Rancid Sandwich and Establishment Glastonbury 32

A few years ago, I was thrilled to be asked to give a talk at the Glastonbury Festival, in the “Left Field” as they called it. But when I dialled the number given to organise the details, the man who answered was very curt and rude indeed, treating me as though I was trying to cadge a free ticket, despite the fact they had contacted me and asked me to speak. In fact he was so very rude, I declined to go.

I learn today that actually the VIP area at Glastonbury is swarming with minor Tory politicians who are chummy with David Cameron. I am sorry to hear one of them died, but if Glastonbury has become this cosy with the establishment, it is time to end it.

On Friday I took Nadira and Cameron on the train to see the wonderful old town of Sandwich, one of the best surviving medieval and early modern towns in England. It was as lovely as I remembered, but both the town and our experience were absolutely ruined ny the cars. The whole ancient centre is entirely devoted to throbbing traffic; streets with no or tiny pavement are premanently swished through by commercial vehicles and cars, and there is a permanent stench of exhaust fumes. It is impossible to enjoy the sight of any of the medieval town, because virtually every single old house has a permanent flow of traffic right past its doorstep.

The old tollbridge is no longer the only crossing of the Stour, so the failure to pedestrianise any part of Sandwich is simply appalling, and was to me quite unexpected. They must have the most dismal and undynamic council in the world. I strongly advise everybody against going there, unless you are interested in traffic.

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32 thoughts on “Rancid Sandwich and Establishment Glastonbury

  • Beeston Regis

    Glastonbury ceased to be cool a while back. Stuffed full of
    wankers these days.

  • Techno

    I thought exactly the same thing when the media reported that the Camerons were “largin’ it” in Ibiza a few weeks ago.

    Dance music RIP. It was fun while it lasted.

  • andy

    I went to the last one before the big fence went up, 2000 maybe? It was the first time in years that I felt at ease, relaxed, and yes, free, despite there being many hundreds of thousands (no I wasn’t taking anything). What was extraordinary was how so many people, this was a good sized town, could just get along. I really didn’t see anyone miss-behaving over the four days I was there. The friends I was with went back two years later and said it wasn’t up to much. The crowd was older and the all madness had gone.

  • mark_golding

    Exactly Techno, Ibiza has gone ‘Pete Tong’ (puke!) ever since. Sam kept herself to the VIP bar at Dalt Vila.

    Meanwhile Liam Fox creates bad music on Sky by being economical with truth on Libya and lying about the cost to the British tax-payer. Come on Liam how many boots ARE on the ground there, boots belonging to special services that is, or, shall I spill the beans from reliable Naval sources?

    • mary

      Add these in Mark.
      British, French agents undercover in Libya to get Gaddafi: Report
      By ANI | ANI – Sun, Jun 19, 2011
      London, June 19 (ANI): A team of 130 British and French agents are reportedly on a one-million-pound-a-week, do-or-die deep undercover mission in Libya to get Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.
      The British security service MI6 and France’s Directorate-General for External Security agents will hunt for the dictator in Operation Fire And Forget, the Daily Star reports.
      According to a senior security source, these agents are personally sanctioned by UK PM David Cameron and French President Sarkozy, the paper said.
      Members of the team speak the language, have lived in the country for years, and have made good contacts or landed jobs in key areas.
      “These agents are very brave people. If they get caught they will disappear and won’t survive an hour,” the paper quoted the senior security source, as saying.
      Money is no object and the operation could cost an estimated one million pounds a week, the source added. (ANI)

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Yeah, Fox – doesn’t he remind one of a crocodile? Go on, Mark, spill the beans, man! Give us the Naval Wikileak (seriously, do).

  • mary

    The death of Cameron’s ‘rock’ was reported earlier as having happened in a portable toilet. Suicide was mentioned and then later the cause was suggested as being from a heart attack.

    Let’s hope that he, like all British citizens, is accorded a proper inquest to establish the cause of death in these unusual circumstances!

  • John K

    Any “festival” that has hospitality or VIP areas is no longer a festival but a money making exercise.

    Go instead to smaller events where ordinary people are treated the same as the rich and well-connected. For example, unless they have changed things, at the Fairport Convention festival the performers have to buy a drink at the bar the same as the rest of us. No excusive “celebrity” VIP tent there. Real music from real artists too, not the U2 and Coldplay milli/ billionaires.

    The sight on the news of Wayne Rooney and his entourage arriving by helicopter was too much for me to bear. Ditto the fawning BBC coverage. I turned off.

  • Clark

    Craig, how dare you criticise cars? Cars are the dominant life-form on this planet. Wars are fought and millions die to ensure their fuel supply. Wherever cars go, they bring economic prosperity. I’m off to Sandwich to swig 10W/40 with my mates!

  • mark_golding


    Hang fire! on that, Let’s witness more lies from the government – I can without revealing anything specific tell you that RAF replenishment drops from Cyprus reveal about 350 ‘special forces’ boots are in Libya. I am not obliged to expand because in my opinion and from my knowledge, British special forces and Marines are on stand-by for an attack on Syria; the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan with 2,000 marines, 6 war planes, 15 attack helicopters, including new V-22 Ospreys, and 27 choppers for landing forces aboard and its task force have finished rehearsing ‘action stations’ off the Syrian coast. The Navy have been involved in an exercise for amphibious landings called(I believe) ‘Mailed Fist’ all under the pretext of protecting Middle East civilians.

    Clinton is repeating the US line that Iran is assisting in the repression of Syrian protests. Thus via Syria America gets to bombing Iran using cruise and huge bunker busters. We have US & British anti-missile warships in the Persian Gulf.

    This is a massive build-up Suhayl and I am extremely worried. Some leave has been stopped – I await a knock on my door.

  • Tom Welsh

    A cartoon in the latest issue of “Private Eye” nails it. A young woman is shown at Glasonbury, confiding to a friend that, “Everyone I’ve met so far is from the BBC”.

  • deepgreenpuddock

    interesting comment from Mark Golding.
    Slightly perplexed how any attack in Syria would go down in the UK. Yes it would no doubt be spun as a humanitarian mission but even for Libya they went through the UN motions and processes. Libya is creating concerned waves in UK, much wider than the blogosphere, and there were reports of misgivings within the military about depleted resources. Syria and Iran are much bigger adversaries and it seems strange that Cameron might take that kind of very large risk.

  • mark_golding


    “In recent weeks, Hezbollah has used trucks to move hundreds of long-range Iranian-produced missiles from Syria to bases in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, Le Figaro reports.”



    Snipers in Syria


    Attempts to fake the uprising in Syria


    Foreign interference in Syria


  • mark_golding

    A gem Mary – I just don’t know how I missed that – except this – I know of a man who is working for a British security firm out of Dubai who IS getting over £2000/day + expenses in Libya. I know the security firm although I cannot give the name here.

  • Christine

    Latest News
    June 26, 2011 14:264 COMMENTS David Cameron ‘devastated’ over Christopher Shale’s death at Glastonbury Prime Minister has said: ‘A big rock in my life has suddenly been rolled away’

    I thought this was an odd way to describe the death of a friend and then I read
    ‘There’s no reason to join the Tories. We’ve come over as voracious, crass, always on the take’ – Who says so? Dave’s own constituency chairman
    Last updated at 3:21 AM on 26th June 2011

    Which sort of made sense of Cameron’s comment but frightened me. (Of course this is as reported in the Daily Mail so I don’t have to believe the article)

    There’s absolutely no reason to join the Conservative Party – and that’s according to David Cameron’s own constituency chairman, Christopher Shale.
    In a strategy document seen by The Mail on Sunday, Mr Shale admits that at present there’s ‘no reason to join. Lots of reasons not to’.
    The paper, of which Cameron is aware, presents a scathing assessment of the social skills and fundraising efforts of his association.

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2008127/JAMES-FORSYTH-Theres-reason-join-Tories-Weve-come-voracious-crass–Who-says-Daves-constituency-chairman.html#ixzz1QPoLYJIK

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Fascinating, Christine. I suspect Cameron was trying to sound profound, as in “you’re a real rock, my friend”, or ‘rock of ages’, or Peter, the Rock upon which the church was built, etc. (in which case is he having Blair-like delusions of grandeur?). He may no longer be used to ad-libbing (no speechwriters or Prime-Minister ‘hoarse’ Whisperers at hand, all those were dancing to the music, one presumes) mixed his metaphors and imagery, since the rock that might spring (do rocks spring? Indeed not) to mind would be the one blocking the mouth of the cave where Jesus’s body lay after the Crucifixion, or perhaps, the one which closed Lazarus’s tomb. But did you see the ‘rock’ reference as suggesting that Shale was a heavy load which Cameron was carrying? Or maybe Cameron confused the (supposed) ‘rock ‘n’ roll’ of Glastonbury with all of the above. Roll away the rock, people! One might say that Cameron ought instead to have yelled, “Help! I’m a rock!”. What a pity Frank Zappa is no longer with us. His material was a thousand times better than the tediously triumphalist nonsense of Coldplay.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    But if, Christine (and maybe Mary), you’re suggesting the possibility that Shale was assassinated in the Portakabin at Glastonbury… as you may know, I have posed the very simple, and perhaps deliberately naive, question about whether or not the UK state or its agents undertake assassinations, but can seem to get no reply either way from anyone who ought to be/ have been in the know. Yet I think it extremely unlikely that:
    1) Shale was assassinated by elements in the Tory establishment for publicly criticising current recruiting tactics.
    2) That ‘they’ would’ve chosen a Portakin in the highly-public space of Glastonbury.
    If, however, someone starts suggesting sexual shenanigans, then maybe one’s antennae may start to rise.
    Unless, perhaps, there was some other work he was doing about which we know little. But Tory Party officials sometimes do die of heart attacks at rock concerts. Well, at least he wasn’t found in a sports bag. Forgive me, I don’t mean to sound insensitive about this poor chap’s death.

  • Christine

    As I know nothing about either of these men I have no reason to make any further comments about them.

    I certainly hope it would seem to be an extraordinary thing for someone to be assassinated for criticising the actions of our government although we are quite used to the idea that it happens elsewhere.

    However if I were in charge of such an extraordinary action I would consider the highly-public space of Glastonbury an excellent choice for a lot of reasons.

  • CheebaCow

    Wow I just checked the Glastonbury lineup for this year…. so many acts, so few worth seeing. Seems like the 3 most likely scenarios behind the death are;
    1 – Boredom (U2, Coldplay and Beyoncé, seriously?). I want to cut my wrists just thinking about that lineup.
    2 – Elvis style.
    3 – ‘Brown acid’.

    Hasn’t Ibiza been a shit hole for at least a decade already? Events like Boom and Rainbow Serpent are where you can find a real doof party.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Christine, there is no evidence, from the very limited information so far available to the public, that Shale was “criticising the actions of our government”. As far as the article to which you linked is concerned, the only suggestion is that he was bemoaning the fall in Tory Party membership and suggesting that the Conservative Party had a problem with both presentation, collective (!) social ambience and substance, i.e. that they were a bunch of snobs and acted as a bunch of snobs. Yes, well, I think we already knew that. This may be part of that tussle I wrote about a few days ago, b/w the ‘Etonites’ and the Working-class Tories. It was Shale’s job to undertake such analysis. One would have thought those sorts of discussions go on day-in, day-out, both within and outwith all political parties and that this particular discussion would have been unlikely to have become ‘news’ in the Daily Mail if Shale hadn’t died in the manner he appears to have died, i.e. in public, at the UK’s (supposedly) premier rock festival. Did we never hear Labour Party members, officials or even MPs, criticising Blair openly in public during the invasion of Iraq, etc.? That was something far more important and ‘risky’, one would have thought. There is debate about Robin Cook (and of course David Kelly – the Kelly case especially seems at the very least to be unresolved, I would suggest). It wasn’t as though, as far as we know, Shale was advocating nuclear disarmament, or that the international economic/banking system be largely overhauled or that the UK pull out of the foreign wars in which we are engaged, or that David Cameron had a synthetic face manufactured by Halliburton or was, say, a cross-dressing paedophile. Shale was a local party official, albeit in the PM’s constituency. The ‘powers that be’ will tend to bring someone down by other means – discredit them publicly, knacker them financially, set HMRC on them, plant internet porn on them, etc. – I think that as with, say, the Sicilian Mafia, unless the individual concerned has some deep hitherto publicly unknown knowledge of immediately relevant nefarious activities of national security – say, aggressive biological warfare programmes, mendacity in the construction of a ‘case’ for invasion of another country, etc. – and are seen to have become a loose cannon, assassination is probably a last resort. Otherwise, all the whistleblowers about whom we discourse on this and other sites would be dead. I take your point, though, about the possible ‘cover’ that might be provided by the numbers and relative chaos of the mass public spectacle; the countervailing ‘risk’, of course, would be that there might be lots of witnesses, not all on substances. Nonetheless, I agree that while we seem to accept that state-sponsored assassination happens elsewhere, there is some resistance to accepting that it might occasionally happen here and so from time-to-time I shall continue to pose my very simple question to that effect.

    • mary

      Spot on Suhayl. I was not actually suggesting that Mr Shale has been assassinated but was reinforcing the point that all UK citizens, even those who die abroad, are given an inquest if there is any doubt about the circumstances. For example all the remains of the military from Afghanistan arriving at Brize Norton go into the custody of the Oxfordshire coroner. As you probably know, the inquest (under the Oxfordshire coroner Nicholas Gardiner) on Dr Kelly who died at Harrowdown Hill in Oxfordshire was closed within 24 hours and the Hutton enquiry set up by Falconer. Mr Gardiner is still the Oxfordshire coroner. Somerset has two coroners, one each for the East and West of the county. I assume Glastonbury is in the eastern section.
      Inquests are governed by CA 1988 and CR 1984.
      Under CA 1988 s8(1) an inquest must be held if a person has died ‘a
      violent or an unnatural death’ or ‘a sudden death of which the cause
      is unknown’. Under CA 1988 s8(1)(c) an inquest must be held when
      ever a person dies in prison, regardless of the cause. Under CA 1988
      s8(3)(a) any inquest into the death of a person in prison must always
      be held with a jury. Coroners may otherwise hold an inquest with a
      jury if ‘the death occurred in circumstances the continuance or possible
      reoccurrence of which is prejudicial to the health or safety of
      the public or any section of it’. Thus the right to a jury is discretionary
      save in the first instance.
      ex http://www.lag.org.uk/shared_asp_files/GFSR.asp?NodeID=92618

  • angrysoba

    Suhayl: ” I suspect Cameron was trying to sound profound, as in “you’re a real rock, my friend”, or ‘rock of ages’, or Peter, the Rock upon which the church was built, etc. (in which case is he having Blair-like delusions of grandeur?).”
    Probably. As every schoolboy knows, Jesus was punning on Peter’s name because in Biblical, Peter and rock sound the same. Perhaps Cameron had said unto Christopher, “Upon this Shale I shall build my Big Society”.
    “But if, Christine (and maybe Mary), you’re suggesting the possibility that Shale was assassinated in the Portakabin at Glastonbury…”
    I almost make an off-colour joke about how an inquest must be held but I see that Mary has beaten me to it. I suspect she wasn’t joking though. But Suhayl, I think you meant to say “Portaloo” rather than “Portakabin”. Which brings us back to what Thatcher had said (pace Cameron and his Big one) unto Micheal, “Upon this Portilloo I shall announce there is no such thing as society.”
    Of course, I shouldn’t joke about this. It’s not very nice.

  • angrysoba

    “If, however, someone starts suggesting sexual shenanigans, then maybe one’s antennae may start to rise.”
    Never mind Frank Zappa, where’s Frankie Howerd when you need him?

  • Mark

    ‘Wow I just checked the Glastonbury lineup for this year…. so many acts, so few worth seeing’.

    Morrissey at least did a decent set on friday- and called Our Dave a ‘silly twit’ for his handling of the proposed ban on circus animals (delivering this quip just b4 ‘Meat is Murder’ to boot).

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Thanks, Mary, yep. Indeed, angrysoba – ‘Portaloo’ (or Portillo) it is! A ‘Portakabin’, of course, is a portable office. As opposed to ‘gardyloo’, which refers a custom specific to the people of Edinburgh, poor dears (!) And Frankie Howerd indeed would have had a field day, one suspects. “I like your antennae, my dear. Ooo, madam! Doesn’t she have good antennae? Oooooo!” The joking, rather than being a symptom of our collective sickness and inhumanity, is maybe more a reflection of the utter musical and artistic boredom that is today’s Glastonbury Festival.

  • mary

    What the dickens is Miliband Minor doing joining in the eulogy? Did he know or even meet Shale?
    ‘The Labour leader Ed Miliband expressed sympathy for the prime minister’s “shock and loss”.
    He said: “From whatever side we come from, all of us know that it is unsung heroes like him that are the backbone of our constituency associations.”‘
    Maybe he knew him in his capacity as the head of the ‘cost reduction’ company Ocford Resources Ltd. What is that? How to do the cutz.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Miliband Minor: Brilliant nickname! Right, exactly, Mary. Or else it’s just part of the hypocritical and obscuring soap opera that passes for political/public discourse these days. It’s infected everything, even ‘Dr Who’. Think about it. Every single episode of ‘Dr Who’ (I am compelled to watch by forces beyond my control) now has a weepy bit, sometimes two. Now, I’m all in favour of getting in touch with one’s emotions, leavening machismo, jettisoning the ‘stiff upper lip’ and so on, but really! What one wants from ‘Dr Who’ are aliens, exciting characterisation, tinny sets, giant rays of all kinds, warbling voices and scary stuff that makes one want to hide behind the couch, not cheesy love stories and weepy tales of farewell and hello. If one wants to watch ‘Eastenders’, one watches ‘Eastenders’. In all other respects, otherwise, ‘Dr Who’ is excellent – but get rid of the soap! The whole ‘Billy Piper’ thing was nauseating. I think this generalised emotional incontinence – and therefore, dramatically-speaking, a loss of the potential power of emotion (you know, if one has weepies at every turn then emotion loses its meaning and power) – started some time around the death of Princess Diana. Which itself was sublimated guilt and re-channeled anger (as a Californian therapist might say). Oh dear, I don’t want to start a discussion on the ‘Death of Diana’. But I did speak to one august journalist ex-of-the-Times, who, when I asked them directly what they thought (my very simple question again!), told me straight that they felt believed that she had been “assassinated”.

  • Roderick Russell

    Suhayl Saadi, you are a logical man. I see you have been applying Occam’s razor.

  • Max Frood

    Glastonbury festival is just another a moneyspinner for most of the people involved, apart from the customers, who are mostly ripped-off and brainwashed kids. The forces of law’n’order have clamped down on the previously fairly anarchic event, but otherwise it would not exist any more at all. However, Tony Benn still gives a talk and Q&A session in the Green Futures field on the Sunday afternoon, as he has done regularly for many years now, and many of the folk working at that end of the site have been around since the old days. There are a quarter of a million people there over the weekend – a temporary city as populous as Bath. Please don’t lump all of them together because of one unfortunate phone call. It’d be lovely to see you there.

    The pop music is just a front, for spinning money. There is lots more going on, but with less hype.

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