If there’s a show on in town, it’s always worth searching the hashtag on the band on Twitter. Invariably there will be a few poor souls offering tickets to the show at face value, due to the last minute drop outs of their gig-going friends. On the other hand this is great news for people with nothing else to do at the last minute and a way to avoid the disgraceful, yet somehow legal, fleecing of the public that goes on at secondary ticketing sites.
The law of averages means that instead of two friends going to the show, in many cases one friend will give the ticket to a stranger, and unless they’re living in a scene from a romantic comedy where they meet and fall in love, the net result is we have two people at a gig with no-one to talk to all night.
So how do these people kill time between the opening and main act coming on? What if they arrive early?
Being on our own at a gig can transport even the best of us back to our childhoods, sitting in the back during interminably long car journeys on the way to see relatives, or coming back from holidays at the seaside. Instead of “are we there yet?” the cry is “when are they due onstage?” Short of regressing completely, and grabbing a colouring book and some felt tip pens, what should the solo gig goer do in these situations?
Here’s a guide to help you pass the time…
1. Play A Fictional Game of I-Spy On Your Phone: This can kill quite a few minutes. Pretend to call someone, then say “I spy with my little eye something beginning with J” If someone hears you, give them a knowing wink, or perhaps even tap the side of your nose with your forefinger, as if you’ve really found a good one. It’s important to take the game very seriously for it to work properly. After a brief pause, you may continue, “No…………..No…………No. …. Ooh, good one, but no……….No…………that begins with a G…………..No…….”
After twenty minutes, it’s time to switch it around.
“No……….no………Yes! Well done. Okay, your turn. Ummmm, okay, Kettle? Kitchen? Kangaroo?”
If played well, this can easily fill the gap between the support band leaving and the headliner coming onstage or even, if stretched, to the drum solo at a Hawkwind concert.
2. Set out a picnic on the floor and have a tea party. Setting dollies around your picnic blanket is optional, but will ensure you get some pretty strange looks.
3. Newspaper crossword. A similar tactic is used by people who have been stood up at a restaurant – (NB crying over the answers will a) give the game away and b) smudge). One way to turn this to your advantage is to complete it quite quickly and with authority. Should people notice they may be terribly impressed, until they see your answers include such obscure words as wgahumphtmf, rettrqqb, and dfplhee.
4. Torment The Merchandise Stall. You’d do it at a shop, so why do we never test the merchandise at a show? Ask to try on the t-shirts. Ask if there’s a changing room. Ask for another one in the same size “in case it has a slightly different fit”. Ask if it comes in a different colour other than black (it won’t). Ask if they’ll have any more stock for Act A if you come back next week at a different concert for Act B. Ask the opinion of the seller as to whether the t-shirt suits you, or (better) matches your shoes. If there are pin badges, ask if you can try them all on too. Especially if the stall is busy. See how frustrated the poor merch guy gets before you walk away complaining “if it was a pound cheaper I might be interested”…
5. Drink heavily. It’s what everybody else is doing. You’ll fit right in….