Where There Were No Doors

Follow your bliss and doors will open where there were no doors before - Joseph Campbell

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

And wiser

Hallo again dear reader. It's been a weird week and no mistake. Enough birthday angst to render the next four birthdays completely redundant, and a whole bunch of completely unrelated and unexpected angst that arrived neatly packaged in a series of telephone calls. So by 10:30pm on Saturday I was easily the most stressed I've been this year.

Which is why I found myself standing at a gig by one of my favourite bands, who were clearly on form, and yet completely unable to connect with the music, with the vibe of the venue... with anything. That never happens to me. Seriously, I'm always Mr.-Lost-In-Music at gigs. But on Saturday I stood rooted to the spot, not far from the stage, and watched an amazing band play amazing music. And I couldn't even really hear them.

It became more and more frustrating until I was forced to search out one of my friends... "this is just weird, I can't stay here. See you later - and say goodbye to the others for me"... and then I left... making my way downwards through the darkening spiral of the club, past some gorgeous goth women and impressive-looking goth men (whatever else you say about goths; at least they make an effort) and out into the cold night air of North London.

Across the street from the club sat a young goth with his head in his hands. A girl (his girlfriend?) sat next to him with her arm around him. A couple of friends hovered. I paused. "Is he OK?" Inevitably this provoked immediate defensiveness. "What's it to you? He's just had too much to drink. Fuck off." One of his mates stepped between me and his friend. None of them was older than 19.

I shrugged. "None of my business, mate." And I walked on. The poor guy had his friends with him, and there's nothing more important than that. But he was clearly having a bad time with psychedelics, not alcohol, and I have a Phd in Sorting Out Bad Trips.

I was the wrong person to tell to fuck off just then. But who knew? By the time I'd walked up to Highbury and Islington tube station my head was pretty clear. The birthday angst had dissipated. It's easy to forget just how much of Being Young is actually Being Stupid.

I got home a little while later. My flatmate was watching Stop Making Sense on DVD. I sank into the sofa, grabbed a bong, and watched the best concert film ever made. Slowly my life as a 34-year-old began...


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