Never Mud the Buzzcocks

This year’s Nozstock Festival landed on the wettest day in the wettest July since 1888. The site, on a farmer’s land near Bromyard in the West Midlands, is entered via narrow roads with hedgerows as high and foreboding as the maze at The Overlook Hotel in The Shining. The reason for our soggy mission? The legendary Buzzcocks.

By the time we've braved the entrance, the rain has disappeared and the sun is slowly baking the Somme-like mud. The scene resembles a massive ‘Pipes of Peace’-style party in the trenches of WW1, one in which the soldiers have taken copious amounts of strong cider and even stronger acid.

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At 11.30pm the Buzzcocks schlep on to the stage and embark on a storming set of their unique art rock pop songs about masturbation and other topics of the heart, all at a volume so loud that you can see the mud wobbling.

Steve Diggle and Pete Shelley are the odd couple of British music. On stage, Shelley is strangely intimidating, menacing even, while Diggle, who can only be described as one of the last great English toxic rock stars, appears to have morphed into a guitar hero fusion of Pete Townsend and Johnny Thunders.

“We're playing Cropredy in 10 days with Steve Winwood,” Shelley tells me later when I track him down in his dressing room. He is wearing a huge, mischievous grin and swigging back Moet. It's a strange world. Martyn Goodacre