Proving that Glastonbury is not just about the music, Bawley has invited guest blogger Fandango to share her views on the action in the Cabaret tent.
It might be blasphemy to say this, but it is possible to suffer from ‘live music fatigue’ over the epic weekend that is Glastonbury. There comes a point when one really can’t be arsed walking, like, a whole 600 metres, to see yet another top-shelf band strutting their stuff. Happily, Glasto offers plenty of alternative activities: the eternally amusing pastime of hippy-watching, for example, or updating your Facebook status at the solar-powered net cafe (a noble concept, but somewhat stymied by the lack of English sunshine). A much better idea is to pull up a stool in the Cabaret marquee and enjoy back-to-back performances from a fine selection of talented comedians – bliss! Here’s a few we sampled when the beats got the better of us:
Kevin Eldon came highly recommended but when we fronted up at the allotted timeslot, the compere informed us that Kev had cancelled at the eleventh hour and had been replaced by some poet dude, Paul Hamilton. Performance poetry? We almost walked out. But despite my early prejudice, I’d have to say I warmed to this chap and his snappy little verses, the highlight being the decidedly short sonnet entitled Tony Blair’s Contribution to World Peace. (Later we would learn that Paul is, in fact, Kevin’s alter ego. Lucky we didn’t leave then!)
I had high hopes for compatriot Brendon Burns, expecting that he, of all people, would be unlikely to use British in-jokes that are wasted on a newly-arrived colonial like myself: I still don’t know what a scouser is, and I’m not fully across the UK supermarket hierarchy. Anyway, Brendon was a bit of a disappointment – not only for his liberal references to Brits I’d never heard of, but also because he turned out to be one of those f&%#ing comedians that thinks saying f&%# a few times in every f&%#ing sentence will make them f&%#ing funnier than fuck.
A Glastonbury veteran, Mitch Benn warms the crowd up with a few tales of Glasto in years gone by. I’ve heard many people whinge about the mud of 2005, but none to such comedic effect as this chap. The real gold, however, begins when Mitch picks up his guitar to punch out a few of the satirical songs for which he is renowned. He quickly endears himself to the crowd by singing about his homicidal feelings towards James Blunt, whom he aptly describes as ‘the only man on earth who’s his own rhyming slang’, and then adopts a Chris Martin-esque croon to lambast the homogeneity of modern pop in Everything Sounds Like Coldplay Now. He flirts with political incorrectness in I Want An African Baby, particularly with his justification being ‘it’ll match my shoes and my bag’. My absolute favourite is his ode to the Iraqi debacle, Happy Birthday War, in which he ponders why the Iraqis aren’t more grateful for the liberty which has been so generously bestowed upon them ‘for the price of just 100 civilians a day’; he draws a huge cheer from the peace-loving Glasto crowd with the song’s final plaintive appeal ‘perhaps we ought to cut our losses and call it a draw?’ Good point, well made, Mr Benn. Laugh and cringe at the video clip here.
The thing I find most refreshing about Josie Long is that she is a female comedian who doesn’t base all her jokes around childbirth or other joys of womanhood – forgiving one fairly tangential reference to polycystic ovary syndrome. The crowd seems to delight in her wide-eyed chirpiness and ‘glass half full’ take on life, but if (like me) you’re the kind of person who finds more hilarity in twisted cynicism than in sunshine and light, Josie’s unlikely to get your belly wobbling.