As I have told you many times, I am someone who models their life on Monica from ‘Friends’ and I definitely prefer to let ‘rules control the fun’. However, I challenged myself over this Half Term break to be as random and spontaneous as possible.
Naturally I set this challenge weeks ago and gave myself plenty of time to think about it. I then had to take a run up and close my eyes before jumping over the edge, but I think it has gone quite well. I am even starting to see the attraction of a little spontaneity. I might go wild and contemplate booking in some more spontaneous fun for the Summer Holidays. Steady girl.
My tendency is to hide indoors and worry about those wrecking balls that keep flying towards my nearest and dearest, but it struck me this week that I am the only one indoors hiding. My personal heroes only stay inside if tethered down forcibly by a drip, injection or an appointment with a specialist. Every time they swipe one of those wrecking balls aside to dodge another attack, they seem to develop new muscle, an even stronger sense of humour and an ability to seize some sunshine moments whenever they appear. Ad hoc this approach may be, but it clearly works for them and demonstrates that sunshine moments do happen.
So, instead of kicking myself for not booking those ‘Take That’ tickets months ago when sensible people were getting organised for this Ashton Gate concert (I was clearly so busy controlling the fun that I forgot to pencil any fun onto my kitchen planner), I prised myself off my lardy arse and scooped up some last minute ticket releases. Well, actually I sat on my lardy arse, booked the tickets and then – after a moment of elation – had heart palpitations and had to check in with Favourite Son to ensure I had not been a total muppet and just shared the fruits of my credit card with some seedy on-line scammer; I am so risk averse that after hitting ‘pay’ I immediately catastrophised some dark web Frankenstein monster who would be ready to ‘take that’ and leave me with nothing in the shape of a ticket.
Breathing again, I was thankfully reassured that Mama J was now the proud owner of two golden tickets and better still, Favourite Daughter (FD) – also mad enough to be a teacher, so fortuitously also on Half Term break – spontaneously agreed to accompany me.
Long story very short; what a night!
FD wasn’t even alive when these chaps started boy banding across the stage, but I could not have had a better partner in crime for the evening. One glass of pre-performance wine to calm stage fright (me, not the ‘boys’ or FD) and I giggled my way through the whole performance (well, I couldn’t afford to eat after buying the tickets). I thought I could only do teacher dancing at school proms, but it turns out that with minimal effort I can readily join with 32,000 other lovelies in a Mexican wave of illuminated IPhone (Android also welcome) arm waving to produce quite an impact.
Bring this many Take Thaters together and you have a guaranteed blog fest of people fodder. Understandably , there was a high ratio of females to men in the audience and I defy anyone not to love watching women on a night out of this scale. I am proud we added to their number and I am sure we were also a feast for fellow people watchers. It is a long time since I have had standing tickets at a concert (#EltonJohn1990something) and as my weather app had predicted heavy rain, we could fairly be criticised for not dressing in the same Instagram-friendly attire as the many glam gals around us. In hindsight, I admit that we could have ditched our anoraks (I refuse to budge on the collapsible rain bonnet though, people) and paid out on face bejewelling and hair flowers as we entered the stadium; I’ll factor this onto my Gant chart for the next concert I go to. We’ve come so far.
Madonna got all that stick at Eurovision for not admitting to herself that her vocal range had faded, and my inner worry wart was flexed to expect that Rick Astley (support) and our three musketeers may have suffered the same affliction. None of it. Two hours those boys were on stage and they were still singing strong and bouncing around – we loved those mini trampolines – when they brought out septergenarian Lulu. Nothing to fear about age if Lulu is your role model. Lots to shout about and many fires lit across the stadium. We’ve reached so high (those trampolines again).
Not really seeing myself as a professional gig reviewer (I’m more at home in the theatre, darlings) I hesitate to offer my one criticism of the evening, but it is really a compliment to the ‘lads’. The only time you looked slightly awkward on stage, Take That, was when those young female dancers started gyrating behind you on the motorbikes. I felt for you; you looked uncomfortable and this look was magnified onto the big screens into, ‘how am I going to explain this to the wife,’ instead of, ‘get me, I’ve still got it!’, which is the look your choreographer probably intended. Looking around, you would have had no difficulty finding some gorgeous age-appropriate dancers to ride pillion but then that could have been even more difficult to explain back home. (Can you hold it in your arms tonight? I wouldn’t recommend it, Dad). You should have invited Lulu on board, found her a sequinned side-car, even. Now she is the sort of hitchhiker this audience – and a Harley D – demands.
Caught up in the moment of their last song (‘Rule the World’ naturally), I find my eyes leaking. This is bizarre for I just could not have been happier at this point and I was loving being part of something this brash , bonkers and cheesey. To top it all, I am standing besides FD who both starts and makes a party wherever she goes (not a shabby life gifting to have). I hear the line, ‘the stars are coming out tonight, for you’ and just want my Sis to be able to see and hear this too. In my exuberance I am singing so out of key that she is mercifully spared. Instinctively just ‘getting it’ as she always does, FD swoops in with a hug. ‘Silly cow,’ she says to me, ‘your sister hates Take That’.’ Good point. Sometimes you have to watch out for spontaneous thoughts and keep them in check.
Watch the world come alive tonight.
Slowly, very slowly – we leave the stadium. Shout out to the Ashton Gate attendants at this point, who could not have been friendlier in the face of a tide of tiddled, Spandexed women and buses surging towards them. ‘ Stay Close to Me’; ‘travel safe Luv,’ they call in gert lush accents; we’ll take that for customer service.
As we inch forward, sideways, forwards and then back again (there were some very tipsy punters, I’m telling you) I note on a poster that ‘The Spice Girls’ are performing next week… I rein myself in. Nope, Sis hates them too. Now, if I can get Chris De Burgh to duet with Stevie Wonder then the world might just come alive for her too. Sod spontaneity, with a bit of forward planning, tomorrow this could be….