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'Leave gigs to the young', says Joshua Burt

By Josh Burt

Like all things in life, going to gigs has a sell-by date. I realised this the other week when I went to see a hip young retro soul star and realised that his take on ‘retro’ was almost an exact reworking of my young adulthood. Reality hit that night, like a cold fist of doom. Are you doomed like me? Here are the signs that it might be time to hang up the band T-shirt and stop going to see live music once and for all...

You want to stand right at the back

When you first went to gigs, you would swarm to the front of the crowd so you could hurl yourself around the moshpit until sweat was literally ejaculated from every pore of your body. It was all about being at one with the crowd. Now you amble in nervously and stand right at the back, as near to the exit as possible, wondering what to do with your hands.

You have no idea what to wear

Gigs were once freeing and liberating. You could turn up in swimming trunks and a gimp mask and someone would just pat you on the bum and hand you a drink, no big deal. Now you spend hours beforehand dicking around with neck scarves and statement hats, worried that everyone will sniff out the imposter in their midst and demand that the music be halted until you leave.

You forget to get smashed beforehand

Rule number one of going to gigs is that you Instagram them (obviously). But rule number two is that you swerve the gigantic queues at the bar by getting a few down you beforehand and arriving with enough petrol in the tank to keep you going for at least the first hour. But you’re old, so you forgot about that. Now you’re drowning in a sea of young people and waiting for half an hour so a teenage barman can look at you disdainfully and go, ‘Yeah?’

Other people having a great time sickens you

Seeing that sea of young people – so confident, so fresh, so good-looking, cruelly and deliberately usurping you on your old patch – immediately dissolves at least two coils from the spring in your step. That used to be you, you mutter to yourself, as you splash water on your face and start weeping inconsolably in the toilets.

You don't know the words or any of the moves

You’d love to join in with a rousing chorus if you got the chance. Problem is, you keep forgetting the words and do that thing where you kind of mouth along to fit in, but you’re not actually making any noise. Time to leave.

The thought of an encore is too much to bear

Once, the idea that a band could play for a couple of hours and then do an encore was absolutely thrilling. Now it appeals to the segment of your personality that likes getting value for money, but is at odds with the bit that takes bedtime extremely seriously.

By Joshua Burt, who is too old, too grumpy and too angry to enjoy anything except complaining

Want more ranting and raving? Read Lisa Wright's column on why London's food will destroy us all

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