just had time to wolf down the roast dinner before I bolted out the door leaving family chaos behind me like a fleeing teenager going to meet his girlfriend outside the doors of the lower common room at the university which is coincidentally where I was going but not to meet my girlfriend because she’s now my wife and I’ve just left her with some rather unpleasant washing up and 3 school packed lunches to make but that’s ok because I’ll get a list of things I won’t remember that I have to do tomorrow unless I get left a list
tonight I’m banking on the fact that 4 bands can’t all cancel at the same time seeing as tonight they’re all on at the same time and so unlike that class A fatboy shambles who got himself arrested and our finnish friends who declined to turn up at all, oh, and the wierdos who were sick or summat, I’m expecting mystery jets, we are scientists, arctic monkeys and maximo park to give us a performance that people who weren’t there will be remembering for at least, ooh, a year or so or as young alex said in 20 years when its all over will say they were there when they actually might have been down the front asking for girls aloud like what he said innit. as it happens, I’m not early enough to see the young boy with his dad in the band do their thing and they’re just sticking with agnes by the time I get to the bar for a customary stella in a ‘plastic glass’ that will be recycled before our eyes under 100s of tiny feet later on. oh well.
hang on. its busy in here. I saw the rakes a couple of weeks ago and you could stroll onto the floor and put out a deckchair pretty much, but this time its absolutely mashed full of youngsters with their hair and tshirts. not since 1981 has this place been so full of 14 year olds and I was one of them so I know and by the way I do remember 20+ years later when it’s all over because it isn’t because the band I saw then just picked up 5 grammys which is nice and so it was me down the front then except I wasn’t shouting for girls aloud, but maybe for girls, aloud but by a strange coincidence I now also have girls aloud. I’m not entirely sure that all these people are here to see we are scientists, good as they are but that dance floor bit is already moving around like a strange mass with it’s own brain and there must be about 800 people in a space where 600 is probably enough to be rather too personal. I mean, they’re good and they do american jokes and things like they’re out of a spike jonze video and everyone gives them a courteous amount of mobile phone picture taking time and then they’re gone and everybody’s looking at their watch because actually they know from previous reports that arctic monkeys will take the stage at 9 pm and so we’re all eyeing up the preferred route to the mosh pit and where we might end up when we take our feet from the floor and just let our bodies get hoofed around in a sweaty crush.
I give up caring about anything by about 8:55 and so take it upon myself to just barge through about 20 poor young girls in black mohair and squeeze past assorted 18 year old soft southerners, spilling their plastic pints on the way because they don’t deserve to have drinks on the dance floor and after about 10 minutes I’m right in the middle of the floor getting my head in everyone’s way but they should care because in approximately 30 seconds the whole place is going to go mental ape sh*t as the reason at least 50% of the people are here are about to strop onto the stage and give us 40 minutes of south yorkshire monkeyness. as they come on about 20 girls faint on the spot and about 20 boys do as well and when they launch into whatever song it was they launched into I get a flashback to the clash at the brixton academy although not because the arctic monkeys remind me of the clash at all its just that I had a strange feeling I was going to lose my shoes in the brixton academy violent mosh madness and for some reason felt it again here in the uea common room about 25 years later which maybe is what the arctic monkeys are all about except it occurs to me now that they are actually the reincarnation of the small faces which isn’t a bad thing at all and so I keep that thought in my head and jump up and down and get crushed and mashed up and frankly have more fun than a fat balding 38 year old should have when he’s surrounded by students and fake tales of san francisco is a great tune anyway and worth the entrance fee which was doubled by the time I paid it to some bloke on ebay who’s girlfriend couldn’t go.
so then they’re off and so are a sizeable section of the audience who must have to catch a really early bus or summat and so things thin out about and I’m just wringing out my ‘I swam the Pacifico’ tshirt when those lovely northern neo-punks maximo park dart on and pull a few art school poses before giving us all a 50 minute reminder why they are top of the bill after all. because they’re loads better than all the others really. and they’re really nice. so there. I sing out loud. embarassing, but worth it. lose some pressure, apply some pressure, lose some pressure, apply some pressure…