Now what? - Lauren Booth does Glastonbury on magic truffles
I stuffed the magic truffles into my mouth . . . and everyone turned grey
There's something about the words "magic truffles" that guarantees a mouth-watering longing in all who hear them. The same goes for "wicked" cakes and "special" biscuits. What adult could fail to turn into a sugar-fixated child at the promise of both adventure and fine dark chocolate? Not me, that's for certain.
It was Friday and it was sunny at Glastonbury. As I wandered through the Field of Avalon, a skinny pixie with wings and pink hair floated through the afternoon haze with her tray of wares.
"Wicked fairy cakes?" she asked gently.
"Ermm, no thanks - a bit early for me," I replied sheepishly. How much "magic" would there really be in a cake sold at the side of a path at Glastonbury? A Londoner's, city dweller's innate lack of trust pulsed through my veins, and I chortled at the fools crowding around the girl and chewing hopefully on sponge cake, hoping for an other-worldly experience.
In any case, there's really not much need for narcotics at this, the mother of all festivals. Take the doors in the middle of a field. There were three of them, all functional and bearing signs on the back. My favourite was the one that said "Please close door". All you had to do was sit on the grass for ten minutes and, inevitably, some bloke would stagger up to it, open it and clamber through.
Then the fun began. In full view of several hundred festival-goers and his mates, the bloke would spend ages trying to close the door like a good boy. He would give it a slam and wander away, but it would swing slowly open. He would dart back and give it another tug. It just wouldn't close. This impromptu show could go on for ages, until one of his friends would wipe the tears of mirth from their eyes and say: "Why are you closing that door, Keith? You've been had, mate. Look at all the people watching you, you prat!" At which "Keith" would raise his droopy head, smile sheepishly and stagger away, leaving the door open for another stoned stockbroker or estate agent to close.
By Saturday, the atmosphere was electric, the site heaving with Glastonbury's magical blend of freewheeling families, tanked-up teenagers and happy hippies. Standing outside the cabaret tent, my husband and I were approached by a rangy bloke in a smoke-smelling baggy jumper and his two-year-old son, sitting on his shoulders. He held out a trayful of what he called "super-truffles".
"These are mostly chocolate, really, aren't they?" I whispered conspiratorially to him.
He looked sincerely hurt. "No, they're really strong, in fact." He stood back and looked me up and down. "For you, I'd recommend not eating more than half a truffle at any one time." The words red rag and bull come to mind. I pulled out eight pound coins and sang: "I'll have four, please." The gangly man turned to my husband and said: "Keep an eye on her, mate."
After that, I remember seeing a poet called Attila the Stockbroker roar poetry in broad Scouse and rail against "the machinery of capitalism". I stuffed an entire Dimbleburger (not big enough by half, David) into my mouth in an attempt to fill my painfully empty stomach. A little bit later, things got weird. One minute, we were walking towards the main stage in a sea of swirling colour: stripy tops, sunburnt cheeks, blue tents and green hair. The next, the world turned black and white. I stood stock-still, took a deep breath, and looked down. Dear God, the grass was pitch black. Worse still, everyone's skin was John Major grey. And then everyone started walking backwards.
Once again, I come away from the Glastonbury Festival more enlightened than when I arrived. This year, my hard-learnt message to you all is this: not everything "natural" is good for you, and not all "chemicals" are evil.
Can someone turn the colour back on now, please?