Thursday, 10 May 2012
Of Crush: the reality v. the fantasy
(or if you have no idea what I'm talking about, catch up here ....or just carry on, it's pretty self-explanatory)
So, Crush finally responded to my FB message (re the dates of his next gig - oh yes, it's all romance here) and asked if I was going to be at a festival he was playing at. Unfortunately, I had to say I was away (damn that booking-holidays-in-advance thing) but thought I'd chance my luck and see if he was going to the next Open Mic night.
In fairness to him, I didn't really put it as a question, I just said something like: 'I'll be there, and if I don't see you there I'll see you at the gig'. In my head though, I then decided it would be a sign: 'If he turns up, he's interested, if he doesn't, he's not'. This was clearly bollocks, but my inner fourteen-year-old is alive and well and must be kept entertained.
So, last Thursday evening, there I was, at the pub, for the Open Mic, all prepped to play my designated three songs. These included the song I'd written about Crush, as I was confidently assuming that he wasn't interested and therefore wouldn't be there. This was a pretty safe assumption on other grounds too. After all, he had a gig the next night and a big festival at the weekend. (Not that I check his FB page/Twitter feed every day or anything.)
Happy in this assumption, I was gossiping away with my mates, and yes, you've guessed it, in he walked. I was so shocked I literally stopped speaking mid-sentence - I genuinely thought people only did that in films, but really, I did. My inner fourteen-year-old was going mental with excitement, while the more adult part of me attempted to restrain her.
The worst thing was that I couldn't actually say anything to my friends about why, because he was about two feet away from me - bloody small pubs! So, I made a lame attempt to cover myself and carry on the conversation. I waited until he had sat down, then disappeared to the loos to try to pull myself together.
I don't think he recognised me at first, but I do look quite like my FB picture (no, not the pegs, my RL FB - keep up!), and I was about to get up on stage. That being the case, I decided that he probably would recognise me eventually, and then it would be kind of weird if I hadn't said hello after the whole message thing.
I looked in the loo mirror and said to myself, "FFS ATOmum - it's just saying hello to a guy - how old are you??" Fourteen apparently.
I took my heart in my hands (having washed them carefully first, of course), burst out of the loos and went straight over to him to introduce myself. That probably looked as weird as it sounds. The conversation went something like this:
"Hi, I'm ATOmum, thought I should introduce myself in real life as we've only spoken online"
"Oh hello, have I seen you here before?"
I said he'd been there a couple of times when I'd been, and then, Old Guy, who he was sitting with, decided to join the conversation. He asked if I had Crush's albums, and which tracks were my favourite.
"Of course," I said and then blithered on about which tracks DS2 liked, which ones DS1 liked, which led to Crush and I talking about how great little kids dancing was. Then Crush spoke about using a full drum kit on the album, but only using percussion when they gigged owing to the impracticality of carrying a full kit around. He also said some stuff about the drummer getting over-excited when he had a full kit and dressing up like Russell Brand.
I expect he said some other stuff too. I didn't really hear it. This is a fault I have recently discovered about myself: when I'm nervous, I really don't listen. Perhaps not the best trait to have when trying to give a good first impression.
Old Guy - who is there every time and so aware of my occassional childcare problems - then commended me on managing to sort out a babysitter this time. In response, I then regaled them both with my oh-so-uninteresting tale of rushing round the playground at pick up time, trying to palm my kids off on someone as my planned babysitter couldn't get out of her village, owing to the torential rain causing a flood.
(Regular readers will know that Mum falling down the stairs stopped me going to the Open Mic last month. With a flood attempting to scupper my plans this month, I'm now fulling expecting a plague of locusts next month.)
So, here's the problem with how the conversation was going so far: In my fantasy, when I first spoke to him, I would come across as a sexy, alluring, mystery woman. In reality, I did my usual mouth-going-into-overdrive-to-cover-nerves act and ending up talking about really dull crap.
This is a habit I've had a long time - I did some media training once about handling difficult situations and the feedback from the trainer was just 'Shut Up!' I digress.
It was clearly time to make a swift exit. Crush was very politely telling me how impressed he was with the logistics of my babysitting arrangements (and they were pretty impressive, but that's another story) and saying:
"Well done for getting out!"
I decided that was probably as good a cue to leave as any, so I muttered something about having to tune my guitar and went back to my table and friends. In retrospect, owing to the aforementioned complete inability to listen when nervous, I may actually have walked off when he was still talking. So now he could add 'rude' to the first impression of 'dull' he must've gotten from me - coudn't be much further from what I was intending really, could it?
Nonetheless, relieved, I sat down at the table, checked Crush was back talking to Old Guy and then broke silence with my friends. Both friends know about my crush on Crush, but only Friend 2 had met him before, so seeing him in person was new for Friend 1. Friend 1 is the best people reader I know. I am truly jealous of this skill as it's a gene I was born entirely without. She checked him out and declared that he loved himself a bit, had too much hair and too many teeth. This is probably accurate. Friend 2 mused on his marital status. I said that knowing my luck he was gay. Friends 1 and 2 dismissed this, but Friend 1 did suggest that someone who loved himself that much might be best only fancied from afar, rather than engaged with in any kind of relationship. She is no doubt right, although loving himself (and what's not to love?) is maybe less of a problem than the fact that, after our very short conversation, it seemed pretty unlikely that we had anything in common, apart from loving his music. Not insurmountable, but probably not the best start.
Anyway, it was then that it hit me, I'd just gone over and babbled about how much I liked his music and I was now about to get on stage and sing a song about having a crush on a singer-songwriter who sounded remarkably like him. The song even has his album title in the chorus. Fuck, fuck, fuckety fuck.
This was about to be the most embarrassing situation in my entire life... well, there may have been worse, but I've clearly blocked them out. Friend 1 assured me that, as a lead guitarist, he was probably too self-involved to notice. I was not so sure but it was too late to change now, I had nothing else ready, and it is a really good song - and as I always say: Never let utter humiliation get in the way of a good tune. (Well I don't, but it's as good a motto as any)
I got up on stage when it was my turn and did my first two songs - happy little numbers about misery and domestic violence - don't ask. Then it was time for that song. I made a little joke about my next song being about a singer-songwriter, so they could all think it was about them if they wanted to, and then launched into it. Fingers shaking, I thought I wouldn't get past the first chord, but bright lights in my eyes really helped as they meant I couldn't have seen Crush even had I dared to look in his direction. Happily blinded, I managed to get through the whole song without glancing at him once and even got some appreciative applause from the audience at the end into the bargain. All I had to do now was get off stage without catching his eye - so I legged it, in a fairly ungainly manner, back to my table.
Friend 1 said to me:
"I was watching him and you totally got away with that, he didn't have a clue".
Either that or he decided to keep a straight face so as not to encourage the crazy stalker lady. Me, not her.
Friends 1 and 2 had to leave to get back to their babies/husbands, but I was determined to stay for Crush's set, even if I didn't dare speak to him or anyone else for the rest of the evening. He was, as ever, brilliant, so it was totally worth it. One day, maybe one day, I will be able to play the guitar like that. Until then I'm just going to stare in awe. I did manage to get up the courage to say a quick goodbye to him before I left - I told him he was brilliant and he said 'Well done to you too'. Then I pretty much ran for the door.
I think Friend 1 was probably right, he didn't seem to be phased at all. Having said that, I sent him a quick note on FB afterwards to say really enjoyed the set and see you at the gig. No reply again. Perhaps he is deciding not to encourage the crazy stalker lady.
It was only after I got home that I thought, actually, as much as I love his music, I sort of get the sense he's a bit of an airhead - you know in the way that surfer dudes sometimes are? I could be completely wrong, after all, as I've said, I really wasn't listening properly, but it made me realise there is a big difference between Fantasy Crush and Real Crush. Real Crush is an actual real life person with faults and passions and a whole life that I know nothing about. Fantasy Crush is this perfect human being who I have completely created in my head, solely on the basis of his music - he is charming and clever and talented and funny and absolutely perfect for me in every way. That's the thing with music, it takes on a life of it's own and what it means is as much created by the listener as it is by the creator. Real Crush doesn't stand a chance against Fantasy Crush. At least now though, having had a real life encounter with Crush, I have acknowledged that these are two separate beings. Fantasy Crush also has the advantage that he lives in the I-pod and when I get fed up with him I can switch him off. This is a very good thing, as having just spent a weekend in a caravan with the kids and my parents, I have to acknowledge that I am really not cut out for living with other adults, but that is a whole other story...
So ladies and gents, that is the story so far, and now it's over to you - what next do you think? I'm going to Crush's gig at a very small venue in a couple of weeks time, so the chances are I will see him. It is the Year One Mum's night out and they all know about my crush on Crush, so it could be horribly embarassing again, but I'd love your advice. I think I probably can't embarass myself anymore, so I'm open to any suggestions you have to offer, bring it on....!