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If I’d Wanted to Be Trampled By Elephants, I’d Have Gone on Safari.

Gig Goer(s) of the Week, part 9 – Peter, Bjorn & John at Manchester Academy 2

I think I should start a blog about manners and politeness. Clearly there are a lot of people who don’t know how to behave and who have no respect for themselves or for those around them. As a child the phrase “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” was drilled into my head over and over again. I think it’s pretty good advice and I do my best to follow it. Sadly, most people do not.

Last night, despite still having the remnants of a nasty ear infection and despite being utterly exhausted from a sleepless, strange and rather promising week, realising that I could get to the front and actually see the gig, even though we turned up quite late, I dragged The Ledge to the front of the Academy 2. I mean, it’s Peter, Bjorn and John, right? Even though they “rock out” a bit more live, I didn’t expect any more of a hassle than occurred at Leeds Festival, which was to say none at all as the crowd were very gleeful and friendly. Stood to my right was a rather drunken woman who was swaying about, but she kept smiling at me. Her boyfriend looked disinterested in Maps, but you can’t please everybody.

About four songs into the main set this woman, who had been singing loudly (off-key) and rather gleefully, disappeared, presumably to the bar or the toilet. Immediately upon her leaving, this monster with a face that could crack glass pushed her way next to me. She started bouncing about like a mad lady and was, for all intents and purposes, bodyslamming me. Her singing involved lots of “la la las” as she didn’t know the words. I elbowed back a couple of times, wary that she had a full glass of red wine and I was wearing my favourite stripey t-shirt which has a lot of white on it. Eventually she stopped, but she was exhorting one of her friends to come stand with her. I could see the boyfriend who was waiting for the return of the lady who had been next to me lean in and say something. He probably said his girlfriend was coming back – which is fair enough. It wasn’t one of those shows where you snooze you lose. The crowd was not heavily packed in and, well, politeness dictates that if someone can get back then you should let them! This girl responded by berating him for standing with his arms folded and not dancing because apparently it is wrong of someone to simply watch and enjoy, if you aren’t dancing it’s not fair on the band. He ignored this. How can you tell someone else how to enjoy a gig? Eventually the girlfriend did return and they both had to move back because, well, they clearly weren’t the “Biggest Fans” and didn’t deserve to stand at the front.

This is the point where Elephant #2 pushed her way up and I got shoved into the nice girl to my left. There had barely been room for one person when Elephant #1 appeared. There was certainly no room for two people each the size of two people. But these two did not care, I mean they were the Biggest Fans in the room, everyone else could go to hell. I was at this point treated to loud screechy talking through the next 3 or so songs which involved, mostly, drunken screams of “He’s so hot! I am going to snog him! I am going to make him kiss me! He’s so hot!” directed at lead singer Peter, poor guy. Then they started trying to get his attention by shouting these things at him. It became “You’re so hot! I want to lick you all over! Come give me a kiss!” And exclamations of “He’s not listening to me?! He didn’t hear it! If he did he’d come kiss me.” Now, I’m pretty sure he did hear them because at one point he glanced over and actually grimaced. I mean, if he’d fled the stage at the sight of these two I wouldn’t have blamed him. He’d probably have preffered snogging the shirtless fat, sweaty guy stood a couple of rows behind me. I really wanted to tell them it wasn’t a Take That gig and could they please shut up with the talking as the rest of us were trying to watch the band, but I didn’t think it was worth the argument.

That is, it wasn’t worth the argument until the band started playing “Young Folk” and these two started bodyslamming me again, dragging more mates into a small space that couldn’t fit them, screaming “Where’s John?” (playing drums where he had been through the whole gig, you dumb fucktards!) and, even better, tapping me on the shoulder and going “Smile! You look like you’re not having fun.” (No, you asshats, I’m not having fun, I’m being bodyslammed by a pair of elephants who are shouting over the music and hurting my ears.) I glared at them in hopes they’d back off and went back to trying to hear the gig.

Then Elephant #1 lit up a cigarette. Now, I hate smoke. I really really do. When it was legal I tolerated it, despite chronic sinus problems and asthma. I no longer have to tolerate it because it’s illegal to smoke indoors. So I politely leaned over and said “Could you put that out please?” She responded with “No.” Excuse me? I pointed out she wasn’t meant to be smoking and she said “I don’t care. You can’t stop me anyway.” In that split second I had to make the decision between staying put just to piss them off and making more judicious use of my elbows to defend myself or humiliating her by sending security after her. I opted for security. Sure enough, he was in there straight away and took her cigarette. She may have lit up again the moment he left, but everyone in the crowd saw it happen and I think I made my point of – you can’t smoke and yes, I can stop you. Result.

The whole thing however left a sour taste in my mouth and although I could have returned back to where I was as The Ledge is very good at saving my spot, I figured I felt ill, I was tired and I didn’t want a fight with a herd of drunken animals.

The point? Why is it that people feel the need to make a spectacle of themselves in the hope of the band spotting them and branding them the “Biggest Fan?” Everyone there is there to enjoy themselves and everybody enjoys music in a different way, so why force your enjoyment on others, particularly when it spoils a gig for everyone around you? Most of the audience was in fact dancing without bodyslamming anyone or screaming like a slutty hyena over the band. So ladies, it’s time for you to learn some manners, to realise that you are not the world, and to develop some respect for both yourselves and for those around you.

Posted by JustHipper on 3rd November 2007 at 1:01 pm | comments (9)
File under gig etiquette,Gig-goer of the Week,manchester gigs,manners,mosh pits,peter bjorn and john,Rant.