We’ll forgive him the fact that he mentions One Direction this week – in typical Self Made Man fashion he gets to the point in the end. Read him right here, exclusively, every week!
We were forced to postpone a dinner party we were hosting the other night because one of our guests was having to queue overnight for concert tickets.
Steve had promised his young daughter that if ever the boy band One Direction came to town, he would ensure she got tickets. And he was as good as his word.
Little did he realise this would entail having to turn up at the venue at around 10pm on a Friday night_ 11 hours before the ticket office opened _ armed with sleeping bag and coffee flask, surrounded by similarly kind-hearted parents and young girls.
These days the vast majority of concert tickets are brought on-line _ quick, efficient, easy and done within the comfort of your own home. At least that’s the theory.
In practice, the internet crashes due to overload, the quality of tickets you buy relies more on pot-luck as how much you pay. And then there’s the extra charges chucked at you for the crime of using a debit card, a credit card, postage and packaging.
Steve’s all-night vigil revived memories of the days before on-line booking and two episodes in particular.
Back in the day, you’d rush out on a Thursday morning to buy your copy of Sounds or Melody Maker to find out if any tour dates had been announced before discovering how to obtain tickets.
There were two normal methods to buy them, Postal applications only, was a hassle-free method in that you’d post a cheque and a stamped addressed envelope but then came the tough bit. The wait.
I remember my joy on returning home from school one day to learn that I’d managed to get front row balcony seats for Rush at Newcastle’s City Hall in 1980.
My joy that day contrasted sharply with my mood on another occasion when my cheque was returned to me with a brief note to say I had been unsuccessful in my application for tickets for Rainbow at the same venue.
Queuing up for tickets took chance out of the equation though as Steve will discover to his cost, it can have its drawbacks especially if you happen to be standing behind two of the smelliest, most boring, sleep-deprived invdividuals it’s ever been my displeasure to come across.
My mate and I had turned up well-equipped to queue for tickets to see Thin Lizzy. Sleeping bag, beer, hot coffee, books, newspapers even a chess set. What we didn’t take was a cassette recorder.
Our two near-neighbours made up for that, especially at about 3am in the morning when the vast majority of those queuing that cold winter night were trying desperately to get a few minutes of shut-eye.
We might have been driven mad by their selfishness but at least we were warm, wrapped up in our duffle coats, hats, scarves, gloves and sleeping bags which is more than can be said for the next time, we decided to queue overnight for tickets.
To call it a spur-of-the moment decision is an understatement. A group of us had gone out for a few drinks and at kicking out time (10.30pm in those days), we made our way to the bus stop planning to return to our student digs.
On our way, we noticed people heading towards the City Hall and on asking why they were doing so at that time of night, we were informed that Bruce Springsteen tickets were going on sale.
So after a quick diversion to the cashpoint, we decided to join them. The trouble was that while everyone else had come prepared for a bitterly cold night, we definitely hadn’t.
What followed was unquestionably the coldest few hours of our lives even though, in stark contrast to my previous experience of queuing all night, the people closest to us could not have been kinder or friendlier.
A couple from Berwick kept their small stove on most of the night and allowed us to warm our frozen hands while someone else actually had a spare overcoat which the three of us took turns in wearing.
By 6am and with hyperthermia setting, in, those around us felt so sorry for our freezing selves that they agreed two of us could head off to the Central Station for a hot breakfast, leaving just one to man the queue. (If memory serves me correct, for that particular concert, it was one ticket per person, hence the queue which snaked right around the City Hal).
Never have I been more grateful to get my hands on a ticket than when the box office opened at 10 and 20 minutes later, we were at the front of the queue.
Relieved as we were to end our ordeal, all of us vowed never again to repeat the experience _ and I don’t think I have ever since.
So when Steve and his lovely wife Sue finally get around to taking up our offer and coming to Chez Nous for a night of fine wine and rich food, I’ll open a special bottle to honour his own personal queuing ordeal.
Standing for hours on end to see The Boss is all well and good but for bloody One Direction!!!!