I almost felt a glimmer of jealousy about not being at Glastonbury, until I remembered the mud | Charlie Brooker

And while staying at home, I learned that BBC2 sometimes still shows Pages from Ceefax

So, Glastonbury. How was yours? Mine was pretty good. I was standing just off-stage when Jessie J encouraged that little girl from the crowd to join her for a duet of Price Tag. Watching the delight on their faces, I suffered an uncharacteristic fit of emotion and wept with sheer joy, crying all the fluid out of my skull in the process, which was rough on my brain: it became so desiccated and sore it hurt to think about anything other than ice cubes. A short while later someone stuffed an unmarked pill into my hand and in my addled state, I foolishly swallowed it. Twenty minutes later my palms felt like they were made of static electricity and I couldn't tell whether my legs were my own or someone else's I was standing inside by mistake. Reality itself had been hacked and inverted by Lulzsec. Six hours later I lay vomiting in the mud while listening to Mumford & Sons, trying to work out which was worse.

Obviously none of the above actually happened because I didn't actually go to Glastonbury. But since this is a special edition of G2, with the word "Glastonbury" running through it like a cheeky slogan through a stick of rock, anything non-Glastonbury would stand out like a dog in a sandwich. At the time of writing, I'm not sure what the news in the paper will consist of, but even if there's a nuclear war in Canada, chances are someone'll shoehorn a Glastonbury reference into it. "The deadly fireball erupted with the ferocity of a million blazing suns . . . the world hasn't witnessed a lightshow this spectacular since U2's Friday headline slot at Glastonbury."

I caught a bit of U2's set. I don't know if you noticed, but the BBC had a few cameras at Glastonbury this year. You could watch kiddy acts on BBC3, paunchy legends on BBC4, and mainstream brands on BBC2. U2 are so massive they stretched across both BBC2 and 4. Prior to the act taking the stage, three separate groups of presenters threw to each other in a series of apparently random outside broadcast links, followed by a pre-recorded burst of the Vaccines, who I couldn't be arsed getting into. This is one of the benefits of ageing. Then U2 took the stage and everybody cheered. Why?

Several years ago I wrote an article in which I pondered the mystery of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who somehow managed to be one of the biggest bands in the world despite apparently having no fans whatsoever. I based my theory, which I admit may be flawed, on personal experience: since I'd never met one person who claimed to like them, I decided the whole thing had to be a sinister con. Or possibly something to do with dark matter.

Well, U2 are the same. I've never met anyone claiming to be a fan. Statistically there should be millions of U2-mad individuals in Britain – so where are they? Are they hiding? Why are they hiding? What are they hiding? OK, everyone secretly likes One and The Sweetest Thing, and Stuck in a Moment, and . . . hang on, I'm supposed to be taking the piss out of U2 here, so I'd better mention Bono.

I only watched about 10 minutes of U2's set because I find Bono so annoying. I'm aware this is an experience almost as universal as knowing what wearing a T-shirt feels like, but still: it's true. It's not his fault. Well, OK, it is – but even that isn't his fault. Anyway, he wore his trademark Bono sunglasses and I've become so accustomed to seeing him in them, I've come to believe they're actually part of his face. At one point I thought he was sweating through his glasses, before I realised it was drizzle. Not drizzle, rain. Apparently it was raining like a tantrum in a piss factory. The sky was disrespecting Bono. For some reason, it's funny that it rained during U2. It just is.

The following day, the screens were far sunnier, which was almost enough to cause a glimmer of jealousy until I remembered the mud. Glastonbury looks like amazing fun if you're 23 and running around covered in glitter. I'm not 23, I hate tents, I dislike any form of discomfort or even mild inconvenience, I prefer recorded music to live gigs and I rarely drink any more, so it's Good But It's Good Not For Me. I wish I'd gone when I was 23, but I didn't. I was too busy lying stoned on a sofa in west London to bother upping sticks to lie stoned in a yurt in west Britain. I've been once, in my 30s, on behalf of the Guardian, and it was all pleasant enough, but so is jam on toast. It's a town the size of Bath! And so is Bath.

Here was an interesting thing I discovered during Glastonbury 2011: did you know when BBC2 goes off-air at 2am, the BBC sometimes still shows Pages from Ceefax? It's like someone's plugged a BBC Micro into your TV. I think it was showing headlines from 1956. Incredible it still works. They probably have to type all the stories on a calculator and save them to a 3.5-inch floppy disk and upload them to Ceefax's 128Kb memory.

Anyway: Glastonbury. Next week, more Glastonbury, unless you're lucky and there's a nuclear war.


Charlie Brooker

The GuardianTramp

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