Well, I’m glad you asked.
No I didn’t stay in on Saturday night, I went out.
It began by watching the lead singer of a band wearing double denim casually leave his spot onstage, mid-set, to chat to the barman, whilst singing the odd line while the band and the rest of the audience watched on with mild-amusement.
Once satisfied, he slapped the barmen on the back and ran towards the stage at the speed of light. The crowd parted almost just as fast, as he decided to do what looked like a dive towards the stage, on his stomach… like a penguin. Only he wasn’t a penguin, he was a 6 foot 5 male with a mullet.
When he started crawling back onto the stage, whilst somehow still singing, I respectfully decided to tap for another drink. At which point, I had emptied 3 wines into my soul and was feeling rather great.
Half-way through the next drink the next band I really came to see, began to set up. This cued my brown-haired Bianca to arrive, with a mum, dad and sister in toe. Not hers of course; her boyfriend’s, who’s band was on in a matter of minutes.
She lived with with them all, after three years of dating. These scruffy musical gigs in dirty pubs and club basements were a common family affair every Saturday night.
“It’s called Miscommunication. The next music video for you fuckers, ” my friend’s boyfriend said, and the drums roar with this intense peppered rhythm.
He begins watching her from his rock-star pedestal in the sky; Bianca’s boyfriend. Something he never usually does on account he’s too self-consumed in the rush of performing and egotism. But tonight was different. He even goes as far as calling her out between songs, which marks my beeline for the bar.
What a waste, is the only thing I could think, as I try to fish out my wallet from the depths of my bag. Her boyfriend wasn’t particularly likeable, in all the times I’ve met him, however, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him.
I felt like I was the only one in the room wearing glasses, which even with my wine-tinted frames on, it was pretty hard not to see what was happening.
His hair became matted with sweat and he was wearing a key chain clipped to his pants. Christ, he even had the same fluffy haircut as hers. Almost like he was manifesting her being with him, apart of him. Burying her in his appearance.
Little does he know, the reason why shes leaving him wasn’t in front but rather sitting behind him. His best-friend from school, playing drums.
Bianca and him went to India together on a mates trip a few weeks before and fell into something stupid. Bianca described it as kinda of like love but more exciting. Lust; which of course shows up in the form the most unattainable people in our lives.
Before their set started, I watched her over the rim of my wine-glass binoculars, watching him take promotional photos for the band. As usual, a vacant expression takes up space on his face, in what can only be described as the look someone gives you right before they figure out the answer to a question. Except in his case, he never quite gets to the answer.
That’s who she thinks understands her now. Not the boyfriend of three years, who offered her a family, a home and a community of friends. But people change, or so I tell my dad.
I look at this 20 year old again, trying to pin-point exactly why this unimpressive human looked like a good idea. Maybe he was simply an escape, with a thrill attached? A grander, more passionate reason other than a lack of love or incompatibility to leave someone and everything behind.
Like many a break-up, she was rejecting a whole package deal of a person for boyish good-looks and no impulse control.
I notice he doesn’t look at her once, but she continues to glance over at him.
She told me that she felt an affectionate wave towards the boyfriend just two days ago. So are things better I wonder…
She glances over at the drummer again.
… probably not.
The boyfriend continues to watch her, drenched in sweat. He looks like he is savouring the moment as one for him and her, as she danced next to his sister and mum.
Simply enjoying the moment and nothing less, nothing more. Only he watches her so intensely it almost seems like he’s making her into a stamp, just through the act of staring. Savouring what colours hover around her wavy hair, which curl and flick at the ends.
Having finally cut myself off from the wine, I still feel a strong undertone of uncomfortableness, buzzing about.
“Doesn’t she look like a version of Dora Explorer with her cute hair and cargo shorts?” The boyfriend’s mum asks me. Bianca just smiles.
” Idk, I don’t remember the episode Swipper fucked Dora while Boots was onstage somewhere…” The wine in me answered.
“Yeah, she does a bit,” I decide to say instead, and smile before reacquainting myself with the direction of the bar.
On the way over, I noticed another band member setting up. I want to go tell him that I didn’t care he was a slim spider that tries to blend into the wall and that I liked him just as he was. But again, I chose the road most travelled and tap my card with that familiar ping sound bringing me instant gratification and a drink.
Tonight was a complex one. But also quite simple and pleasant if you don’t bother to read the fine print.
A break between sets ensures and a group of lads enter the room. They are all big, tan guys, with stretchers in their ears and loud chants in their mouths.
When the band begins again, the lead singer asks them how they are, before shaking his sweaty fro on stage. No guitar this time, he’s unarmed.
He stares purposefully into the crowd and then next minutes he’s in the crowd in a moment of need.
He pauses in front of Bianca and tries to plant a kiss on her, in which she moves his mouth to her cheek, like a reflex. It’s quite awful to watch. Then he pretends like he didn’t see her and continues his search through the faces and people smothered in green-blue lights.
Coincidentally, the mood then changes and turns to one of sorrow.
“I don’t think you want it at all,” he screams into the mic.
The wine washes over me again without taking away my ability to sway, and so I feel blessed.
Bobbing along with the rest of the crowd like an apple in water. Drunk yet happy. Awash in heavy thoughts about people and love and texture and hate. The alcohol helps the heaviness not catch me.
And in the middle of this sad, god-awful rock song, I look around me and the world stops.
And I think, I am 22 years old in this moment. I love life, music and I love Dora… Bianca without meaning to. And I love being out on a Saturday night with these strangers and familiar faces.
And it’s all so complex, so messy. Every minute, every song.
A miss-match of all the layers of sound unmixed, unbalanced and rushed in the way rock and live music often sounds. Like one long exhale of thought with aggressive drums tossing all the notes up into the air.
Bianca continues to sway and watch the boy she can never have.
Her boyfriend watches her from the stage like he’s already missing something.
The drummer looks as stupid and clueless as always, hitting the drum’s stretched-out skin.
And the lads raise their glasses in salute with bleached blonde hair that looks doushy and too expensive.
Definitely a Saturday night well spent.
And it feels all too raw and too loud to be enjoyable, yet it is. With people I don’t know.
And colours dancing and people swaying and it’s a gift, I can’t help but think.
To be in this mess called living.
Apple Pie Saturday night.
A layered mess.