This week is quite a significant one for the Middle-Classes of Great Britain as it is the combination of two massively important social events in their calendar, two events that they absolutely love, two events that are simply known by their geographical locations - Glastonbury and Wimbledon.

Both events were founded by middle class men to entertain their middle-class friends, dairy farmer and former Wells Cathedral School old-boy Michael Eavis started the Pilton Pop, Blues & Folk Festival in September 1970 whilst the fantastically-named Major Walter Clopton Wingfield introduced lawn tennis to the 'The All England Croquet Club' in Wimbledon, almost a century earlier in 1875.

They even look the same.

Both events underwent a name-change within a few years and both are now unrecognisable from their humble-ish beginnings, yet it is important to realise that these were Middle and Upper-Middle class pursuits from the very start because it makes it so much easier to completely ignore the accusations of either of them "selling-out" in recent years.

The 1970 Glastonbury Festival, for example, ran at a loss for Mr Eavis, costing him £1,500 to stage the event. The 1971 Festival, widely regarded as the 'proper' festival, was moved back from September to the week of the summer solstice and was  bankrolled by "rich hippies", according to the funky farmer and started to make money.

Glastonbury and Wimbledon have something else in common, in that there isn't a team of wild horses bred strong enough to get me to go to either one of them.

For a start, Wimbledon is for people who don't like sport and Glastonbury is for people who don't like music.

How else would you explain having both U2 and Coldplay on the same bill??
They are social events to be SEEN at, which is why every single Sunday supplement and lifestyle magazine and programme ignores the tennis and the bands and concentrates on the glamorous side of being noticed at these events.

Let's take Glastonbury first. Years ago you may have got your camping equipment from the Army & Navy Store or Milletts, but now they have to be from Cath Kidston and the Hunter wellies have to have prints of roses all over them. The Daily Mail and The Daily Express love Glastonbury because it allows them to run pontless articles on Festival Fashion & 'glamping' (a phrase that makes me physically retch) and to print pictures of young, horsey, blonde, girls frolicking in the mud.

It's all Pimms and picnic hampers while all the time dismissing the music.

"Urgh, Jay-Z doesn't belong at Glastonbury" they yelp, forgetting that the largest social group that actually buy rap albums are middle-class university educated white-kids trying to look rebellious.

It's, like, soooo amaaayzing, yah? 
Sooo, like, todally, something their parents couldn't possibly understand, yah?

It's like a Junior Con-Dem conference - in a swamp.

But this is nothing new, there's always been a snobbery attached to Glastonbury, like it's the ONLY music festival there is. It doesn't matter if you've been to Reading or Leeds or T In The Park or the Isle of Wight or Bestival or Creamfields or Donnington or Cropredy or Ozzfest or Knebworth or All Tomorrow's Parties or Latitude or Meltdown or Phoenix or Limetree or V or Benicassim or Womad or Live Aid or Lollapalooza or bloody Woodstock... the implication is clear, if you haven't been to Glastonbury then you haven't truly been to a Festival.

It's also the only UK Festival that doesn't even announce its line-up before demanding the cash-up front.

Also, Festival Fashion is a contradiction in terms, yet for this week it is all the papers have to pad out the space between the dwindling numbers of advertisements they have secured.

There's nothing fashionable about Festivals, especially not what you wear at them, as this is England.

You have to pack for every conceivable meteorological eventuality. You have to pack thermal socks, sandals, shorts, rainproof trousers, umbrellas and sunblock.

You have to have a woolly hat, Hawaiian shirt, fingerless gloves, sunglasses and your swimming cossie.

And much of the time you will be wearing all of them at once to stop anyone from nicking them from your unguarded tent or from disintegrating in the toxic mud-flood.

A more truthful guide to Festival Fashion would tell you to put all of your clothes in a ripped binbag, piss on them, empty a growbag into them then stand them next to a smokey bonfire. Then put on every item that you own, spill at least three pints of supermarket budget lager on them and have one of your friends be sick on one sleeve - hey presto!

You look just like Kate Moss!

It's ridiculous, if you packed everything that you could possibly need for four days of socialising and looking pretty in a field of mud, you'd forget something important like two of your tent poles.

Which is what I assume my friend Thom did when we went to Reading in 1993...

This is my friend Thom

..otherwise my friend Thom is just a complete fucking idiot.

The cost of going to Glastonbury, of getting to Glastonbury, of getting equipped for Glastonbury and of surviving four or five days of Glastonbury runs into hundreds of pounds.

You could afford a couple of weeks in Spain for what you lay out for a few days sleeping next to an organic falafel stand surrounded by moon-faced jugglers... and that's the other thing that puts me off.

The middle-class anarcho kids.

The knit-your-own yoghurt, Rizla-rolling vegans in rainbow-coloured hemp-pants, spouting a terms-worth of sociology while shirtlessly flicking a flaming fucking Diablo about on a unicycle.

This is NOT my friend Thom

We should take advantage of the  impenetrable security wall at Glastonbury and padlock all those fuckers in.

You could never accuse Tennis of selling out simply because nobody working-class ever plays the game. Despite acres of municipal parkland across the British Isles being converted into tennis courts, nobody plays this tedious fucking sport.

The ones that do play go to Spain to learn how to play it properly (like our very own soon-to-be-Scottish-as-soon-as-he-loses-again British No1 Andy Murray) while we give most of our disused courts over to skateboarders and BMX-ers.

If you asked someone to come up with a list of things they associated with Wimbledon the actual sport of tennis would come some way after strawberries and cream, rain, Henman Hill, Pimms, Robinson's Barley Water, attractive Russian teenagers and the Wombles.

The Wimbledon Championships are simply an opportunity to be caught on the BBC's cameras, sat quite close to Pippa Middleton or Elton John or JK Rowling, eating a Waitrose picnic while wearing the right type of sunglasses and summer outfit.

In 3D.

When the highlights of the past fifteen years has been an impromptu singalong led by Sir Cliff Richard and the installation of a mechanised sliding-roof you know that sport is the last thing anyone is actually there to see.

This is Wimbledon trying to be cool. 
This is what happens when the middle-classes let their hair down.

In fact they try to convince us EVERY year that there is something ultimately cool and sexy about tennis, when the only thing that has ever been remotely sexy about tennis was that Athena poster of the girl with no knickers on scratching her bum in the 1970's.

They've had Anne White in a lycra catsuit, any number of lesbians, Anna Kournikova doing sexy videos, one of the interchangeably-devastating Williams sisters in a Gladiator dress and this year it's the turn of complete unknown American player Bethanie Mattek-Sands to fail to inject glamour into the proceedings by turning up dressed as Foghorn Leghorn.

Labelling herself as the "Lady Gaga of tennis", the current No31 in the world rankings, made a ball-covered tit of herself impressing nobody with either her clothes or her tennis.

You're not the "Lady Gaga of tennis", love, because Lady Gaga is good at what she does. That's why we all know who she is. And we have NEVER heard of you.

Do you think I'm being mean?

Can you honestly say you've remembered her name without scrolling back up the page a bit?

Thought not.

Don't worry. You don't have to remember it.
She lost.

So off they go, out to the country or up into town, the Middle-Classes vainly trying to be cool.

And while they waste their money on fifteen-quid punnets of strawberries that have been picked by migrant workers ruled by Gangmasters or sleep in patterned tents made by children in the far east the rest of us will watch the highlights in the pub.

Yeah, it's on telly, you idiots.

That's the one good thing about Glastonbury and Wimbledon - at least we know where all those braying in-bred pillocks are going to be this weekend.

Let's hope it doesn't rain, eh?


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Anonymous said...

What's the matter - couldn't get a ticket? X

Howesy said...

Cliff's singalong "impromtu"???? my arse, they arsing well soundchecked that....

christian said...

never went to glastonbury 'cos I knew I couldn't nip into town for a shit at Mr whimpy like I could at reading festival