Cracker by Damian Christie

Blow Me

Before the papers get hold of it, I guess it’s time for me to confess my own U2 concert fracas.

I asked a young woman standing next to me – somewhat rhetorically I confess – whether she would mind not being so annoying, please.

It was no cigar-smoke to the face, and in my defence it wasn’t without justification, although it’s possible that after arriving hours early so we could get a park, then standing in the rain, my nerves might have been a little raw. When U2 took the stage, the girl’s boyfriend was right behind me. He launched into song, his lung capacity only matched by his complete lack of tune.

Don’t ever assume anyone is more interested in hearing your voice than the singer they’ve just paid $100 to see.

Fortunately, the pitchless wonder in question was clearly a U2 fan-come-lately. I, on the other hand, am a U2 fan-gone-early. So when they finished playing the first few tracks, off some album or other from the past few years, and launched into “I Will Follow”, he shut up, and I could enjoy myself.

It was around this time he was joined by his girlfriend. Not since Sam and TP have two people been so perfectly matched, although while those two seemed perfect because they both worked at Shortland Street and seemed to really like each other before TP died in a car crash on the same day I had my 22nd and we all had to turn the music off and watch the TV because we knew someone was going to die but we didn’t know who it was going to be, these two were perfect together because they were so damned annoying.

Dance appropriately. You’re at a rock concert. Not Showgirls.

Actually while we’re here, all women reading this should take the time to consider to what extent their dancing resembles that of a stripper. I mean, sure, if you want to be a stripper, by all means, but at least earn some money from it. Generally speaking, unless your garter is filled with money that is only legal tender within the walls of the licensed premises you’re dancing in, there is absolutely no need to raise both your hands up and run them through your hair.

More importantly in this case, because this is the bit that ultimately led to my fracas, if you’re not in a Nelly video, there’s no need to shimmy your arse down your partner’s body, all the while looking about as sexy as the local Avon lady. Particularly not when shimmying your arse against him means straddling my calf at the same time. Repeatedly.

I gave a few stern looks, but it didn’t seem to do any good. I left an elbow protruded, hoping that as she bounced and gyrated she’d have a Pavlovian response to the constant pain in her ribs, and stop. I shook off her arm, as she rested it on my shoulder so she could hold her phone up for what seemed like half the concert, playing a garbled mess to the no-doubt thrilled friend at the other end.

Don’t waste your time filming a rock concert on your camera, or playing any of it down the phone to your friends. 3G or not 3G, it will look, and sound, like shit.

Christ, what I would have done for a cigar right then.

Instead, I asked her if she could not be so annoying, please. And it seemed to work. She seemed vaguely horrified, relayed it back to her friends, and then ceased being half as annoying as she had previously. And we all had a good time.

Meanwhile, up in the corporate boxes, people were being entertained by tobacco interests, blowing smoke and being punched out. For two minutes apparently. King hit. Shame perhaps that the first time anyone has every heard of you as an MP and you come across like a tosser, smoking cigars in crowded environments (before getting knocked out). Yes it was outside, on a balcony, but cigars are awfully intrusive and best enjoyed where there’s plenty of space and like-minded individuals. Chugging stogies with your tobacco mates ain’t gonna win the votes of mainstream New Zealand, bud.

You want the real irony though? More so than a health spokesperson being smoked after blowing smoke courtesy of the smoking lobby? Russell Brown was allegedly enjoying the hospitality of Ticketmaster’s corporate box at said concert, and he’s never bought a ticket in his life! And I’m sure if any smoke was being blown around that box, you would have been happy to have been on the receiving end…