We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]


Mark Holland is, as Instapundit would say, on a roll just now. I wonder if some things that were said at that Friday meeting I seem to want to keep mentioning has something to do with this. Mark was there, and seemed genuinely surprised by the high esteem in which his blog is held by all those of us present who are familiar with it. Maybe that encouraged him. It would be good to think so. If so, this nicely illustrates the value of old fashioned face-to-face contact. “I really like your blog” is not the kind of message that carries quite as much conviction if you cannot see the whites of your admirer’s eyes.

Mark writes about (and/or links to) many things (crappy old British sex comedies, the sport of bicycling, politics in Slovakia) but he told me something rather intriguing that I do not recall reading about at his blog, although this could just be me.

Mark and some friends attended a Bruce Springsteen concert some years ago, in a Manchester football stadium. He and his mates arrived early for the thing, and took their seats way up high in the stands, about a quarter of a mile from where the performance was going to be given. Then, a Big Person approached them. They were unnerved. But no. The Big Person guided them from way back and way high up, right to the very front of the assembly, into Bruce Springsteen Heaven. And they duly watched it all, feet away from The Man. (Sorry, Boss. Sorry.)

Thinking about this some more, I reckon that it makes sense, is probably often done, and is therefore not news to those readers and writers of Samizdata who are also regular attenders at rock gigs. But I am not such, and if you are not this either, allow me to reinvent the wheel for you.

What do you absolutely not want in the front few rows of the crowd at a major pop gig? Two things, I suggest. One: Uncool People (old, ugly, dressed in corduroy jackets, etc.). And worse, two: empty seats. Such horrors would completely spoil any video footage of the event. When everyone is standing in a scrum, this is no big problem. (Presumably uncool people can simply be dragged backwards from the front, and cool people dragged forwards.) But in an all-seater stadium, such as this was, with individual seats booked, there is the real threat of horrors in those vital front few rows.

So how do you prevent these? Answer, you do not sell the front few rows, but instead handpick the people at the front from the early arrivals, like a night club queue minder picking out cool people for a club. Mark, being cool and several degrees cooler back then, I dare say, was, together with his (I assume) comparably cool mates, selected for the front.

You might at this point be expecting one of those blue MORE things, after which the significance of this is explained in more detail and its relevance to lowering income tax etc. is all gone into with proper thoroughness. But, that is all.

4 comments to Cool

  • Richard Thomas

    Brings back awful memories of queueing all night for Iron Maiden tickets, getting there around 11pm the previous day and being 13th in line, getting to the box office and finding out that the first two rows had been reserved for the fan club. Grrr.

    On the bonus side, it was a great gig and we got to see Aztec camera’s equipment lorry back into and take out half of a shop front.


  • I’m reminded of a joke we used to tell local crews on the tour:

    Q: What has ninety-six eyes and fifty-one teeth?

    A: The front row at a Hank Williams Jr. show.

  • Richard

    I once met a Japanese friend who’d lived in the States for some time who laughed at me when I said the word ‘cool’. For a Brit it’s normal practice and part of everyday language; for her, it was a throwback to the 80s or 90s and couldn’t believe that the Brits were so un-cool (for want of a better) to still use it. Maybe some of the Samizdata American contingent could shed some light on this, to avoid any future embarrassment that might arise.

  • Actually, we once got some concert karma back at a Tori Amos show— due to various issues with Ticketmaster (like their not bothering to send us our tickets), we were in a bad mood as we took our nosebleed seats. Then this guy came up and told us (and the couple next to us) that the supporting act guy had purchased four tickets to be given to folks with “the worst seats in the house.” They weren’t front row but they were considerably closer. So sometimes I think it might be the performers’ memories of when they went to concerts and could only afford the back row seats— there’s a little bit of spreading the love around.