Some people choose to throw their knickers at Tom Jones, some scream hysterics at the likes of Harry Styles or Justin Bieber; for me, there has only ever been 1 person worthy of such unrestrained fanaticism – Damon Albarn (swoon). His mind-blowing musical genius alongside his cheeky-boy indie swagger and his distinctive voice never fail to impress upon me. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not an obsessively crazed fan or anything, but if I did get a chance to meet Damon, we’d probably be married within a month…
Last night I was lucky enough to be in the presence of such greatness for the 5th time – having previously seen both ‘Blur’ and ‘The Good, The Bad & The Queen’ perform in arenas and festivals. This time, however, the venue was far smaller – my old university nightclub, a place I spent many a night dancing into the early hours as a student. It’s a pretty surreal experience returning years later to a place that used to form such an integral part of your life and that remains mostly unchanged when so much else in your life has altered. Back in the early noughties there were no accessible platforms to be found in this venue – disabled people can’t have existed – with this in mind I had hoped that they would accommodate me on the actual stage, preferably next to Damon, but A LOT has changed since then in terms of awareness and access needs, so they now have a little viewing platform with excellent sightlines, which is where I sat.
Attending gigs or any kind of event when you have a disability can be daunting but I have to hand it to the people at the university who quickly clocked me in my wheelchair and directed us past the long queue to our reserved spot in the hall – attentive service that was very much appreciated! Of course I would rather have been jumping up and down at the front – grabbing Damon’s hands as he interacted with those up close – alas! One woman was near enough to scream, “Damon, I love you!” to which he responded, “I love you too.” (b*tch) That moment was the nearest I came to cursing my MS! I still managed to shout the odd thing out, and the only thing stopping me from yelling, “marry me” was the fact that I was sitting next to my husband, who I am already married to.
This gig has to be THE most amazing, electric and atmospheric one I have ever attended. Myself, and the crowd, couldn’t help being drawn into Damon’s infectious passion for music (or noise-making, as some may see it!) and, as always, The Good, The Bad & The Queen focused on themes that resonate with a lot of us right now. Known for their melancholic ruminations on the state of the nation their enthusiasm and delivery couldn’t have been more vibrant or even, dare I say it, optimistic. I feel so lucky to still have the opportunity to experience such euphoric moments that will forever go down as another awesome highlight of my life.