Why I'll never be caught singing 'I belong to Glasto'

By Abigail Radnor, June 26, 2014
Follow The JC on Twitter

There are times in life when I refuse to conform to stereotype. For instance, battling with Ikea furniture, wounds from which are still fresh after a recent move. Admittedly, I only assembled a toilet-roll holder but it was harder than you might imagine and brought out a disproportionate stubbornness in me.

Eventually, after employing a range of expletives, I completed it and was truly chuffed. I haven't felt this proud going to the toilet since conquering potty-training. Who said Jewish girls can't assemble flat-pack furniture? Probably no one and I've just invented my own gender-bias mishegas.

However, there are other times in my over-privileged life when I can't help but succumb to stereotype. Like at this time of year, when Glastonbury kicks off the festival season. Magazines are replete with listings of the various outdoor music festivals happening this summer and I toss them all aside as I have a very simple and succinct theory on the matter : nisht for me.

I did dip my pedicured toe in once, sent "on assignment" to Reading Festival the summer I worked at a fashion magazine. I took my best friend, Sophie, born and raised in Edgware, with me as we both agreed this would be the only time we would ever do something like this. Plus, I had press credentials which essentially meant I had access to a slightly better calibre of toilet.

People often throw their drinks at these events

As I am from the north, I find I have a little more experience of this sort of thing than my southern counterparts. I went to my first Oasis concert at the age of 11 - although I was bemused by the lack of backing dancers and pyrotechnics, my previous "gigging experience" having been at a Take That concert.

However, these formative years meant I knew marginally more about what to expect than Sophie who was quite pleased about Prodigy performing at the festival and keen to stand at the front as "they're on my gym playlist; they really get me going." Her enthusiasm waned as the mosh pit began to form around us.

I also taught her the importance of a hood, irrespective of the weather. People often throw their drinks at these events, for reasons I cannot fathom, especially as they are shockingly overpriced. Sometimes, they throw other liquids… the kind that are produced when people drink too much. That reminds me, I must wash that cagoule before returning it to my mum. Now that's rock'n'roll.

I was reminded of my stance on this subject as I recently attended an outdoor gig in north London. We were there to see the Sheffield band, Arctic Monkeys, who, among other things, have brought northern slang to the masses (I've always enjoyed pondering how their audiences in the likes of Houston, Texas sing along to lyrics such as "And he don't even have to say owt.")

We behaved in such a Jewish-couple-out-of-water fashion that I couldn't help but smirk as we discussed how we would refrain from drinking to avoid using the portaloos. Especially as neither of us had remembered to bring the wet wipes. Despite the distinctly middle-class character of the crowd -a group of 40-somethings in front of us were swigging from miniature bottles of Pinot Grigio - as far as we could see, we were the only two not drinking. We had driven to avoid the masses descending on to public transport. When the 45,000-strong crowd was released, many drifted into neighbouring pubs and kebab shops. We spotted a bakery and picked up a challah for the morning and a Ribena for the way home.

Of course, I cannot tar all Jewish youth with this same nebsy brush for there are those who embrace outdoor gigs and festivals with an enthusiasm I simply can't muster no matter how much I enjoy music. I salute you… and am pleased to see you reading the JC.

Sometimes I think perhaps I've missed out. If I was going to go a music festival, I should have done it on the other side of 25, when my preciousness wasn't as hard-wired. My non-Jewish university friends organised a trip to Glastonbury on graduation and I was mildly miffed they didn't include me. Upon their return, as they told me how they had paid approximately £300 each to take turns sitting on an abandoned folding chair - the ground was so wet they hadn't been able to sit down for three days - I understood and appreciated their lack of invite.

If that makes me a Jewish princess, then so be it. Sometimes I'm much happier conforming to type, especially when it means I am warm, clean and not at risk of being sprayed by a stranger's bodily fluids. Nisht for me.

    Last updated: 2:47pm, June 26 2014