Sunday, May 23, 2010

#189: Part Time Love

Or, if you work in professional circles, 0.5 Affection, with additional duties as directed (may, or may not, include oral satisfaction).  I kid you not.  I once went out with a female who took her work so seriously that she asked me what value I was going to add to the relationship and what was I willing to bring to the table.  I added no value and brought nothing, which is clearly why we split.

That and she was a nut job of the highest order.

Concert tickets aren’t what they once were, but let’s face it, what is what it once was? And if you can understand that question then you’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din, and I bloody well wrote it. Gone are the days when the ticket was almost a work of art, now we get mass produced tickets that generally fade about two months after you’ve bought them. Poor ole Elton would be rolling in his grave if he saw the state of tickets now, that is if he were dead, which he isn’t, or at least wasn’t last time I looked. And Bowie! When we saw Bowie a few years back the ticket was just a lump of yellow paper that said, “Bowie. 3rd Row. Now fuck off”. Gone are the days when your Bowie ticket was placed in a little presentation envelope, courtesy of the radio station that was promoting it.

Why? Clearly for the same reason why all the merchandise is generic. You front up at a show and the shirts say ‘World Tour”, the programmes details a series of countries that the artist is playing in and the rest is gravy. Why personalise things? Still I was impressed at the merchandise at concerts by Tears For Fears and The Church, both of whom were selling signed items in order to minimise the amount of drunks bothering them as they went to the men’s room for a quick slash.

Shows have changed too – concerts are now long about the music, it’s the event. Each idiot has to outdo the other idiot. U2 are bringing a stage so bloody big that they have to construct it in the continents that they tour and leave it all behind. And why? Does a massive great stage mean they play better? Nope. What it does mean is that they can be lazier and make more mistakes as people won’t notice. Frankly once they did ZooTV they should have given the game away and merely played club gigs. Do the Bee Gees approach – play a few shows and offer them up on pay TV. Great.

Still, having said that, I did see Elton a few years back and he just sat his fat arse down and played for around three and a half hours. Nothing exploded on stage, no skyrockets, no screen behind him and no-one spat blood onto the front rows. Just a man, his band and some decent songs. I enjoyed it, as I did Bowie when he played here – I mean, how could you not? But more and more concerts are exercises in aerobics and callisthenics, with some miming thrown in. Gawd!

Bruce Springsteen once said that if he couldn’t see the faces of his audience clearly then he knew he couldn’t connect with them and that it was a waste of time singing anything but the most superficial of songs. I can’t help but agree. Nick Cave in front of 20,000 people isn’t the same as Nick Cave in front of 5,000 people. Don’t believe me? Ask Nick, and once he’s finished calling you a stupid fucking idiot, he might tell you the honest truth. Sorry Coldplay, U2 and co, bigger isn’t better, it’s worse. Same for those who have the intricate dancers and the CD turned up to full blast. It’s shit. If you can’t play the song acoustically then it’s crap.

Remember MTV Unplugged? We loved seeing a band like Aerosmith on there because they could play their songs without the aid of electricity. But crap like Great White? Gawd. We’d sit there and say, “Saw Great White on MTV Unplugged last night.”
“How bad were they?”
“Give me three fucking hours and I’ll tell you.”

Bring back the simpler times. Give me a ticket worth keeping and give me a show worth talking about or I’ll not bother going. Pissants.

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