Wednesday 19th March 2014

I still have no curtains. Wearing a beanie pulled down over my face to block out the light so I can sleep better is not a permanent solution. I need a better and less itchy, woollen answer to the window problem.

I had been looking forward to tonight ever since I booked my ticket in January. I almost didn’t. I thought “It will be noisy, full of people, I’ve never been to this venue before, and, I’ve no idea what it will be like”. But I knew that I would regret it forever if I didn’t go.

On the bus into town, I met a friend’s brother on the bus. We chatted a bit and I barely missed a word over the rumble of the engine, hardly needing to lip read.

In the city centre, I joined a line outside The Cathouse to see Heaven’s Basement. We were right next to their tour bus, a huge double-decker thing with blacked-out windows. For the past few years, I’ve been a hermit. The last gig I saw was McFly at the SECC when I was thirteen years old. That was…..six years ago.
I was very excited. I love their music and they’re supposed to be amazing live.
The Cathouse was much smaller than I expected. We showed our tickets to people at the door and walked up brick stairs with red lights to a man at the top who was patting people down for weapons. He didn’t bother with me. Guess I don’t seem like the stabbing type. Maybe I was smiling too much. The concert area was a stage with a smallish floorspace and a bar. Behind that was a merchandise table and a lounge area.

It was not like any concert I’ve been to before. Besides McFly, I’ve been to a lot of classical concerts and recitals (willingly and otherwise), where everyone claps politely after a piece and people who cough are given annoyed glances. The highlights of classical concerts I’ve been to was seeing Ian Clarke (the best flutist and flute composer in the world, as far as I’m concerned), James Galway (another great flutist with a phenomenal sound), and a boring school piano recital when some oyster catchers had a noisy and vicious fight outside the window.

This was completely the opposite of a classical concert. Everyone was packed together on the floor, waving their arms, shouting and going mental. I didn’t know that there was two hours of supporting bands first, but they were brilliant. I had arrived early and got to see both of them. I also got a space very near the front where I could see the drummers (or at least see them on the front-row people’s phones).

The music was amazing! I wore my earplugs so I wasn’t reeling from the volume, but could still hear everything clearly. The two support bands were really good. The Dirty Youth and Glamour of the Kill. I recognised some of their songs which I’d heard on the radio. Everyone was really excited and the second band, Glamour of the Kill, asked for “A wall of death”. A mosh pit appeared in the centre of the crowd. I was quite happy to be at the side of the floor, safe from getting battered. Bright lights, noise so loud I could feel it buzzing in my chest, and people packed tightly together. In the past it would have been an Auditory Processing Nightmare for me, a recipe for sensory overload with my synaesthesia adding to the mix.
I absolutely loved it.

Finally it was time for Heaven’s Basement. We waited for half an hour, as people tested the equipment. There were three drum kits on stage, one for each band. Just as everyone was getting bored, they came on stage. The music was just as good as everything on their CD, and they were full of energy. It was an amazing concert! I tried to see the band members’ colours, but I under the bright stage light I could only see a vague yellowish glow around the singer. To be honest, I wasn’t really thinking about colours because I was enjoying the music too much. They are all incredible musicians and gave it everything.

At classical concerts, when people want an encore, they shout “Encore!” at a polite volume and applaud. Here, we all chanted, “Here we F***ing go!”, until they came back on. This seems to be the acceptable thing to do at a rock gig, and it’s much more fun.

Concert finished, I bought a Welcome Home Tour t-shirt from the table, drank two free cups of water (it was really hot in there!) and dashed for one of the last trains home.

On the train a drunk was swearing at the ticket attendant. When the ticket attendant swore back, he was surprised as hell and kept saying “What?” in disbelief. I realised on Saturday night that it’s a very good idea to avoid people who may be a problem, and I moved carriages just in case the universe thought I hadn’t learned my lesson yet.

Before my hearing became clear enough to realise that songs had proper lyrics, and the background instruments separated out from a mushy din into individual parts, I thought that music with words, really any kind of songs, were pointless. Without my new improved hearing, would I be in a crowd of strangers listening to blasting rock music? I doubt it. All of the music which I love now would still be a garbled, sludgy mush. Music is one of the most important things to me. Nowadays I can’t imagine, and sometimes barely remember what it was like before my new hearing and awareness that there was so much wonderful music out there! Every time I listen to a CD, the radio, or hear the words in a song, that’s thanks to Johansen IAS therapy

I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy the gig or not, but there was only one way to find out and I absolutely loved it. I went home smiling after one of the best nights of my life.

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