For now, all I can contribute is this screengrab of my Facebook.
I’m not one to ‘promote’ my face. I dodge photographs. Part of it is self-consciousness, but part of it is because I know of too many horror stories about people relying on their looks, only to have their lives ‘ruined’ when said looks start to fade. These days, I’m focusing on things like not coming to a battle of wits only half-armed. Making myself laugh. Reading things. Writing things. Learning more. Self-reflection. Brain stuff. Sentence fragments. Y’know?
I also know of far too many people who think I owe them something just for looking a certain way. It’s terrifying.
So I decided I’m not really a ‘selfie’ kinda person. Not that I’d berate anybody who is, what’d be the point? But I made an exception, because I wanted my profile picture to (kinda) match the cover picture. So there we go.
And if you don’t know who the person in the larger picture is, that’s Ilan Rubin. He’s the drummer for Nine Inch Nails, one of my favourite bands ever. I saw them live this year, along with Queens of the Stone Age (they happen to be my other favourite band, don’tcha know…) and Brody Dalle (of the Distillers and Spinnerette, who I also have on heavy rotation) on the 22nd of March.
I still remember reading in some local mag that NIN & QOTSA & BRODY ARE COMING, GET IN THERE and going so fucking nuts that I was kicked out of the store I was in. I got my ticket later that day. Then, three weeks before the show, I had to sell it. It’s embarrassing to admit, but I cried a little bit. Being ‘adult’ sucks. I’m obviously only dabbling in the concept of maturity (insert more negative self-talk here). But it was the only way I could fix a crappy financial situation at the time (without asking for help of course, because Ilene is an island. Go figure…).
Then, someone asked my parents if I was going to the show. They responded in typical fashion, wondering who gives their bands such weird names before realising that OH HOLD ON, aren’t those the bands we’ve been hearing come out of her room all those times? They asked me later that day if I was going, and I couldn’t say anything. I was too disappointed in myself to make a single sound. For anyone who knows what a loud person I can be, that was really… well… unlike me. They freaked out. I changed the subject.
Two weeks before the concert date, I was on my usual DEAD MAN WALKING shuffle to the letterbox (I was waiting for blood test results and a couple of invoices, wahoo), when I noticed a courier pack sticking out. “Meh,” I thought. “Probably for my roommate, he’s always ordering interesting things. Should someone have signed for this? I’ll take it inside.” Then I saw it was addressed to me.
Ripped it open.
THIS IS A TICKET
Looking at billing information.
I called to thank them and all they had to say was along the lines of: “Ask for help next time, you silly-head. And don’t get wasted or get into any fights, OK? We love you. Please have fun. You deserve this.”
That show (seriously, they came all the way to little ol’ New Zealand, to Christchurch – the Broken City. I love that place.) was a well-overdue chance for me to have a great night and not give a single fuck for anything else. I don’t remember being so comfortable in a crowd of people like that. I don’t even really like leaving the house. But for once, that familiar panic didn’t even have a tiny chance to creep into my mind.
I danced like an idiot. I gaped in childlike awe at the light show. I knew every single word to every single track, each of which I could name in the first few seconds (there were still a lot of people saying things like, “Wait, who are they again?” – seems like a lot to spend on a show that doesn’t mean much to you, but oh well… I bet they had fun anyway). I saw people from back home. I made friends. I helped a super-drunk lady find her super-drunk fiancée and watched them super-drunk hug each other whilst yelling sweet nothings in each others’ ears. Messy and loud in the nicest way possible. They gave me a hat they found to say thank you. I handed it in to Lost Property because I’d be bummed to lose such an adorable hat. I saw a lot of band-themed tattoos. I… uh… lots more things I’d take forever listing.
I was happy.
And it makes me really happy to remember.
Music is the language everyone has a shot at understanding. I was surrounded by people who understood. Thousands of us there to see and hear what we have in common. Nice New Zealand people in a nice crowd to hear some nice things from some nice North American people (and an Australian. Tasman love!). That is what it was and it was perfect.
Special mention to my UK-com partner in crime, Becky MacLeod. ^_^