Music and Deviancy

May 19, 2010

I am making a promise to myself: Right after I finish this procrastoblog, I will start my final Criminology essay of the year. Technically, it should have been handed in two hours ago, but we’ll just breeze right on over that.

I was recently instructed, in no uncertain terms, to Blog Moar. As I cannot offer you a full length blog, at the expense of my impending essay writing, I will instead offer you this Baby Blog. Not a blog about babies, though.

May 16th marked the three year anniversary of the last big gig I went to. Two things to discuss here. I am a young, youthful youth, and so should probably have gone to more gigs recently. I don’t know why, but getting sweaty with a bunch of strangers just hasn’t been high on my list of things to do. Secondly, I went to see YouTube winners Julia Nunes and Greg Holden last June. I don’t really count this as a proper gig, because there were about twelve people there, so it was more of a small sing-along.

The band I saw on May 16th, 2007, was Good Charlotte. I await your mockery.

I always had to defend myself when I told people they were my favourite band. They were often classified as “teen punk”. Well, I was a teen, and if loving them was wrong, fuck that shit. I thought they were incredible. The main reason I started liking Good Charlotte was purely as an act of rebellion. I saw their Lifestyles music video on Kerrang, and noticed the guitarist had adopted a purely insane “Liberty Spikes” hairstyle. I thought I was some sort of goth/awesome hybrid at this point, so told my parents and my brother’s girlfriend that I was totally in love with the band, and they were “actually amazing”, despite having heard little of their music.
As I started to really listen to their stuff, I realised I could identify with a lot of their songs, in a way which was cool then, but now probably would just make me look like a needy teen. Over the years, my love never dwindled. In fact, I found out a girl in my year at school loved them too (along with Busted, but let’s just pretend they never happened), and we’re still friends to this day because of it. I probably owe a lot of my current awesome points to the things I learned and felt as a result of listening to their music.

So, the gig happened. It was everything I could have hoped for, and more. I was right near the front, managed to maintain my enthusiasm throughout, and they were pretty decent live too, which I can’t say for every band I’ve seen.
The best thing happened after the gig had finished, however.
Once everyone from the standing area had begun to disperse, I saw there was a group of maybe 20 kids, all holding onto a towel, pulling it in all directions. I had lost my friends in the crowd at this point, and had everything to gain, so I joined in. Security soon made their way over, and demanded the towel be handed in, as we were making too much of a scene. Bearing in mind, I’d loved this band since before I knew what the internet was, I knew I couldn’t let this opportunity pass me by. I snivelled up to the security guard.
“Excuse me?” I said, in the best pathetic voice I could muster, as I tapped him on the shoulder.
“Yeah?” He had all the compassion of a bag of sand.
“That towel was actually mine first, and then they all came over and grabbed it off me,” I simpered, along with the best doe eyes I’ve ever produced. I was lying through my teeth, clearly. I’d probably been the last one to join the towel fracas, but the other kids had given up and left, so nobody was there to call bullshit on me.
“Yeah well,” he grunted as he turned away, “You were all making it dangerous for the other people in the crowd.”
“But but but,” or something equally intelligent came out of my face at this point. “It was mine, and they all joined in and STOLE IT off me. :(” I really made that face. What a lying whore I was.
He looked at me and clearly couldn’t resist my whiney charm. “Ok, wait here. I’ll go get it for you.”
Oh thank you, security guard man. I could literally cry tears of lies all over your face.

I did nearly get rumbled, though. He made me wait with a woman security officer, who asked me casually who the towel belonged to. I didn’t even know the towel existed until I’d started pulling at it with all of the strength I possessed.
“Um…” Fuck. Shit. Bollocks.
Then a random passer by girl said, “Oh, it was Billy’s towel. I was at that side of the stage.”
“Yeah, I just reached out and grabbed it.” I silently thanked the Gods of Towel and Gigdom for sending this girl to save me. The security lady laughed, so I knew she didn’t want to immediately strip me of any towel privileges. The man came back, I smuggled the towel away in my mother’s handbag, and I went home happy.

Well, there you have it. A pointlessly long blog about a towel. You’re welcome.


“Hey, you.”

May 1, 2010

As usual, I should be doing something else. That can only mean it’s time for another update of my blog (insert fireworks here)!

Today, I had the almost immeasurable pleasure of meeting a comedy hero of mine. Dara O’Briain announced on Twitter (@daraobriain) that he was coming to the shopping centre in which I work, to do a book signing. This pleased me greatly, as it allowed me to combine my two passions of reading and comedy. Oh, stalking too. Mustn’t forget that.
Upon finding nobody to go with (I asked one person, who was busy), I decided I would go by myself. I’ve always wanted to go to the cinema or something by myself, but I generally find it too depressing, so I just wait for the DVD and then watch it alone, whilst crying into my ice cream.
As I was clearly keen to meet Dara, I turned up an hour too soon. I wandered half heartedly, all the time with sweaty palms and the constant stress of what I was going to say once I actually met him. Yes, I am aware he is a human being, like everyone else, but when you hold someone in such high esteem, it’s sort of a big deal. And I like to fuck things up with my mouth words, sometimes.
After 30 minutes of pointless wandering, I bit the bullet and went into the shop the event was taking place in. There was already a small queue forming, so I bought my book and dutifully joined the back. (There were some very enthusiastic girls at the front, which was handy. The queue went between two aisles, so I couldn’t actually see the signing table. My first indication Dara was there was from their screams.) (Of excitement, obviously. He wasn’t butchering them.)
As I approached the front, I realised I was probably the only person in the shop, nay, the world, that did not have a camera with them at this point. My reasoning was that I wouldn’t be with anyone, so would have nobody to take the picture. However, I did not think there would be a staff member on hand, to provide such a service. Ah well, I look like a grimacing buffoon on the majority of pictures, so it was maybe a blessing in disguise.
Another shop assistant was meanwhile asking each member of the queue what sort of message they wanted signing into their book. She’d take their name, write it on a Post-It, and stick it inside the book. Probably mind-numbing once you get past fifty or so people.
At this point, I would like to set the scene for you. A few years ago, there used to be a late night game show programme on called Quizmania. There was a female presenter on it called Debbie, who I once swapped a few emails with. If you zoom to modern day nowness, I follow Debbie on Twitter. She @replied Dara, saying she had been taking notes for him during his latest gig. I imagine it was a gig wherein he was trying out new material, needed a hand, and called upon the lovely Debbie. Dara responded to Debbie (this is beginning to sound like a plot in a soap opera), starting with the words, “Hey, you”.
Now, I like to thrust myself in on the business of others. This greeting seemed as though he was quite familiar with her, and I myself would not mind being a close personal friend of Dara. I am sure we would get on famously, we’re both nerds, it’d be fine. So, I @replied Debbie, telling her how jealous I was that she had elicited such a response from the funny man. I’d have been happy to have Debbie reply to me, as I was quite a fan of hers, “back in the day” (Has anyone ever said this in a serious context?).
To my surprise, I instead got a response from the man himself, saying “Consider yourself hey you’d”.
Shazam. Jackpot. Booya, etc.
This made my day. Twitter may be a semi-pointless networking site, but for a few brief seconds, Dara O’Briain was speaking just to me. That made me feel a bit like an apostle.
Back to today. I walked up to Dara, and had a bit of good craic, I think. It went like this:

Dara: How are you, are you well? (His Irish accent makes this sound more exciting that it does on paper.)
Laura: Yeah, I’m well. It’s lovely to meet you.
Dara: It’s a pleasure to meet you too… *opens book and reads Post-It* Laura. It’s quite a weird system we’ve got here.
Laura: Yeah, well, at least everyone knows your name though.
Dara: Yes, but nobody’s writing my name, are they?
Laura: I could, if you wanted.
Dara: *turns book towards me* Would YOU write my name in the book?
Laura: I don’t think that’s quite how this works.

I then asked him if he would mind inscribing it with “Consider yourself hey you’d”, as I’d promised myself I’d get an IRL one someday. He’d already started writing something, then changed it mid sentence, so I’ll never know what he was going to write. Most likely something about pots of gold, or some other mildly racist stereotype (My family is Irish, this joke is therefore allowed).
He asked my Twitter name, probably in an attempt to see if he recognised it. He clearly didn’t, and I felt I should explain my name choice (@SmartieLove) to him. Then I realised it doesn’t take a lot of explanation. I love Smarties.
So, he signs my book, I shake his hand, and he says, “Good luck pet!” in a way that only an Irish man can. As I’m walking away, all I hear is, “Hey, you”.