It was such an odd experience that I've added it to my list of "33 new things" that I have to complete before I turn 34. Nearly three full months into this 12-month stretch, my first seven items look like this:
1. Walked a marathon
2. Went out in public in my bra (this goes with the marathon but hey, it counts for me)
3. Made a pizza from scratch
4. Attended film festival films (A Film With Me in It and The Trail of the Screaming Foreheads)
5. Attended horse race/made bet
6. Saw Leonard Cohen in concert
7. Worked at a concert - Boyzone
Number 7 was last night. The castle concert organizers were short of a few people to help out with ground-level seating, so I was asked if I could lend a hand. My colleagues Paula and Susan have worked at countless concerts and music festivals but this was a first for me.
Clad in my fleece jacket and bright orange vest, I hoped that the collection of seating plan papers I was holding would lend me some authority. Overall I had a very easy job, with the difficult problems being taken over by more experienced crew members. The most interesting problem of the night was two girls whose seats were being taken by two other women who had the same tickets. The story:
1. Girl A buys two tickets
2. They do not arrive in post
3. Girl A calls box office; tickets are re-issued
4. Meanwhile, in another dimension, girl B buys two tickets on EBay
5. EBay tickets arrive for girl B, who happily treks up to the concert
6. Girl A also heads to concert with her re-issued tickets.
7. CLASH! STRICKEN FACES! QUIVERING BOTTOM LIP!
8. Box office is consulted. Confirm that Girl B has purchased stolen tickets from EBay.
9. Girl B buys two new, valid tickets from box office
10. Girl A, a huge boyzone fan who has spent hundreds of pounds since the start of the year attending their concerts, gets her seats back.
Moral of the story: DO NOT BUY CONCERT TICKETS ON EBAY!
Boyzone. Ahem. Needless to say most of the audience members were women, many of whom were in their 40s and reliving the band's heyday from 15 years ago. The band's dancers had legs like the above flamingo, except you have to imagine the flamingo in tight hot pants and stilettos, with a hair extension. The boys/men (for they are all now in their 30s) were intensely ridiculous. One of them tried to do a street dance move and fell over almost immediately. All they had to do was move their shoulders at the same time and all the women screamed. Hilarious.
They sang, from what I heard, all cover songs. While it makes me happy that so many people know the words to Cat Stevens' Father and Son, as well as Tracy Chapman's Baby Can I Hold You Tonight, it pains me that most of them probably think these grinning poster boys wrote them. But I guess it's all about what makes people happy, and the people there really seemed to value the band's performance. It's all good.
Best moments of the night: 1. Seeing so many parents there with their disabled children. The happier the kids were, the more the parents glowed - it was great. There was a girl with Downs Syndrome who was obviously love-struck and she was so thrilled to be there. It made me happy. 2. Watching a middle-aged male concert steward clad in a giant yellow coat singing along to a love song with the shining eyes and glowing emotion of a smitten 12-year-old. 3. Seeing Paula in her concert organizer loving element. It could all be going wrong but that is also when she feels most alive. This woman should start a new career as a stage or road manager - it is obviously what she was meant to do.
Worst moment of the night: Catching a glimpse of the worst plumber's crack I have ever seen. Overweight middle aged women should not be allowed to buy low-rise trousers, or at least pair them with cropped t-shirts. At one point this woman, taken with enthusiasm, clamored onto her plastic chair and started bouncing up and down, threatening to take the whole chain of chairs (bound together with brawny twist ties) with her.
A memorable, albeit very strange, evening. Paula and Susan will be out there again tonight for the Proclaimers. I just hope the rain stops. I would do it again and may get the opportunity to do so next week. Girls Aloud? Party!
The End of the Day
9 hours ago