Here’s the story of sex, drugs, and sausage rolls.
When my star sign told me that I would have a stressful day and that I had to spend the night relaxing and meditating to some peaceful music, I don’t think they had a heavy metal concert in mind. That said, I have spent a good portion of my life deliberately doing the opposite of what my star signs say to see if I can screw up the universe. Obviously, the universe is still here, but I’m hopeful I’ll have some effect on it. Maybe a lamppost will fall over or something. I don’t know. Some would argue that this is a very fatalistic view of life, but when you’re shy, there’s not a lot to do, really. Of course, some more people would argue, well, what if my actions blew up the universe. Well, I mean, it would be a quick death, so, meh, I’m fine with that outcome. The universe has had a good run, right?
You wouldn’t believe Mr. Mild Mannered over here would even consider stepping foot into a heavy metal concert, would you? I happen to agree with you. I mean, I have spent my entire life avoiding things like this. And why is hard to understand if you’re not crippled with social anxiety. The idea of being in a small, cramped place surrounded by hundreds of people all dancing is completely alien to me. When you’re shy, everything you do is logical and organised. B follows A. It is incomprehensible to consider doing anything differently. If you try, your brain starts screaming at you and that noise eventually breaks you down. You become sick of it so you revert to type. Not to revert to type is like asking a champion bagpipe player who’s been bellowing away for 50 years to throw his prized bagpipe into a fire. Every single instinct in your bones is telling you to stop. Of course, in this scenario, no one would begrudge the bagpipe player for throwing her bagpipe into the fire. I mean, no offence Scotland, but Jesus, bagpipes are awful…
You may know what it’s like living in a sleepy little town that nobody has really heard of and where nothing even remotely interesting ever happens. That’s my town in a nutshell. The biggest and the baddest rock bands tour the big cities of England. The big arenas. Gone are the days of the guttural and grimy old clubs. We’re big time, now. But there was one band who said no to that. Lots of albums. Global superstars of modern rock music. I mean, surely, they would never rock up in this town. In a grimy old theatre. So you can imagine what was going through my brain when I got a call from my brother informing me that one of my favourite bands was coming here. I nearly fainted, and I’ve never fainted. I know most people by my age have, but I’m slow at these things. I didn’t get my first nosebleed until I was 17, but that was because I was jumping on the armchair and I slipped and my head thumped off the solid wooden armrest. In retrospect, a nosebleed was probably the ‘least bad’ outcome. I don’t regret jumping on the armchair, though. It was immense fun, readers.
I don’t know what made me throw my bagpipe into the fire, but I said yes. Get the tickets. You and me. At last. It didn’t stop my brain screaming at me afterwards, though. I mean, I have very sensitive hearing, so the bulk of the screaming was regarding the whereabouts of my precious, precious earplugs. They’d gone missing, readers! I mean, I know it’s not cool to wear earplugs to a concert, but I have long hair, so, nobody would see them anyway. And hey, I value my hearing. You see? I told you we were logical and organised. That bleeds through into every aspect of life. I refold my jeans about three times every day. They never look quite right. I bet you’d love to live with me, wouldn’t you? I’m a barrel of laughs…
I was very nervous about the concert. My first one ever. But I adore Trivium, but they are very, very heavy. And quite screamy in places. But in their genre, there’s hardly anyone bigger in the world right now. I was so scared. It didn’t feel quite real. You get nervous about seeing your heroes live but being shy, you’re worried about so much more. Your hearing. The rowdy crowd. So many factors that you cannot control, and we shy ones love to be in control. Purely because then we can dictate the course of events and make those events follow a path that we are familiar with and can slot into comfortably. A rock concert, therefore, is not just out of my comfort zone, it’s on a different planet.
So why put myself through it then? I adore that band, for a start, but also, you can’t be afraid in life. Everything I do terrifies me but I do it anyway. Just going to the shops is a pain in the arse. Just look at the issue of getting food. There are thousands of shy people too shy to do that. We can really suffer. But you can’t show fear in life. That’s what rock music taught me. Stand up for yourself. Don’t be afraid. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re nothing. Because we’re all something. Something unique.
On the night in question, I was quite nervous, but I had my brother with me, which was comforting. Queuing up around the corner. Excitement building. I must stress, this was a tiny, tiny venue. A very old theatre converted into a nightclub. And it was my first concert. My brain was still screaming at me. You can’t shut it up. ‘What are you doing? Why are you doing this? This isn’t normal! Go home! It’s your safe space! Why are you here! You’ll regret this. I’m always right. You’re not going to get anywhere in life not doing what I tell you to.’
I remember them coming on stage. It was so surreal. They were there. Right in front of me. I’d never felt that happy in my life. 10 years I’ve been listening to them, and they were right in front of me. It was almost magical. I still can’t believe I was actually there. And I loved it. Every second. And yes, it got a bit crazy.
There was a sizeable mosh pit, or whatever the kids call them these days. Fully grown, huge men barging into each other, raw and unadulterated adrenaline surging. You couldn’t move. It was packed. Shirts were off. Crowd surfing aplenty. Beer, water and other such drinks were being thrown into the air and from the balcony. A singer jumping into the crowd. Everybody was head banging. Full body dancing, wild and uncontrolled. Singing. Shouting. Screaming. Noise. Aggression and pleasure. People smoking and making out. A cacophony of excitability. And there I was. In the middle of it all. With the biggest smile on my face.
Now, I don’t dance, so I was one of the ones on the fringes just nodding my head and clapping. There was a lot of clapping. They were amazing. Just so good. For them to come to my little forgotten town meant so much and the fact I went there meant even more to me. I’m not a concert person. But I found myself getting carried away on the tidal wave of rock. I was so proud of myself. And I’m never proud of myself. My brain wasn’t best pleased with me, but in life, you follow your heart. Certainly not your ears. Mine have gone completely…
Of course, Mr. Brain was so unhappy with me, two days later, he gave me an almighty migraine. My third of the year. Some would say it was a coincidence, like those star signs that come true once in a blue moon, but I have a sneaking suspicion it was my brain getting back at me for not listening to it.
In which case, keep it coming, because I aint listening to you anymore…
American singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Steven Tyler (b. 1948), once said: “We believed anything worth doing was worth over-doing.”
Peace Out :|:
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To Contrive & Jive
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