Building the new life part one – the glorious and the not-so glorious

My god, it has really been seven months? Whoa.

Well, everyone knows what’s been happening to the world recently, and is probably sick of hearing about it, so I’m going to go a bit further back here and ramble on about some stuff that at least has nothing to do with that (at first).

So as per the last time I was on here, when mammoths still roamed the earth, me and the G Monster split up and I had to sling my hook. But before I could sort myself out, I had to attend a family wedding (my father’s no less, and at the ripe old age of [redacted] but it’s never too late, right?) At the other end of the country, and at considerable expense, and on my own. Which is always fun, right?

Granted, this was made slightly better by the fact that I would have been attending on my own anyway, because the G Monster had family coming over from Stateside, and this had been planned even before the wedding had been. Unfortunately, this all fell through at the last minute because of a tragedy (that, happily, seems to have worked out alright in the end), but he still told me, about a week before the split, that he wouldn’t be able to attend with me anyway, and so, yeah, let’s gloss over that whole thing, eh. It’s ancient history now, or it would be if half my stuff wasn’t still at his place due to unforseen circumstances, but more on that later.

Anyway, I felt like a right chump, and also I felt compelled to lie through my teeth about why I was attending on my own, because I wasn’t about to lead with that to a bunch of relatives I haven’t even seen for years, all of whom were, not unreasonably, expecting to make merry, and besides, it wasn’t like the day was about me, anyway. But my god, did it ever feel like I was walking around with this terrible, dark secret, which was even more irritating. And I had to keep my trap shut, which frankly I find really hard at the best of times.

In the end, I spent the afternoon before the wedding learning to tie balloons with some of my folks. And hundreds of balloons were tied indeed for the balloon arch, and we set up all sorts of other decorations and that was all really nice. The wedding itself was lovely, the bride was lovely, my wee brother’s enormous beard is growing back, everyone else in the whole world was in couples because that’s, like, a law of the universe or something, but as per my requirements for a “successful” social gathering, I got in, I got out, I didn’t cry in the loos or indeed anywhere else, I didn’t insult anyone, I didn’t spill anything on anyone, the trap remained shut, and none of my clothes fell off and caused a scandal.

(I am not great at social gatherings, can you tell?)

Plus, my cousin got up early to see me off at the station, which was really sweet, and I actually managed to get a seat on all the trains all the way up and down the country, which was over 18 hours of trains in total, and believe me, they were standing in the aisle like a bunch of sardines at attention (which seems very strange, with hindsight) and there was no way for anyone to get to the loo for hours on end.

However. I had also, and I had been looking forward to this opportunity for literally years, scored a ticket to go see Gloryhammer. This is all my best mate’s husband’s fault for coming over sometime back in the day and being all, You MUST listen to this, but he was right, by eck, and I have been listening to it ever since. For those who don’t know Gloryhammer, which is probably almost everyone, since they’re a bit niche. I mean, power metal seems to have fallen out of fashion anyway for some unfathomable reason, but on top of that, every single Gloryhammer album is a concept album, and that concept is the ongoing battle between the Evil Wizard Zargothrax (keyboards) and the brave prince Angus McFife (vocals). Plus assorted other good/ ambivalent/ evil/ dead/ hologram characters (bass, drums, guitar, guitar again, guitar again, and the drummer’s apparently come down as definitely one of the good guys in album three, despite first use of nuclear weapons, oh look, it’s complicated). They have fought in the past, they have fought in the future, and in the third album they’re fighting in an evil parallel dimension. (Since I couldn’t see anywhere else they could possibly fight, and therefore no fourth album – though apparently there is going to be one – I was well worried this might be The Last Tour. Ticket essential.)

Anyway, this is either your thing, or it is not. It is so very my thing. This gig was, well, not exactly my light at the end of the tunnel, but it was a radiant star on an otherwise overcast night. The (paper! souvenir-worthy!) ticket had arrived months earlier, and I had carefully put it in the drawer of Really Important Things, like my passport, and my last will and testament, and, er, that’s all that’s in that drawer actually. Except for the ticket.

Which wasn’t there when I went back to the drawer two days before the gig, was it.

The gig was sold out, wasn’t it.

So I spent a night turning over the entire room, spent the next night turning over the rest of the house, and then schlepped all the way into Glasgow of the morning, where the ticket office were very, very, very nice, took note of my proof of purchase and printed me off another one. Okay, I am now converted to e-tickets for life, or at least until something horrible goes wrong with this as well.

Thank god the G Monster has no interest in Gloryhammer, however, or what a gig that would have been. Circumstances were against me anyway, it must be said. Yes, I went on my own (to the horror of all my colleagues, to whom I was forced to explain that I have been to gigs on my own in foreign countries before now, because there is no length I will not go to if I’m obsessed enough, and I am pretty much obsessed enough with something at any given moment. Although, in every single instance of this, within a week of my return, the band in question announced a tour date in my actual city. So that would have saved a fortune. Also, yes, I am personally destroying the world.)

So, yes. I had also never even heard of this venue, had no idea where I was going and had to just navigate by following everyone with long hair and, for some reason, kilts. (Did I mention Dundee features prominently in all these albums? Also it’s apparently in Fife? Also the Evil Wizard Zargothrax (keyboards and lyrics) is apparently from Perthshire and knows fine where Dundee really is, i.e. for everyone not from Scotland, in Angus. Which is smack next to Perthshire).

And yes, I am currently sporting an absolutely horrendous mum-cut that I am majorly self-conscious about, even when everyone else isn’t looking like I used to, and yes the damn lot went curly, which was a) unexpected, since it was lampshade-fringe straight and thin the last time it was this length (aged 10, after a botched do by a professional) and b) put a royal crimp in my plans to dye it all an outrageous colour and look like a middle-aged version of P!nk. (Looking like a middle-aged, female version of Pennywise is… not something I want to even countenance, thank you).

So I hid at the back, with a lot of wine, and tried to think invisible thoughts. See social gatherings, above.

It was still the most epic thing I have ever seen, apart from an erupting volcano that time. In fact, the only way I could imagine either of these two things being better was if Gloryhammer played in front of an erupting volcano, but I can kinda see the logistical problems with that one so I’ll let it go. Windrose were amazing. Beast in Black were amazing. Gloryhammer were so absolutely amazing that within a month, I had bought a ticket to go see them again. On my own. In Budapest. At a time when I absolutely positively cannot afford to take my eyes off the prize and have any fun whatsoever. But that’s another tale.

And yes, buoyed by elation afterwards, I sprinted back to the station, leapt on the wrong train and nearly ended up in East Kilbride, and even more nearly never got home at all, but that’s unfortunately par for the course when you’re a bit of a chump. If they ever find a cure for that, please, someone let me know.

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