Posts tagged ‘gigs’

Who Be That Flying Over My Head? (How I Survived the Mosh Pit)

Fun and Merriment in the Queue

I guess they don’t call it a “mosh pit” for nothing…

…as I found out on Monday night.

My Massachusetts lads were back in town again. Now if you don’t know who my lads are, we’re talking Staind, who have become somewhat of a grand musical passion of mine. Seether was opening for them, and I happen to like them too, although not with the same fervour which I reserve for Aaron and the boys.

Luckily, my mate “Alexi” is mad enough to queue up at gigs hours in advance in order to secure a good spot at stagefront. When I arrived at The Forum in Kentish Town at half past 6, I heard my name being called out – and there they all were, my mates from the Staind Hard Rock charity gig last September, including Steve the Headbanging Glaswegian, who’d given me that drumstick Aaron Lewis signed for me.

The heavy steel barrier was swung open for royalty to step through (that royalty being me of course!). And there in the freezing London night, we stood waiting for the venue’s doors to open, having a gay old time snapping pics and engaging in lighthearted banter. I even found a fellow Hungarian in the queue whose smile, when he found out my surname (and knowing its meaning), grew ever bigger. Not sure if anything else grew bigger – that would be a topic for another blog post!

Once inside, I managed to secure a place at the stage right in front of the barrier and right in front of the mike stand reserved for the lead singer – no one save for the security guys and the professional photographers could get any closer. This was going to be great. Or was it? To be honest, I nearly didn’t go to the gig at all, then pretty much decided to on my flight back to Blighty the other day. Having seen Staind back in September, I had misgivings about how I’d react and yes, I’ll admit that when they performed “Believe” I lost it and cried. The song has particular meaning to me, and when it was first released I really DID believe.

Still, it was worth it. I mean hey, when a bloke in the audience shouts out “I love you, Aaron!” you just gotta know these guys are good. Talking about love, I was certain I felt the little Scottish lad behind me pushing his erection into my bum (no it wasn’t Steve!). I figured he was just caught up in the excitement of the gig and the mosh pit (and having my fine self right there in front of him). I didn’t want to make a fuss, as he did seem like such a sweet lad, but enough was enough. It was then when I realised it was probably the box from my earplugs, which I’d stuck in my back jeans pocket. Guess that accounted for the wee laddie’s rather unimpressive… umm… stature?

When Seether first came out, I thought the mosh pit would be a breeze. Yes, I’d been warned by my mate who’d gone the night before that the Birmingham crowd had been a bit wild, but these spoiled Londoners shouldn’t be too bad. I felt confident I could stick it out – and stick it out reasonably unscathed. More fool me! Everything was fine until Seether launched into what lead singer and hair-dye afficionado Shaun Morgan referred to as “a love song.” Well, guess what that love song was? “Fuck Me Like You Hate Me.” This sentimental little ditty set off a near riot, and I had images of myself at A&E with broken ribs and a punctured lung. Talk about Dying For It (Amazon US/UK/Ca)…

This hysteria continued off and on, and I began to hope Seether would finish their set and go back to South Africa on the first flight out. Having been to two Staind gigs already, I thought conditions would improve. I should have known – the lads always get into some of their heavier songs at live gigs (I’m dying to see Aaron do an acoustic show). The moshing began in earnest and, despite signs at The Forum warning that crowd surfers would be ejected, so did the crowd surfing. At one point I had to duck down so low I was nearly on the floor as the very same lad once again sailed over our heads, with the crowd control guy dragging him out of our way. I’m not sure who I wanted to get away from more – the surfer or the crotch of the crowd control geezer, which was right in my face. I can only imagine what this scenario looked like to those who couldn’t tell what was happening.

Of course there’s no greater climax to a good evening out then the commute home. As usual, I’d checked the National Rail website in advance to make sure I wouldn’t be stranded. The only glitch in the system from what I could see was that I’d have to change overground trains at Stratford. I left Kentish Town dying of hunger and in plenty of time to get home, only to arrive at Liverpool Street station to find it virtually empty of people, and no sign of anyone working there except for some bin men who were ready to go home. According to the electronic board, a train was about to depart within minutes to Stratford, but it didn’t say which platform. I ran up and down, seeing no such train. I realised I’d better get out of there and quick, so I raced back to the tube (where I’d just come from) and jumped on the Central Line to Stratford.

Fortunately, there was a train scheduled for when I arrived, but not only was it to be on the wrong platform, but I’d have to stand in the cold for another 30 minutes for it to turn up. I made friends with an irate journalist from the Times, who blamed all these transportation cock-ups on the London Olympics. (All I can say is that I’d better emigrate the hell back out of here before 2012!) We killed time by chatting on the journey home as our train kept stopping for no discernible reason outside nearly every station, with us sitting and sitting as the hour grew later and later. (I’d like someone to please explain to me how I could leave Kentish Town just after 11pm and not get home till half past one. This journey shouldn’t have taken too much more than an hour.) As I despaired of ever seeing my bear again, I heard the sound of angels. Some passengers seated nearby were listening on their camera to the exact same music I’d heard earlier – we’d all come from the same gig!

Anyway, at least I got to hear about the journalist’s night out in the West End, which consisted of seeing an updated version of Romeo and Juliet which, unbeknownst to her and several other members of the audience, was a hiphop hodgepodge of the old version. According to my new buddy, the original cast had walked out due to the musical’s financial woes, leaving the new cast to read from scripts. Apparently most of the audience had walked out too, save for three old ladies, one of whom finally hobbled out of the theatre on one crutch.

And people wonder why I’d rather go to a gig than go to the theatre.


(see the rest of the photos on Flickr:

Staind video I shot:

Seether video I shot:

January 30, 2009 at 12:16 am 4 comments

Hangin’ Wiv the Gypsies… Balkan-mania in the City

They promised us an exciting night of Balkan Boogie and Gypsies, and since I needed to schlep into the city to collect my Staind (avec Seether) ticket for their gig at the Astoria in January (yeah, I’m going to see them AGAIN), it seemed like a good idea to make a night of it. My friend made the drop (with the ticket) on the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral, and off we went to what is apparently an Italian restaurant by day, and a Romanian restaurant by night. (Those cossetted city boys probably can’t handle anything more exotic than a plate of spag bol for lunch anyway.)

Our authentic Romanian meal (very good, I might add) was served by a rather cute and authentic Romanian waiter with a tiny silver spear through his left eyebrow (I thought the Romanians only put these things through the hearts of vampires? I guess times have changed…). I couldn’t help noticing that he always made certain some part of him was in contact with some part of me whenever he came to serve us. Now before you go getting all excited here, bear in mind that this was a respectable establishment in a respectable part of town – with St. Paul’s Cathedral within spitting distance, I might add!

While waiting for the live music to kick off, we were treated to an endless stream of pre-MTV black-and-white music videos (circa 1950s-60s) of Romanian singers and dancers – obviously an attempt to entertain us as we scarfed down our stuffed cabbage. It was amusing… for about five minutes, after which the natives became restless (or at least I did) and clamoured for the real thing. And at last we got it… though it wasn’t quite what I expected when I signed up for a night of Balkan music and Gypsies. The food and the waiter (and music videos) might have been authentic, but the band sure as hell wasn’t. Not unless Cornwall has suddenly been chopped off from Southwest England and moved to the Danube-Sava-Kupa line.

“Now Mitzi, will you please tell me what in heck Cornwall has to do with the Balkans?” I can hear you asking. Well, you’d best direct that query to the Ragged Trousered Philanthropists – a “Balkan” band from – you guessed it – CORNWALL. Indeed, their pedigree becomes ever more dubious when you discover that their lead singer has a heavy-duty Cockney accent coming from beneath his waxed handlebar tache. I have to admit I really enjoyed them, despite the song they did about cockroaches and despite the argument I had with my friend about the age of their drummer – a lad I placed at about 12 years old and he placed at about 21. We did agree on one thing – that someone either spiked the sour beef soup we had for a starter or our vision was much worse than we thought, because we both swore that the band’s name was misspelled on their bass drum, reading Philantropist, not Philanthropist. Photographic evidence has proved us both wrong, however. From now on, I think I’m going to start hanging out with people who can see better than I do. (Anyone have Stevie Wonder‘s phone number?)

Philanthropist, Shilanthropist, it was all good fun. The band’s music had a very Russian flavour to it, with that manic speeding-up tempo that makes you want to abandon your chair, drop to the floor and start kicking your legs up into the air. In fact, I kept expecting the Russians at the table behind me to suddenly break into one of these Cossack breakdance routines that would’ve put my back out for sure if I dared to attempt it. Sadly, I had to content myself with banging the flat of my hand onto the table in time with the music. I still can’t move my fingers.

Now no self-respecting faux-Balkan band would have been complete without faux-Romany Gypsy girls dancing and jumping about and making that nasty little trilling noise with their tongues (I kept wondering if I’d somehow ended up at a Middle-Eastern wedding). And yup, we had ’em aplenty. In fact, more and more kept turning up throughout the evening, one of whom looked like a reject from Camden Town with her multicoloured dreadlocks and tattoos, another I’m sure had to be named either Sharmila or Preethi and was about as Romany Gypsy as Dame Edna Everage. I had to feel sorry for the poor Romanian waitress who kept dodging them with plates of food – she didn’t look at all happy. Frankly, I’m surprised one of the Gypsy girls didn’t end up with a stuffed cabbage stuffed up her –

On that note…

October 6, 2008 at 3:48 pm 11 comments

A Night With Staind… The True and Uncensored Story

Yup, I figured I’d rope you in with that headline! I bet you’re imagining all sorts now – wild nights filled with endless amounts of Jack Daniels, weed, blow and, of course, sex. I mean, we are talking about the big bad boys of rock and roll (and the little erotic writer), aren’t we?

Well, the joke’s on you, baby!

I am speaking of the American alternative rock band Staind who, as many of you probably know, happens to be a major musical passion of mine. Several months back I secured a ticket to their gig at the O2 Arena (opening for Nickelback… arrgghhh…), then out of the blue on Tuesday night I received an alert on Facebook that they were playing a special gig at the Hard Rock Cafe in London on Wednesday night to benefit breast cancer. I couldn’t believe my luck when I was still able to get a ticket.

So off I went on the frequently unreliable London public transport system, reckoning on an interminable evening of standing for hours needing to pee and having nothing to drink and no one to talk to. Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Okay, so we had to queue outside in the ever-increasing cold till 7pm, and I was already panicking that I would lose a good spot inside because I’d need to nip to the loo the moment I entered the venue. I made the pierced lads in front of me swear they would save me a piece of floor, only to lose them once I got inside. It turns out I didn’t need them anyway. With complimentary pink fruity “virgin” cocktail in hand, I ran to the loo, did what needed to be done, and made my way to the head of the gathering crowd, using the excuse that I’m short to secure a place of honour right in front of the stage. I then proceeded to get comfortable and strip down to my Staind vest top (yes, the very same one that was waylaid in Denver the other day), using the lad on my left to hold my jacket and the one on my right to hold my drink.

As the Hard Rock crew came past with munchies (usually neglecting us poor sods at stage-front), a little party started up, consisting of me, the tattooed Glaswegian headbanger next to me, his lady friend from Essex (who was so kind as to buy me a bottle of Corona), and a slew of foreign students from India behind us. We had a gay old time chattering away, singing Staind songs, and exchanging names and emails. This went on for nearly two hours, since the band seemed to be occupied somewhere doing something (eating at McD’s?). Then finally at 9pm – the moment we were all waiting for! Alas, I forgot what it’s like to be directly in front of the speakers. Eh? Huh? What did you say?

I got caught up in the excitement of being up close and personal with my Massachusetts lads and ended up jumping about and screaming and singing along to “It’s Been Awhile” and “Outside” (two songs I die for) and occasionally hugging the headbanging Glaswegian, his friend, and the Indians in my joy at being there. (I’m sure there are photos of my disgrace in several cameras, including those belonging to band’s roadies). When the 50-minute set ended, requisite souvenirs were handed out to the audience, with the Glaswegian securing three Vic Firth drumsticks, one of which he gave to me, saying I “deserved it”. And it was definitely one the drummer had used – it’s generously stippled with the evidence.

After the gig, I went outside with my headbanging mate, who said he was going to try to meet the band. Having nothing to eat at home, I decided to hang about for the hell of it. Well, never did I expect to end up meeting the entire band, not to mention getting my photo taken with each of them. (I hadn’t even brought a camera – my new friends, who’d suddenly increased to include a musician, were kind enough to be my Alfred Eisenstaedt.) Lead singer Aaron Lewis even signed my drumstick. In all honestly, I can’t remember ever meeting a bunch of more down-to-earth guys who, at least from my observation, are refreshingly removed from bullshit celebritydom and really only seem to care about making art and taking it to the people. (Isn’t that what music is supposed to be about?) I only wish I’d asked Aaron to say hi to my bf on the phone, since a couple of people were handing him their mobiles.

Fortunately on the way home something prompted me to take the Jubilee Line to Stratford, for as I found out after I arrived, the Central Line had been shut down for the rest of the night due to some glitch or other. That’s the thing about London – you’ll be in a great mood, then turn into Jack Nicholson in The Shining when you can’t get to your destination. I often feel like I’m plotting war strategy when I go into the city, checking online that the trains and tube lines I need are running and that no one is striking or working on the lines… yet it’s usually in vain, since anything can happen despite one’s best-laid plans. Armed with drumstick in hand, I wasn’t the least bit concerned about my safety walking home from the train station after midnight. I held it clutched in my little hand, ready to use it as a prostate stimulator should any local yob take an unwanted fancy to me. Needless to say, I arrived at my door unharmed, save for the ringing in my ears.

Had I known how the evening would turn out, I’d have taken along a signed copy of one of my books to give to the band. (Wonder if they’d prefer Getting Even: Revenge Stories (Amazon US/UK/Ca) or The New Black Lace Book of Women’s Sexual Fantasies (Amazon US/UK/Ca)? I’m now beginning to think I should’ve had the rest of the guys sign my drumstick rather than playing favourites with Aaron. I’m also thinking I should’ve hit them up for a commission or, at the very least, be placed on the Staind payroll. Because thanks to me, a lot more people have heard of them. Hmm… Maybe I’m in the wrong business. I might need to have a friendly word in their shell-like when I’m at the O2 tomorrow night.

September 18, 2008 at 3:48 pm 13 comments

What I Get Up To

I write, I blog, I Mitzi TV, I network, I breathe, I get my name in the press... I'm a true Renaissance lass! My books include IN SLEEPING BEAUTY'S BED: EROTIC FAIRY TALES; GETTING EVEN: REVENGE STORIES (crime); THE NEW BLACK LACE BOOK OF WOMEN'S SEXUAL FANTASIES (non-fiction/survey); DYING FOR IT: TALES OF SEX AND DEATH (multi-genre); THE WORLD’S BEST SEX WRITING 2005 (non-fiction/criticism); WICKED: SEXY TALES OF LEGENDARY LOVERS; the EROTIC TRAVEL TALES anthology series; the M. S. Valentine erotic novels; and a slew of titles available on Amazon Kindle. Find me on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Flickr, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Tumblr, Plurk, Social Median, and wherever else I might decide to turn up!

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Authors Mitzi Szereto & Royce Buckingham taking a break from books

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