Life in Glastonbury in the 1980s

Palden Jenkins, blog post, May 29 2014

There really wasn’t space in the book to include much about the people as people, their backgrounds and characters. I’m aware that this is a weakness, but I decided to fit as much as possible of the story in which meant that other stuff had to be left out. When Palden Jenkins was looking at the manuscript with his editorial hat on he picked up on this and suggested including a series of personal anecdotes about what life was like, and gave me this one from himself as an example:

As a self-employed person trying to keep on top of the discipline and demands of my work, I had some problem dealing with the people coming into town to lift off the top of their heads and groove out. To me it would be a busy Wednesday, and to them it was their big break-out, the trip of a lifetime. I’d be in the middle of editing a book on a deadline and the doorbell would go. There would be someone who had seen me at a conference in Australia seven years before, who had come all this way specially to see me, apparently, standing there smiling, expecting to take over my day with cosmic interchange and communion.Sometimes they got a cup of tea and half an hour.

On the other hand, when I was in a fit state for it, it was a great honour to be a Glastonbury host, meeting people for lunch in Rainbow’s End or for a walk up the Tor, and giving the visitors a, to them, profoundly magical and memorable experience. It’s easy, when living in a place like Glastonbury, to forget how significant it is for people from Nottingham, Dusseldorf, Seattle or Brisbane to come here, to get here at last, and to bathe and sometimes drown in its deep waters, wowing wildly. Interfacing the world of cosmic vibrations with officialdom, timetables, agendas and bill-paying realities, and crossing rapidly between worlds, is one of the great things I learned in Glastonbury.

Then there were the TV people from proliferating channels in Britain and anywhere from Norway to Pennsylvania to Japan who would e-mail me as webmaster of the Isleofavalon site, demanding interview time, contacts, information, views and camera-time on a range of things, from mystical Glastonbury to ley lines to the future of the world. Invariably, when the camera crew got here from London, late of course, and I was being interviewed on Chalice Hill with the Tor inevitably behind me, they would find out that I, together with the subject I was being interviewed about, was far more interesting than they had realised and planned for.

Having timetabled three hours for covering Glastonbury to interview four people, they lost track of time and interviewed me for three hours, and then panicked. After editorial treatment back in London, I became a 12-second, two paragraph snip two-thirds of the way through the programme. Some of them, grimacing in a sceptical, cosmopolitan way when they found out I was an astrologer, landed up coming back a few years later when they ha lost their jobs or had a personal crisis, asking for an astrological session! They were suddenly out of the game, and people like me in Glastonbury – there were many others too – served as a lifeline for them.