Hugo Rifkind Hugo Rifkind

Jezza’s playing Glasto: is this a good idea?

48 hours after ­Britain learns the result of the ­EU referendum, Jeremy will speaking to hungover revellers wearing binbags

I do like a wet and muddy Glastonbury. Albeit, admittedly, not quite as much as I like a dry and sunny one. It’s different, though. When the weather is poor, you become a pioneer, remaking the land, terra-forming the turf with your trudge. On the Sunday evening you can climb high up to the top of the park, the south-west slopes, past the tipis, along from the stone circle, and you will see all that was once green turned to brown. ‘We did that,’ you may think.

Glastonbury is a secular pilgrimage, but it is the filth that makes it holy. Don’t laugh at me. It does. Mud, you learn, is not a substance but a process, taking you from wet ground to a slithering, splattering slide to a sucking, squelching treacle that fights for your boots. And that’s just the degeneration. The rebirth works in reverse, from a thick, cloying fudge, through my favourite stage, a rubbery, topsoil plasticine. Finally, once the sun returns, you are given a hardened crust, which could be cut into bricks to build civilisation anew.

Live through this, feel it seep into your boots, your clothes, your hair, your skin, your soul, and something has to give. It is days, probably, since you last saw a mirror. Inside your boots, in the memorable words of a friend of a friend, you may have found that ‘my foot looks like a brain’. And yet, if you do not succumb to despair, what you will reach instead is a state of grace. I’m serious. Crawl blinking from your tent the morning after a Glastonbury flood, and you become a community. You are Prospero’s children, the surviving heroes of The Walking Dead. Normal life will return, and soon, but right now it is far away. You may weep, you may hug strangers.

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