Adventures in Engaland Day XI: Goodbye Glastonbury, Hello London
My alarm went off as planned and it was still dark out, so I hadn’t missed my window. I grabbed my torch I’d bought the night before and headed through the campsite up to The Park stage. I grabbed myself a nice small pizza as I still hadn’t eaten since yesterday morning and was a bit hungry. I found out I wasn’t really in the right area, but after a detour or two later I finally found Stone Circle where a good 500 others or so had also gathered around campfires to watch the sunrise.
So I found a spot on the hill, put my bag down for a moment, grabbed some wood and rocks, some newspaper out of my bag and built myself a nice little fire on the hill. (Thank you - few years of Boy Scouts!) and then enjoyed my pizza as I waited for the sun to come up. I couldn’t help but keep wishing I had kept with my original plan to bring Graham Crackers & Chocolate and stuff so I could make some S'mores but oh well. Eventually a couple firedancers had started putting on something of a show right in front of my campfire, so a much bigger crowd ended up forming around my fire than I’d anticipated, but people helped to build the fire up, so was all good. The girl firedancer actually was really impressive, definitely had some skill, the dude was alright, but kinda botched his moves a few times. I posted a video of them here.
Then the sun started coming up and it was actually quite beautiful the way it slowly peeked out from over the hill and turned the sky an orangey-pink color. I’d go all poetic and shit in the description here, but I’m not a poet, I’m a nerd, so I’ll say the sky made me feel like I was temporarily in the world of FLCL (GREAT SHOW).
Anyway, after the sun was up I decided to head back down to the Chill & Charge and charge up my phone before I left just in case I got some calls. I then headed back down for tradition’s sake to the same donut stand and got myself a bag of donuts before I left. Oh god, those donuts, so good. I then decided since I was going to be returning back to London today, I might as well try and find the proper showers before I leave and get a real shower before I go. Unfortunately, uh, that didn’t really happen. I kept looking, I assume they’re there somewhere but after an hour or so of looking I kinda felt like I was wasting time, so I just stripped down to my boxers, grabbed the soap out and decided to try and wash up under a fountain. I just want to take the time to note how hard it is to try and wash under a fountain when you’re as tall as I am. Seriously like I was fuckin hunched over, like craning my neck, like, just yeah, just assuming I looked less like an Abercrombie model and more like Gollum in Lord of the Rings.
Then I went to grab my last day newspapers and the like Q Glasto Review/Program/Guide thingy and stuff. Then I finally headed back to my tent and begun packing up all my stuff. Back into the massive backpack that had caused me so many problems thus far and the broken computer bag which now just looked like a retard briefcase. And it was time for the long trek back to the bus (luckily I at least got to donate the tent and sleeping bag, so I didn’t have to lug those around anymore).
I remember getting there just around 10 when my bus was supposed to be taking off, but the woman told me to just go to the end of the queue when she saw my ticket. I’m basically gonna shorten up the next 4 hours for you and tell you this woman was fucking stupid. She told me to go to the end of the queue to get on the bus, but then the bus was a National Express bus and I had my ticket through SeeTickets so I wasn’t on that bus. So then I had to go over to that queue and show my ticket and those buses ended up basically being first come, first serve, rather than a set time. So I basically spent the next 3 hours in a queue waiting to get on my bus.
Finally though I did and I was on my way back to London. Naturally though, when you’re running trying to get 200,000 people out of a town home to only 8,000, it’s going to be quite a challenge. And the bus ride back was long, very long, VERY VERY long, we were stuck in traffic for the majority of the first 4 or 5 hours before we even got on the motorway. We made a few stops at some rest tops along the way and I was able to get some lunch at KFC and a few more candies, but yeah, not much else to say
By the time I finally got into London it was nearly 8 at night. I had spent most of the bus ride sort of drifting in and out of consciousness but had woken up before we entered London. What I had not realized however was that I somehow had spent the whole bus ride with phone on and had already drained the battery. So I grabbed my bags and quickly tried to find a payphone to figure out what was going on. See, I left for Glastonbury as you might remember in something of a limbo. I had gotten money from my family up there, but it was basically hold over money while my grandmother had transferred me money through Western Union. I also had no hotel or hostel reservations yet because of the money situation.
So I tried to call my roommate, family in Manchester, or my grandmother to see if anyone could at least help me to at least figure out where to go but as most of the payphones were broke, I was kinda SOL. So I decided to try and find something and as I turned the corner I saw a McDonalds and remembered they had free Wi-Fi, so I went in with my laptop on half battery life, knowing I had to figure something out quick. I also got me a Rolo McFlurry, which yes, is worth mentioning in here, people, because it was abso-fucking-lutely amazing. I’m a hardcore McFlurry fan and that one shot up to the top of my McFlurry list, so well done, McDonalds UK.
Anyway, unfortunately making my predicament worse, was that after a few Google searches later and I was quickly starting to realize that ever hostel in London I could afford was booked for the night and there was no way I was going to be able to afford a hotel. It also seemed nearly every place that had a Western Union was either already closed or closing any minute.
I kept turning my computer off from there to try and preserve the battery life as long as I could while I used the outlet next to me to charge my phone in case anyone called me. By now it was about midnight and a McDonalds security guard? Really, why does McDonalds need a security guard? Anyway, the McDonalds security guard came over to me and starts shouting. Now I just want to paint you a picture so you can understand. At this point, I’ve just been back from Glastonbury, my bags are covered in dry mud, my shoes as well, and I haven’t been able to shower in anything but a wash fountain for 5 days, so I’m not exactly looking like Captain Kempt. But he starts shouting “Sir, you can’t sleep here” and I’m like “What?” “I’m not sleeping, I’m wide awake”
“Sir, you’ve been here for 3 hours now, I haven’t seen you eating, your bags are on the chair. You can’t stay the night here, you’re gonna have to leave”
Dude, I just had a McFlurry, I’m just using the internet for awhile
I never saw you order or eating anything
Well, I did, so
Sir, I’m gonna have to ask you to leave
Oh, so you’re asking paying customers now to leave. Sorry, I didn’t know there was a fucking timelimit
I get up and hop in the line as he stands behind me watching till I get to the front. In a dumb but at the time I thought nice move, I just say out loud - “Huh, what’s the most expensive burger on your menu - Oh ok, I’ll have the Summer Chorizo meal, size large”
and then I proceeded to just sit back down and let the food sit, apart from the occasional fry or two (honestly wasn’t hungry). The bad part was now I was down to about 4 pounds and needed to get to a Western Union quick. Eventually though my roommate calls to let me know he called a Western Union in Leicester Square that was misprint online and they were open 24 hours.
After kinda stalling out another hour, I leave to go find the Western Union. Now the next bit really won’t be as amusing to you guys as it was to me, because you don’t have the same visual context. But it was kinda great walking through downtown London seeing all these like snobby folks all dressed up and heading to clubs or from clubs and then there’s just me walking by covered in Glasto mud with this backpack sticking up over my head and like bags around each arm. I felt like this was some terrible elaborate challenge on The Amazing Race or some shit.
Finally I get to the Western Union and there’s two guys there and I have the routing number and name and all that with me and they ask me to fill out my info and I do. I hand them back the paper.
We need your address?
My home address?
If that’s here, than yes, but we need your UK address
and I’m like Uh, I don’t have a UK address
Well we can’t transfer the money for you without an address
Look, I just got into London literally like 6 hours ago, every hotel and hostel in the city I could possibly afford is booked up. I have about 4 pounds left on me. I need this money so I can get a place to stay.
Well where were you staying?
At Glastonbury, that’s why I don’t have an address. I could list a family member’s address or something if I have that.
Are you staying with them?
Then that doesn’t help. Can you call them?
I don’t even have a phone and why would it help if I call them anyway, I’m not staying with them. Nobody is nearby right now, dude. I need money, this money was transferred to me, I’d like my money.
If you don’t have an address we can’t give you anything, I’m sorry, that’s the policy.
Are you fucking serious? At no point when the money was transferred did anyone give us this information.
I’m sorry, sir, we can’t help.
So I’m pissed off, I’m tired as hell naturally by this point as I’ve been up almost a day now, and I need my money and need it now. So I go outside with the paperwork, pull a pen out and write the number down and hand it back.
What is this? - the guy at the Counter says to me
That’s my address, you said I need an address
Sir, you can’t…
Oh no, I’m gonna. That’s my fucking address. I need somewhere to stay, neither of you have been any help. I have no money, as I got fucking robbed. So y'know what, I’m just gonna stay out front till I get my money. You asked me where I’m staying, this is where I’m fucking staying. So that’s my address.
The guy finally sighs and goes - Here, fill out a new sheet. Write this address down
He reads off an address to me, I copy it down and he finally gives me the money. I thank him and take off.
I head into a Burger King to get a drink and while waiting in line am behind a girl so drunk that she can barely stand or finish a logical sentence. When she gets to the counter she swipes her card and then when it comes time to punch in the numbers just stands there awhile looking at it like “What the fuck did I just get myself into”, she then just starts aiming it around at people making laser noises before the guy asks her if she wants him to just punch it in for her. As I go find a place to sit down and chill, I notice directly next to me a French guy all suited up who’s actually trying to pick up two chicks at a Burger King. I’m honestly not sure if I found these sights more sad or amusing, honestly, probably a bit of both. Ok, nah, it was actually pretty funny. I take out my laptop though and hop on to find a hostel for the rest of the week but my battery finally dies. I ask someone a little ways down if they know and internet cafes around here and they send me off in the right direction.
By now it was about 4:30 and starting to get pretty bright out. I found the internet cafe they mentioned, Internet City Ltd grabbed a soda and chocolate bar and spent the rest of the morning there. I actually would come to spend a lot of time here during the next few days as it helped me whenever I needed to get online. I finally found a hostel up near Oxford Street and waited till around 11 before I headed over.
Finally after making it to the hostel, I booked my room (lucked out, apparently it was the last one) and packed my stuff under me bed before just laying back and passing the fuck out.
it makes me crave the summer more than anything. That excitement as you pack your bag the day before a festival and realise you don’t have any wellies or toilet roll. That massive work out as you walk up the hill/road with all your bags. The feeling of awe when you walk into the festival site for the first time and see the vast city of tents and stages in front of you. Attempting to put up a tent in the wind and getting nowhere until a stranger comes to your rescue. Waking up surrounded by people you love and knowing that you’re about to spend 4 days in their company doing whatever the fuck you want, with no worries in the world. Realising that today is the day you get to see that band/artist you’ve been longing to see for years. The only place on Earth where wearing sunglasses all day and night is acceptable. Wasting money on those stupid rides that make you feel ill. Drinking out of cans all weekend. A place where having ridiculously messy hair and dirty knees is deemed cool. The buzz of watching a band with thousands of other people who appreciate them in the same way you do. Talking to strangers and not feeling awkward. Getting a slight tan in Britain. The laughs and building incredible memories. Keeping your wristband on for years after the event even when your closest friends call you a skank.