get over it, this is rock and roll.
this week i went on a four day band marathon, travelling back and forth to glasgow with some friends to see green day and the gaslight anthem. monday night, 7.45pm, i was standing squashed in the crowd at the glasgow secc watching joan jett play cherrybomb. behind me there were two middle-aged huge joan jett fans, decked out in joan tshirts, fists pumping and bingo wings wobbling with every beat. me? i’d spent most of the day trying to follow orders to “man up, gemma”. unsucessfully. so i was a bit jumpy; shakey and light-headed. i don’t do mosh pits very well.
so i was freaking out a little. suddenly from behind me i heard the joan jett fans say: “get over it, this is rock and roll.” and that hurt a little. was i less of a fan because i didn’t want to stand in the mosh pit? i admire everyone who likes mosh pits, but i just don’t understand the things. why would you want to stand somewhere where you knew you were going to get battered? why would you purposefully want to jump around with elbows and fists out to hurt others? if i was performing at a gig i would come out on stage and say: welcome to the show everyone, thanks for coming out tonight. now let’s all just take a step back and sit down cross-legged on the floor. we can all clap happily and sing joyously along, but mind you don’t elbow anyone with your clapping.
with two more bus journeys on the agenda i had plenty of time to think about it. what is my rock and roll? are you any less of a fan if you don’t enjoy reciprocating bruises in the name of the band? and what makes me want to go back to more gigs, time after time? luckily then came wednesday night, 10.11pm, and the gaslight anthem could shed some light on it for me.
and so, my rock and roll. my rock and roll isn’t bruising yourself black so you can be within fan-girl grabbing distance of your band, it’s making that cross-country journey just so you can see them for one night, and where you play them on your ipod the whole way there and again with even more gusto the whole way back. it’s about being able to sing every word even if you choose not to, and you can pick out a moment of your life in every line and listen out for the line in your twitter profile bio! rock and roll is in that moment when the room suddenly comes alive, everyone starts clapping, and that one insane part where every single person forgets themselves and joins in irregardless of whether they can hold a tune or not. my rock and roll is having that one band you can always turn to, your band, where you can turn on your ipod and your friends are waiting in stereo with a song for every occasion. and, the cherry on the top of my rock and roll cake? meeting your band after the show and them turning out to be the loveliest people you have ever met: signing anything going, posing for any number of pictures, spending so long talking to each fan, giving you guitar picks as you’d waited so long in the rain, laughing at your accent ..
and so they were lovely, our night was lovely, and my faith in rock and roll was restored. conclusion? rock and roll isn’t whether you can stick it out in the mosh pit or not; it’s what it means to you. it’s what you make it. if you want to make it sweaty and bruised at the front of the crowd then that’s up to you. if you want to make it what you fall asleep to every night then that’s up to you too. and if it’s what makes your days that little bit better, gives you something to look forward to – that pile of tickets on your bookcase-, and an excuse to fill your cupboard up with band tshirts? well that’s even better. it’s not just only rock and roll. but i most definitely, definitely like it.