Went to a Rock Concert the weekend before last (did you notice how I said that SO casually, like I do it all the time?). Yeah, anyway, went to a Rock Concert two weekends ago (although husband says that, strictly speaking, it wasn’t a proper Rock Concert, more a Pop Concert, but I’m not letting him spoil it for me). So, as I was saying, went to a ROCK concert recently, but didn’t really want to go if the truth be told. I just felt a bit out of sorts one way and another – fed up with the rain/ got a bad back/ can’t be bothered/ what if it isn’t any good - that sort of stuff. The venue was Shugborough Hall in Staffordshire and there were Beatles, Queen, Commitments and Blues Brothers tribute bands on the bill, which was definitely our thing, so I don’t quite know what my problem was. As we say here in Brum, I’d just “got one on me”.
But you know how sometimes when you’re not looking forward to something it can turn out to be fantastic? Well this did. For one thing, it was sunny! Not bad for August. We took a picnic, not the sort where you prepare everything yourself and lovingly pack it and stack it into Tupperware boxes. Oh no. This was no ordinary home-made scotch egg and ham sandwich picnic, this was an M and S custom-built, posh music festival, rock ‘n roll type picnic - smoked salmon and cream cheese mini-bagels (OK but a little bit boring), chicken kebabs (delicious eaten hot or cold, apparently), frittata (not at all delicious eaten cold, believe me), sun-blush tomato and ricotta tartlets (yum) with a little pyramid of profiteroles (chocolate, and therefore can do no wrong) and a rustic cheese selection to follow (interesting). With grapes, obviously. Oh, and wine – lots of it, with a chilled bottle of champers to start. My friend and I had mounted a dawn raid on Marks and Spencer's Food hall early that morning having decided that we just couldn’t be arsed to DIY, and the most effort we wanted to put in would be ripping the tops off pre-packs. She is SO my kind of girl.
So there we were, not exactly Glastonbury but about as near to the mud, wellies and shorts experience as I really want to get. This was definitely the sophisticated side of outdoor music events, and as the sun set in glowing streaks of pink and dusky blue behind the looming grey of Shugborough Hall, and the music grew louder and louder (and we got more and more “relaxed”), any doubts I’d had earlier just melted away like butter on a hot waffle. Lanterns were lit, sparkly twinkly thingies were waved. First up was the Beatles tribute band who were FAB. Having drunk the champagne, a glass or two of dry white wine and now enjoying a rather pleasant red, I was definitely feeling no pain. My back began to feel much, much better. I tried to persuade husband and friends to leave their seats and come down to the front with me, to get a closer look, but they wouldn’t so I went on my own (sometimes a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do), weaving my way through the throng like a salmon swimming upstream. At first I stood on the edge of the crowd way back from the stage, gently swaying and singing along with everyone, but bit by bit I got closer until eventually, there I was, right at the front, just a short distance away from the band. Magic.
I looked around to see if either my husband or friends had followed me, but no. Ah well, I thought, it’s their loss. I was on my own in a huge sea of people, totally anonymous, and it suddenly occurred to me that no one in this crowd actually knew me and I was hidden from sight from anyone who did. And what a fantastically liberating feeling it was. So what did I do? What would any red-blooded, slightly pissed, middle-aged, off-the-leash woman do? Asked the two lads next to me if they’d dance, that’s what. Sang until my throat was sore, waved my arms in the air, staggered and fell over, that’s what. Made a complete and embarrassing fool of myself, that's what. But who knew me? No one. It was brilliant.
I was just thinking that I should really get back to our table before they all got really annoyed with me, when suddenly I felt a hand on my shoulder and turned to see my husband who’d come to find me.
“Sorry I’ve been down here so long” I shouted into his ear. He didn't look at all annoyed with me but I felt I had to apologise. “I just couldn’t resist. You must have wondered where I’d got to. Sorry about that. You been looking for me for long?”
“No, came straight to you” he smiled at me, looking highly amused. “We knew exactly where you were.”
“Ah yes, everyone knows I’m a Beatles fan. Where else would I be?”
“No, it wasn’t that. We’ve been watching you on the big screen."
”What big screen?” I felt the colour drain from my face. He pointed to the side of the stage behind me. Shit. That would be it then, about twenty feet high, with a picture so big you could probably see it from outer space.
Bloody hell, you can’t get away with anything these days, can you?