The Unfortunately Universal

I hate people. More and more in older age things happen that make me really despise other members of the public. Take last night’s gig for example. There were all the usual reasons that I hate other people at festivals. 1) The fact that no one can ever stand still when watching a band and instead have to barge past you as though you are blocking their path to freedom. It constantly feels like you are in a giant sliding jigsaw puzzle. 2) Tall people. Bloody tall people. And people with big hair. Tall people with big hair are the worst. 3) Women queuing for the men’s urinals, just because the queue is quicker. Ultimately it stops being quicker because they block up the queue unnecessarily waiting for the 1-2 toilets that are in the same area. Get a she-pee or move on! 4) People that really can’t sing, singing all the lyrics to slow songs you like. I can’t really have a go at this, but there is no better way for someone to ruin a favourite song than by singing so loudly that you can’t hear the lead singer. Especially when their loud warbling more closely resembles someone skinning a dog’s face rather than Damon Albarn.

But last night some of the crowd were worse than all of those things. I had failed to think about the fact that Blur had, and still obviously have, a real laddish following from the Parklife days. This did not even occur to me because I’m not one of them and ever since 13, Think Tank and then all their individual projects, the music has not catered for the sort of people I’d expect to see punching each others faces in outside a nightclub in Maidstone. Damon, Graham, Alex and Dave do not seem like ‘lads’ as such, despite the mockney, so really on the face of it all, you might expect that people paying £40 for a ticket would be lovely fans who were up for a great night in Hyde Park watching an amazing band. But no. There were a large number of utter fucking cockwads who had spent that money to throw large amounts of half full beer bottles (plastic luckily) into the crowd and then snigger about it like if Muttley was a wanker from Essex. Why on Earth you think you’re a big man because you’re lobbing beer bottles into a crowd is completely beyond me, but on a receiving point of view there is nothing nice about being hit in the back of the head with a plastic bottle and getting your back soaked in beer. It can really take the enjoyment away from a gig. I’m sure there are other places I could pay large amounts of money to have some chav dickhead throw bottles at my head, but it wasn’t my preferred way to spend the evening. At the same time, they could have spent £2 buying beer outside the gig and throwing them at people in a park, where hopefully they would have been arrested, and sent to prison for being such a dick that its law breaking. Not only was it that me and Layla were repeatedly beered, but also the beer cost £3 a bottle and these fuckheads were just chucking it away. No wonder we are in a credit crunch. Idiots like to pay for stuff only to waste it and do it again. Admittedly we do it with fruit and veg. We buy lots, put it in the bottom of the fridge and let it sit there till it rots and we throw it away again. To be fair we don’t go to a gig, pay over the odds for the fruit and veg after queuing up for it for what seems like days and then as soon as we get it, throw it at other people causing annoyance and possibly injury. Although if I ever encounter such a crowd again, I may do that.

Starting well in the crowd, Layla and myself moved further and further back, trying to escape the bottle rocket blitz that was filling the sky. Eventually we found ourselves on the very edge where there was still some dickheads throwing bottles but they had terrible aim so we were safe. Or so we thought. During the final track of the evening, as the sun was nearly completely set, Blur started singing ‘The Universal’. I had a big grin on my face and it was a great moment. Then a man stood next to us and started shouting down his phone. ‘Sarah! Where the fuck are you Sarah? I’m so fucking angry! I’m gonna fucking fuck you up Sarah, you’ve ruined my fucking night.’ Well done dickhead, you’ve now ruined mine too. For the first time ever I thought that Blur’s lyrics to the Universal were wrong. ‘Yes the Uniiversal’s here, here for everyone.’ Well I wish it wasn’t. I wish, like most of the other gigs I’ve been to, it was just for the fans the people that actually wanted to be there. You don’t get idiots like that at Radiohead, or Joanna Newsom. I suppose that could be because you can’t throw Pimms and bottles of wine quite as well. You don’t even get them at most of the hip-hop gigs I’ve been to. Generally, despite the so called ‘attitude’ that accompanies the genre, the audience there are there for the music, not to throw things at each other. And if they are then its usually just a shooting and aimed at a specific person so it’s all ok. Sort of. Hmmm, bad comparison.

As angry as I might sound, Blur were amazing. I mean really really amazing. They played everything you could have hoped for (except Charmless Man), and I couldn’t stop smiling after Parklife, Tender and Song 2 were played. So many musical highlights and Damon seemed so pleased to be there which was great to see. All the support bands were ace too. Florence and the Machine despite having no visable machine as a backing band, were just brilliant and I am now officially a fan. Vampire Weekend were good too, but again, definitely not Vampires. I know this as it was still sunny while they were on, so that was proven. It was a Friday night though, so technically the weekend bit was correct. You get half points Vampire Weekend. As do Florence and the Machine as Florence was there. Me and Layla had a few drinks, some burgers and ice-cream and I even bought an overly expensive t-shirt in a horribly sad fan boy way that I am very proud of. It was just a shame about the nobheads. Next time I see a gig I think I’ll have to make sure they don’t turn up. Maybe if I gave Damon a £10 he’d do a gig in my living room? We have Coffee and TV. I’m sure he would.

I’m gigging at the Norwich Playhouse tonight as part of the lovely bill of Junior Simpson, Pippa Evans and Andre Vincent. It should be much japery. Long trip down the M11. I would try a different route, but There’s No Other Way. And if anyone dares throw a plastic bottle at me, then it will be the Death Of A Party.

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