Tonight, I went to a gig and got quite drunk. I’m not proud of this. Mainly, because it’s a very bland statement and, on reflection, having any emotional response to it is like saying you ate an egg and felt sad. There’s no reason to feel sad about eating an egg. Unless of course that egg was fertilised and a golden eagle was due to hatch from it. Then you should feel sad. Because golden eagles are cool. Pigeons aren’t. You could literally kick a pigeon’s head off and no one would care. Pigeons look like shit and there’s loads of them. That’s what it comes down to ultimately.
Anyway, it was a fairly eventful night. I discussed the appreciation of art, which is something I insist that none of you attempt. It is a futile endeavour and every party emerges looking like a wanker. The point I took up was, there was no point discussing the appreciation of art because ultimately, it came down to looking at something and feeling something. Beyond that there is nothing. There is no point trying to explain that feeling. That is your feeling and only you can fully understand it. That is art appreciation. You look at a piece of warped metal, and despite knowing it is nothing but a piece of warped metal, you feel a thing. That is fine. What is not fine is when you try and use words to justify that feeling and explain why that feeling has any importance and why that feeling is better than someone else’s feeling towards a picture of Spiderman. In the art community, it’s all down to the justification. Which is stupid. The justification doesn’t matter.
I don’t debate often. Primarily because I find anyone who disagrees with my opinion to be insufferable, and the idea that people think different things to me enrages me to an almost violent degree. I also do not like confrontation.
This is not out of cowardice. It is mainly out of the fact that confrontation gets people nowhere and the idea of a ‘healthy’ debate is a myth. There is no such thing. We all acknowledge that it takes all sorts of people to make the world go round and that the fact opinions differ adds a splash of colour to a world that would otherwise be a monochromatic dystopia. We also know, that we don’t truly believe this and think everyone who doesn’t like carrot cake should be thrown in a pit filled with deadly snakes. Alas, the only path to true world peace is to gather in like-minded groups and fight to the death. The last group standing will be at peace.
I also don’t like confrontation because I am a coward.
Imagine my surprise then, when I told three people I didn’t (some of them were groups, but I could them as one) to shut the fuck up.
I pride myself on my ability to put myself in the shoes of others and see the world from their perspective. Admittedly, I swiftly decide they are wrong despite their uncomfortable shoes and disregard their point of view. But at least I can understand it.
What I can’t understand is why so many people don’t know how to gig!
Why pay to see a specific band, just to talk through their entire set? Several groups of people seemed to think that going to see Riverside play through their new album was the best opportunity to talk about a debate you had with Barry at the office, and how you so wittily put him in his place, even though we know you didn’t wittily put him in his place; you just had an imaginary conversation in your head whilst you were doing a poo. I asked that bald bastard if he could ‘keep it down please and thank you,’ which is the middle-class way of saying, ‘shut the hell up you absolute cock.’
I then moved. There were some Americans. I don’t know if there was a cultural difference, as much of the crowd consisted of me and some Polish people, but these Americans thought that they, being stood amongst a crowd of people wanting to listen to some modern-day prog, were perfectly positioned to babble on inanely about shit no one cared about.
That was a long sentence. I am worse the wear for alcohol, but I think it was grammatically correct. Or at least not too shit.
Anyway, I was four pints in, so I leaned in and said, ‘Do you want me to ask the band to play a bit quieter, so they stop interrupting your conversation?’ My dry delivery was lost on them and they said ‘no thank you, we can hear each other.’
I moved again. In a soft ballad song, others started speaking. At which point I lost all tact and said.
‘Shut the fuck up please,’ because I am always polite. An old man seconded my opinion. And I realised that I, at the age of 27, am an old man.
I cannot put myself in these people’s shoes. It makes no sense to me. I cannot fathom how you can be in a room, facing a stage where a band plays songs- that notably auditory medium- and talk. It’s like going to an art gallery and shutting your eyes. Well, it’s worse than that. It’s like shutting your eyes and standing in front of the paintings and waving your arms about, so other people can’t see them properly either. This was in London, that famously cosmopolitan city. In England, that famously alcoholic nation. If you want to drink and chat, walk five minutes down the road and you’ll find a pub. It’ll be called something quaint like The Flaming Abacus or the Architects Outhouse. Go there and have your shit conversations.
And take your fucking phones with you.