In what I think are my last few days in England I watch lots of old Glastonbury sets on iplayer and feel that sickness in the pit of my stomach that is either a hankering for the past or a dread of the future or both. And of all the visceral reactions Jarvis Cocker was hoping for when Pulp headlined in 1995, perhaps that wasn’t one of them.
Beyonce is polished. Adele personable. Amy Winehouse underwhelming. Arctic Monkeys electric. Stormzy ecstatic. Jay Z cocky, in control. Blur chaotic, momentous. Kylie just happy to be there.
I can’t put my finger on why Pulp get to me so much. But as they leave the stage Jarvis says, Happy twenty-five years Glastonbury. Here’s to the next twenty-five, yeah? And I see that even he couldn’t have known there would be no Glastonbury 2020. Especially he couldn’t have known why.
The passage of time itself is a factor. Putting aside my perpetual fear that I will never be cool or carefree again (if I ever was), the mere fact of hearing Jarvis introduce Disco 2000 as a new one makes me shudder. How have we got from there to here and where has the time gone?
After my flight is cancelled six hours before it is due to take off, I close the iplayer tab in the middle of Radiohead’s Karma Police and I do not reopen it. The time for nostalgia has passed.
Outwardly it seems like I’m taking this cancellation pretty well, but if anything, my lack of reaction is cause for concern. When was the last time I felt like if one more thing went wrong I would just drown in broad daylight?
I listened to Pulp a lot when I first moved to Auckland. I still had an ipod then. I think smart phones existed but it wasn’t normal to have one. I would listen to Different Class loud and on repeat on the bus from Blockhouse Bay into the city and back again.
I’d scrutinise the lyrics and pine for an England that I suspect never existed.
A version of this post was sent by email on the 5th July 2020 as part of Internet Care Package – a weekly memoir project in the form of a newsletter. It also includes links to the best things I’ve found on the internet each week and occasional updates on my theatremaking. This blog is a select archive of those emails. Subscribe to get them right in your inbox.