[Not] Meeting The Boss

Five hundred lucky people are seeing a dream come true today when they meet Bruce Springsteen at a book-signing event run by Waterstones in London….I’m not one of them!

photo via “Bruce ‘The Boss’ Springsteen” on Facebook

Don’t get me wrong, I tried – but like 24,500 other fans I never made it to the head of the [online] queue and tickets sold out in seconds.

I was on a coach returning to Oxford from London at the time the tickets went on sale and sat excitedly waiting with both my iPhone and iPad open and ready. I even had my husband and kids primed to act on my behalf and they too were logged on and waiting.

Slowly the time ticked away on the LED display at the front of the coach – it was an agonising journey but I never doubted for one minute that I wouldn’t be successful and had already planned what to wear and decided to print out my blog post The River Revisited to give the man.

When the clock finally did strike 8 pm I didn’t stand a chance. I don’t think I even made it into the queue as the whole site crashed almost instantaneously although one of my daughters managed to get the “Sold Out” message before it crashed at less than two minutes past eight.

The event’s Facebook page was immediately engulfed with messages, mostly from gutted fans that were all very nobly trying to be happy for the few that were successful. Many were angry at the perceived mismanagement of the ticket sales, more still were understanding but frustrated.

When tickets started to appear on eBay not too long afterwards selling for £1,000 a pop, the anger stepped up a few notches.

Everyone who missed out had a story; most had been fans for four decades of more and all were disgusted at the behaviour of the few, although probably not surprised. As my husband pointed out “it’s hard enough getting one of the 70 odd thousand Springsteen gig tickets when they go on release let alone competing for one of just 500 tickets.” It wasn’t any consolation.

Over the intervening week since the event was announced, I have managed to get a hold of my disappointment although I have to tell you I cried when I realised that my dream would not be coming true. That is until this morning when I logged onto Facebook and saw the jubilant posts of those with tickets for tonight. One person asked if we [the disappointed masses] would like to see photos of the event “or would it make it worse”. More tears, but like a junkie I can’t stop reading the comments despite my daughters advising me to steer clear of Facebook for a few days until it has all died down. I doubt I will take their advice…


Too Old To Rock?

A couple of years ago I was chatting with a young IT Technician in the staff room at work and mentioned that I had been to a gig the previous night. His eyebrows shot up with surprise as he asked who I hfestivalad been to see?

When I told him it was New Jersey punk band The Gaslight Anthem his eyebrows disappeared into his hairline completely. “But I’m going to see them on Saturday night!” he stammered as if it were totally inconceivable that a woman his mother’s age listened to rock music, let alone went to a gig!

Never judge a book by its cover I warned him before sweeping out of the staff room, hoping that my cool rating had just gone up a notch or two.

Is there a popular perception that older people are too old to rock?  Or that they stick to their old favourites who are still touring later in life such as Dylan or The Rolling Stones?  True the audience at a Springsteen gig is often a sea of silver – where there’s hair at all that is – but only a few weeks ago I saw the amazing Jason Isbell at a venue in London’s Kentish Town.  Isbell, a talented singer-song writer, is only a couple of years older than my own children yet his audience was an eclectic mix of young and old, most of whom sang along enthusiastically knowing all the lyrics regardless of age.

As for The Gaslight Anthem, I stumbled upon them at a festival in the early stages of their career and have followed them ever since. Plenty of my friends still regularly attend festivals but are not too proud to admit that they like their creature comforts and these days prefer not to wade through mud or queue to use a shit hole (quite literally).  The camper van is their salvation meaning that at the end of a long day crammed with musical adventure, a half decent bed and flushing loo awaits them.  But is festival going in comfort less of a valid experience?

It could be said that us baby boomers invented popular music and we are certainly not ready to hand it over without a fight!