I Finally Experience a Rock Concert!

So it started when my goddaughter’s mother asked me very nicely if I could take my goddaughter to a Rock Concert on her 16th birthday. I assumed it was because I was the cool ‘aunty’…..well it was, but that wasn’t the whole reason.

So it’s the day of the concert and I go to my goddaughter’s house to pick her and her friend up. I find out that her friend’s mum (who I will refer to as my companion) has bought a ticket for herself and her older daughter too. So that makes five of us. A bit crowded but hey, it’s a concert, the more the merrier. Her friend’s teenage sister and mum turn out to be great fun and great conversationalists, but my goddaughter’s friend: she’s the real bright spark. A live wire, kinda like me when I was a bit younger.

It’s November and I’m dressed like it’s November. We arrive at the concert venue and there are young people who seem to have camped outside, they are barely dressed and I feel cold just looking at them. We wait for about an hour and a half on the queue. And I’m feeling as smug as a bug in my uggs. I’m also wearing ski socks and three layers of tops underneath my coat and multi-coloured chunky scarf. I take pity on one of the teenagers in my party who says she can hardly feel her fingers because of the cold. I give her my gloves to wear. She has no scarf, or coat. Her answer to her mum when she was asked to put on a coat was to go back upstairs to put on a vest; a vest I said, not a coat! I might be an old fogey, but I’m certainly a warm and cosy old fogey! Someone says they want a T-shirt with the live tour dates. I find out that I only have my credit card on me. I feel like a rebel as I climb over the queue barriers to get to a cash machine which is out of order. In the end, I go to a supermarket and buy apple juice, and cheese and onion flavoured crisps in order to get cash back from the cashier at the tills.

We get into the venue, past security and past men stamping the backs of our hands with some sort of dark blue dye that smells toxic. The venue is actually quite nice inside. Not at all like the fire hazard of a warehouse I had imagined it would look like. It’s actually a proper venue. Very theatrical. The teenagers go onto the dance floor, and my companion and I get ushered by a very nice black guy upstairs. It’s away from the madness but we have a clear view of the girls and the whole concert.

So support act number one comes on and the lead singer says ‘Hallo Landon, you are foking crasee’ and my companion looks at me and we both laugh like demented hyenas. ‘He’s foreign’ she says, which is an irony because we are both foreign ourselves. I think he’s French.
The music is not my cup of tea, but the girls are loving it. The whole room knows instinctively when to nod their heads, when to jump, and when to point their index fingers….impressive!
But the novelty is wearing off quickly and I’m getting bored.
At 7:45 he says they have 2 more songs! They’ve been playing on the stage for what has been very clearly in my mind an eternity! At this point I know that I would never be caught dead without my iPad in this situation again (did I say next time?).

Act number 2 comes on around 8:15pm. I spend the whole hour of the act wondering if the lead singer, who’s dressed in monochrome, is wearing a dress or a kaftan. He also has an incredible girl drummer. She’s fabulous, and she’s the highlight of my evening thus far.

When he talks, I can’t understand a word of what he’s saying. Then he finally says ‘Phoenix, Arizona’ and it becomes clear that his words are lost in translation somewhere between the Arizonan drawl and my North London twang.
I also spend the act wondering how much longer I have to wait until it’s not considered rude to bring out my phone and start surfing the Internet! My companion is fussing about not being able to see the girls. I’m as cool as ice because with a venue as good as this, security is tight….and I can see the girls from my vantage point anyway.

Finally the main act comes on and it’s a female lead singer. She’s incredible too. She comes onto the stage wrapped in a huge Union Jack flag. She’s got forest green hair under a black baseball cap which is on back to front. But I’m not fooled! I know the band is from Sydney, Australia.

I thought my goddaughter said no moshing??? So what are those guys doing? They look like they are trying to mosh. I’m wondering if I should go down there and pick them up by the scruff of their necks. But alas I’m a bit too short for that! I am also horrified because there are crowd surfers riding the crowd all the way to the front to get a HiFive from the lead singer. My girl had better not entertain the thought in her pretty head for even a second! The phrase ‘perish the thought’ comes to mind! I check my watch and its 9:30. I’m dogggg tired but feeling sorry for myself because apparently, the gig ends at 11! I’m taking these deep yawns and wondering how long before I fall fast asleep. By now, I don’t care. I’m just tapping away furiously on my iPhone. Too tired to care if I seem rude. Truth be told though, being antisocial is not even an issue as the music is far too loud to even hold any sort of dialogue.

I have never heard any of these songs before. It’s not really my type of music, but I know that as long as I have Internet connection and a place to sit, that I would always be fine. Now the penny drops and I understand why my goddaughter’s mother has never brought her to a concert…..and also, why she chose me.
She has never brought her because she quite simply can’t stand the music, and she chose me because, well because she quite simply cannot stand the music! And I suppose also because I treat everything like a brand new adventure. Well, I can do this adventure next time, but I am bringing my iPad, and I’m not having a companion! Those are my rules.

True to form, the concert ends at 11. We file outside in quite an orderly manner, walk to the train station to go back home. The girls are buzzing from the concert. They had such a great time. I’m just tired and need my bed. I’m happy for my good deed of the day, but I’m also thinking about my work deadlines. Still this life is to be lived in the here and now. And my here and now is this carriage, on the tube. We are on the Northern Line travelling South to Euston. I’m happy, I’m content and I’ve just had quite the adventure to write about. I’ve also just listened to three bands that I’d never heard of before today. This is my here and now, and this is my reality. I feel blessed. Tired, but extremely blessed

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/618/52907464/files/2014/12/img_4280.jpg

Advertisements

When parents discover technology

My mother sent me a whatsapp message a few months ago that said ‘hello, it’s your mother. Add me to your whatsapp group’! It’s hard to explain my horror as I realised first of all that my mother now had a smart phone; then secondly that she was now on whatsapp; and thirdly and devastatingly, that she was aware that my siblings and I had formed a whatsapp group, but worse still, that she wanted to be part of it!

When I jokingly announced publicly on my Facebook page that nothing good could ever come out of my mother being on whatsapp, there were quite a number of people who thought it was funny. I got a handful of sympathisers, but by far the most overwhelming response I got was ‘our parents have discovered technology and social media too, get over it because they are here to stay’!

I responded to my mother’s order to be put onto the family group very simply. I ignored it for a few days hoping she’d change her mind, or better still that she’d forget. When it did not seem like that was happening, I sent her a message saying that her request had been granted but only on the condition that she wasn’t allowed to parent us. Simply put, I read her the riot act: if you don’t understand what is being talked about, then that’s probably because you are not required to voice an opinion. This is Animal Farm; all animals are equal, the younger ones though are more equal.

My mother is a baby boomer so does not always do as she is told. In one day we were inundated with requests like ‘how do I increase the font on my phone?’ Or ‘how do l listen to CNN?’ And then she progressed on to using smileys and asking what LOL, KMT, SMH meant…but no sooner than we could answer her questions (and they were many), than the forbidden messages started coming in!

I’d formed a habit of ignoring my mother’s text messages when I didn’t feel like answering, or when I felt like I’d be repeating myself because she had asked the exact same thing previously. However, whatsapp has a time stamp! It tells people when you were last on whatsapp or indeed if you are currently online! This means that my mother does not necessarily have to police my whereabouts, whatsapp does it for her! So the messages like ‘why are you not answering? It says you are currently online’ have become more than just a passing pain in the neck. Surprisingly, I am able to ignore the judgemental messages, it’s the tiresome ones that are dragging me down; those would be the ones where she asks about a phone function, or asking for a medical opinion. The last slightly judgemental one I encountered resulted from one where one of my sisters sent which was a photo of a magazine cover with a well muscled, fine specimen of a half clad man. I held my breath when in answer to my caution, she replied that my mother wouldn’t mind. Well, if she was ever under any illusion as to how liberal (or not) my mother was, she must have received the answer as she read the very next message from my mother ‘what makes you think that I won’t mind porn being displayed on my screen?’ Well that said it all!

And I? Well, I have retreated into the shadows now that my mother is on whatsapp; I’ve been silenced in the group, the group which I created! I’m glad that she sees Facebook as one of the great evils of generation X where only exhibitionism and time wasting thrive. I can only hope that this view persists forever. In the mean time, I will be avoiding whatsapp when I am avoiding her questions. And possibly spending time on other social media (if this is ever possible) hoping that she doesn’t discover them and ask to be added on as a contact. But let’s face it, even if that happened, I think I would have to imbibe the philosophy that an overwhelming number of my friends preach: I need to get over myself! Technology has no age limit. All generations are free to partake, and that is not going to stop. Viva la technology! And viva the dawn of discovery!

When all else fails, dance!

Beau Rikefe

About four months ago, I went to the cinema to watch a film of my husband’s choosing. Quite predictably, it was an action packed movie. Fast and Furious 6. We’d caught Fast and Furious 5 at a friend’s house at Christmas and thoroughly enjoyed it so I was actually rather excited at prospect of watching Dwayne  ‘The Rock’ Johnson again.

Anyway, I digress! I confess that I am a total endorphin junkie. It’s not the adrenaline, it’s the endorphins. I love participating in high adrenaline sport: running, cycling, swimming, and maybe car-racing but in another life! You only can imagine my delight at watching super-fit adrenaline junkies doing things that make ones heart race. I don’t necessarily remember the whole story line (but who cares, right?). What is crystal clear though is how I felt after the movie. Someone once said to me that people never remember verbatim what you…

View original post 439 more words

When all else fails, dance!

About four months ago, I went to the cinema to watch a film of my husband’s choosing. Quite predictably, it was an action packed movie. Fast and Furious 6. We’d caught Fast and Furious 5 at a friend’s house at Christmas and thoroughly enjoyed it so I was actually rather excited at prospect of watching Dwayne  ‘The Rock’ Johnson again.

Anyway, I digress! I confess that I am a total endorphin junkie. It’s not the adrenaline, it’s the endorphins. I love participating in high adrenaline sport: running, cycling, swimming, and maybe car-racing but in another life! You only can imagine my delight at watching super-fit adrenaline junkies doing things that make ones heart race. I don’t necessarily remember the whole story line (but who cares, right?). What is crystal clear though is how I felt after the movie. Someone once said to me that people never remember verbatim what you say to them; what they remember is how you make them feel. Well, if I ever doubted that, I very quickly identified with it at the end of this movie.

I have to think hard to remember the story line (there was a story-line?), but no sooner had the movie ended than I decided that it was time for me to take up strength-building exercise again. I formulated a plan: I’d cycle 25-50 miles every weekend (in my defence, I used to do this a couple of years ago, and I still do it some weekends); I’d start jogging 3-4 miles every evening as soon as I can get my childcare sorted; and maybe I will finally find the time to do my 8 weeks intensive exercise video, ‘Insanity’.

Well that was 4 months ago, and this is now. Suffice to say that nothing happened! I didn’t jog, I didn’t find the time to mount my newly serviced bike (it was easier to drive my newly serviced car), I didn’t even wipe the dust off my running shoes. However, I found another way that has brought me right back to my childhood memories: dance.

Dancing is billed to be one of the most effective cardiovascular exercise, I’d have you know! I worked out that if I danced vigorously  to 4 or 5 songs every evening, I’d be doing my heart a big favour, and living off the endorphins in the process! As a child, my maternal grandmother always danced. If something good happened to her she’d break into song and dance; if you gave money, she’d sing and dance; if you gave her a gift, she’d sing and dance. She danced whenever she was happy, she never said ‘thank you’ without some sort of dance.

So what started off as an endorphin inducing quest has brought me closer to my childhood experiences. Or is this a chicken and egg scenario? Have I decided to dance because subconsciously I remember my grandma always dancing? Or am I dancing because all else has failed and I have come back to the heart of my childhood, to a familiar place?

Whatever the case, I have concluded that there are more things out there to dampen your mood than to brighten it. You need to consciously choose happiness everyday. For some people, their happiness comes in watching paint dry. For me, it’s all about the endorphins. And I have found a new way where I can actually avoid bad tumbles and scrapes on my legs. I’ve been dancing for a few evenings now. And I’m fitter and happier….and I’m celebrating my grandma’s genius!

My hope: Virgin blog!

They say that everyone’s got a story to tell. I believe that is true because in actual fact, I was born telling my story!

I wish to continue telling my story, and I have decided to do that in a blog for now. There is nothing uncommon about the trials and experiences that you face as you navigate through life. Everyone faces the same thing at one time or another; and it is my hope that as I share my experiences with you, that you will identify with them and find the humour in them to move you unto the next stage of your life’s journey. Whenever I emerge out of a dark period of my life, I look back and realise that I had the power within me all along, and that my salvation has always come through people. I shall explain: Freedom does not come from hiding away, it comes when you identify your struggle. And that can be in a book, in a blog, in a movie, or through someone else’s story or advice. The power of mental slavery is in silence.

Tell your story, tell it well, and stay true to it. After all is said and done, the only constant in your life is you. YOU. Staring back at yourself through time.

I hope my blog brings life, light, laughter and liberty!

Here’s to the power of the spoken and written word!

Terra firma

Terra firma

They say the journey of a million miles begins with the first step….