We get down to the site on the bus and wait in the drizzle. I can’t find any stage times and get a bit stressed. They have new Radiohead T shirts on the merch stall. I buy an orange one with “Leisure Is Pain” and a rather situationist list on the back and a Prozac tablet on the front.
Eventually I find a running order and head to the NME tent to see Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, then we have a beer and pop our heads around the dance tent to catch the end of Audioweb covering The Clash’s Bankrobber. Find the little King Tut’s tent and see Drugstore, they are so cool. Isabel says “The best band in the world are on the main stage tonight” and then plays her cover of Black Star. I catch a bit of Mazzy Star but give up, I’ve seen them before and Hope Sandoval refuses to engage with the audience. My brother Jim and his mate Andy have come up from Nottingham for the festival, they go off to see The Prodigy while I find Frances and her little brother. We both need to be at the front, so we push through and end up enduring an hour of Alanis Morrissette. I’m missing Beck and The Chemical Brothers for this, but now I’m here I can’t get out. It will be worth it.
After much cursing and crushing they’re on. Old songs and new songs are hitting the spot. Lift, Just, Bones, Bends, No Surprises (oooohhhhh). I’m not at the very front so I have to move about a lot to keep my spot, I’m sure I’m annoying people, I’m doing a lot of shouting and shaking my hair. The field was full, judging by the look on Thom’s face it was working better than he thought it was going to. He encores with a solo version of Thinking About You for the first time in ages, and it’s beautiful. They all come back on to do a rock starry wave goodbye. Colin is polite and thanks Drugstore for their earlier cover (he must have seen it). Someone says something about going off to get high.
Frances finds me again, she thought it was a good one. We wait as the field clears, persistence pays off in the end as a roadie throws sets of drumsticks our way. Mine are chipped and busted, one has a bloody thumb print on one end.
I drag myself around the festival the following day, bumping into people I know, seeing Super Furry Animals and finding Caffy in the crowd for Mansun. She describes the scene in the backstage bar last night – Thom came in, saw how many people were there, gave a big grin and then disappeared again. I stomp around in a bit of a daze trying to make sense of the Manics, eating bean burgers and being unsure if Pulp suit a crowd of this size…