AA Gill on one element of Glastonbury Festival
The truth is this alternative weekend nirvana all comes down to plumbing and waste management. There are armies of kids who’ve been given tickets in exchange for picking up rubbish, of which there is an extraordinary amount.
But it’s bogs that are really the central leitmotif of Glastonbury. It’s all about one thing: colonic endurance. Can you go the full three days without going? Because the very thought is so nauseous, so utterly medieval it makes a colostomy bag sound like a civilised option.
There are plenty of loos laid out like back-to-back miners’ cottage. You can see the rows of feet in the morning, the whole-earth pasty-shoe next to the Nike Air-wear, next to Doc Martens. That’s the thing that’s rarely mentioned about hippies – they’ve managed to achieve completely unisexual footwear but, my darling, the smell.
By the third morning it’s, well, it’s half a million turds and all the trimmings. There are horror stories of dropped stashes, of tripping and slipping, of horrible, horrible rectal explosions.
But for me the most poignant, the most grisly is the girl who told me she’d been putting off the call of nature for as long as sphincterally possible and until she was so comprehensively stoned and drunk she could face the drop.
So at half past two in the morning she gingerly made her way to the deserted, pitch-black amenities block. Opening the door she dropped her pants and with the tense precision of a Romanian gymnast, lowered her posterior over the open sewer.
Something cold and clammy squidged between the cheeks of her buttocks and in a sudden dark repulsive flash of third-eye insight she realised she was squatting on the pointy turtle’s head of the last occupant’s offering, which itself was the high peak of a mountain of s*** that had risen like the devil’s soufflé from the bowl. She said her scream woke at least 4, 000 people.
Line up for next year’s tickets and make sure to rent an RV!