Monday, 14 April 2008

Jay Z, Rolf Harris and Glastonbury

My favourite piece of Glastonbury memorabilia is a Rolf Harris autograph. A friend got it for me on the first day of the festival in 1993, one of those golden years when the sun never stopped shining and everyone was praying for rain (the following year was even hotter). Rolf opened the event to a huge cheer with Jake the Peg (diddle iddle iddle um) and spent the next hour or so leading the best sing-along ever to grace the Pyramid stage. Forget about Robbie Williams and the crowd singing Angels in the mud in1998, or Oasis and Wonderwall in 1995 and 2004. You haven’t earned any Glastonbury medals worth boasting about if you weren’t there to sing along to Two Little Boys. (Go on, admit it, you know all the words, don’t you?)

I think this is at the root of Noel Gallagher’s outburst about Jay Z being one of the reasons why Glastonbury hasn’t sold out yet this year. The Oasis frontman reckons hip-hop is ‘wrong’ for the festival, which he says was ‘built on a tradition of guitar music’. Really he’s jealous that more people know the words to Rolf Harris songs than they do his own. But he wouldn’t look very cool slagging off Rolf playing at Glastonbury, so he’s had a go at Jay Z instead.

Of course Gallagher is talking nonsense anyway. Glastonbury was built on a tradition of musical eclecticism – of which Oasis and all the other guitar bands (how can you lump all ‘guitar bands’ together?) are just a part. On Noel’s reckoning, there wouldn’t be a place for dance acts like the Orb, Orbital, the Chemical Brothers, Roni Size, De La Soul, Leftfield or Groove Armada, all of them stars of past Glastonburys. Or women artists like Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen and Bjork, not to mention the dangerously hip-hoppish Nelly Furtado, Kelis and Macy Gray. Or the old-time novelty acts like Rod Stewart, Paul McCartney, Isaac Hayes and Noel’s mate Robbie. Or, ahem, Dame Shirley Bassey, the English National Opera and James Blunt.

Jay Z is Glastonbury to a ‘t’. Get him to duet with Rolf and the remaining tickets will sell out in minutes. A hip-hop Tie Me Kangaroo Down anyone?

2 comments:

davey d said...

I always thought the Court Of King Caratacus was over due for a remix. But how can you ignore Waltzing Matilda, perfect for JayZ. Who's Noel Gallagher anyway, wasn't he one of Tony's cronies?

guess who? said...

I remember Steve Platt, Francis Elliott, John Peel and Andy Kershaw with collecting buckets for the New Statesman Libel Fund at Glastonbury in 1993. Cash in the post Steve or I'll tell all!!