From the Rockmine Almanac for today (Sunday 29th June):
1943. Roger Ruskin Spear (The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band) born in London, England.
1999. 70’s teen pop pin-up Leif Garrett (currently with Godspeed) is arrested in downtown Los Angeles and charged with possessing cocaine and heroine.
1982. Helen Reddy files for divorce from her husband and manager, Jeffrey Wald, for the second time in 17 months. The new suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court cites irrenconcilable differences – sufficient grounds for divorce under Californian law. The previous divorce petition, filed in February 1981, was withdrawn after only three days. The 39 year old singer said at that time she’d “been too hasty”.
1981. Gary Numan forms his own airline – Numanair. The company trading under that name is initially called Birspin Limited but changes its name to Numanair Limited on 31st December 1981. Companies House shows the nature of business as “scheduled air transport”.
1994. Late Show With David Letterman (CBS, U.S.A.) Show #0187. Musical guest are Green Day with their national TV debut. Here they are with, “Basketcase”.
1975. Tim Buckley dies of a heroin overdose in Santa Monica, California.
It’s that time of year again when I dig my green wellies out of the garden shed, fill a paddling pool with mud and settle down in the cinema room to take in all the ambience of Glastonbury. I figure if the sand pit worked for Brian Wilson, then this is my way of truly catching the vibe of one of the greatest rock festivals.
My big trouble is that this year, I’m ambivalent about the whole thing. I found myself wondering whether Gilbert O’Sullivan would be any good; and as I type this Neil Diamond is performing “Cracklin’ Rosie” to the assembled horde. Now, don’t get me wrong, I think Diamond had one of the best voices in 20th Century popular music but he also recorded some dross. So what on earth is he doing here?
I know that question opens up a huge debate about the relevance of one-time-greats. Maybe it’s unfair of me to demand that I’m excited by the work of one time heroes but I do. I want to be thrilled, challenged and shaken-up by what people are capable of but I repeatedly find myself longing for someone new and different to come up and startle me.
The one act I’m looking forward to is Leonard Cohen but I’m scared that he’ll disappoint in much the same way as all the other legends on retirement or divorce tours. My other great concern is that festival goers now seem able to take in every act with the same level of near-hysteria, regardless of who happens to be onstage. This opens another contentious debate that many of today’s music fans are not in fact fans of music but rather event fans.
One of today’s papers was quoting a nearby farm that was offering luxury accommodation, wellies, all meals and festival tickets for a mere £ 7,000 a head! You’d either have to really love a couple of the bands performing or just want the Glastonbury experience itself to consider that.
Maybe I’m too jaded and too much of a cynic but I’d much rather pay seven grand and get a half decent band to come round and play in my garden for just me and a few friends. Maybe that’s how the festival experience will evolve – private garden parties with guest tickets changing hands for thousands of pounds for a chance to hang out with the band before and after. Who knows…
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