Saturday 5 November 2016

See that gap in the crowd there ? That's me that is.

I am short. I've not grown since the age of 12 - seriously. When my six year old points out how tall he is growing and shows me where he reaches on me (awkwardly he's at boob height now) I say he's going to be as tall as me by the time he is ten years old. I know this and I accept this. There are times when being vertically challenged can be especially trying and the main one is when it comes to gigs.

Being a fan of theatre I am well versed in the head tilt. You know when the person in front is tall, or has big hair or in the case of Rocky Horror is wearing headgear so you have to keep tilting your head to see the stage. I have watched entire shows in two parts. It's not the best. On one memorable occasion I went to watch a film during the day and sat in a seat on the left side in an entirely empty cinema. Two people came in and sat in the seats right in front of me. In a completely empty cinema !! Actually they did me a favour as the movie was terrible, but that's hardly the point here.

I've been a keen gig goer for decades now and I've yet to find a venue that considers the needs of short audience members. Not one. Brixton academy is my personal hell (for so many reasons) and I only go there if absolutely necessary. Hubbie is a normal height person so for him it's not an issue. He is happy to stand where I can see and we have been to most venues at least once so now I know where to aim for so I can a) see the stage and b) not get crushed.

The latter is a genuine issue as on two occasions I'm convinced I've been pretty close to being trampled. The first was at a Metallica gig at the NEC Birmingham (on my 20th birthday) where we arrived early enough to get in front of the barrier (which unbeknownst to me was the mosh pit) before they stopped letting people in there. I twisted bits of toilet paper into makeshift earplugs as advised and suddenly there was a surge of people who had broken through and were making for the stage. I ran to the side and a little while later Neil found me.  Simon had taken an 'every man for himself' stance and was nowhere to be seen - typical ! The second time was at Aston Villa Leisure Centre where I went to see the Pixies with Neil - a pattern is forming here ! We made our way to the front and I could feel the crowd starting to mosh which was ok - to a point. Bear in mind I was the smallest person there and as I had insanely long hair back then I was getting a bit claustraphobic as it was getting pulled and I was being crushed. I put my arms up - the international signal for "small person in need of rescuing down here please security" and got taken out of the crowd. I found a safe spot high up enough to see the stage and stood there until the end of the night. Neil emerged from the sweaty mosh drenched and as he found me I held up the new t-shirt he'd bought at the start of the gig. All was well.

So why does it matter ? Well, here is my usual view at a gig. I've chosen my spot because I can see the stage and Hubbie is also happy there and then the tallest man in the venue just stands right in front of me. What a gent !

I can see the band 
thanks mate

In case you're thinking it's just because it's dark and he just didn't see the small woman standing right there in that spot that he aimed for in the crowd that looked like a gap, it also happens in daylight: 

Ahem *coughs*
Oh there is a band there after all 

I've also been at outdoor events where - unless it's the Milton Keynes Bowl, with it's terribly convenient curvature enabling the most height disadvantaged of us to see the stage - my view is pretty much this:

Can you see who it is yet ? 

So I am hereby sharing the idea I've been considering for many, many years now. If it gets traction I'm going to take it to Dragon's Den - or not. Whatever.

Height ordered venues. I know you've got many questions, but I'll deal with the main ones to start with. If you are under a certain height you get to sit or stand (depending on the gig / venue) in the front portion of the venue. The taller you are the further back your ticket is. That way I don't have big tall man standing right in front of me and he also gets to see the stage perfectly well.

But what if you are short and your partner is not ? I hear you ask. Well, I'm glad you've asked me that actually. You have a choice. If you are here to listen to the music or watch the show you can stand/sit where you can see or you can choose to join your taller partner in their area. Personally so long as I see him in the interval I am fine with not standing next to Hubbie while the band are on. Don't tell him though.

So that's my solution. It's imperfect I'll grant you, but until someone comes up with something better it's the best I've got. Unless I carry around the step my almost 3 year old uses to stand on when he brushes his teeth. He won't need it soon anyway as he's going to be taller than me before long. 

Oh well, at least the next gig I'm going to isn't at Brixton.

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