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» The nicest thing someone's ever done for me

Daniel Kitson once said...
..."have you ever found yourself performing a genuinely selfless, noble deed, and thought 'if ONLY there was some way other people could find out about this?'"

Well here's my chance.

I was just 18, and at my first proper gig with my first proper friends - The Offspring at Brixton Academy (oh, shut up - I was young and they're a fun band, you jaded purists)

I was having the time of my life; my first proper mosh pit with 1000's of rockers; which was something of a novelty, coming from a small town where almost everyone my age was into whatever crummy loop-fest genre came between rave and drum and bass. Dj Hype and the like.

At about the 4th/5th song, I spotted a young black girl who didn't look quite right... i couldn't see her irises. After a few seconds i realised she was barely conscious, and that the only reason she was upright at all was because there wasn't the room to fall sideways. She was being jostled around like a ragdoll without the room to inhale properly and with no way out. She HAD to get out of there before a gap formed to let her fall and be trampled.

I pushed & shoved my way through the crowd to get to her, locked my arms in a protective hoop around her midriff, and with no small effort pulled her out of the pit towards the sides; kept her upright and repeated the panicked mantra "hey... are you ok? hello?" until she finally got enough air to nod and say thanks. I smiled, nodded and went back into the pit... only to spot a skinny young white guy in pretty much the same predicament, though at least compos-mentis enough to be looking around desperately. I shoved my way through, locked my arms around him again and pulled him back, pissing off no small amount of people as I barged them out of the way.

I got a breathless "thanks, man", nodded, smiled, and turned around to enjoy the rest of the gig... and saw a skinny white girl stuck in the sweaty, barge-y, inescapable (if you're of normal build) hellhole that is most moshpits.

Oh, FFS. I did the same act again, and again a few minutes later... and again, and again. I couldn't enjoy the rest of the gig. I spent the entire time worrying, fretting, and on the lookout for my fellow rockers in peril. I don't know how many people I pulled out of that place, but somewhere between 20 and 30. Nobody else seemed to care about anything but getting as near to the stage as possible.

Eventually I was knackered and bruised and sweaty and my feet were sore top and botton and I just couldn't cope with the worry anymore... I went to the foyer for a ciggy, and just waited for the gig to end. When I eventually met up with them, all my friends were so happy and excited to have seen such an awesome gig that I didn't dare mention I'd spent almost the whole time worried that people were about to die, in case I killed the buzz.

And when i DID tell people about it a day or two later, they gave me an odd look - not sure whether to congratulate me or tell me to shut up for boasting.

I was (probably) the only one of 4000 people to have given more of a shit about random strangers than about seeing one of my favourite bands at the time. I had a shit time; not dancing, not listening, not enjoying myself, but going through a lot of physical exertion, toe-stomps and elbows to the ribs and head just for the sake of not wanting to see people I'd never see again getting hurt.

In the following week's Kerrang I got a thank-you in the letters page (at least, i assume it was for me) which made me happy.

I realised that being nice and helping others wasn't at all fun and has no rewards: even telling people about it makes you look a bit of a turd for boasting. But there is a strange sense of satisfaction that comes with it.

Anyway... 10 years on, and I listen to jazz and hip-hop now. Much calmer gigs.
(Thu 2nd Oct 2008, 23:54, More)

» PE Lessons

A great memory from my last year...
I was, and still pretty much am, the fat slow kid. But by the 5th year, I was, overall, the strongest, tallest and heaviest kid in school:- I therefore shone at the recently-introduced school sports day event of "Tug of War". Believe me when I say no other team stood a chance.

Come the end of year assembly, and the tedious "handing out awards" ceremony, my P.E. teacher called me up to the stage. He's had a special trophy made up just for me: A short length of rope, with a red ribbon attached with gold lettering, that he asked me to read out to the school.


(Wed 25th Nov 2009, 18:30, More)

» The nicest thing someone's ever done for me

This may smatter of self-pity, but...
...the nicest thing people do for me is just to talk to me like a normal person.

I'm very tall, broad shouldered, and crew-cutted* - and I've been cursed with a face that perpetually looks scowl-ly and angry - Sort of a cross between Charlie Brooker and Marcus from Fallout 2 (google-image search the latter if you're not familiar).

I basically look like I'm about to shout at you/punch you/rape you.

But I'm not. I'm really not.

If I stop a stranger in the street to ask directions, they'll back away slightly, usually look scared, and, if female, clutch at their handbag. Sometimes people will even cross the street to avoid me. But occasionally - VERY occasionally - someone will just approach me and fearlessly talk to me like a normal person. Which I am, kinda. And it makes me go all wobbly and pink and appreciative inside.

Ladies and Gents; I know we're all told not to judge by appearances, but if you see someone twice your size who looks like an 'orrible piece of work, it's all too easy to instinctively assess them as a threat and avoid them.

When you see someone like that, please, PLEASE attempt to conjure up whatever logical/ethical/moral framework you may have, override you instinct, and give them the benefit of the doubt. Just talk to them normally, without fear. And before you know it you might end up having a lovely chat about your favourite kitten videos from youtube.

Thanks to everyone who doesn't judge by appearances.


*i know crew-cuts come with their own set of connotations, but I've only got it because my a-symmetrical balding just looks fucking weird if I grow it.
(Thu 2nd Oct 2008, 22:41, More)

» Crazy Relatives

Crazy Relatives
My Grandfather was denied a firearms license when, on the application form, he answered the question "Do you trust yourself not to use a firearm in anger" with a tick in the "no" box.

Perfectly sane.
(Mon 9th Jul 2007, 11:37, More)

» Asking people out

I once asked a girl out using a flowchart.
You'll need Excel, but you can view it here. I'm still quite proud of it.

(Tue 15th Dec 2009, 20:11, More)
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