Thank every god, I found the strength to get up and stagger down the road to work this morning. I probably shouldn’t have done, right enough, because everyone took one look at me and said, Are you quite sure you’re well enough for this?
(Except, of course, my Colleague I Suspect of Being Up To Something, who said nothing about it at all when she came through to demand tea, not even, How are you feeling. Which is par for the course, and at least amusing.)
However. Needs must! I will not have all the consultant work up-to-date otherwise, and tomorrow is Hellday (or, Dr Anonymous’s clinic. It is not just Hellday for me – nope, with three consultants’ clinics cluttering up the place, it is Hellday for all. I have never been so glad not to be on the front line, i.e. reception staff, who really get it in the neck from all comers. And I could be wrong, but I think they’re on a lower band, too, which… well, anyone who thinks stress-levels at work can be deduced from the number of zeroes in the salary? Come try this.)
Needs also must because I have a gig tonight, one I shelled out don’t-even-think-about it quid for, away back in March when I had such money to throw around. Awww, both my Colleague of Skull Scarves, and my new Cellmate said, But dude, you coulda just gone, you know? Nobody would know. How sweet – they knew, but they don’t count themselves, here. But, I am the sort who always gets busted – and even if I’m not busted, I’ll know.
Today was pretty hard going, for a job spent sitting down. However, everything I get done today is something I don’t have to do tomorrow (assuming I can still walk, tomorrow, and isn’t it going to look really bad for me if I can’t). I even did some overtime to finish up. Shh, I can spend it later.
I went for a wee snifter of red to separate the work time from the gig and get my head in order. This is serious, important gig. This is A-ha’s farewell tour, for instance. I shall leave a gap here for the laughter.
I never laid claim to having good taste, alright? But I like what I like, and when I like something, I like it a lot; and sometimes the most surprising songs will stop me in my tracks, grab me by the throat and hiss, you will never die happy unless you have seen this live, right in my ear, and I have no choice but to obey. I postponed a birthday trip to Oslo because Ministry were in town, for instance, and that was only a couple of years ago.
Anyone who has followed this over from the original hosting on (cough) myspace (cough) will surely be thinking, But Beshemoth, you saw A-ha in Stuttgart last month. Is it really worth dragging yourself from your sickbed, through a nine-hour shift and a six-mile stomp in a gale, to see the same damn thing again?
Yes, I say. I can’t get the money back, for one thing, and I will kick myself forever if I don’t.
Besides, the newly-finished zombie chronicles of nonsense owe an awful lot to this band. A great deal of the wedding chapter, for instance. So now you know who to sue.
Besides, while Stuttgart was… not really a gig so much as a concert, the kind you usually associate with a full philharmonic rather than a mosh-pit, for this one I have a ticket for the stalls, which means, moshing (it’s Glasgow, a percentage of us will mosh to everything, right?) and I intend to make full use.
Well, when I bought it, and after Stuttgart, I intended to make full use. Right now, of course, I figure I will probably spend the whole thing collapsed on my arse against a wall, wishing I was dead, but let’s give it a go. Maybe the crush will keep me upright – I have slept in mosh-pits, before, when I had glandular fever. Which I have now!
So yeah, the six-mile stomp. It was a raging gale out, dark and exciting with swirls of leaves like scimitars, but mercifully the wind was going the same way I was, so I was feeling pretty energised on my way in, and everyone going the other way was acting like a mime. Another stop for a snifter before the walkway, screw it, I am flagging here, and I saw my Chestnut-haired Old Mother had called to say, You mad fool, go home at once if you feel ill. I told her (and, accidentally, the pub) that it was okay, I was in full thermals.
Ooh, it is not the SECC, it is the Armadillo itself, we are in. Odd. Here’s a band that apparently played to the biggest crowd in history, back in the day in Rio, and yeah, I gather they are practically unknown in the States and known only for a brief eighties’ stint in the UK (including, to me, up to last year) – bigger in Europe, yes, but… surely not? Oh well.
Christ, the bar is handing out actual glass bottles, what am I to do with these on the way in? I had to ask for a plastic pint-glass, specifically!
Okay, there is no moshpit – it is all seating. And okay, now I think about it, there is a bit on the ticket in my sticky mitt saying what row and what seat, but dammit, I had assumed… But again, it’s a concert.
Well, on the plus side, in a seat, I might see more while sat on my arse.
And I might have done, too, if the tallest guy in the whole place wasn’t in the seat in front of me. In fairness, it wasn’t his fault – he obviously didn’t want to stand up, till his girlfriend dragged him to his feet, but the second tallest guy in the whole place was stood right in front of him, what are the odds?
Still. I was close enough to see every, erm, wrinkle, and also to clock that Morten Harket was deliberately making eyes at every lassie within range. Good thing I was hidden, or like the victims of Medusa, I’d be dead by now, even if he is fifty. Certainly old enough to have no business skipping about the stage like Meet the Spartans, ooh I will need a cold shower. And that voice. Gave me chills, so it did.
Even with the irritating distraction of the guy in the seat behind me. Lo, he had the sort of voice that Carried, and by the time they were on-stage I was well aware of every last detail of how he got his tickets free by phoning Smooth FM (thankyou, Smooth FM) and would never have paid what everyone else paid to be here, and how the guy delivering them had turned up at the wrong house – god help me, I now have a partial on his address and I wasn’t even trying, as well as where he works and what every last one of his colleagues think of him being here – and all through the set, I had a running commentary on what he thought of his mate’s recent break-up, X-factor, his opinion on how long Morten Harket could hold a note, and whether this next song was going to be Take On Me. Or this one. Or this one. Granted, he wasn’t heckling per se, or things would have ended badly all round, mainly for me, but I was still very tempted to turn round and start a barney with him, because yeah, some of us did pay stupid amounts of money to listen to something else, here. God help me, I might well have done if I was feeling better – and I hadn’t also garnered the lassie he was telling all this to was in the bobbies.
(I am well aware, here, that I personally talk more than many people find bearable, and that my ex-flatmate for one might well chortle and say I had this coming. Still, I suddenly and absolutely agree that there should be a special circle in hell for this sort of thing. Even if I find myself sharing it with Mouthy McFreebie.)
Even with that (and I say again, everyone’s taste is different, and the world would be a poorer place were this not the case) it was almost a transcendental experience. Almost. Even with the exertion kicking in and my knees shaking like leaves in a gale the whole evening. But you can’t force that crucial five percent, and I kept getting droned out of it. Bah. Well, I still have Stuttgart. And in the end, even Mouthy decided he had had a very satisfactory evening after all.
Although maybe… the band didn’t. Ha. Last time, they all lined up and hugged and bowed and told us, you will never see us as A-ha again, which is when I vowed I would not hear that twice without having bruises to show for it – hee, and sure enough, it came true. They kinda… fled. Looking almost relieved. Gruelling tour, or just the city?
Well, my bed is calling me too. I stomped as far and as fast as possible, partly in case I clocked Mouthy and realised I knew him or something, intercepted a cab just as I was deciding I was clear of the crush, and was in my flat within twenty minutes of leaving the building. Sweet.