I’ve just been looking at kung fu videos on YouTube (as you do…) and came across one that was supposedly a video of someone practising San Zhan, the first pattern in White Crane kung fu. I noticed, looking for comments, that comments had been disabled. Hardly a surprise, as what was supposed to be first pattern actually was nothing like the first pattern we practise in my club practically every week and which we went over again in class on Sunday before the grading, with the chief instructor. I doubt the person who posted the video was the same as the one performing in said video, hence comments have been disabled because whoever uploaded it doesn’t want loads of comments such as, ‘Well, actually, this isn’t San Zhan and if you knew anything about martial arts, you would know that.’
So, anyway, yes, I graded again at the weekend. I thought I’d see out 2009 on a positive. I was going to also do the first patterns grading the following weekend (having known San Zhan for a long while, now), but something happened in the meantime which means it’s impractical and I shall have to wait until January. I shall explain.
After the Steeleye Span gig (see previous post), I managed to get in touch with one of the members of the band. To cut a long story short, we’re going to see them again when they play in Hove on the 19th and my parents will come and stay the night – all of which means that catching a train at 6.50 to get to London in time to get to class for grading would be impossible after a late night. It’ll be great to see the band again, as they’re all so lovely and consummate musicians.
On Wednesday, Greg and I went to the O2 Arena in London to see Placebo (a bit of a contrast to Steeleye). The opening band, Silversun Pickups, were OK, clearly humbled beyond words to be playing in such a huge venue. The second band, we thought were crap. If anyone reading this likes The Horrors, I make no apology for saying so, seeing that their music, based as it obviously is on the 80s, depressed me so that I actually crouched on the floor until their set was finished. Bright lights shining in my eyes didn’t help matters.
When Placebo came on, there was an instant surge towards the front. We’d made the mistake of standing as close to the front as we could get – and this is the crux – in front of where Brian Molko would be standing. We had started off about five rows back. As soon as they arrived on stage, we were forced, unceremoniously and unapologetically, to the second row, squashed up against people so tightly that I could hardly breathe. Instead of enjoying the show, which I’d been looking forward to since the summer, I ended up in tears because there’s always a bastard to ruin things and in this case, there were several teeny fans who thought they had a chance of touching Brian if only they pushed hard enough. Seeing the state I was in, one lovely girl asked if I was OK and then got the attention of one of the security guys, who lifted me over the barrier and led me to the medical area, with me losing a shoe in the process (I got it back after the show was over). I could hear Happy You’re Gone being played, which is a song I especially like for Brian’s vocal range, but I couldn’t see them play it. One make-up retouch later and I was back out, but I couldn’t go back to where I’d been and had to make my way as far as I could before someone thought I was just trying to push in and stopped me going any further. I almost got taken over the barrier again and had to shout loudly in the security bloke’s ear (another bloke) that I’d already been taken out once and didn’t want to miss any more of the gig than I had already. So, we were separated, but I was standing almost right in front of Stefan and managed to get some great pictures, to boot.
I can’t fault the show – the boys were on top form, it was a home gig and a home crowd (a pity some of them were insane) – the set was fabulous and they were in full swing. Brian, Stef, Steve, all the rest: I salute you. Perhaps next time, I won’t get squashed. But at least, during my brief time in the back room, I got a card and small present to a member of staff who assured me he would get it to ‘the powers that be’ – so I hope they reached Brian, whose birthday it was the next day. I wish I could find a way to thank the girl who helped me, so I shall have to settle for thanking her here.
Steeleye Span again on Saturday is going to be another special one because we’re there as guests on our home turf (more or less) and I’m hoping I can bop at the front of the stage at this one – Chichester Festival Theatre is far too stuffy about that and they really should lighten up.
Kung fu, Steeleye Span and Placebo, all in one blog entry – how did I manage that?