Monday, January 23, 2006

Just Count Me In, Count Me Out...

Gotta fly away on business later today (how Gordon Gekko does THAT sound?) so here’s the thing I sent to the newspaper this week, a whole day early. How lucky are YOU? How supercilious am I? How many questions can I fit into this paragraph? Who knows? Six, is it? Or seven? Back at the end of the week.


Much as I like to think of myself as a cultural know-it-all who can (legally) muster the socialising stamina of Kate Moss to swan around arts festivals and still party like its 1989, the reality these days is very different. After the events of last Saturday night, I am now reassessing my rash decision to purchase tickets for this year’s T in the Park concert. I mean, if I can’t stand in the same spot for two hours at an indoor gig amongst a sedate gathering of like-minded forty-somethings, how on earth will I endure two whole days of inclement weather and binge-drinking teenagers.

On paper, Saturday night’s itinerary seemed like the perfect recipe for a pleasant night out. For one thing, I’d secured a date for the evening; an old friend who was kind enough to succumb to my pitiful pleas for company and rearrange her busy life to attend. She even agreed to drive.

For another thing, we were going to see Scotland’s greatest living singer-songwriter, Roddy Frame, who was strutting his considerable stuff as part of Glasgow’s Celtic Connections music festival. Although the tickets made mention of a support act and a 9.30 start time, I calculated that with a bit of luck and a following wind, I might make it home in time to watch the last part of Match of the Day with a nice cup of cocoa.

Things began smoothly enough as we arrived at the venue around 9 o’clock and enjoyed a couple of pre-show drinks in the bar. As we sized up our fellow attendees, we took comfort from the fact that we weren’t alone in having selected middle-aged wardrobes and ill-fitting footwear that could hardly be described as “rock ‘n roll”.

Wandering through to the main hall in a fashionably-late manner at 9.45, the support duo had already commenced their set and were deep in the midst of a bunch of earnest, but forgettable songs, all delivered with the requisite amount of frowning and eyes-tightly-shut sincerity. As they departed just after 10 o’clock, our excitement grew in anticipation of the appearance, at last, of Sir Roddy. But what we hadn’t counted on was the sneakiness of the promoters in slotting in a second, unannounced support act; a female singer called Earth Mother or Willow Weed or some such thing.

All around us the crowd seemed restless with much checking of watches and conversations about whether or not babysitters would have to be paid overtime. Their mood wasn’t improved when Earth Mother insisted on revealing the innocuous background to each song in increasingly lengthy narratives. Inane stuff such as, “This is a song I wrote about going to the supermarket and discovering they’d run out of organic spinach. It’s called ‘Green No More My Love’.”

The last of her credibility disappeared for me when she explained that one song was written after a spell temping in an office and her boss wouldn’t give her a day off to attend an anti-Capitalist march.

“You ASKED PERMISSION to attend an anti-Capitalist march?” I yelled quietly to myself. “Viva La Revolution!”

By the time Sir Roddy took to the stage sometime after 11 o’clock, my date and I were holding each other up to ensure our newly-acquired varicose veins did not need emergency medical treatment. Thankfully, and unsurprisingly, the talent and performance of the great man was worth the wait and we emerged happy on to the deserted Glasgow streets, oblivious to the hardships we’d endured earlier in the evening.

But it still begs the question – does anyone want to buy two spare tickets for T in the Park this year?

2 Comments:

At 24/1/06 3:18 pm, Blogger DC said...

T in the park , that sounds nice, do you need to take your own flask & sandwiches?

DC

 
At 25/1/06 12:43 pm, Blogger Stuart Sutherland said...

Neil,

When I went to T in the Park in 2004 it was 50% 30-40 somethings SITTING around on folding camp chairs, wearing Gore Tex and naff hats (so not really the rock and roll mudfest you might imagine) and 50% looney tunes kids wearing shades and flip flops in the wet with water bottles they'd smuggled in full of voddie. Just wear layers, take loads of fags (which you can sell to the kids when it gets dark) and get your ass out of its comfort zone.

 

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