Thursday, 3 March 2011

Guest Post: CJ Skuse - Dos and Don'ts When Going to Rock Gigs

I am delighted to welcome CJ Skuse, author of Rockaholic, a tale of rock star obsession gone nuts. Rockaholic hilariously and sharply explores the fantasy and reality of celebrity worship and what true love really is.


By all means get there early to get a good spot, even days early, but DON’T be surprised if however early you are, there are people in front of you. There is always someone more obsessed than you are. Also, prior to said gig DO invest in a really good camera, preferably one with a very good zoom. And shock-proof. And beer proof actually.

If you’re going to queue up for hours or even days outside, DO make special friends with someone who lives in the area or who loves you very much and give them lots of warning about what your intentions are. That way, they can do all your fetching and carrying for you whilst you are waiting in line and you can keep your place. I can recommend energy bars as the snack for the rock gig queuer-upper.

DO respect mosh pit hospitality when you get inside the venue – if someone falls over, help them up, don’t trample on their heads to get closer to the stage. It’s not very nice and just shows up your desperation. And DON’T barge, especially if you’re a bloke. It’s just annoying and coupled with the stink of your beer-soaked t-shirts and acrid armpits, it’s quite gross.

DO sneak a Capri Sun onto your person if you can. The drinks prices are extortionate at gigs and it’s notoriously difficult to get a free cup of water that is being handed out by the security people at the front, so an emergency stand by drink that you can secrete somewhere on your person is always a good idea to keep you going. And because it’s not a bottle, it won’t be confiscated on entry. Just make sure the straw hole isn’t compromised or you could end up unexpectedly wetting yourself.

DON’T anger the security guards or first aiders. They may have seemingly stupid rules like ‘No crowd surfing’ or ‘No kidnapping the lead singer’ but they are there for your own safety (and sanity).

DO duck out early and get your merch, or pop out between songs (or preferably during that bit when the band goes offstage for a breather), otherwise if you head to the merch stand before the gig (or after when there will be a queue and everyone’s trying to shove past to get to where they want to be) you’ll find yourself getting very grumpy and crosspatch and that’s never a good thing.

DO support the support act. Even though you’re not there to see them, the band you are there to see like their support or they wouldn’t have asked them out on the road. Booing and chanting ‘Off off off’ is just wrong. And hey, if you don’t want to see the support, turn up an hour after doors open and you’ll miss them altogether!

DO wear the right stuff. Pockets are essential for phones/cameras etc and I take my money in notes along to gigs and shove them inside my sock. Less chance of pick pockets in the crowd. Ideally also, wear shoes with a thick heel (think of the old Spice Girl shoes) to give you better lift so you can still see the stage even when the tallest, fattest person in the world stands right in front of you. Alternatively, Nike high tops have a good bounce on them if you don’t mind pogoing and have a good sports zoom on your camera.

DON’T get off with someone who says they are a roadie for the band because you think it’ll get you closer to them. They won’t respect you in the morning and nine times out of ten, they are just a technician for the venue and have never even met your heroes.

DO rock out. Scream your heart out, sing your lungs out, dance your legs off. However badly you sing, however awkwardly you dance. That’s what your favourite band was put on this earth to do for you - to make you feel invincible. So DON’T be ashamed to be a rockoholic.

C.J. Skuse was born in Weston-super-Mare in 1980 and began writing seriously aged 17. Her first novel Pretty Bad Things was released last year to widespread acclaim. She is now working on her third stand-alone novel for teens.

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