We Asked Everyone at a Shaggy Gig If It Was Them
Turns out you’re all guilty as hell.
Is there a more profoundly terrifying a question than: "was it you?" Nothing makes the years of guilt you've pushed down into the depths of your soul come surging up your gullet quite like the question: "was it you?" If someone asked me that, apropos of nothing, the list of things I would cop to in under a second would be longer than Lil Peep's coke nail.
The first natural instinct is to think: fuck, it definitely was me. We all have, at some point – probably many, many times – done something. Your mind begins to comb itself for wrongdoings. What if the law found out about those meal deal sandwiches you stole from Boots when you were 15. What if someone knows about all those times you picked your nose in the car and wiped it on the side. What if you tweeted a screenshot of something but forgot to close all your tabs and now everyone knows what porn you watch??
Then, you will start to prang out about things you probably didn't do but are now, in this moment of blind panic and confusion, convinced you are guilty of: sending a sext to your mam by accident, being problematic, forgetting to lock the door to your house and someone walked in and died on the carpet and now it sort of looks like you killed them. This will inevitably lead to more questions: well, which of the things is it? How did this person find out? Am I going to prison?
In the year 2000, Shaggy released a song about the precise moment of psychological anguish that comes with confrontation. Featuring one-album-wonder Rikrok, "It Wasn't Me" is a gaslighting anthem of epic proportions. The premise is basically Rikrok listing things that his honey literally saw him do with her very own eyes, then proceeds to get him to cop to, while Shaggy interjects to continually insist it "wasn't him". Was he creeping with the girl next door? Nah. Was butt-naked, banging someone on the bathroom floor? Nope, definitely not. Did he forget that he gave her an extra key and then completely ignore her as she stood in the doorway literally watching them rut away on hard, wet tiles while she didn't take her eyes off you? Must have been someone else.
I'm not sure what sort of deranged madman blindly rejects the things they have not only done but been caught during, like a cat scratching up your sofa. But what if you are a regular human being and a stranger bowled up to you apropos of nothing and accused you of something? What would you do? Would you spill your life story, would you simply say, "no", or would you punch them? At 10PM on Sunday at Glastonbury – truly the festival's weirdest ebb – I became suddenly desperate to know. So we went to Shaggy's set at Glastonbury and ask if it was, in fact, them.
Turns out you're all guilty as hell.
You guys look like you're having a nice time. Maybe too nice. Was it you, on the left?
What did you do?
Everything! Terrible things. I'm not allowed to mention them on record.
Did you get caught?
Did you guys know it was him?
Well, we thought it was him the whole time!
Hey, teens! Was it you?
Good evening, the law. Was it you?
Cop #1: It wasn't me!
So it was him?
Cop #2: Absolutely not.
Cop #1: It must have been!
Come on, fess up, it must have been one of you.
Cop #1: It was him! Over there! [points towards the stage]
I thought he said it wasn't him?
Cop #1: It was me.
I knew it.
You there, running away in the background. It must have been you.
It wasn't me.
Are you sure?
It wasn't me!
But I saw you.
It wasn't me!!!!
Can you not think of a single thing you've done?
I'm not sure what's going on.
Yeah fair play, I'm not sure I do anymore either.
You three look like shady characters. Was it you on the left?
It wasn't me!
What about you, in the middle, you look suspicious.
It wasn't me!
It must have been you on the left then.
[Silence and a wry smile].
Hey, can I ask you a question?
Is it about how I look like Sideshow Bob.
No... You do a bit though. Anyway, was it you?
Why, what's up?
Was it you?
It was never me.
That's strange because there's a rumour going around that it was you.
Who is me?
You are you.
What's this about? Are you a part of Shaggy? Am I going on stage?
Sadly not but you will be on Noisey dot com.
Oh, OK! See you on VICE!
Hey, guy on the floor. Was it you?
Of course it was!
Wow. What did you do?
She caught me on the camera! It wasn't me. Saw me kissing on the sofa! It wasn't me. [Incomprehensible words] It wasn't me!
I can't believe you did that. Why did you do it?
Because it wasn't me.
You're just as bad at lying as Shaggy.
No, I'm just as good as Shaggy.
Well played, sir. You truly have embodied the essence of the song.
And now here's a picture of Shaggy doing the air guitar, for good measure.
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(Photography by Chris Bethell)