Thursday, 22 May 2014

Gigs For Dummies

In rock and roll, it’s expected that the musicians behave as offensively as possible, but the same leeway isn’t extended to the punters.  In fact, I reckon we need a special version of the Ten Commandments just for gigs.

Now, before I go on, I should clarify that I’m not a religious person, I like the idea of existence coming with a detailed set of instructions.  If you think about it, the Commandments are like God’s version of “Life for Dummies”.  My only gripe with them is that they’re not detailed enough.  

As life gets increasingly complex, surely it’s time for the Big Fella Upstairs to upsize the list.

Here’s a case in point. Recently I went to a concert and the guy in front of me hoisted his girlfriend onto his shoulders thereby completely obscuring my view of the band I’d shelled out mega bucks to see.  I wished I’d had a Ten Commandments of Appropriate Behavior at Gigs.  If anything, I could have thrown it at inconsiderate idiots to get them out of my way.

But perhaps I’m being a little demanding of God, expecting him to come up with gig commandments. After all, it seems these days, the Big Fella has his hands full helping sportspeople winning football matches or pretend chefs winning Masterchef.

I asked my friends for their views, and here, in the name of making this crazy thing called life just a little simpler, are my Ten Commandments for concerts :-

Commandment One – If you want to have a conversation with someone, do it at the bar, or better still, at home.

Seriously folk, what are these people thinking? “Wow, I really need to spend some quality time with Pete, in deep and meaningful conversation. Better get some tickets to 1Direction.

Commandment Two – If you’re going to the mosh pit, finish your beverage first.  Remember, if you drink and mosh, you are a wet, sticky idiot.

Commandment Three – If you are going to sit on your boyfriend’s shoulders, improving your view of the stage but obscuring it for half the audience, you could take off your top so at least the male part of the crowd has something interesting to look at.

Commandment Four – Apart from the aforementioned shoulders commandment, shirts should remain on at all times.

The obvious exception is if you are the band’s drummer, in which case being topless at all times during the gig is compulsory.

Commandment Five – If you are going to follow the lead singer’s exhortation to ‘put your hands in the air’ and then ‘wave them like you just don’t care’, please make sure you have first applied a liberal amount of deodorant.

Commandment Six – If you must take photos, try to avoid pointing the flash in the band member’s eyes.

Nobody wants to hear “It was an awesome concert last night … I managed to give Justin Beiber a seizure”! OK, OK, maybe a few people would be happy to hear that one.

Commandment Seven – You must be 100% sure of the lyrics before committing to singing along.

The worst example, when I was young, my mum and dad took me to see Billy Thorpe (don’t ask), and I ended up sitting next to a lady who was singing along to ‘Boys On My Bed’ instead of ‘Poison Ivy’.  If you plan to sing along, the rule of volume is simple: you should never sing so loud that the person next to you hears you more than the artist they’ve shelled out a hundred bucks to see. The only exception to this rule is when the lead singer invites you to “All together now” or “Come on, you know the words”!!!

Commandment Eight – When attending a gig, you must not, and I stress, must not, wear a t-shirt featuring the band you are actually seeing. Not cool.

Commandment Nine – If you don’t have fluorescent green hair in your everyday life, don’t dye it fluorescent green for a concert.

Chances are sometime in the middle of a show the dye will start to mix with your perspiration and run down your face. You’ll end up looking like the Hulk’s love child.

And …

Commandment Ten – Earplugs should not be worn at any time.  If it’s too loud, you’re too old – go home.

The only exception is if you find yourself at a Justin Beiber concert, in which case feel free to use earplugs, earmuffs or chop off your ears if need be.  Yes, I have high standards and can’t tolerate listening to or watching anything that is boring, unimaginative or dumb.

Talk about boring, this is what some people have labelled Baz Luhrmann’s film ‘Australia’, (remember it?) but I have to say, I didn’t mind it. (Although I can’t help thinking, if it were truly a movie about Australia, it would have been made by a bloke called Bazza Lurhmann and called ‘Straya’.

I love real ‘trashy’ movies. You know the sort. If I wanted a movie to move me, challenge me or provoke my thoughts, I would go down to the local art house cinema and watch a movie about a Uzbekistani farmer and his existential relationship with a goat.

When I go to the movies, I want some escapism and to eat a bucket of overpriced popcorn, not to have to read subtitles.  I want to watch some stuff blow up and then see the heroes go home and live happily ever after.

I remember watching teen films as a teenager and thinking how amazing it would be if you transform from the ugliest girl in school to the prettiest, simply by shaking out the ponytail and dumping the glasses.  Think of all the body-image issues and eating disorders you could immediately resolve by throwing away the specs and banning the bun.  OK four-eyes, take off the glasses and shake out the scrunchie …. And we’re done!”

Movies, however, can be dangerous and misleading.  When I was a teenager, I certainly wished fights resembled those in the movies. Believe me, so did my brother. In any action film, no matter how many villains attack the hero, they always join the fight one at a time – kind of like they’ve taken a ticket at the deli and are waiting their turn.  In our playground, the other kids obviously hadn’t read their movie fight rules of engagement, because they’d all punch and kick David (brother) at the same time.

And while I’m on the subject of high school, what about the prom? In all the movies about high school I grew up watching, all dilemmas, problems and major plotlines are resolved at the prom.

Watching American teen movies, one could be mistaken for thinking that they held a prom every second week, yet I didn’t experience a single prom in all my six years of high school.  

Sure we had blue-light discos run by the local police, but you can’t really resolve a problem at such occasions.

Movies are misleading on more than just the big issues.  The small stuff seems easier too.  For instance, phone calls seem much simpler.  No time for g’days, hellos or random small chat, it’s always straight to the point and then you just hang-up.  No need for goodbyes or I’ll-text-you-in-the-mornings.

I would have been hopeless in a movie “Well there you are. There’s all the important stuff you need to save the world, so I guess I should go then ………. No, you hang up ……….. No, you hang up ……………. No … you … hang … up.  OK, on the count of three we’ll hang up together.  One, two, three …. you didn’t hang up.

The same applies to catching taxis.  In a movie, the hero can be in the middle of an intense chase scene, jump in a cab, shout “Follow that car” and not only travel the whole journey without once saying “So, have you been busy tonight?”, but at the end always have the exact change for the trip.

If it was me, I’d be chasing the baddie and when the cab pulled up, I’d say “sorry mate, can you change a fifty?”

And in the movies, if you can’t catch a cab, don’t worry. Because any movie hero (or villain for that matter) worth their salt, can hotwire a car and have it started within 3 seconds.  I am constantly amazed by this, because I can’t start my car in less than a minute, and I have the keys.  Add extra time for the time I spend adjusting the seat, mirrors and radio station.

Don’t even get me started on movie musicals.  I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve started singing and dancing at the local 7- Eleven, and, instead of joining in, everyone has just started staring at me as though I am the crazy one.

Errrrr ,,,, maybe I am. 

Till next time, friends.

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