My friend Mr L and I went to see Madness on Friday night at the Royal Festival Hall. I'd say it's about as much fun as you can have on a Friday night, unless you have a ping-pong table and a trampoline in your house and you're staying in.
The people-watching was almost as good as the band-watching. Pearly king and queen. Men in fezes (fezs?). Many, many pork-pie hats. Under 10s playing air drums. Dad dancing. Mum dancing. Generally, a lot of dancing. Plus all the human resources necessary to set up a heavily over-staffed Buster Bloodvessel Lookalike Agency.
There was, I'm sorry to say, one sour note. Literally, an incredibly sour note. Around three-quarters of the way through the gig, Mr L and I were suddenly assailed by some of the ripest body odour I've ever experienced. It came, I think, from behind us, although as is often the case in these situations, its heady intensity was such that we may have been disorientated. At these times, you may even question if you are the source, but I firmly believe that if you can smell It, It's not you. I think perhaps a lady behind us, dancing enthusiastically in a vest, may recently have removed her jumper. Certainly the smell came over us in a great peal, as if being released from a thousand sweat-drenched sweaters as they are heaved up and over the head.
Unfortunately, I think the 'nutty dance' that accompanies any Madness performance may be one of the most odour-enabling of the modern world's dance styles. All that tightly clenched fist pumping only serves to work up some kind of sweat lather in the armpit area. Then, as your arms pump piston-like forwards and backwards, a kind of bellows effect is achieved, fanning the smell backwards, forwards and generally outwards towards your concert-going comrades.
I'm not sure which dance styles are best for protecting the sensitive nose of your fellow audience member (which is to say me). Pogo-ing and riverdancing both involve the retension of the arms stiffly by the sides. However, this is offset by the fact that both are highly energetic forms, and a degree of stink leakage is sadly inevitable.
Really, if people could agree to undertake nothing more than a gentle waltz at any popular music concerts that I attend, I believe everyone would benefit, not just me. I am always thinking of other people. Sometimes kindly.
Anyway. Remember this?
I do. I remember the songwords being printed in a fold-out poster mag I owned when I was 9, along with Right By Your Side by The Eurythmics and Union Of The Snake by Duran Duran (they, of course, were the subjects of the giant poster in the centre, which was why I bought it – although even I, blindly enraptured as I was, could see that Union Of The Snake was far from Duran Duran's finest work). Anyway, The Sun And The Rain has been in my head all weekend, not least because of the meteorological hysterics.
I've always fancied Suggs. I don't really know why.
38. QUEEN ELIZABETH OLYMPIC PARK, LONDON
7 months ago