Dear Advice Arnold,
This summer I’m heading out to my first ever festival with my wife and kids. It was a toss up between Glastonbury and Incestival. In the end we’ve gone with Glasto, as Incestival is apparently not that family friendly.
I’ve never been to a festival before and I’m a bit worried about being underprepared. Have you got any tips for a virgin such as myself? By ‘virgin’, I mean someone who has never been to a festival before, not someone who is yet to have sexual intercourse. I have done that 46 times now with a range of three different women.
Ian Shaftsbury, Basildon
Thanks for getting in touch. First of all, that’s too much information. Tip numero uno is to keep chat like that to an absolute minimum when you’re making friends at Glastonbury. Conversation topics to aim for include global disarmament, ethically-produced cider, the beards of Jeremy Corbyn and Billy Bragg, using stools as percussion instruments, etc.
Secondly, be prepared for some wet and windy weather down there. Ensure the rain glides off your tent by coating it with lard or butter. Olive oil will also do the trick. As an added bonus, you can cook a Monday morning fry up on there when you’re done sleeping in it. Make sure you take your kids out first though. Speaking from experience, that’s a mistake you don’t want to make.
Finally - and this is the most important bit - on your return, make sure you update your social media with cries of, “Take me back to #Glasto, such an amazing place,” and, “This time last Friday I was drinking fortified wine and watching Dolly #Parton!” or perhaps just, “I went to Glastonbury so I’m #better than you now.” And no, I’m not sure I do understand hashtags.
Photo by Brian Marks (Flickr)
My bedroom is on the ground floor, directly above a cellar. My life is charted by fluctuating cycles of fear and dismay as spiders invade, retreat and run training manoeuvres across my carpet.
My arachnophobia runs deep. I will abandon any given space if it contains a spider of sufficient size: birthday parties, quarantine chambers, spacecraft. When I read about global warming, my concern isn't the dank fur of rotting polar bears, but the new spiders lured over into our tropical climes, dozens of hench arachnids the size and shape of catcher's mitts stalking the aisles of the supermarket.
And do you know why? Because we're a soft touch. We don't have the necessary restrictions in place to ensure only the good spiders enter the country.
When I look at a dog, a mollusc or a tram conductor, I can see an essential part of British culture reflected in their eyes, shell or the ticket printing machine they carry over their shoulder. But spiders just do not integrate. They keep to themselves in their webs - which, I might add, we are not permitted to enter. And who can forget 2001, when a group of spiders flew a Boeing 757 into the World Trade Centre. Surely I'm right to be wary.
Granted, you've got people saying it was most likely crabs, because spiders don't have the capacity to grip the controls, but I know in my heart it must have been spiders, otherwise we wouldn't have sent so many troops into a pile of cobwebs for so many years. It must have been spiders. It must have been spiders, because it vindicates my long-standing unease about their weird legs.