There are a great many things I find troubling about the world. You know this. I spend a lot of time on this blog, now that the children actually want private lives that are, well, private, writing about the things that piss me off. The children used to, so I had to find something else that was the equivalent.
It seems only fair then, that when things are good, I should attempt to write about those too. Obviously, it won’t be half so much fun. Nothing is as much fun as ranting about the internets indiscriminately pretending you are Socrates when in fact you’re a crashing, opinionated bore who just knows how to touch type.
However, it can’t all be misery and deep gloom. Sometimes, sometimes I am actually cheerful. Admittedly it is only for brief periods of time and there’s usually some dark presence lurking behind, raining on my parade and whatnot, but needs must when the devil has your handbag as my friend used to say.
So today I took my mum and the kids to see The Proclaimers in concert at rickety old De Montfort Hall in Leicester. It is, to be scrupulously fair, a pretty terrible venue. The acoustics leave a lot to be desired and the seating can sometimes be a bit peculiar, but it is a venue I saw The Wonderstuff in when I was 17 and nearly got killed by a guy crowd surfing, so you know, it holds a special place in my heart.
The Proclaimers was a little more sedate. I think it was, on reflection, the first gig I have taken the children to. They’ve been to concerts. They’ve been to plays and poetry recitals, and all sorts of cultural shenanigins, but gigs are not really our thing (I deny all responsibility for the Tallulah/Taylor Swift situation. Her father took her). I wasn’t sure how they would react.
They all got dressed up, which I thought was hilarious. Oscar spent a lot of time worrying about whether he looked too casual, or too formal. I tried not to say: ‘Who the hell cares? It’s dark and everyone will be looking at the stage.’
He also made a poster. It was small, but rather lovely, so we took it, even though it was not really that kind of gig, and we were too far back for them to see it. It would have looked like a midget was holding a stamp, but hey. It made him happy.
What made me happiest, apart from the fact that we were all having a ruddy marvellous time even though it was very late and we should have been in bed, was that the venue was full. It was also full of every possible sort of person. Old people, young people, hipsters, squares, grannies, ravers, house wives, children. You name it, we were all there, out on a Monday night, to sing, to dance, to clap to cheer, and occasionally (Sunshine on Leith) to get a bit choked up.
It was wonderful.
I thought back to my teens, when I had a very definite notion of what was and was not cool. I thought back to the fact that when I was younger it was not just me that seemed to have a very clear demarcation line between things that certain types and ages of people could and could not do. How sad was that?
I think it is wonderful that I can live in an age where it is totally fine if I take my children to a classical concert or a ballet, or my mum to a gig or a stand up comedy show. I think it is wonderful that so many young people I am being introduced to because of my children, don’t worry about what is ‘cool’. What is cool to them is doing what they like, being what they like, saying what they like. They will be totally ok with knitting and also loving Metallica for example, or reading graphic novels and worshipping Shostakovich. They just like what they like and that seems to be spreading out in ripples to everyone else, and when that happens, life is good, because we can all celebrate the good things together, and stop being hung up on things like shame and guilt and what’s in and what’s out, and what we think we look like.
Tonight we looked like a huge hall full of human beings having an absolute blast, and that was pretty beautiful in my book.