Armchair Glasto: No Mud But Seriously Annoying Presenters

Watching Glasto from the comfort of your own home means no mud, overpriced booze or scallys trying to sell you drugs, but it also means enduring seriously irritating presenters.
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Watching Glasto from the comfort of your own home means no mud, overpriced booze or scallys trying to sell you drugs, but it also means enduring seriously irritating presenters.

There are certainly more than a moment or two during Reggie Yates and Fearne Cotton's early evening Glastonbury spots that any decent human capable of tying their own shoelaces would have been totally exonerated for launching a dumb-bell straight into the heart of the television set. Representing(sic) the 'yoof' in 140 characters or less vapid sound-lites more commonly seen in Munch Bunch commercials, the pair seem to suffer from a weird kind of positive Tourette's. "Brilliant!", "great!" and "the best time ever", suffering the pair's excruciating routine - from the suitably designed cupcake set - is like eavesdropping on a suburban bus shelter.

Cotton is a 'massive fan' of everything, while Yates declares "we're all massive Foo fans", when grilling the equally feeble and tittering Biffy Clyro as to what touring with Dave Grohl (close friend of Fearne's OMG!) was like. And what is it like to play in front of that many people? And what is it like? And what is it like? The level of questioning borders on ‘idiot child at the zoo'.

The interview with Example is excruciating. ‘Back in the day' now refers to 2003 apparently. Example – a molly-coddled middle-class arse trumpet masquerading as a ‘grime producer' – then reveals (learning to loathe that phrase) that his mum and dad had flown over from Australia to see his performance. "Grrrrrrreat!" Yates, Cotton and Example are just one sock puppet short of a kids TV show.

Hip TV like this, makes one yearn for the return of the suit-wearing square. Watching these two clothes-horses attempt to convey anything other than gushing praise for wellington boots, cool tattoos and white trousers, who'd have guessed that we'd be now be pining for a Bill Grundy or an Ed Sullivan, just to add some sense of confrontation.

Lowe's body language is telling with constant palm rubbing, and hunched forward smoothing of the knees. He's like the self-satisfied oracle of the Apple Genius Bar.

As for the roving reporters. Dear God. There's a clueless nice-but-dim type who walks around the fields like Nigel Haver's long-lost son, looking all flummoxed and awkward, while the most annoying thing to appear on TV since Joe Swash, took care of the festival's weirder fringes. It's hard to imagine who Ms Gemma Cairney's target audience might be. Twitching and shrieking like a nutcase audition for the Rocky Horror Show, this woman is celluloid Kryptonite. Tasked with seeking out the weirdest people at Glastonbury her mission sounds like a cruel producer's joke as the weirdest person at Glastonbury couldn't possibly succeed without the aid of a full-length mirror.

Jo Whiley and Zane Lowe are just plain creepy. Armed as they are with a dangerously moderate level of knowledge neither displays any wit, wisdom or charisma. The Zipper is a cruel nickname for a gobshite that just won't be zipped. Zane Lowe is the first person you meet at university – normally an NUS creep – who makes you question whether you really want to do this, whether you'll ever fit in. But before long you toughen up and make some genuine friends, while Lowe walks around campus with a clipboard.

Lowe's body language is telling with constant palm rubbing, and hunched forward smoothing of the knees. He's like the self-satisfied oracle of the Apple Genius Bar. You know that Zane sees himself elevated above these mere musical acts he's contracted to meet. In Zane's head, he is the headline act. "They'll be ready for the Pyramid Stage next year", he declares, almost to himself, whilst constructing his own virtual Zipfest 2012.

Whiley and Lowe of course love everything and everything is still ‘great'. Primal Scream have always been "forward thinking" says the Zipper unaware that their disastrously backward step of a fourth album drove them into the loving arms of heroin. Whiley does the coolest mum-on-the-school-run thing and praises Bobby Gillespie – who looks like he's just run 26 miles – for his marathon finisher's silver foil shirt. Bah.

Thank the Lord for Mark Radcliffe and Lauren Laverne. Convinced that everyone must be asleep by now, the BBC secretes some personality into the late-night slot.

U2 end their Friday night show as Jive Bono and the Mixmasters with calculated, optimised attempts at winning over everybody on the planet with incongruous snatches of Beatles, Joy Division and Coldplay (?) in a karaoke set verging on ritual hara-kiri. It stinks. Unless of course you're paid to interview them directly after, in which case it really doesn't stink. Whiley is blown away by the lack of gimmicks and ‘such confidence' she says of the band that have been playing these songs together for nigh-on 30 years.

U2 then shuffle into the studio like a straight Village People. Bono – who looks like a motorcycle journalist on medication – then asks the pair if they'd witnessed his waving of a Union Jack – "Did you see that?" – like the proud infant showing Father a rather crummy sandcastle. Even Lowe and Whiley can't stomach up any carefully-crafted enthusiasm for the little man's flag. Meanwhile Adam Clayton – dressed like a futuristic cover model from SAGA magazine – stares into space. The Edge (how can he still call himself this?) barely breaks a smile and Mullen Junior looks decidedly antsy as he bemoans ‘the rain'. No mention is made of the Tax Protest. Rock and roll!

Thank the Lord for Mark Radcliffe and Lauren Laverne. Convinced that everyone must be asleep by now, the BBC secretes some personality into the late-night slot, Laverne joking that U2 had left a Thermos of chicken Cup-a-soup backstage. Radcliffe is effortless as a slightly happier John Peel, and as they spend the following two days, looking genuinely at home with their lot, introducing exclusive performances from some of the edgier acts, you wonder why she would have to suffer Lowe, Whiley, Cotton and Yates at all. Thank God for Sky+.

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