She's terrified of germs and never wears the same outfit twice. So how DID fashionista LIZ JONES survive Glastonbury?

Well, I know I am a little bit of a fussy pants. I have never knowingly opened a door without using my sleeve or the bottom of my T-shirt for fear of leaving smudged fingerprints.

I avoid long-haul flights as they mean I would have to use the loo on the plane and sit next to a member of the public I know hasn't washed for at least 12 hours. I never buy food from sandwich bars in case the man serving me has just scratched his head, or worse.

Sod the environment, I rarely wear an item of clothing, even a jacket, more than once.

Lots of scenarios, therefore, harbour great fear for me: a petrol station that has run out of little plastic gloves for me to use when I fill up the car; the postman inadvertently smudging my letter box; nothing on telly apart from Withnail And I (I can't even bring myself to witness untidiness on screen).

liz jones glastonbury

High-maintenance and scared of germs Liz Jones was unimpressed by Glastonbury. Composite of the two pictures: Wenn/Getty

But the event that has always made me shiver with the most dread is Glastonbury Festival. Why would anyone sane pay £164 to trudge through mud, sleep on the ground and crane one's neck to watch a dubiously famous rock star mumble into a microphone with his eyes closed?

If you need proof of how truly disgusting the human race is, of how fine a thread the edifice of civilisation is hanging by, of how close we all are to living like animals  -  no, not animals (an animal would never pitch its tent next to a row of portable toilets or against an overflowing bin, or open its tent flap to vomit on your flip-flops, as happened to me)  -  you should spend the weekend at Glastonbury Festival, as I have just been forced to do by my editor, who thought it might make a change from 'sashaying around in heels at fashion shows'.

Oh, dear God and all his seraphims. On Saturday, for the second night in a row, I was forced to go to sleep (on the ground!) with my make-up on (a first!).

I was able to crouch outside my tent (put up by me, after a great deal of phoning the Millets hotline, with no help at all from a trio of drunken men in the next row, and despite the useless, made-from-potato-starch, biodegradable, cow-friendly tent pegs provided on entry) and brush my teeth with my Philips Sonicare (which, being damp and lacking electricity, was on a bit of a go-slow) and rinse by swigging from a bottle of Pellegrino. And by then I'd lost my tweezers.


Headliner Jay-Z: 'The worst thing about Glastonbury'

Passers-by (I'd call them people, but they are not that evolved) looked at me on my square of binbag in my pyjamas (I am the only one of the 170,000-strong crowd who has bothered to change) and started shooting videos on their mobiles. (People who are naked bar a tutu, in diamond bikinis, or in a nun's habit are commonplace, it seems, while I'm a bit of a novelty.) I felt like Top Cat, getting ready to go to bed in a dustbin.

Actually, I have become quite fond of my tent  -  even though, wanting my head to be higher than my feet because I forgot a pillow, I had pitched it on a slope, which meant, in all that nylon, I kept sliding to a heap by the entrance in the middle of the night.

I had felt relatively safe from the throbbing mass outside after crawling inside my tent and zipping it up, with all my possessions cradled in my arms. (Reported crime has doubled since last year's event, up from 236 to 451 offences.)

I met two girls whose bags and Ugg boots  -  'We were still wearing them!'  -  were stolen from their tent in the middle of the night; even the instruments in the 'Come and have a free jam session' tent were nicked, which rather put a dampener on proceedings.)

Although I was exhausted from all the hours of trudging around in the mud from sound stage to sound stage  -  all of which were miles from each other  -  past rows and rows of awful vans selling kebabs or 'roast hog' or 'magic falafels' or awful jewellery or things made from hemp (it was like a giant, nightmarish, never-ending version of Camden Market), I couldn't sleep because they never once  -  not once, even for 15 minutes  -  turned the music off or down.

Neil Diamond

Neil Diamond: 'A god among musicians'

I tried putting my head out my tent, saying: 'What's going on?'  -  to no avail. It just went on and on until dawn, at least drowning out the sounds from the tent next door.

The worst thing about Glastonbury 2008?

Apart from the sea of litter that will cost £1million to clear up, and which made me feel like one of those children in Brazil who live on rubbish tips; and the queuing to use a tap to wash, which made me feel as though I were in a refugee camp, only less dignified (at least refugees do not choose to be in the position they find themselves in); and the endless trudging with my possessions, as if I were fleeing Kosovo; and the awful, awful portable toilets that I do not even want to speak about? Well, to be brutally honest, it was the music.

While the festival might have looked as though it were stuck in the Seventies (the wonky signs made from bark, the 'Serenity' field filled with yellow flags, where you could just sit and think  -  in my case, about why on earth I agreed to come  -  the tie-dyed maxi-skirts edged in mud, the women with crimped hair worn in a centre-parting, the smell of marijuana masked by joss sticks), if only it had sounded that way, too.

I have never heard such a load of sub-standard tosh in all my life.

I was squashed in the crowd in front of the Pyramid Stage on Saturday night, still on my little square of binbag, waiting for Amy Winehouse to appear, stood behind the model Lily Cole (who looked as if she had spent the night on a bed of feathers and had bathed in dew), unable to see a thing.

'Why on earth are you here?' I asked her. 'It's Amy Winehouse!' she shouted back. Indeed, it was. Who else would get away with shuffling around the stage incoherently, stopping for long chats with her band members, occasionally reaching up with a scrawny, pock-marked arm to make sure her hair was still there?

She was the only person on the entire site who looked worse than I did by this stage (I was quite glad Leonard Cohen was here, too; the only person within several hectares who was more depressed than I was).

'But she hardly sang a note in key,' I said to an Australian girl next to me, who was in raptures.

'For Amy, she was awesome!' she shouted. 'Normally, she never gets even a word out.'

Only middle-class white people (the only ones, let's face it, who could afford to be here; hippy values are not much in evidence when buying a teeny-tiny bottle of water for £3) would put up with this nonsense. I couldn't help feeling that everyone here was pretending to have a good time because they thought that was what you were supposed to do.

Amy Winehouse at Glastonbury

'Shuffling and incoherent': Amy Winehouse was one of the festival's main attractions

The teenagers and twenty-somethings, the ones who were most in rapture, had a sort of detachment from the proceedings, a phenomenon I put down to new technology.

It was as if they were viewing everything through the videos on their phones, wanting to store images to download on to their MySpace pages rather than living in the moment, experiencing something for real.

These young people have obviously never seen performances by Aretha Franklin (a real black woman as opposed to a faux one, with real problems rather than self-inflicted ones), or Michael Jackson, or Prince.

Real performers who bother to come up with a playlist, memorise their lyrics and even look up now and then at the crowd.

The worst act I saw all weekend, though, had to be Jay-Z, billed as the most awesome (yes, that word again) rapper in the world by the festival's organiser, Michael Eavis.

Those who stayed away from the festival (it was the first time in 15 years that tickets hadn't sold out) because they felt rap (an 'art' form that is necessarily studio-based because it uses pre-recorded music and its 'artists' don't actually sing) was out-of-place at a rock festival were completely justified.

Jay-Z emerged on the stage like an only slightly slimmer version of American Vogue's fashion director Andre Leon Talley, dressed, despite the warm evening and the pitch dark, in a duffle coat with hood, thick scarf and giant sunglasses, and proceeded to shout at us, making us do all the work.

I hate it when stars do this, making us sing and wave our arms, when we have paid them to do the entertaining. It was truly dreadful. 'Thank y'all for embracing my culture,' he yelled, over and over again.

'He's so political,' said the young man on my left.

Really? All I heard him say was, 'F*** Bush!' against a huge photograph of said President, followed by a great big banner featuring a smiling Barack Obama. How incredibly subtle and profound.

On Sunday, though, having emerged tentatively from my tent, glad the sun was shining at last but dangerously low on Wet Ones, I went and listened to someone who restored my faith in music, in the ability of a song to transport you to a better place.

Yes, I saw Neil Diamond  -  a god among musicians, a man who showed up all the whipper-snappers for what they were: spoilt, talentless pretenders to the throne of a real star.

I was so tired, damp (and by this stage, I was refusing to revisit the hell-hole that was the toilet) and cold that I couldn't be bothered to wait for The Verve to stagger on stage on Sunday night.

So I took myself off to the field where they were showing films on a giant screen, tried to gatecrash someone's bonfire and tried to order a taxi to take me home to my Vi-Spring mattress (I had forgotten where I had parked my car; it was next to a sign saying 'Don't do drugs and drive', but an official in a yellow jacket told me there were 'hundreds' of those).

Eventually, I slowly worked my way back to my tent, lighting my way with my phone, looking longingly at the field of luxury teepees behind a fence of wire.

Here, at £6,000 a throw, there were fires and beds and running water and civilisation. I stared at them, trying to work out how much credit was left on my card.

As I left yesterday morning, after waiting for everyone else to depart so that I could spot my car, looking at the tired, smiling faces, I began to wonder if I had that disease where you are unable to enjoy yourself. But I don't think so.

You know how, having seen a band live, people always say, 'You had to be there'? This time, you really, really didn't.

No comments have so far been submitted. Why not be the first to send us your thoughts, or debate this issue live on our message boards.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.

Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now