Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Goodbye Sweet Glasto

Catching the last bit of Glastonbury on the TV the other night, it made me realise that I've had my day and that I will never return again.

Yes, I feel I'm too old to enjoy crowds, constant mud and drunken youngsters.

I went when I was a student, 3 times, more than 20 years ago when tickets cost about £60. A time when we didn't have mobile phones, so if you forgot to meet up with someone at the arranged time/meeting point, you might not see them again for the rest of the weekend.

There were no sponsors or corporate areas - at least we didn't notice any. Everything seemed to be on a level playing field - just people there to have fun, not particularly there for the bands or to pose, but for the joy of being stoned in a field of beautiful random experiences.

One year I didn't have a ticket and I just found a gap in the wall and walked through it, a very simple way of guaranteeing the best freebie weekend ever.

I went back 10 years later courtesy of a sponsor and they gave us VIP tickets and a special backstage camping area pass. This was Glasto in style, but the corporations had taken over the festival by then, and it was a different crowd. No longer hippy types but media hourays out to get wasted for the weekend and catch some cheesy bands. Not that I minded the free tickets, but I felt I had sold out a bit.

And I knew from the difference in festival clientele in just 10 years (drunken yobs mostly), that I would never go back.

So when I hear it's Glasto time of year, my heart skips a beat and I reminisce of the stunningly free and youthful times I used to have in those Pilton fields. I yearn for a similar festival, so I've been going to smaller, grassroots, non-corporate festivals ever since.

And looking at the pictures of tents left behind in fields of mud because people have too much money to waste time packing up a muddy tent and carrying it home to clean, it makes me feel sad.

Abandoned tents at Glastonbury

So now I know for sure that I've hung up my Glasto cloak for good, left to the younger generations, I bid you farewell, old friend. It was a blast, but small is beautiful now.  

And watching the close of Glastonbury on Sunday night, flinching at seeing Chris Martin desperately trying to keep his voice in tune next to Barry Gibb, I had the benefit of being grateful that I was home and I could turn the sound down on the TV.

At least there was one silver lining from the Coldplay set; they provided us with a 5 min interlude of Rumi's Guesthouse (love that poem):

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,...

some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.


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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Binge-watching TV is the new norm

New research from Netflix shows that their members around the world are making their own rules when it comes to watching TV. 

Instead of watching just one episode per week as traditional TV would have us do, Netflix members are binge-watching their way through an entire series in less than a week. 

Netflix analysed global viewing of more than 100 TV series across more than 190 countries and found members watch around 2 hours a day when focused on finishing a series. These are called the Devourers, who on average members complete in 4 days, watching 2 hours, 30 minutes per day. 

The Savourers watch 1 hour, 45 minutes per day, on average completing in 6 days. 

Ten years ago, the only way we could binge-watch TV was when we got our hands on a box-set and set aside time to watch episodes back to back. I remember doing this with Buffy the Vampire Slayer over many lost weekends, in the dark in a basement flat in London, imagining I was as tough as the foxy slayer taking on a murky underbelly of society. 

But now, thanks to countless streaming services that use the internet on any device, binge watching is the new norm.

Netflix’s Binge Scale shows that members blow through Breaking Bad, Orange is the New Black and The Walking Dead; and are captivated by House of Cards, Narcos, Bloodline and Mad Men.

Classic elements of horror and thrillers push series like The Walking Dead, American Horror Story and The Fall towards the devour end of the scale. Likewise, easy-watchable comedies like Orange is the New Black, Nurse Jackie and Grace and Frankie, also push the buttons for ‘just one more.’

My own favourite Binge-watch TV is House of Cards, Better Call Saul and Grey’s Anatomy (sadly not available on the UK/Ireland version of Netflix). What programmes can't you get enough of? 

** I am part of Netflix’s Stream Team**

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