I’ve noticed that once I get people talking they tend to veer towards the darkness.
It’s like I’ve hung a sign round my neck saying
“Psychologist in training. First session free.”
It’s the disappointments they want to exhume; the heartbreak and hard luck stories. The good times they tend to keep for themselves. They’re not giving those away free.
So Rhiannon was a breath of fresh air, her tales of traveling in India were as bright as her amazingly blue eyes. She had nothing but positive things to say about everybody and everything she’d done on her “three year gap year”. When I asked what she’d done in the 6 months since returning from India she replied:
At first I thought this was a metaphor but then decided to take it at face value. Then again maybe she just wanted to shut me up. It worked for a while.
The second wave of concert goers arrived so we resumed the business of checking tickets and directing people towards the correct entrance. There’s a legend in the building tonight: none other than Carol King. The recruitment agency offered me one of the rare non-catering jobs that come up and I jumped at the chance to see Ms king whose songwriting achievements stretch far far beyond the “You’ve got a friend” and “Natural woman” that most people know her for. Almost every song she starts elicits a ‘Oh she wrote this one as well!’ reaction from the uninitiated in the audience.
Just as Rhiannon and I are getting the hang of the ticket check-in profession, the barcode scanner breaks and we have to manually tear off stubs and call for technical help. We smile, apologise for the extra delay and chat to some of the people in the queue who are all fine with the delay. It’s a complaint-free, mellow crowd and given the average age of Carol King fans this is not surprising.
So everything, as they say, is chill, until the manager arrives and is about to commit hari kiri over the situation. She offers profuse apologies to the waiting public, calls in technical support on her radio with sweaty palms then slinks off, presumably to find a ceremonial sword. I take this opportunity to slip inside the venue and perform ushering tasks so I can catch the gig.
Carol can still hold a tune at 71, I’m impressed. She gives a good throaty performance, belting out one classic after another, backed by a band of legends in their own right: Danny Kortchmar on guitar and…some other blokes. I’m so distracted by the musicianship and consummate stagecraft that I send a family of six down the wrong isle and the wrong row. They make a point of coming to find me later on.
“We had to climb over forty people because of you!! For no reason!!”
Well, what do you expect? I was a chef yesterday for fuck sake.