage proved to be almost mission impossible.

During Lionel, we had been positioned bottom left as you look at the stage. The easiest way to get to the John Peel was along the path that led from top right. With everybody else trying to move on (I’m sure the next act, Alt-J, were very popular in their own sweet way, but it seemed there were far more people trying to leave than arrive) it took us an age to plough through; by the time we got to the top right of the field, Alt-J were just coming on, so it must have taken us¬†a good 45 minutes or so.

Luckily, once out of the Pyramid (which I realise as I type it makes it sound like a task on The Crystal Maze) progress was swift; we miss the start of Charli XCX’s set but get there just as she’s doing the one everyone with a right mind and a pulse adores, I Love It, and she ends up by doing Boom Clap¬†and all is right with the world with pop this perfect nuzzling into my lug-holes.

Next, we’re off to the Other Stage to catch Belle & Sebastian. A band I love, but a band who hasn’t really done much I love for a few years now. They are a little disappointing, their set a little too more-recent-stuff heavy than I’d like. Here’s them doing If You Find Yourself Caught in Love. Meh. Llyr gets bored before the end and heads off to do whatever he plans to do next. He misses the highlight of the set,¬†The Boy With The Arab Strap, where they emulate Pharrell the night before by encouraging¬†folks up from the stage to dance around and generally look awkward. Mostly these are young ladies in indie-nerd indenti-fit acrylic dresses, but a bunch of kids are also ushered on. Bearing¬†this in mind, it is probably wise of B&S to avoid awkward questions being asked by snipping the usual¬†closing line of the song (“You’re constantly updating your hit parade of your ten biggest wanks,¬†She’s a waitress and she’s got style,¬†Sunday bathtime could take a while”) and replace it with…well, an ironically apologetic improvised speech about Scottish independence.

I vacate the Other Stage before catching any of next-up¬†Jamie T, of whom I have no interest, but when I get home and watch the Glastonbury footage I’ve recorded, I kind of regret this. They show him doing Zombie, a song I’d not heard before, and which I have subsequently utterly fallen for. At the very least, it reclaims that song title from that¬†offence to my ears that¬†The Cranberries released back in the early 1990s (apologies if you also¬†had to sit through an advert for Now 91 to watch that – it really wasn’t worth it, was it?).

My aim now is to get back to the Pyramid in time to catch as much of Paul Weller’s set as possible. I have this pipe dream that he might decide to treat us to a raft of his¬†prestigious body of work, although I have been warned against getting my hopes up by a chap I work with who has seen him numerous times, loved it every time, but never heard him really dip his toe too far into the bath of his back catalogue.

Ah. Back catalogue. Back log. Back. Log.

There’s something else about Glastonbury I haven’t mentioned. Something the uninitiated always mention, along with the weather and the mud.

The toilets.

I don’t wish to get all¬†lavatorial on your ass, but we all know the stories about how horrendous the aptly named long-drops at Glastonbury are. By and large they’re not entirely true; okay they’re not pleasant, but, so long as you’re lucky enough to get one where the last occupier had a decent aim (not always a given), and as long as you don’t do anything as foolish as¬†look down, then they’re not that bad.

But knowing this, and even having no sense of smell (as I don’t), I still fear that first, and hopefully only, visit. In previous years, I have crammed my system with Immodium to delay that fateful moment when I have to slope off, toilet roll and newspaper under arm, but not this year. I have decided to embrace the long-drops. Not literally, you understand.

And yet, as I hurry back to the Pyramid, I realise that I have been…erm…clenching…since I arrived. On Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. And it is now Sunday. For five days. And I’ve consumed a lot of sausage in that time.¬†If I don’t so something soon, an accident is almost inevitable.

Luckily – and fear not, I’ll spare you the gory details – I happen upon quite the most delightfully clean and hardly used toilets I’ve ever encountered in all my days of attending Pilton Farm. I’ll probably regret divulging¬†this, for it’ll be full next time I go, but a tip: mid-way between the John Peel and the Pyramid is the Hospitality Area. The toilets by them are kept prestigiously clean, and there is nothing stopping the likes of you or I parking our arses in there. If you take nothing else away from my lengthy meanderings here, then take this: I have found the Holy Grail at Glastonbury and it is a relatively pleasant place to have a shit.

As I sit there, I the sound of¬†Weller wafts towards me.¬†He is doing “You Do Something To Me“. I can’t help but wonder if this is an ironic comment on my present position.

I head off, and as I approach the Pyramid, he does “Start”. Oh fuck, I think, cursing my colon, he really is doing a Greatest Hits set. A quick search of the interweb when I get home tells me he hadn’t, he just did the understandable thing of packing all the crowd pleasers towards the end of his set.

I arrive at the Pyramid just as he does “Peacock Suit”. The Pyramid is absolutely rammed. I don’t really want to go to far in, as I’m going to be heading off again as soon as he finishes, but still…a good view would be nice. I end up sitting in the top right corner behind the track that runs along the top of the Pyramid. I am joined by a couple who sit their chairs next to me and we have a bit of a chat as he does a song we don’t know (“Whirlpool’s End”, apparently. A new definition of the term “crowd pleaser” may be required).

Then, although this MP3 doesn’t really reflect it, ¬†the place goes mental as the bass line¬†of “Town Called Malice” kicks in; there is dancing, there is singing,¬†and a hundred lonely housewives clutch milk bottles to their hearts as at least 25,000 people emulate them, myself included.

Weller exits, as do I, and the couple I’ve been chatting to look quizzically at me as I get up and pack up after catching precisely 2.5 of Weller’s songs. I explain The Who are not for me tonight and they look a bit confused but wish me a happy night, and I reciprocate, because¬†I’m¬†not a wanker.

But it¬†is the witching hour, the time¬†every one must¬†execute their plans to get to wherever they want to be, ready¬†for the Glastonbury 2015 finale. The main stage is to be occupied by The Who; I saw them when they played in 2007, and I was really disappointed. I’ll cover this when I talk about that year another time, but basically, they had a new album to promote that year, so they don’t even do “Substitute“. This, to my mind, is sacrilege. (They don’t do it¬†it in 2015 either, for which there is, frankly, no excuse).

The next choice is The Chemical Brothers on the Other Stage. Now, as any right-minded festival goer does, I bloody love the Chems. But I’ve seen them before…loved them too…but there’s only one place I want to end my 2015 Glastonbury.

A few months ago, I had been at home waiting for some delivery or another, had 6music on, and heard Radcliffe and Maconie play a song by FFS, the band that is the amalgam of Franz Ferdinand and Sparks. It is called “Piss Off” and it is, excuse my language, fucking brilliant. (If you download that, then please also go and buy the album, here. I promise, you won’t be disappointed)

I arrived at the John Peel in time to catch the end of Death Cab for Cutie’s set. They are a band I’m kind of aware of, but don’t really know anything by. You know, one of those “know-the-name-but…”¬† bands. They’re okay. They do this¬†which is perfectly fine, but nothing special in my book.

The John Peel¬†tent is rammed for them, so¬†I decide I’ll do as I did the night before for Suede; park myself outside with a good view of the stage and a screen, and I’ll be happy enough.

However, Death Cab finish and the place just…empties.¬† A¬†few moments pass. I decide to venture inside. There can’t be more¬†than about 100 people in there, all dotted about.

A little while later, and still the tent is cavernously empty. I move a little closer to the stage. Not too close. They’ll all be here soon, surely, and I’m far too old to be getting sucked into a mosh-pit. I end up next to a couple who clearly have the same idea as me: it can’t stay this empty, can it?

It doesn’t. With moments to spare, the tent is chock-a-block, as FFS take to the stage and perform one of the most wonderful sets I’ve ever had the pleasure to witness. It’s mostly FFS, but peppered with Franz songs (“Do You Want To”, “Michael”, “Take Me Out”, of course) and with an even smattering of Sparks records (“When Do I Get To Sing ‘My Way'”, “Number 1 Song in Heaven”, “This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The Both of Us”), the latter of which leaves me¬† with the biggest smile I’ve had on my face for a long time, and I turn to the couple next to me, who are also laughing, smiling and singing, and advise them I’ve never been happier. They are in a similar mood. At least, that’s what they tell me. “We’re in a similar mood!” they say, and I can’t help but wonder if¬†they are sex people.

Ahem. Anyway, here’s FFS doing “Police Encounters“, and here’s their full set to either watch or listen to.

Regular readers may remember my mentioning previously the terror that was watching Ron Mael (of Sparks) on Top of the Pops in the 1970s and I’m surprisingly happy to report his schtick has not changed in all those years; he still stands, statue-still, just his hands bopping up and down on his keyboard, his Hitler moustache and impassive glare still in place, every now and then bearing his teeth. Until…suddenly there is a spotlight centre-stage, and there is Ron, all on his own, doing a running man-type dancing routine. The audience (of equally scarred children of the 70s) howls at how brilliant this is (though I appreciate it doesn’t seem it from that description).

FFS were my favourite act I saw all¬†weekend (I almost said my favourite thing, and then I remembered my new friends and Andy’s Vodka Alchemy…it’s too close to call, frankly. No it isn’t: it’s you guys!!) and so it would be remiss of me not to nudge you (again) in the direction of the¬†other deciding factor in my decision to go see¬†them: a review a fellow blogger wrote on here a little while back. This clinched it for me, so please keep an eye on her blog for other gigs you’d do well to go to. She’s a proper barometer of cool.

And that’s all folks. I won’t bore you with the tediousness of waking super-early on the Monday morning to miss the rush to get off-site and miss the traffic. Such memories spoil the idyll. Suffice to say we’ll all be attempting to get tickets again next year, so…see you back here then, eh?