Friday, 8 July 2011

On Going to Concerts "Alone"

Yesterday afternoon I had lunch with two Single friends, saw one of them to his train, bought some supper for my husband, went home, painted my nails black and went to a rock concert in Glasgow.

I didn't go with my husband. No, indeed. Rock concerts are not his thing. I went with some of his uni pals. One of the uni pals had a car, so we went to Glasgow by car. That was great. From a passenger point of view, car beats bus and even train hands down.

Ah, the comfort of travelling through the Central Belt by car! The pregnant-wife-of-uni-pal (I must come up with a better pseudonym) passed around a bag of sweeties as we chatted about the Scottish Anti-Sectarianism Emergency Legislation. Traffic did not seem heavy. It was all good.

We arrived in Glasgow, parked in a public garage and strolled into the street to see two large Goths--male and female--walking before us.

"What I love about these concerts," said one of the uni pals, "is that you get to see how well you're aging by comparison."

This struck upon my ear like the sound of a uni student calling me "Ma'am." I'm used to throwing around the insult "aging hippy", but can it really be that there are now "aging Goths"? Oh, alas, and to no doubt quote some Goth lyrics, "Sic transit gloria mundi."

The other uni pal reflected that the benefit of a middle-aged crowd was the availability of hot coffee at the bar.

"Have ye no' got Fairtrade?"

And there in the bright evening light (for this is Scotland, where the July sun only begins to think about setting at 10) was the mid-sized concert hall and there on its marquee were the words "Sisters of Mercy 7 PM".

I would have a photo of myself in front of this, but the sunlight was too bright. And my inner Goth thought, "Sisters of Mercy 7 PM?" I mean, 7 PM? What, are we, like, in our second childhood? Are we, like, 72 years old?

Incidentally, no-one write in to tell me how wicked Goth bands are for I can't hear their lyrics and don't want to know. I usually have no idea what they're singing. It all sounds like thrilling shrieks and growls to me. I am all about the aesthetics, so much so that dance clubs without skulls on the walls seem incredibly boring and banal.

This may sound very odd, but I have gone to Goth-positive dance clubs all by myself and had a very good time. Indeed, to go to the Sisters of Mercy concert with three other people felt like a tremendous social luxury. And, indeed, many of you may have a somewhat unusual hobby or interest that few of your friends share, and so you are used to doing it by yourself.

To continue my story, the four of us disappeared into the concert hall, presented our tickets and proceeded up and up the dark stairwells until we reached a great black cave with a big stage and a huge dance floor. I was all very thrilled to be among black-haired people in black again. However, as the concert was not really going to start at 7 PM, one of the uni pals bought a round of drinks and we carried them to a sunlit bar to drink them.

I found the continued sunlight a tad depressing. However, I was cheered up by the costumes of the mostly middle-aged Goths who came in, wearing chopines or many-buckled boots, and whose middle-aged figures were well set-off by corsets and layers of black. The plump lady who chose to wear skin-tight grey leggings was rather less pleasing, but what can one say? I had thought it humorous to wear green Keds with my more traditional Goth-wear. But, alas, I felt quite shabby in comparison to the perfectly Gothed-up.

The other uni pal bought a second round of drinks and then we fled the sunlight into the dark cave. The concert began with great squirts of fake smoke, and so thick was the haze and so colourful the stage lighting, that I could hardly see the figures on stage. It crossed my mind that this prevented us from seeing how old they had become, heh heh. Meanwhile, I could see their dark outlines because Scotland is the Land of the Wee and therefore my own head was not much lower than all the heads before me.

I suppose it was loud, but I didn't think so. My husband would have hated it, of course. Hated it. He sneers at Mozart as a johnny come lately, so you can just imagine what he might think of Sisters of Mercy. If ever I dreamed of the day I could bring a husband to Goth concerts, my dreams were in vain.

The crowd bobbed along to the beat, bobbing more enthusiastically the more drink it consumed. To my surprise, I found myself holding two plastic glasses of cider. And to my dismay, I was asked eventually if I wanted another.

"Are you alright?"

Merciful heavens. I might drown.

"Yes, I'm alright!"




"I'm not alright," I hissed to the other woman of our party. "I'm wasted."

This was not really true, and I never fell down or anything, even at 10:30 PM when the concert was over and we crunched over the sea of plastic tumblers to the door. The sky was still bright, but I didn't mind that as much on my way out as on my way in. That's just the way the Scottish sky is in July.

A uni pal crossed Sauchiehall Street to buy four containers of chips (french fries), which is not just a snack but the British antidote to alcohol. And then off we trundled, past beggars, junkies and Indian restaurants, back to the car park. The road to Edinburgh was smooth, and before long I was back to my London Review of Books-reading husband.

On second thought, this post belongs more to my Scottish Stuff Blog than to my Singles blog, but I didn't put up a Singles post yesterday and also I thought it handy to illustrate that even when you're married, you end up doing fun stuff without your spouse or not at all. Not only that, if you do go out, when you come home, your spouse might have only a token interest in what you were up to.

And that's fine. As I've said umpteen million times, what matters in a marriage is that you share core values, not all your interests.


sciencegirl said...

Sounds like fun! I actually think it's even nicer if you have some things you like to do separately. I've found that in close female friendships, even, I've wanted to find things or do things without my dear friends sometimes. I suppose in marriage it would be the same.

Andrea said...

Thanks for posting this here, and not on your other blog. It's a good story. Plus I think one can never be reminded often enough that marriage is not the fix for every woe: ie. sometimes you still have to do your favourite hobby, or go to a lecture, or what have you--on your own! And there's nothing wrong with that. As a single person, I have only but recently in life (last couple of years) started to enjoy doing activities on my own, and I feel that it is a mark of maturity.

Anonymous said...

I'm not single, but this reminded me of days gone by. My own husband would perhaps reluctantly attend one of my crazy mixed up rock-and-roll shows, but he'd be the man at the back, sitting down (because he'd paid for those seats, darn it!)feeling so much older than everyone else there. He'd wear earplugs, too. I do love him. Sadly, I have not been to a proper concert in years, and now that there is a toddler, the price of a hangover is a bit much to pay.

Sheila said...

I would love to see a picture of you in your Goth get-up. ;)

Kim said...

Yeah, I was wishing for pics also! Goths intrigue me, seeing as how I always leaned kind of gothy and drab - plus they're entertaining as heck to watch. Here's a hilarious link to prove my point:

Hope you had a ball, Seraphic, sometimes events like these are just what the doctor ordered.

Mrs Doyle said...

There's a goth group called 'Sisters of Mercy'??!!!

ROFL! There probably wouldn't be much difference between them and the 'real' ones!