Thursday, 1 January 2015

Back To The Future 4.

And so it's not Christmas and what will you do?

As we awoke this morning we all discovered 2014's corpse lying in the bed next to us and its blood was all over our hands. Before the body was even cold, we couldn't wait to confess what we had done. "I had a tedious, empty 12 months and I'm only pretending that I'm in any way happy so that you'll feel worse about yourself", we all posted on Facebook. "It's been a rancid rhino ball of a year. Thanks for being part of it". Then just to prove we even had so much as a trace of a pulse in the last year, we listed our favourite things which were all way better favourite things than anyone else's favourite things. Best TV Programme: Russell Brand on Newsnight. Best Book: Russell Brand's book thing. Best Podcast: The last episode of Serial when Russell Brand brings that woman back to life and then fucks her.

I buried 2014 next to 2013 in an unmarked, shallow grave in my garden this morning. I do that every New Year's Day to each passing year except 1992-96 which I'm having trouble letting go of, obviously. I do this because I like to look forward. And by that I mean I like to want to look forward and then do absolutely nothing about improving my future. But 2015 is different. This year I mean it. I'm going to have a great year because I'm going to take risks and try new things. I'm going to travel and taste new foods. I'm going to ski and volunteer at an animal sanctuary. I'm going to learn Spanish and see the Northern Lights and watch The West Wing and hang out in a jazz club and climb a river and punch a mountain and read Tolstoy. Out loud. On the Orient Express. 2015 is my year, people. I will have no fear. I will accept all and rush with glee into the unknown. I will understand what the hell Robin Ince is talking about and I will only look forward. I will only see the future because, in 2014, my past sneaked up on me and whispered "Psst... Remember me?"

After 27 years, Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine finally stopped a few weeks ago at the Brixton Academy. It was an incredible gig. All energy, celebration and it was properly sold out. You know those sold out gigs you've been to at the Brixton Academy? They WEREN'T sold out. THIS was sold out. They couldn't have squeezed another person in there. There wasn't any room for air. It was uncomfortable, unhealthy, dangerous and utterly brilliant. Jim Bob and Fruitbat are the youngest men who ever lived and the venue itself bounced to their every beat. On my way to the gig I thought if this really is going to be the last time I ever see Carter... I'm going down the front. 

I never go down the front.

Why would I? I'm 46. I'm supposed to stand at the back and judge, I'm not supposed to get involved. Maybe I shouldn't go down the front. I know my place.

But I really wanted to go down the front.

It's a stupid idea. I'll get hurt.

No. I won't go down the front. It's ridiculous. I probably won't be able to get down there anyway. And by the time I do, the gig will be over. No. I'll stay at the back and take notes on how I think the band could have done things better and then hand the notes to them afterwards, just like I always do. Mind you, they never thank you, these rock stars. Rude. Still, I'll just stay here at the back and tweet about the gig like I did with Kate Bush. No good can ever come from going down the front. I'm staying here.

Then Danielle Ward and Simon Evans turned up. "We're going down the front", they said.

Have you ever seen a calf in the middle of a stampede of cattle? That's what being down the front is like. Or like drowning when the sea is made of large, sweaty men and every wave pushes you, grabs you and punches you in the head. Once you finally get down the front (certainly of a sold out Carter gig) you know that you will never return. You want it to stop but you look behind you and the shore is so far away as another wave of huge men lashes against you, the taste of their salt water in your mouth. I lost Danielle quickly but I remember seeing Simon's smiling face bobbing up and down a few times before the waves washed me away and he was gone forever. Do Re Me, So Far So Good ends and the waves settle for a fracture of a second before Let's Get Tattoos begins and the tsunami returns. And all you can do is join in. You have no choice. If the sea bounces, you bounce. If the waves crash forward, you crash forward. If the ocean pogos and punches the air, you pogo and punch the air. While clearly dying you are clearly living. Why have I said no to this for so long? This feeling of fear and fun all at the same time? I haven't been down the front since my 20's. Why? It's utterly amazing. It's completely terrifying. I am at the gig. The people at the back are on Twitter and I'm at the gig. Kate Bush was right. "Put your phone away, get down the front. Let's go mental 'cos I'm gonna do Babooshka", she said and she was right. And that's when I got kicked in the face.

Thousands of people crowd surfed over my head that night, each and every one trying their very best to break my lovely neck. Then one large human bit of flotsam was carried by the waves and as he passed, he kicked me right in the face. Hard. It genuinely felt like he'd left a footprint on me. And did I cry out in pain? No. I thought "Aww... That takes me back".

I got kicked in the face and it made me nostalgic.

This is what a gig is about. This is what I used to be about. Going down the front and living. What's the point in going somewhere if you're not going to go there? What's the point in doing something if you aren't going to do it? You wouldn't go to a restaurant, order a meal and then stand as far away from it as possible and just look at it. But I do similar all the time. I half-do things. I stand at the back of gigs, I go to a new restaurant and order the food I definitely know, I go to a foreign country and ignore it by reading a book. I ignore books by just seeing the film. But not after being down the front at the Brixton Academy. Not after getting kicked in the face. I needed the 90's to come back and tell me that 2015 is going to be THE year. Looking forward, moving forward. My face got kicked back to the past so that I could see the future. He kicked me and it felt like a kiss.

I finally made it back to shore. I escaped the waves of large men and came out invigorated, changed and covered in sweat. I was reborn.

Ignore your lists of the past and your status updates about last year. Let's make 2015 THE year. And, hey, let's all dig a shallow grave in the garden because Michael Legge is dead. LONG LIVE MICHAEL LEGGE.

Not the one from Angela's Ashes.

Hello. If you really feel like you want to do something different in 2015 then why not give a try? Thank you.

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