A review is on its way containing things that are actually worth discussing, but here is a little rundown of the experience.
Just look at that line-up…
Well, I only have myself to blame for this. Living in the northern summit of Portsmouth, I could see the stage being built from my bedroom window. Considering the £7 ticket price, I was kind of surprised by the line-up’s strength, at least if boybands and X Factor are your thing. They most certainly are not my thing. It could have subsequently been my worst musical nightmare. At least had I actually decided to go at last minute.
Which of course I did. The glutton for punishment that I am, I wasn’t going to an ignore a live event so on my doorstep. However, the terror began before I even reached the entrance, as there was a surreal rush of horror after I realised that I had just told somebody that I was in a hurry… because I might miss Alesha Dixon.
I got there in time, and everything looked as though it was going swimmingly. It was a massive, massive family picnic, and the weather was absolutely glorious. Then as Alesha Dixon took to the stage, and many people rose to their feet, I realised just how ‘family’ and ‘girl’ orientated the event was. I’m not sure that I have ever felt this out of place. Six foot isn’t especially tall, but I still felt that I was a monster. Sure that meant that I was always going to get a good view, but that sadly meant that I always felt like I was in someone’s way.
Also adding to that irritation came the realisation that I was in everyone’s ‘selfies’, with many taken with the dreaded ‘selfie stick’, one of which I was clobbered with, as its holder threw a tantrum when the phone fell off. I’ve definitely ruined a fair few attendees’ photos, tainting it was my perpetually miserable demeanor in the background.
On that subject, the amount of references to phones and the internet throughout the day was a real sign of the times. Alesha Dixon asked the crowd to put their phones in the air (which most already had done, filming her performance), Matt Cardle fell further down in respect when he said ‘#justsayin’ (complete with “hashtag”) during his onstage banter. And later, Blue spoke individually announcing their personal Twitter accounts to follow. Even established tribute band The Silver Beatles’ ‘John Lennon’ was discussing twerking and Kanye West. It seems that one can’t escape the neologisms of 2015, even in the 1960s.
And just to add insult to the matter, it took ten minutes for a teenage boy to laugh at my aged Nokia 1208 phone.
Indeed, the key demographic for most irritating people on site were the 11-to-16-year-old boys who seemed even less sure than myself as to why they were even there, before discovering a new purpose – screw with everyone else’s day. One 12-year-old behind me seemed oblivious that everyone around him were laughing at him at just how scummy he sounded. While waiting for Matt Cardle: “Take your fuckin time why don’t ya?”.
Also, a group of boys took the opportunity to throw bottlecaps at a group of young women for no reason. They laughed, and the girls were clearly hacked off, but they came across as though it was a last ditch attempt for attention to flirt. Their attempt at being the evil jocks from 80s teen-coms. Humorously, they suddenly stopped their antics when I started speaking to The Sexiies.
No really, that was the name of their group. After they spotted that I was taking notes, they asked me why, before member Emily introduced the group: “Do you want to write about us? We’re an up and coming girl band. You have a camera too? Do you want a picture?. While they didn’t perform, they gave some damn good screams and hipshakes during Blue and Matt Cardle’s sets. And as a bonus, they were a very friendly bunch to spend the day with. So there we are, I’ve written about you. The least I can do for getting me through the day.
Aside from when they started laughing at my phone as well.
Prize for biggest twat of the day goes to the fifty-something woman who was presumably drunk, punched her way to the front of the crowd through the kids, and in a total injustice, she actually succeeded. Not only that, but as she got there, she threw her beer over those behind her (with emphasis on me), deliberately with a evil grin, and stole the cups of water that were handed out at the barrier to do the same again. She needless to say, was not very popular and got a lot of angry feedback (“WHATCHA MEAN? SO WHAT? EVERYONE’S THROWIN FUCKIN CUPS!” – Her voice, somehow even more grating than Alesha Dixon’s trademark cackle, which is even more abrasive in real life). Still, she sadly got what she wanted.
In a strange moment, waiting for Blue, I was quizzed by a woman next to me about whether I knew anything about the headlining band Blue. Yes, I did. How young did she think I was? Judging from her reaction to me saying that I was twenty-five, she was clearly way, way off. Perhaps I should be honoured.
That said, there was a bizarre change of atmosphere during Duncan James’ speech before the final song of the night (‘One Love’), on the legalization of gay marriage in the USA, and that they had performed at a Gay Pride event earlier that day. There was a really celebratory mood, until quite a few of those near the front had the rug tugged from beneath them. He didn’t even need to finish the sentence. “As a gay man myself…”. To be honest, I had missed that memo too. Perhaps I should read up more on Blue.
Then again, maybe not.
Besides all of this, for what it was, the show seemed to be a massive success. But was it quite so fun for the ears? You’ll have to wait for a review to find out.
Worst bit: Losing all hearing in my left ear, after a young woman screamed as Blue’s Simon Webbe winked her at. Besides, he was clearly winking at me. Der.
Best bit: Losing all hearing in my right ear as a group of girls screamed having spotted a used condom and accidentally trodden on it. Suddenly, and explosively, the fact that it was tied up became obsolete. We shouldn’t have found that nearly as funny as we did. That will haunt them for life.
That said, the conversation taking place behind me will haunt me too, as people discussed their suspicions on how it actually got there, expecially how it was right at the front, and next the ‘dressing room’ portacabins. Considering the sexualities of the performers, their favourite theory about who the backstage suspects were, probably isn’t correct. I’ll leave your sick minds to imagine their visions.