Last night I went to a Mogwai gig and sat in the Old People’s Seats.
For the past couple of years I’ve been fighting the urge to sit down at gigs. I remember when we went to see Radiohead with my pals Jane and Rory in 2003 and they had seated tickets. I thought they were craaaazy! How could you not want to be right down the front, gazing straight up the nostrils of your idols, with strange, sweaty strangers pressing against you and/or sloshing lager all over your head. What’s not to love?!
Hmm, yes. Well, I blame the Picture House in Edinburgh for speeding my descent into middle age. It has this great upstairs bit with plush benches to sit on that have a perfect view of the stage. The first time I went to a gig there I was in the standing area. I kept looking back up at the Seated People and thinking, Man. My feet hurt.
Last year we were back there to see Gary Numan. I didn’t know feck all about Gary Numan except for Here in my car, blah blah blah blah so I reasoned: It’s not like I’m an actual Gary Numan fan, so it’s acceptable if I sit down on the comfy seats, just this once. It’s only fair to leave more room for the true Numan lovers down the front of the stage.
But when we arrived at the Picture House last night I made a beeline for the stairs. In fact I made Gareth eat his dinner very quickly because I feared the comfy seats would go quick. AND I WAS RIGHT. We got there half an hour after doors opened and we only just managed to nab a spot on the sweet, comfy, lovely, cushioned benches.
Mogwai have been my pet band for a wee while now. Gareth was always been the big fan and had to coax me along to their Usher Hall show a few years ago. He warned that they’d be loud but I did not expect to feel like my lungs had been hurled against my ribcage; the floor vibrating like a tractor beneath my feet. I wanted to diiiie. But they really grew on me and I became a big nerdy fan and have have seen them four times since. They are just hilarious and huge and foxy and loud and they tweet what they eat and did I mention they’re really fucking loud.
ANYWAY I remember thinking when I was down the front at one gig a wee while back, I wonder if they band can see us? I wonder what it feels like to be in a band for years and years and years, and you started out seeing all these young, sexy faces in the front row then over time it becomes a sea of baldy heads and people who came along still in their work clothes? Are you cool with that because the fans still love you, and you’re not as young as you used to be either? Or do you pine for the days of the young sexy faces?
Last night I discovered there is a downside to the cosy seats. Sure you are comfortable, and you do not get bruised or shoved or have a plastic cup crushed against your skull, but you do get mature blokes intent on recording a whole song holding up their stupid little Flip video cameras right in your line of vision. PUT IT DOWN OLD TIMER. And said bloke is so excited to have a night away from the kids he insists on making the most of it by chugging a pint every fifteen minutes and having to get up between every song to go to the loo, for fuck’s sake not AGAIN you incontinent bugger.
So the music was exhilarating and so very very very delightfully loud and today I still have that post-gig delirium where your whole body buzzes and you just feel glad to be alive. I don’t think it matters how old you are or where you sit, if the music moves you, it’s all good.