Thursday, June 09, 2011

Being Very Important (For A Night)

Ever had one of these? No? Not very important then, are you, eh? EH!
After my previous adventures in failed freeloading, I was on the guest list at the 9:30 Club again last week when Death Cab For Cutie came to DC. Again it was sold out, so again I knew this was my only way into the concert. Again, the girl behind the glass screen couldn’t find my name on the guest list, and started flapping through several sheets of paper. This time I leaned over far enough to read the list, and just as she flipped over one page, I yelped, “There it was, the one you just turned over, right at the bottom!” Yep, right at the bottom of the guest list, but at least I was on it. She smiled apologetically (when she was probably thinking, Okay okay, calm down, you grey-capped tosser) then handed me my ticket and my day-glo orange VIP wrist-band.

Very bastarding Important Person. I moved straight from the VIP ticket window to the door of the club, but a 9:30 employee standing out on the pavement stepped forward and diplomatically asked me, “Can I help you, sir? The line’s this way.” He pointed to a long queue of people that stretched all the way down the road and around the corner, consisting exclusively of a common rabble of paying punters. Did he really expect me to stand and mix with these mundane souls on a breezy summer’s evening? What if they saw my VIP wrist-band, got all jealous and resentful, then beat me up and stole it?

I apologized and walked to the end of the line, thinking, So, I’m just Vaguely Important. At least not until I got inside the club after standing in line for 15 minutes. Now just watch the crowds part as I stroll with ease into the VIP area. Someone even kindly unhooked the special VIP rope segregating me from the proles, as I was carrying two beers. That was respect for my Very Importance, that was. An employee checked for my wrist-band and then gave me The Nod. And then I was bang in the luxury middle of Importance Central, sitting on a stool directly overlooking the centre of the stage. It was like getting the best seats at the Cup Final, right over the halfway line, in the Royal Box. For free, with Princess Kate letting a hand carelessly linger on my thigh beneath the Wembley souvenir match programme. Looking down on those huddled, cramped, standing masses. How could I have spent the past 30 years being so unimportant?

The VIP area even had menus, though no one to take my order. It turned out that I had to re-enter the sweaty swarm of humanity around the bar to get my next round in, and it was a packed and thirsty Friday night crowd, full of what they tell me are nowadays known as young people. By the time I got back to my seat, the VIP area was packed too. Who would have thought that so many important people would be coming tonight? I didn’t even know there were this many important people in DC. My fantasies slipped away of there being free Death Cab for Cutie t-shirts and CDs, and stickers, and winsome Death Cab For Cutie PR girls, and other cool stuff for me to take home. How quickly we take our luck for granted and expect even more.

For once, though, I wasn’t complaining at all. They played for two hours and there was not a single person around me who sang along too loudly, or blocked my view, or danced by jerking his elbow into my ribs and knocking my beer over my Ben Sherman shirt, or took his or her mobile effing phone out and stood there texting right in my direct view, or in my indirect view, distracting me and making me involuntarily look down and read things I didn’t want to know about. Things that I am just too Very Important to need to even know about.


No Good Boyo said...

A worthy addition to the small but superlative genre of VIP disappointment literature.

Toby Young's "How to Lose Friends and Alienate People" comes to life in those various moments when he sidles through the rope barrier.

Ricky Gervais's post-Office career reaches a high point in the clip where Bowie serenades him in a Soho VIP area in "Extras".

Still, it's nothing - nothing! - compared to Access All Areas...

Gorilla Bananas said...

Aren't these events meant for young people? You should have taken the hint when they called you "sir".

Stay-At-Home Indie-Pop said...

GB, the indie-pop demographic is like the constantly expanding universe. My next band will be called The Young Pensioners.

Boyo, the Bowie-Gervais scene is one of my favourites from the excellent 'Extras' (along with almost any other scene involving "Barry from EastEnders"). Another notable archetype from the annals of VIP disappointment is one I've heard from every football fan lured into a corporate box for the afternoon: "All they had were stale sarnies and flat beer, you had to watch the game from behind a smoked-glass window, you couldn't hear the crowd, and none of the tossers in the box actually watched the game."

No Good Boyo said...

My own VIP experience was watching Eurovision in Kiev with the new Ukrainian government and Sid-James-esque mayor of the city. They watched the various gaylords intently while I got to know the future Mrs Boyo a bit better.

AMD said...

What happened to my comment, an explosion of true wit and incisive insight? Bloody Blogger.

Stay-At-Home Indie-Pop said...

Sorry AMD, never saw it. Care to re-create its wit and insight?

No Good Boyo said...

I thought you'd appreciate the sentiment here:'t-distract-from-camera-phone-use-201106153950/