I woke with a heavy head this morning. At first I thought it might be because of all the fantastic creative ideas stuck up inside there. Then I realised that was artistic vomit, and in fact it was because I’d had a few pints the night before. The site of such debauchery? Another fantastic Broken Records gig, this time as part of The Pleasance Sessions in Edinburgh.
I’ve followed the band from the very beginning. I even get confused by some of their song names now because I still think of them as the original names before they got too classy to play ‘The Russian Song’. There’s always something different whether it’s the fantastic delivery of a favourite song or the lead singer forgetting some of the words. Yes, you did. That’s ok though, we still love you, just a little less. Being great friends with the band it’s always a lot of fun seeing them perform so well. It’s always fun to heckle them too. That’s why they love me. Well that’s why they sometimes forget to remind me to turn up at least.
I was however inspired to write a fictional piece, entirely fictional, completely made up, by some of the chat with the various regular faces that I love to bump into at such events.
So here’s a story I called ‘I’m Not Bitter’. And of course, all characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living, dead, drunk or floppy haired, is purely coincidental.
I’m Not Bitter.
Eight years, six months, five days and three hours. That’s how long it had been since Jake had first seen his favourite band. Eight years, six months, five days and three hours. That’s how long he’d been waiting for a shout out.
He had forced his way through snow storms to yell his glee at badly attended Christmas gigs. He’d made excuses to his friends, missed weddings, hell he’d even forgotten his grandma’s birthday. All to see this band. She’s dead now. Not the band, the grandma. He’d been to university with half of them and shared a house with a bunch of the others. Platonically of course. Jake wasn’t a groupie.
He wasn’t bitter. Well not really. He had a pint of bitter. In his right hand. It was trembling. Because Bob, the big guy with the booming laugh who could at best be called a hanger on, was glowing in the praise from his second shout out of the evening. He didn’t even really acknowledge the first, that’s how little it meant to him.
Jake sat there with his bitter – his pint that is, he wasn’t bitter – staring up at the stage in disgust. All he wanted was a little mention of the pride with which they took his support. He listened to them over the roar of airplane engines, over the scream of children on trains, in the whistling wind of the Edinburgh summer. But all of that meant nothing compared to the power of those words in person. He even sang along, prompting the lead singer at some of his most drunken gigs to remember the words of his own songs. They were rock and roll – well mostly the drummer – and Jake had helped them rock.
That’s how important Jake was to the band. They could rely on him. They could trust Jake. They couldn’t trust Bob, he was already turning away from the band to chat up someone’s mum. God that Bob was a liability. Jake might have to have a word next time.
So as the ringing chorus of his favourite song, ‘No Parade’, came to a sublime end, Jake stared up in hope. The lead singer stepped forward, wiping his stupid, floppy hair away from his eyes. He stared out over the crowd, making eye contact with Jake, and paused. There wasn’t a wink, but it was implied.
“We’ve had a great time tonight guys. And with a gig this good, I think it’s the perfect time to thank probably the most supportive of our fans. It’s been fantastic having them here, and sometimes I think we fail to acknowledge those who truly mean the most to us.”
Jake’s heart started to flutter.
“I’d like to thank my mum.”
The glass whistled as it flew through the air.
Jake wasn’t bitter. And he didn’t have a pint any more either.