Posts Tagged ‘concert’

My misspent teenage years….

This week, Emily and Kelly have told me to write about about going to concerts. And so I must.
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I did my fair share of concert going when I was younger actually. As mentioned in The Handbags And The Gladrags, it started with Ant and Dec AKA PJ and Duncan. I went to three of their concerts. The first one was the one mentioned in the post, where my friend and I wrote a letter to them to ask if they needed backing dancers cause we were really good and had even made up some of own dances to their songs already. We were about 10 years old. We also wore co-ordinated outfits to the concert – black heeled pumps, see through tights, white denim skirts, black t-shirts that said ‘Right On’, denim jackets and small black handbags. All matching.

The other two times I saw them, I went with a girl from school. We did all the obligatory screaming until our throats were hoarse and buying t-shirts and massive posters and lingering outside hoping to see them, etc.

I also went to a few concerts that had loads of groups/singers at them. Lingering around outside after those was always good cause you were almost guaranteed to see someone. My big sighting was Shane from Westlife. That was big news with the girls in school the next day.

One time, when I was about 15 or 16 years old, a few of us at school had become really frantic about Westlife. We LOVED them. WE LOVED THEM SO MUCH! AAAHHHH! THEY’RE SO AMAZING!

We loved them. Yes, we did.

Somehow, one of the girls had got hold of the tour manager’s phone number. Now I think about it, it was probably just some bloke pretending he was so that young girls would call him up and act all silly with excitement. Anyway, this girl kept ringing the tour manager and would find out when they were doing concerts, etc.

This one time, they were doing a small private gig in Liverpool. I think it was a restaurant or something, which had a small performing space downstairs, something like that. So we went there, about four or five of us *hardcore* fans. And we stood outside and waited. And these other hardcore fans were also there and they were telling us about all the times they had met Westlife.

This one girl said to us that sometimes Brian (my personal fav) and a bodyguard sneak out of a back door and go to the car so that they can assess the situation and see how many crazed teenage fans are waiting outside to leap on them when they leave. Then the bodyguard goes back and gets the others and they leave by the front entrance.

Breathless with excitement, midnight approaching, heart beating, we snuck around to the back exit and waited, hoping this girl had been right, otherwise they’d leave by the front exit and we’d totally miss it. We giggled, we squealed, we hoped beyond hope that he would emerge, see us standing there, fall in love with one of us and whisk us off in his fancy limo. That’s not expecting too much, is it?

And finally, the door started to open… The girl had been right! A tall man dressed in black emerged, his distinctive blond locks pulled under a dark cap and a bodyguard following him.

We were gobsmacked. There were just five or six of us standing around. It was late. It was dark. It was exciting. And here we were, standing with Brian McFadden from Westlife, as he shushed us a little and quickly signed autographs.

I approached him quietly from his left side as he signed something for my friend. I could see from his hurrying that he wouldn’t have time to sign my notepad. So I did the best I could to create a lasting memory of the moment.

I touched his upper left arm with my right hand. I touched it in wonder. I held onto it slightly, as though I were going to link my arm through his and walk off with him.

And I stared. My mouth was probably hanging open. I may have been dribbling. I honestly couldn’t tell you. He signed two or three autographs then gently told us he had to hurry off.

And then he was gone. Just like that. Out of our lives forever. He ran up the slope toward the front and got in the waiting car. As the girl said he would. Then we ran to the front entrance and waited for the other four Westlifers to come out. As the girl said they would. We were obviously at the back of the crowd because we had spent all our time waiting for Brian at the back. We saw the tips of their heads at most.

But it didn’t matter.

I had held Brian’s arm. His arm, goddamnyou! His ARM! Does it come much better than that?

I think not.

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The handbags and the gladrags…

It’s Friday morning and here I am again, writing about the time I jumped on a bandwagon, cause Emily and Ashley told me to. I’ve no idea what I’m going to write really, so let’s just see what happens.

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I can start by telling you about a bandwagon I didn’t jump on. I didn’t jump on the Take That bandwagon when one of the popular girls in juniors, Amy, decided she loved them, as did a lot of other girls.

I did, however, jump on the PJ and Duncan bandwagon (that’s Ant and Dec to most of you). I don’t know if they had their own bandwagon, as such, but my friend Hannah liked them, hence I liked them. Her and I went to quite a few of their concerts.

My other friend, Ruth, and I once wrote them a letter before one of their concerts. We must have been about 11 years old. We were all into learning dance routines off Top of the Pops or making up our own so this one time we had tickets to one of their concerts. We had matching outfits ready for the concerts, by the way. O yes, matching outfits. We didn’t do things by halves, Ruth and I. We had black tight fit t-shirts that said ‘Right On’ in silver lettering, a white denim skirt (yes, white denim), black pump things with a bit of a heel, a pale denim jacket and a little black over-the-shoulder handbag thing. All matching. Boy, did we look cool!?

And we wrote them this letter which was something along the lines of “Do you need backing dancers for your next concert in Liverpool because we’re really good and already have dance moves to all your songs so we could be your dancers.” I’m also pretty sure Ruth asked PJ to send a pair of his pants with his reply.

We never got a reply. Which surprises me.

Actually, talking of having matching handbags, Ruth and I jumped on that bandwagon bigtime! We decided, when were maybe 15 years old, that it was time for us to join the world of grown ups and have handbags.

Our first foray into the handbag world was filled with nervousness and there was a lot of discussion about how best to go about it. I think Ruth’s first one was a cute grey fluffy backpack type thing. I’m not sure what mine was, probably more of a shoulder bag. We experimented with what exactly to put in it. I remember us both being like, “What on earth do people have in them?” So Ruth went on a discovery mission and looked through her Mum’s handbag.

I remember her being like, “Ok, she had a pen in there,” so we both ran off, got a pen, put it in our handbags and felt like we were real grown ups cause we had proper handbag items.

We were in such a rush to grow up, Ruth and I. We spent hours poring over Argos and Next catalogues, looking through the ‘home’ section and deciding how we would decorate the flat we would live in. Even down to the design of the taps in the bathroom. We had a little scrapbook where we cut out all the things we saw that we liked and stuck them in then spent ages looking through it all.

When we were about 17 and people had starting ‘going out’ drinking and clubbing, we decided to jump on the ‘clubbing’ bandwagon but in a comparatively rubbish way. My mum and her then-boyfriend were going for a drink at a kind of upmarket fancy pub-club place called Yates’ on Allerton Road (the cool girls at school went all the way into town to the proper over-18s clubs whereas Allerton Road was just a shopping road with one or two gastropubs at the end) so Ruth and I went with them.

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. My first Big Night Out was to a slightly fancy gastropub with my mum.

Mother and boyfriend went and stood a little way off so as not to ruin our Cool Factor and it was at this point that we decided to give ‘drinking’ a go. I think we probably got some kind of bottled soft drink thing with about 0.2% alcohol content that wouldn’t even get a toddler tipsy. I was doing a bit of dancing cause I’d heard that’s what people did when they went out. Ruth, however, was having none of that silliness. She sat on a high stool while I bobbed about and sang “The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire!” in her face (while also changing the word ‘roof’ to ‘Ruth’ and feeling terribly clever).

I can’t remember if we Talked To Any Boys on this occasion (another bandwagon I was pretty keen to jump on) or even if we stayed out past midnight. I imagine we didn’t. I’m pretty sure we just walked to the car and drove the five minutes back home and got into bed.

When I’d be in school after this occasion and girls would sometimes ask who’d started Going Out Clubbing, I would always pipe up.

“O yeh, I have, yeh. I’m mad for it, me! Can’t stop going out! Yeh, I love all that. The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire!”

It was quite a long time, after this one evening out before I actually did start clubbing and we all know how that turned out.

In conversation with my 18 year old self

Ok, 18 year old me, I’d like you to calm down a little bit. Just…. calm down. You’re a bit crazy and all over the place. You’d do well by scaling it back a bit.

Also, I don’t want to ruin the dream but that ambition you have, to marry Michael Jackson… That’s, um, it’s not going to happen unfortunately. I won’t tell you why. The other ambition, to see him in concert, also doesn’t come true. He does plan a tour in England but, um, he doesn’t make it. Again, I won’t tell you why.

Also, your expectation that you will have a terribly meaningful and world-changing role in life… yeh, turns out you’re a bit ordinary, like everyone else. What a thought, hey?! After all that time being convinced of your own superiority and differentness.

O, and your thing about being ‘boring’, you hate that idea, right? Hate it. Urgh, imagine being boring, that would be the worst! Well, you’re not that bothered anymore. You enjoy the simple pleasures in life – cooking, being outside, growing vegetables, seeing other countries, having lunch with nice friends. Just calm down about the ‘boring’ thing. It’s going to happen. Get over it.

You know how you love going out dancing? In a few years, you won’t really ‘go out’ at all. You hate the idea of being squashed in next to a load of sweaty strangers, actually. You dislike the drunken nonsense that you talk and that other people talk to you. In fact, in about ten years, you’ll barely consume alcohol at all, a few times a year maybe. It’s better that way, trust me. We both know what we get like with a drink in us.

And you don’t wear make up at all. I know, after all that time poking your eyes out, trying to work out how to wear eye liner. No, you don’t wear anything now. You’re too lazy. Sorry to break it to you but you’d rather spent the time in the morning having a cup of tea and blogging than poking your eyes out.

Yeh, you’re a ‘blogger’ now. You’re mad for it! You’re one of those. One of those sad people who thinks others want to read about the minutae of their everyday life. Yup.

And tea is very important to you. Very. Important.

You’ll run off to Africa soon, little Laura. And it will be fabulous. You’ll be enthused. You’ll be good at something. You’ll be in your element. For the next ten years after your gap year, you’ll refer back to it as a time of excitement and adventure. Just a few words of warning though – don’t get too excited by your new friends who take you in on the first night, they’ll drift away in a few months; also, please try and eat better – a plate of rice with some sweetcorn mixed in does not constitute a real meal, unfortunately; another thing, you’re going to mess up the article for the Namibian Independence Day by sleeping through the celebrations, shame on you.

And now, last but not least, F. Scott Fitzgerald still rocks your world. That fact is unchanged throughout your life. They make a new film of The Great Gatsby with Leonardo DiCaprio. I’m going to let you watch it for yourself and make your own mind up….

To the left, to the left

Yesterday evening, something unexpected happened. Out of the blue, I was invited (persuaded) to go to a concert to raise money for different women’s rights causes. Names were thrown at me to entice me – “J.Lo’s going to be there,” “Madonna’s putting in an appearance,” “Rihanna is performing.”

In the face of such strong persuasion (and the accusation that I’ve become quite boring and must go, to inject some liveliness and optimism into my life), I agreed to go. With stout British stiff upper-lip-ness, though, I told myself it was ‘not really my scene’ and I’m not even into J.Lo and I was simply going to keep a friend company.

We found our seats without too much trouble and watched while a crew of Zumba dancers gave it their all for a little while, to keep us all entertained.

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We knew the big names would be headlining so were surprised to see Jessie J walk on first. I was also surprised to see that looked like a sickly anorexic teenager. The new shaved head she is sporting doesn’t help, it makes her look really skeletal. But about her singing, I was pleasantly surprised. Her Olympics closing ceremony performance last year hurt my ears and I hadn’t high hopes for her live singing but she was good. Hats off to you, Jessie.

Then a gal in a pretty red dress and flowing blond locks and typical high school beauty looks performed some strange loud crashy rap songs. The energy fell a little flat and we sat smiling politely and clapping along a bit. As she did her second and third songs, we feigned polite interest, as one would with a boring guest at a dinner party. Not wanting to break out and yell, “GET OFF! WE ONLY CAME TO SEE BEYONCE,” we tolerated her disjointed noise then sighed with relief when she left the stage.

The next few acts were an Italian woman (the beat was funky, we clapped and wooped and waved our hands – then she started singing in a foreign language and we lost interest and went for a toilet break), Florence and The Machine (long flowy dress made me think of Lord Of The Rings and elfin beauties for the whole time) and John Legend (he was alright on his own songs but murdered Bridge Over Troubled Waters, which upset me).

Then a group of three girls came on and played guitars and bashed on drums and sang/shouted and made funny faces and I found the whole thing quite confusing.

Then Madonna came on! (We had blagged our way to some seats closer to the stage by then.)

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“WOOOOO!” said we.

“We’re all here today because we care about women and we know how important education is in the empowerment of women,” said Madonna.

“I CAME FOR J.LO AND BEYONCE! I COULDN’T CARE LESS ABOUT THE WOMEN!” someone yelled. I don’t know who. Just, ahem, someone.

“I’m going to tell you about a woman in Afghanistan,” said Madonna.

“WOOOOOO!” said we.

“Her name is….”

“WOOOOO! WE LOVE YOU!”

“Listen to me,” Madonna said, earnestly.

“WOOOOO! WOO! WOO! WOO!”

Listen to me!

Silence.

“Sorry, Madonna. Sorry,” we mumbled, and listened obediently while she talked about education.

Next up was Ellie Goulding. She wore little shorts and trainers and looked the picture of effortless cool. She bounced around on stage and had a whale of a time. Then Timberland came on with (wait for it) Simon Le Bon! Tinberland proceeded to do a few of his biggest tracks, replacing Justin Timberlake’s smooth gentle voice with his rather shouty one. He really went for it, giving it his all, performing his heart out. We rewarded him with a typically British response. We wiggled around a little doing sitting-down-dancing in our seats and held our cups of tea aloft and hoo-rahhed his efforts.

And then finally, you could tell the Americans had landed when a massive explosion of glitter sparkles shot out of the stage accompanied by mini firework puffs and smoke machines. Out of this emerged J.Lo, skimpily clad in a black leotard thing and looking fabulous at 43. She flicked her hair and spent a lot of time at the front of the stage, looking into the wind machine and being glamorous and performing perfectly executed dance routines.
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There was a strong emphasis on loud drum beats and sometimes I didn’t know what she was singing but it didn’t seem to matter, cause she’s still, she’s still, Jenny from the block so I wooped and danced with the rest of them. Occasionally, there was a fast and a slow beat going on at the same time and I didn’t know what to do with myself so I bobbed around a bit and swung my arms enthusiastically at my sides. J.Lo finished her set by singing Come Together by The Beatles with Mary J Blige. That’s right. Mary J Blige. Two for the price of one.

Then some talking and videos etc happened, I didn’t really follow them.

And then… Beyonce entered.

And some kind of hysteria took hold of me. I gave a short scream and jumped up.

“YEHHHH!” I yelled.

“Are y’all having a good time tonight?” Beyonce asked us.

“YES, I AM, THANK YOU FOR ASKING!” I yelled. “ARE YOU?”

Someone then pointed out that she’s not actually asking us. It’s just a rhetorical question, to which the answer should always be, “WOOOOOO!”

“Are you ready to party, London?” she asked.

Forgetting myself, I said, “YES! I’M A BIT TIRED BUT I THINK I’LL BE OK.”

And she got down with her bad self. She sung, we sung with her. She waved her arms, we waved our arms with her. She wooped and held the microphone to the audience. We screamed with unashamed abandon and lapped up all her fancy sparkly confetti, her smoke machine, her wind machine, her funky dancing and drum beats and long flowing hair. We sang ‘To the left, to the left,” in unison and all pointed to the left and loved Beyonce and loved each other and looked in teary-eyed wonder at her amazing beauty and wondered if we’d ever love anyone as much as we loved her in that moment.

“If I were a boy…” she sang.

“WE LOVE YOU BEYONCE!”

“Even just for a day…”

“WE’LL DO ANYTHING YOU WANT!”

“I’d roll out of bed in the morning..”

“WE WANT TO BE YOU BEYONCE!”

“Put on what I wanted and go…”

“YOU LOOK GREAT IN EVERYTHING BEYONCE! YOU’RE GORGEOUS! WE LOVE YOU!”

And so it went on. Beyonce sang, we loved. She was golden haired and slim waisted and angel voiced.

And Jay-Z walked on and did himself a little rap on Crazy In Love and we didn’t know where to put ourselves. Our throats became hoarse from excited screaming.

Beyonce finished with a little tribute to Whitney, which morphed into Halo, which made me giggle because I used to play it to a guy I was going out with and look at him with my serious eyes and tell him it made me think of him. Vom.

And then she left us. She just said thanks, bye, and walked right out of our lives. And we were left, empty and helpless. Life would never be the same after Beyonce.

Then suddenly we remembered the time and that public transport and getting out was going to be a nightmare. And suddenly we were all trying to squash out of the exit, cursing one another for barging us or getting in our way and scrambling for the train stations and bus stops, as though Beyonce didn’t even exist. Beyonce who? Get outta my way! I need to get home!

Evidence of a misspent youth

I still know all the words to the ‘rap’ in Mysterious Girl by Peter Andre.

 

My Barbies and Kens had specially made (by me) paper underwear.

 

I know all the words to 99% of Backstreet Boys songs and can still do the dances that my cousin and I made up to about four of the songs from the album, Backstreet’s Back.

 

There are hours of video tape of me doing a ‘chat show’ on the camcorder.

 

My friend and I spent two weeks waiting anxiously for a reply to a letter we had written to PJ and Duncan (AKA Ant and Dec) saying we were going to their concert soon and were really good dancers and did they need backing dancers because we were obviously the people for the job. We had even made up some routines ourselves.

 

I have a drawer FULL of hair straightening products in my old bedroom… My hair has always been, and will always be, wavy/curly.

 

I have another drawer FULL of different coloured pens. I was extremely religious about what colour I underlined the date with, and whether it was a double underline or a squiggly line or a cloudy bubble thing.

 

There are hundreds of pieces of novelty wrapping paper dotted around my old bedroom. I never wrapped anything with them. I just kept them.

 

I have an exercise book full of ‘song lyrics’ I wrote (!). They were full of unrequited love and grand statements about life….. I was 14.

 

The vast amount of make-up I owned and the hours I spent in front of the mirror, with a copy of Cosmopolitan magazine, learning how to apply it… It always looked ridiculous and now I can’t remember the last time I wore any.

 

I spent at least 50% of my entire teenage years watching/re-watching/discussing/quoting from Friends.

 

I am now a Tetris demon.

 

I must have tried 5000 times to get past the big baddie at the end of the Starlight Zone on Sonic The Hedgehog and could never do it.

 

I spent a significant portion of my time wishing I was George from the Famous Five and pretending to be tomboyish. I even joined the girl’s football team at school and played half a match. Once.

 

I used to write and re-write (in different colour pens, with different underlining, in swirly writing or bubble writing) a list of the names I liked for my future children…. What a ridiculous idea!