In a summer without Glastonbury, a little of the event’s flavour is on offer in Sofia Olins’s documentary about Lost Vagueness, the after-hours zone of freaky cabaret acts and fancy-dress debauchery that helped to rejuvenate the festival in the Noughties. Focusing on Roy Gurvitz, the project’s creator, it’s a film with a slightly esoteric story to tell, but it tells it well, helped by a good supply of footage. The overall arc is that of an idealistic hippie dream coming undone.
A fire-breathing robot horse, onstage enemas, Fatboy Slim dressed as a bumblebee, a pop-up chapel in which Kate Moss and Pete Doherty got “married”, a trapeze artist removing a string of pearls from an intimate place. Nothing has been quite the same since the rise of Lost Vagueness, the festival within a festival at Glastonbury. Without its apocalyptic abandon in the Nineties, a tired Glastonbury “would probably have died”, says one observer in Sofia Olins’s engrossing documentary.
Glastonbury-goers of a certain generation may have at least some recollection – no doubt extremely fuzzy – of Lost Vagueness, an anarchic field of colourful psychedelic batshit insanity that most people stumbled into accidentally long after midnight and already suitably confused. Sofia Olins’ documentary about the legendary party area’s seven-year stint and its founder Roy Gurvitz is perhaps something only for Glasto veterans, but could well stir a few long-lost narcotic-induced memories. Who knows, perhaps you’ll recognise yourself alongside Kate Moss and Pete Doherty getting married at Vagueness’ very own Chapel of Love.
On-stage enemas and off-stage chaos explosively merge in Sofia Olins’ docu-study of the rise/demise of Glastonbury’s “naughty corner”, Lost Vagueness. Olins traces its impact back to the Travellers and Roy Gurvitz, the volatile persona driving the “runaway train”. The mix of subversive spectacle and turbulent character study frames a portrait of a cultural game-changer: if the narrative gets choppy, what else could it be?
Lost in Vagueness at Glastonbury 2017