46 minutes ago
Thursday, July 17
Guest post #1: Cha (the man with the rant)
Me mate Cha, currently residing in Engerland, had some stuff to get off his chest and i have kindly given him a place to do so in the public domain. The following rant may contain violence and/or sexual swearwords so your children may want to leave the room. Take it away, Dr Hook:
I don’t go to that many gigs but those I do go to tend to be towards the heavier end of the scale and in bigger venues (1000s of people), so my experiences may be particular to this type of situation but I’m sure these archetypes are common, in some form, to other type venues and shows and I’m sure all shows share some version of the sage, chin-stroking, aloof muso.
Having been to a show last night I experienced again the various joys of spending time in close proximity to these folks but last night I encountered a new beast, some godawful cunt who needed a good dig. He and his girlfriend had gotten right to the barrier and so about 4 ft from the stage. He was over 6ft tall but standing on the slight riser in front of the barrier stood about 6ft 5. He wanted to make sure his girlfriend was ok, no harm there, but insisted, physically, that he should have enough space to lean back arms fully extended. That in itself was irritating; as it was, I didn’t reach his armpits height-wise and couldn’t move for the crush and so was trapped. That’s all very normal but the killer was his insistence on dancing in the manner he did. Pogoing was fine but this lad ‘needed’ to swing his hips from side to side and front to back in such a violently thrusting manner that it looked to all that he was trying to dry-ride his girlfriend over the final hurdle and over the finish line somewhere around the drum kit. My nipples were effectively getting a very unwelcome and belligerent lap dance.
Now, I see barrier as a privileged position and saw this as a cake and eat it situation. If you want to mosh, join the pit. If you’re in a desperate crush, stop being a cunt and have a bit of consideration. And whatever you do, do not try to impose yourself physically and loom aggressively over my girlfriend when she, with her elbow, prevents herself being hit in the face with your shoulder for the second time. Trying to intimidate her will only get your ankles hacked and heels stamped on (by her), and your ‘I’m looking for Garland’s beach’ ¾ length cotton pants and flip flops won’t offer much protection.
But that situation did offer an opportunity to engage with a quite common, benign and amiable gig fixture, the fellow punter with whom you can share a shrug and a mouthed ‘what the fuck’ or ‘twat’ when encountering the likes of hipshaker guy.
Further to that there were a couple of the other regulars in attendance; most a pain, some quietly satisfying.
Firstly, the teenager: the one aching for the classic heckler putdown ‘I remember my first beer too’ (or spliff or pill or whatever). You know the type: determined to elbow spines, kick legs and spill beers and that’s before the music even starts. They often segue into the type who needs to talk to their mates about what’s happening right now on stage lest you be able to actually hear for yourself. This vision appeared last night in his best shirt, Corey Haim spikes and single earring, sporting dinner plate pupils and a drunken stagger.
Then there’s the ‘sweet’ couple (she standing in front of him with his arms wrapped around her), intent on reminding each other that this (every) song is their song and they need to lean far apart to be able to see each other without breaking the love grip and then chew each other’s faces off in that teenage fashion.
The people with the rucksack - what the fuck? A while back I stood in front of people who came to the show with a suitcase, a fucking suitcase. It was on the floor placed perfectly so that if I swayed backwards in the slightest its edge got me in that point at the back of the knees that made your legs immediately buckle. Cunts.
Cameras and camera phones. I’m going to write a conference paper about this at some point, Sontag and Benjamin will be invoked, but this one does for some have a pro as well as a con. For shorter people (like me) there is the opportunity to use others’ digital cameras as a kind of periscope. But why do people insist on leaning callously across others’ faces, repeatedly, elbow in their face, to get a shot; especially when it’s a blurry, unidentifiable mess? (I know the answer to this, and it’s profane).
On the other side, aside from the amiable fellow punter, the only stalwart of merit that comes to mind right now is that perennial metal fan. These bastions of metal sense turn up in their sleeveless black t shirts and metal tattoos. One part benign sentinel one part ghost dog thing (Sigourney Weaver in Ghostbusters not Forrest Whitaker) they dispense pit justice, look after cute rock chicks and stand arms crossed seemingly unmoved by any of it. (note: typically this is at a show somewhere lower on the aggression/noise level than Slayer or the ilk, as when that’s part of the equation all bets are off).
My first, and most impressive, opportunity to witness this phenomenon was years ago at a gig in France. The venue was half full and some ‘my first beer’ was taking the opportunity offered by all the space to run 30 feet or so and jump knees and elbows up into the backs of the row of people at the back (This was before the band had started too). On his fourth or fifth sortie he passed close to two metalheads: mullets, sleeveless Slayer/Metallica shirts and Sepultura and assorted generic metal tattoos. Without turning his head the guy closest to him, at the perfect moment, threw his arm out and caught him with an immaculate clothes line. The kid’s head stopped but legs kept going, upwards. It was a perfect Brad Pitt in Snatch, hanging horizontally for a split second, lay him out connection. Mullet man resumed his conversation with his friend seemingly oblivious to the damage he had so righteously wrought.
So that’s a few of the ‘types’. I know there are plenty more, both completely different specimens and hybrids of the above. Off the top of my head there’s the I-indicate –I-want-to-get-past-you-but-then-decide-to-stop-in-front-of-you prick, far worse for those of us of short stature; actually come to think of it most people of a taller disposition (say 5ft10 ½ plus), are unwittingly annoying for me by virtue of their innate view of the stage blocking ability. Not to mention the talk-through-the-quieter-parts-or-actually-take/make-a-call people.