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Illustration: Rami Niemi
Illustration: Rami Niemi

12 annoying quirks of London gigs that we’d give anything to get back

We’ll never complain about a ridiculously long toilet queue again

Written by
Joe Madden

From weirdly shaped venues to annoying crowd members, now that we pretty much can’t go to gigs anymore, we’re going misty-eyed over even the most annoying bits of them. Come with us as we reminisce about things we used to moan about but would now trade anything to have back. 

1. The unfathomably long queue for the women’s loos. You work out that, given the ticket price, it’s costing you 43p a minute to stand in line. *Cough* Printworks *cough*.

2. Titchy outdoor smoking areas, overseen by security guards who are constantly shouting about how the shivering masses are not arranging themselves in a manner befitting the regulations.

3. There’s an actual medical condition called Brixton Academy Neck-Crick, brought on by having to repeatedly switch your attention between the stage to your rear and the gaze-avoiding bartenders ahead of you. PLEASE, PLEASE LOOK AT ME, MAN.

4. Screwfaced streetwear lads posing in the dead zone between the bar and crowd. They’re scowling at anyone within a spilling radius of their Off-White Jordan 4s. Seen a gig at 93 Feet East? You’ve seen this lot.

5. Tuborg: Carling’s sickly, Soviet cousin. Only ever spotted in London’s lower-mid-tier live venues, and in rundown Zone 3 cornershops with buzzy fridges lined with mouse poo. Anyway, yep, three of those again please, barkeep.

6. That bit at the back of Ally Pally’s long, flat, endless space, where you’re only able to see the show through the raised-aloft phone screen of the person in front of you.

Illustration: Rami Niemi
Illustration: Rami Niemi

7. PA systems are invariably either underpowered or overpowered. You’re perhaps familiar with east London festivals at which grime MCs perform through what sound like clock-radio speakers.

8. If you’ve spent any time at the Roundhouse, you’ll know the fidgety frustration of finding yourself squished behind a huge pillar, your view of the stage entirely obscured. Adding insult to injury, you’re likely to be trapped next to a non-stop heavy-petting couple.

9. Taking their cues from circa-2008 Clarkson are the obnoxious bozos who will loudly deride anyone taking pics or videos on their phones.

10. A hugely intimidating and morbidly sad cloakroom attendant. Brrr.

11. More stairs than seems possible, given the size and shape of this venue, and the number of storeys within it. Each of the 47 staircases is seemingly designed to be as treacherous as possible – and, as a fun bonus, security will yell at you if you linger on one for so much as a millisecond. (Key example? Koko.)

12. A harrowing ale guff with a 25-person blast radius. A fart almost certainly farted by a sheepish man now feigning head-nodding.

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