I’ve been out and about a bit the last couple of weeks, Spring finally making me stop hibernating. Last Wednesday we went to see Elbow at the O2 in Greenwich, and on Thursday Olof Arnalds at the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch, two totally different venues and performances that generated a plethora of emotions.
I am a massive Elbow fan, seeing them at Jodrell Bank was one of the outstanding musical events, I booked a couple of days off work and immersed myself in all things Elbow. I had never been to the O2 for an ‘event’ before, and the place itself was kind of breathtaking in its largeness, restaurants, bars outside and in, hordes of security guards and guides, clear signage it was the very model of modern concerthalldom. However once seated, it was very different experience, blistering air conditioning caused the very expensive beer to take us both to the toilet more than was comfortable for the rest of our sardine crammed aisle, And we were, crammed. The poor man next to me, who looked uncannily like Greg Davies resembled a collapsed concertina as he tried to maneuver himself into a seat designed for a slim twentysomething (not really Elbows target audience). As always Elbow were great, Guy charmed the pants off us but sitting in a chilled air craft hanger while contorted & did not create any kind of atmosphere, and we went home deflated.
The following week, after work, I went to see Olof Arnalds, an Icelandic singer. At first glance the Ace Hotel is one of those achingly trendy boutique hotels frequented by hipsters (there was indeed plenty of face topiary and tweed jackets around) however, everyone involved was both helpful and polite and there really was mixed crowd of all ages in the downstairs bar. People were standing, sitting on the floor, sitting at the bar.
I came across a recommendation for OA via another one of those peculiar series of events, someone on Twitter mentioned her, listed to her and she was playing once in London 2 weeks later – so had to go. It was amazing.
I look at these musical events as a kind of metaphor for life (or at least my life).
Recently I was invited to a big do, for something that I really enjoy. I don’t do big well. Big makes me nervous, I struggle with eye contact and need to go to the toilet more than is normal, I sweat even when it’s cool. I like small and intimate, to look people in the eye and to be relaxed. A year ago I would have said yes, drunk too much to bolster myself and regretted it. I said no. Getting to know yourself sometimes takes time, and sometimes events happen that nudge you in the right direction.
In the words of OA ‘ I would rather be wrong and alive, I can still be strong and naive, I fight seriously not to take things seriously.’
Here’s the whole song: