Saturday, December 22, 2012
Where to be when the world ends ? Glastonbury
Just after 12.11, the actual moment of the winter solstice, my son and I found ourselves on top of Glastonbury Tor with a group of happy, excited people. We hadn't set out to be there. We were in the town and saw huge crowds gathering on the Tor, so walked up to find out what was happening. One of the things I love about Glastonbury is the variety of brightly coloured, floaty clothes (Tolkien would call it raiment) warn by a variety of brightly coloured, floaty people. As we ascended we realised what was happening - of course, the Winter Solstice. There was music, there were drums, there was chanting, there was dancing, there was a log fire in a portable hearth. And the sun shone over the flooded Somerset levels. Not a bad place to be at the end of the world, as my son noted. Forgive my poor phone videos which give some idea.
I chatted to a cheerful looking, bearded cove who had smiled at me (everyone was smiling at everyone else up there). We agreed that people didn't seem too worried by the prospect of imminent doom. His face was awfully familiar and I hoped that at some point he would tell me where we had met (like Sir Thomas Beecham when he couldn't remember Queen Mary). Eventually I asked. It was Michael Maloney, an actor whose work I really like. Fortunately I didn't recall until later that we had both performed scripts by the late Mark Tavener, founder of the Liberal Revue and author of High Table Lower Orders in which Maloney played the Dean. Otherwise I would have embarassed my son by telling Michael about it. I did compliment him on In the bleak midwinter.