Three times in my life have I been the recipient of something thrown from the stage by a singer or member of a band.
The first was many years ago when the Manchester racist, as has always been his wont, threw his shirt into the audience at the end of an encore, creating general mayhem in the vicinity of where it landed. I reckon that initially when he started this particular caper, he wanted a fan to get a unique and valuable memento. He probably hadn’t reckoned on the fact that his rabid fanbase wanted any part of the shirt and it was inevitably torn to shreds in an unsavory fashion akin to a pack of lions devouring an unfortunate gazelle. Nowadays, knowing that’s how fans react, I reckon he takes great delight in watching the violence unfold beneath him.
Let’s just say that having very briefly thought about hanging onto the shirt, I gave up on the idea as I valued getting out of the venue without bruises or broken bones.
Incident #2 came on the first occasion that Belle and Sebastian decided to play Glasgow Barrowlands – it was back in 2001 if t’internet is correct – and they had a bit of fun by tossing confectionary into the audience at the start of the first encore. One of these landed at my feet.
Now, to be fair, it was actually a tartan-coloured cardboard tube that landed at my feet, inside which was a stick of rock. Sadly, I would later discover when I got home that it didn’t have the words ‘Belle and Sebastian’ all the way through – from recollection it was just something like ‘A Gift from Scotland’ and as such, was no different or more collectible than something you could get in a sweet shop. It was eaten soon afterwards.
The third, and thus far, final, incident was at the very end of a Basement Jaxx gig at the Carling Academy, Glasgow in April 2009. This time, the prize was one of the pair of drumsticks hurled into the crowd at the very end of the final encore. I’ve still got that tucked away in a box under the stairs – or to be more precise, it belongs to Mrs Villain.
See, the thing is, on the previous two incidents the objects ended up with me when I very close to the stage. This time around, we were at the very the back of the lowest tier of the venue, with nobody behind us to push or shove us for the reason that Rachel was still recovering from a nasty fall some 10 days previously when she had been out running. She was cut and bruised in a few places, with the worst injury being a broken nose. Basement Jaxx gigs, as we knew from previous experience, can be quite boisterous affairs and it was all about keeping safe.
I would love to tell you that the drumstick landed at my feet, or that, as I spotted it come towards us I put up a hand and caught it as cleanly as a baseball outfielder pushed up against the boundary fence.
I really would love to tell you that.
The reality is that I didn’t see it until it was too late and could only cry out the word ‘drumstick’ as a warning to Rachel as to what was happening….and as the ‘k’ was sounded, the flying object hit her full in the face, including her nose.
It all happened stupidly quickly and Rachel, unsurprisingly, burst into tears, more thankfully from the fright of what happened rather than the actual pain. The drumstick had traveled a fair distance to reach us and its downward trajectory meant it wasn’t quite at full pelt. But still, it was a scary few seconds looking at her face and praying to a non-existent god that there was no serious damage.
If we had been more switched on, we’d have been straight onto social media to talk up the incident as no doubt there would have been some sort of apology and an offer from Felix and Simon to come to another gig to say hello. We would have quite liked that……