Of course I understand that there comes a point where you have to act responsibly, but does that mean you have to become really boring or stop having fun occasionally? Does it mean you’re not allowed to go wild, a little crazy or go with the flow? I had a weird experience last week which made me feel this is the case.
I went to a concert where the majority of the audience consisted of what would be called middle-aged people (not a term I’m fond of either – how do we know what’s going to be the middle of our lives?). Anyway, this was a rock concert, because the main attraction was Paul Rodgers, formerly of the bands Free and Bad Company. (If that doesn’t mean anything to you, then you’ll have to take my word for it, they were huge!) And when you go to a rock concert, you rock. Right? Not this time.
Here, the audience sat very nicely in their allotted seats and occasionally nodded their heads. They listened politely to the warm-up band (who happened to be Joe Elliott, lead singer of Def Leppard, and his new pet project the Down’n’Outz – trust me, those guys can rock!) and a few people clapped along to the last couple of songs. Then there was an intermission while we waited for Mr Rodgers and there were vendors selling ice cream from little trays in the aisles the way they do in theatres! I was astonished. I mean, who goes to a rock concert and eats ice cream? Never happened to me before. Beer, hot dogs, dodgy hamburgers and crisps maybe, but ice cream?
Maybe I’ve been going to the wrong kind though. The last few concerts I’ve been to were in the company of my teenage daughter, since I happen to like the kind of music she listens to as well. Those were attended by a much younger audience who didn’t sit down at all, but “moshed” and threw beer around while dancing in wild circles, crowd surfing and generally going mad. That may be a bit extreme, but they were showing their enthusiasm for the music. They were doing something!
Mr Rodgers eventually got his audience to stand up and sing a bit, even clap along to the beat, and a few daring souls tried a spot of head-banging, but they were in the minority. It was all so staid I wanted to scream. The beat had me tapping my foot and wriggling in my seat. I had to force myself to stay sitting down. I wanted to dance, punch the air with my fist, sing along tunelessly (that’s one of the great things about loud concerts, isn’t it, no one can hear how bad your singing is). But I didn’t dare, because no one else was.
It got me wondering – at what age do we get that inhibited? And do we, as authors, ever get to that point with our writing? Will there come a day when I think “nope, can’t write that, it’s too exuberant for someone my age”. I hope not! When I write, I let my imagination have free rein, the way I wanted to do with my tapping feet at the concert. If I want to be 25 again (via my heroine of course), I am and I would be annoyed if someone told me I couldn’t do it because on the outside I’m older than that.
How many of us have the courage to be who we really want to be on the outside? How many of us dare to let go of our inhibitions and act contrary to everyone else if we feel the occasion merits it?
Maybe next time I will, just to see what happens. What would you have done?