Science and Politics at Glastonbury

01 August 2010

Interview with

Josie Long, Comedian

Ben -   Stand-up comedian Josie Long, performing in the cabaret tent, feels that politics and environmental messages have a strong root in Glastonbury.

Josie -   I think it's definitely about politics.  It's always been about politics.  It's always been about ecology and about bringing people together on the left.

Ben -   So do you think a music festival is a good venue to bring up those sorts of issues?

Josie -   Well definitely.  I mean, traditionally, you think about all the things that music has done.  In the '80s, we had Rock Against Racism.  They always went hand in hand.  And protest songs in the '60s.  Yeah, absolutely.

Ben -   And moving on to more of the sort of scientific issues.  Do you think it's important that festivals try and reduce their impact on the environment as well?

Josie -   Oh yeah.  God!  Everything should.  I think it's important that literally everything reduces its impact on the environment.  I would go so far as to say it was essential!

Ben -   You've been on record showing the strong interest in astronomy.  How's that going?Josie Long, Caberet Tent, Glastonbury

Josie -   I still have one.  I'll tell you what I feel bad about is that I never get the time to go and do some star gazing which I would really like to do.  I always tend to be in London and gigging, and missing out on things, so I don't get to do much practical astronomy.  What I really like about astronomy is how much it's a good example of integrating science with a lot of other things.  There's so much physics in it and you can relate it to lots of maths and things like that.  It's also just about categorising and putting things in boxes, and working stuff out. I love that.  It just is wonderful in the truest sense of the word; it just inspires you to wonder.  It's fantastic and it's thinking about things which are gigantic and overwhelming, and looking at things which are beautiful.  I appreciate that cell biology has some of that, you look it and you think, "Look at the patterns and stuff", but [astronomy is] brilliant.

Ben -   Science is really part of our culture as well.  Do you think there's a strong place for science at festivals like Glastonbury?

Josie -   Yeah.  I think especially in terms of, for instance, the Green Futures Field.  It's really important to educate people who otherwise might not get to know about sustainable technologies, for example, and also about scepticism.  That's quite important.  Although it's a funny one, Glastonbury, because you've still got a lot of pretend healing and people saying, "I'll tell your future for 25 pounds." which I'm not sure I entirely approve of.

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