Don't blame the middle classes for ruining Glastonbury

Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson – a rich man – has blamed the middle classes for making the festival too 'bourgeois'. But is it so wrong to care about clean lavatories?

Don't you feel a bit sorry for the poor middle classes? They can't do anything right. Now they're ruining Glastonbury. It's become "the most bourgeois thing on the planet", says Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden, and he vows never to play there.

I think he's being a bit mean. We middle classes are not all conventional, capitalist, materialistic, home-owning bores, I promise you. We are a rainbow class. Some of us have fun drinking beer, throwing it about and wallowing in filth, some of us prefer chablis in a glass, some of us are wild and vulgar, some are polite and twitchy, some of us care about the state of lavatories, some do not.

My grandma, a working-class street trader, would never have tolerated the old-style Glastonbury lavatories. My parents, who clambered up from working class to self-made nouveau riche ("jumped-up", Rosemary called it, in an unguarded moment) would rather have burst than use one, and now I, a proper middle-class person, tried an early festival lavatory and was so traumatised by it that I never, ever went again.

So there you are – a family spanning all classes, except upper, and all desperate for lovely clean lavatories. People have drowned in those festival lavatories; revellers have fled the overflow. Who – working, middle or upper class – would not long for an upgrade?

I must declare an interest. My daughter will be at the new germ-free Glasto with 40 volunteer litter pickers, screening a new documentary to raise money for children living on distant rubbish tips, so that they may have clean clothes, schools and lovely hygienic lavatories, which they also long for. What class are they?

I've had row after row about who is and who isn't working/middle class. Why does anyone give a toss? But they do. We middle-class people are often reviled by creatures such as Dickinson, a very wealthy man. But what are we meant to do? Line ourselves up on the banks of the Thames at dawn to be shot? We can't help it if our parents moved to the suburbs and made us play the piano. We too all bleed. Give us a break. And pleasantly scented lavatories.


Michele Hanson

The GuardianTramp

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