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Saturday, 13 April 2013

Over-familiarity syndrome: the curse of the regular gig-goer

You've been to a few of their gigs and then, on one fateful occasion, a band member greets you at the bar. "Hey, you were at the gig last week, weren't you?" Guiltily you admit it. Caught! Now there's no going back. At the next gig you'll have two or three of the band nodding at you (what do they do? pass on word about "that weird guy on his own being there again last night"?). Deeper and deeper! Now you're completely trapped. You can't "un-know" them, pretending that earlier acknowledgements didn't happen. So each subsequent gig becomes a chore. You know you'll have to run the social gauntlet armed only with the flimsiest of small-talk. Jesus Christ it's a nightmare! There's nothing else for it. You'll just have to stop going to their bloody gigs, maybe telling yourself you were getting tired of them anyway.

Yeah, a sad story but a true one. Something that's befallen your humble author on several occasions. When will I ever learn! Never - ever - talk to the band. They're not, you know, real people.

OK, in my less experienced days I admit I may have been mildly flattered by this kind of attention. For example, it's fatally seductive to take a friend along to a gig mid-way during a "recognition" period. If your friend happens to be a non-regular gig-goer (er, aren't most people) they tend to be unduly impressed by this kind of thing. "What! You know the band?" An old friend did this with such complete amazement a few years ago I genuinely wished we'd never gone. It felt as if it reeked of self-promotion on my side. "Not really", I mumbled, honestly enough (he wasn't having any of it; he thought I was playing it down, that I almost knew the band members as - god forbid - friends or something).

No, learn from your Uncle Niluccio. Don't ever greet a drummer at the bar or a guitarist at the adjoining urinal (gulp). Don't ever accept an offer to be on the guest list for their next gig or take a free copy of their soon-to-be-released CD single (unless everyone at the gig's getting one). Please, learn from my mistakes! Because once you slip into fraternising with the band you'll never enjoy another of their gigs. Gone is that precious anonymity. You'll be on a terrible slippery slope, hurtling toward excruciating conversations about the turnout at their gigs and the quality of their new songs (invariably not that good).

Ha!, you're thinking. He's just saying all this to doubly show off, humble brag-like. He probably loves knowing the bands, but reckons this is the only "cool" way of declaring the fact.  Alright, have it your own way! I'm a secret ligger*. I can't get enough of the backstage, "after-party" scene. But listen. Don't come crying to me when you can't go to your next gig because of over-familiarity syndrome!


*Does anyone actually use this word any more!? Not sure.

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