As a challenge by a friend, I wrote a story based on a picture they gave me of a local gig.
This is crazy. Why am I doing this?
It’s near the end of summer, but you wouldn’t know it from the amount of umbrellas and soaked hair. Actually, you would know it, its England after all. It would be the hottest day on record and still rain here. Thankfully, it’s not the hottest day so I can hide from the rain in my hoodie without roasting. And here is the local park. With all the people who live here. For a ‘festival’. Yeah, I know, it’s not really a festival, but some of these groups have 6 year old kids, so we play along, yeah, your first festival, it’s brill right?
‘Hey Jo! Are you listening to me?’
I look at Katy, ‘Huh?’
‘Earth to Jo!’ a hand’s clicking its fingers in my face and suddenly a face replaces it, an inch away from my nose, ‘Are you in there?’
‘Cut it out Katty!’ I shove her away and everyone starts giggling.
‘How many times do I have to tell you? Don’t-‘
'Don’t call me Katty.’ I finish for her and smile, ‘Yeah, I forget you hate that. Sorry Katty.’ That’s when everyone explodes into laughter, not for my comment, but at Katy’s face starting to turn a curious shade of red. Considering how she normally looks, we call her the girly vampire she’s that pale, watching her go red every time we/I annoy her is brilliant. Because I manage to do it at least once a day. You can normally tell how exciting a day is by counting how many times we/I make her go scarlet.
‘Why do you always do this to me?’ Now I can’t help but laugh. She’s about to snap my arm off and hit me with it, but when she gets like that her voice goes all whiney and pathetic. Don’t ask me how, I don’t even know.
‘Because it’s brilliant.’ I turn around and see Justin. He’d be cute if it wasn’t for the disapproving face he always has that should only look right on dads, yet he manages to pull it off perfectly. God help his kids. I sigh and hug Katy, who’s shade of red is starting to recede from her forehead and nose, ‘Sorry, babe. I didn’t mean to upset you.’ I turn to look at Justin, but he just tilts his head. Really? I close my eyes and swallow, ‘I promise to not annoy you anymore. Katy.’ She looks at me really confused. ‘For at least an hour.’ I hear Justin step forward and steam come out of Katy’s ears, but before they can kill me the band comes on.
‘Where did all these people come from?’
I sigh and look at the bassist, Max. He’s new, and rather shy for a musician. I doubted if we should have shoved him in front of a stage after only two weeks, but he can hold a beat better than the drummer and we were desperate. We put signs up for a new bassist and only 5 people got in contact with us. And the other four people who auditioned were, well I don’t wanna be rude but ‘terrible’ doesn’t cover it. So we got Max. I look at him, ‘It’s summer, and it’s the weekend. There’s no work and no school, everyone’s bored, so they decide to come here. It’s probably the best day this dead-end town has to offer.’
‘What about turning on the Christmas lights?’
I try very hard not to hit him round the head with my guitar and convince the band that we don’t actually need a bassist that badly. ‘Christmas lights? Last year the only people they could get was half of S Club 7.’
‘I liked S Club 7.’
‘Yes, everyone did, when they were seven.’ I turn and see Steve walking up to us, tuning his guitar as he come up. Which he thinks is cool, ‘But here’s the difference. S Club 7, cheesy but kids love them. Half of S Club 7 makes babies cry and cats scratch their ears off!’
‘They weren’t that bad.’
‘They were all fat and in joggers!’ I put down my guitar so I don’t break it and move forward to slap him round the head.
‘But they sounded ok,’ Max shrugs at me. I can feel myself going into Hulk mode, but before I can throttle him Steve steps in.
‘Yeah,’ Steve pats him on the shoulder, ‘because they were miming and a track was playing over the top. Now come on,’ he picks up my guitar and hands it to me, ‘Luke’s already by the stage.’
‘Ok fine,’ I take my guitar and stare daggers at Steve for being sensible the one time I want to blow someone’s head off, ‘but after this we are so coaching him on decent music.’
‘Aww, come on mate.’ He grabs my shoulders and starts to guide me away, ‘He’s just a kid. Let him find his own way.’
‘When did you turn into a Buddhist sensei dude?’
Steve laughs at me and slaps my back, ‘You will do well young grasshopper! Now let’s go crazy.’
I can’t help but smile. Grabbing Max’s shoulder, we jog out onto the stage. The crowd doesn’t exactly rival Wembley but for a first time gig it’s pretty good. I look at Max to see if he’s about to faint or quit. As I thought, he was staring at the crowd, ‘I told them not to come.’
I look at the front of the crowd near the barrier and see a group of teenagers waving and yelling. Mainly girls, although there’s one serious looking fellow at the back, he looks like security or something. ‘Friends of yours?’ I look at Max.
He shakes his head, ‘Friends of hers.’ He waves and I watch one girl grin at him uncontrollably. I smile and nod, moving away to my place. I look back and Max is grinning back, and I think he’s just realised the perks of the music industry. You gotta love the groupies.