Indulging in primitive aggression is sometimes the best way to relax. Once you’ve let out all of your stresses via the medium of lashing out at innocents, you’re no longer a Mr/s Angry but a serene nice guy/girl who wants to pet cats instead of kicking them. But where to unleash this wave of hostility? You can’t just walk around attacking people on the street; you’d get arrested and thrown into jail, which would just make you even angrier. There’s the option to go and participate in crowd activities at Millwall FC, but then you’re just reinforcing a stereotype. Plus you might get arrested anyway. This leaves only one place for you to be as violent as you want, with no regard for chivalry (well, this is the age of equality after all) or lawfulness, with the added bonus that it comes with a soundtrack that you’re presumably prepared to pay a little extra for. Welcome to the world of gigs, and the microcosm of the mosh-pit, where if you’re six foot and thirteen stone you can have the time of your life throwing shorter/lighter/less belligerent music fans around with no care about their wellbeing – hell, if they break a few ribs, that’s even better! It’ll make them more resilient in the future, right?
Except that when you’re the shorter/lighter/less belligerent music fan being thrown around, it’s not so much fun. At five foot four, it’s difficult to see the gig at all due to the wall of six-foot men in front of you, and due to your vertical disadvantage you spend the entire gig with your head in the sweaty six-foot men’s armpits – not a pleasant experience, I assure you. But when morons are trying their utmost to clobber your skull with their elbows so they can get closer to the front (when the five rows in front are absolutely impenetrable, and no amount of left-right-left-right shoving that occurs can alter this – it just results in a few people in the sixth row nearly falling over, namely me), that’s even less of a pleasant experience, and it somewhat detracts from the actual music. So here are my dos and don’ts of gig attendance, to make the gig world a better place for everyone.
DON’T take your shirt off. Please. I implore you. Why do I ask this? Normally I’d be overjoyed to see a caramel-hued six-pack in front of me, and I’d die from it being in such close proximity to me. But when you’re behind said topless man at a gig, and are constantly being thrust into his sweaty back by the crowd behind you, it’s more than enough to long for the damp stench of someone else’s t-shirt that you were being shoved into earlier. At least that way the sweat is diluted, a kind of sweat squash. Not particularly enjoyable, but still far better than the pure sweat fountain you accidentally imbibe when forced up against the sweaty man. No-one should ever have to have their face covered in someone else’s unmitigated sweat unless it involves carnal occurrences at the Equator.
DO go with the flow. By which I mean, don’t fall behind with the crowd’s jumping direction – if you jump down when the rest of the crowd jumps up, you’ll end up biting your tongue and owning the swollen evidence for the rest of the week. Uncomfortable.
DON’T crowdsurf. You might think you look like the bee’s knees, and you’ll probably get closer to the band than if you obey the rules, but if you forcefully launch yourself on my head again I will squish your privates into oblivion. Less an eye for an eye than a head for a head.
DO check that other people are ok. Love thy neighbour when the rest of the crowd seems intent on killing them. Karma will reward you well, and you’ll earn their respect.
DON’T be afraid to stand up to the more irritating moshers. I may have been half their height, but I snapped when the crowd of moshers who were intent on forming their own ‘hilarious’ personal mosh-pit clobbered into me for the fiftieth during the encore at Weezer and made full use of my elbows; the two men next to me looked impressed by my karate skills and the moshers didn’t clobber me again. Result.
DO wear the most secure shoes you own. Or you’ll lose one of them and have to hop around the mosh-pit for the last half an hour, frantically trying not to fall over when the crowd surges the other way, anxiously leaning your vulnerable foot on top of your remaining shoe lest it be trampled into oblivion.
DON’T let the idiots get you down. Feel superior that you can have fun without wanting to take lives, enjoy the music and envision them getting a roasting in Hell, where an army of giant hedgehogs moshes at their expense. If you can’t do that, you should probably try the seated section next time.