Oh my, Friday 3rd July 2009 was some day. A day when I stepped out of my comfort zone and lived to tell the tale. Regular readers of this blog may have picked up on my propensity for over excitement and hyperbole when I talk about London. Well this post has the potential for people to think the same about how I view, and write about, myself. It’s difficult not to show a bit of yourself when you keep a blog. But my focus has always tried to be about stuff, and things, and other people. But my week, and more importantly my day on Friday, have had a potentially profound effect on me. Really. Much as I enjoyed Blur, and they were fantastic, it has precious little to do with them either. This is all about me, me, me and what I did. I’m breaking one of my personal rules and going all self aware and, possibly, a bit self-important on you all. I’ll apologize in advance, you can all start hating me now.
Back in the great Britpop war I was always on the side of Blur. Oasis, to me, were always a bit provincial and Blur had that metropolitan style and not a small amount of substance to back up the air of arrogance. Come on people, Oasis had one and half decent albums then fell off a cliff into Status Quo-esque parody and cliche after cliche. Blur produced one album that truly tapped into a generation (Parklife), then followed it with work that at least showed signs of progression and many moments of true quality. And I haven’t even mentioned the first 2 albums which also contain some great pop moments. Their comeback had sort of passed me by though. I had a similar problem with The Specials this year, did I really want to see these old men be a shadow of their former selves? I thought that I didn’t. But as the gigs got nearer, I was getting 2nd thoughts. Lots of people I knew were talking about going, Twitter was talking about it big time, I even let myself watch a bit of the Glasto coverage. And they didn’t look that different, Damon was back to being THAT Damon, Alex is, er, Alex and Mr Coxon has grown up into Graham Coxon Superstar. Poor old Dave just really gets ignored doesn’t he? But then he always was.
And, after my usual waffling, we get to the main event – last Friday. And what I’m going to talk about isn’t much to do with the gig, it’s really about how I ended up being there and what I also did that day. Writing this blog has lead me down paths I didn’t even know existed. It now appears that it’s starting to change me in ways that I didn’t know I could change. Hopefully, these changes will be for the better, but then I’m not the one to judge that. Those that know me well will soon pull me up if I show signs of over confidence or too much self importance. Having made the decision that I should go I then had to get a ticket, I Tweeted, I Gumtreed, I tried sister-in-law who once shared a house with Dave Rowntree. But nothing quite came off. And while I was doing this, my cab had a fit on Monday and was off the road for a couple of days, I was helping launch @tweetalondoncab (see my last post), I met @paul_clarke to chew the fat on a few ideas and I also did a two hour film shoot with the BBC for a Ukranian TV show. Blimey. If BEM is reading this, I know he isn’t going to believe I could be quite so energetic and pro-active. Then on Friday, still without a ticket for Blur, I took a deep breath and headed for the Tuttle Club, something I really would never have done even a few months ago. But I went, talked to a few people and really enjoyed myself. Finally finding out that my Gumtree contact was basically touting his spare ticket I decided that I’d go anyway and get one from a bone fide tout. And just to clarify, I was going to attend this event with none of my regular mates. I knew a few Twitter contacts were going and was hoping to meet as many of them as possible, but once again I would never previously have thought of heading for something like this without the safety net of a couple of “regular” friends. But head off I did, and tried to play my confident Londoner card with the tout, after returning the ticket he gave me that was for Thursday 2nd July, they eventually supplied me with a “charity” ticket that had clearly been some sort of freebie. But after being sent to every single entrance around the perimeter, I eventually got in (having to make a £10 charity donation in the process) but was rewarded with a guest wristband. And once I was in, I waited to make contact with anyone I might possibly know who was already there. And here’s the real nub of what I’m trying to say, I waited ON MY OWN, had a few drinks in the bar where nice waitresses will bring you more beer when you need it, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I ended up sharing a table WITH STRANGERS and even TALKED TO THOSE STRANGERS. And what could have been better? Not much from where I was sitting, & TALKING TO STRANGERS. What I hadn’t factored in was my phones useless battery and the fact that thousands of people being so close, means minimal phone & data connections. But I managed to hook up with @Britt_W, her lovely daughter Mirjam and Mirjam’s boyfriend. And a good night was had by all. Blur rocked, played exactly the right songs, in pretty much exactly the right order and I even got a cab home. I’ll pass over the fact that he was a very miserable cabbie.
After all that excitement in one week, what I have I learned? Well, Blur are ace, I should go to more gigs, I can talk to all sorts of people about all sorts of things, I can say “yes I enjoyed it” in Ukranian. But more than anything, I learned to do stuff on my own. Not be on my own, not all the time anyway, but be prepared to go a little bit out on a limb and get outside of my comfort zone. It seems that doing that makes you feel a bit better about yourself.
ps, I’ve also bought tickets for The Specials in November. They’d better be bloody good.