There’s a line of thinking that says you should have a date night without the child(ren) at least once a month but presumably people who do that have a more ready supply of babysitters than we do. Our babysitters are all lovely obliging people and it’s for that reason that I feel awkward about bothering them very often.
But a new Elbow album meant a new Elbow tour and tickets we bought. Date night beckoned!
Now, S is one of the few people I know who is well suited to middle age. He likes coming home from work, reading a book, eating apple crumble (or something) and going to bed. And while he’s not averse to the occasional date night, standing in a soulless cavern (Nottingham Ice Arena) with a bunch of strangers wasn’t top of his list of things to do.
E and I had had a lovely day, picnicking in the arboretum and meeting a friend for coffee, so we were in good moods and she didn’t mind when I gave her an early bath. She was obliging for our babysitter, reading some books, crying a bit but then settling right down to sleep. That, at least, went well. The TV decided this was the night it would pack up (it’s been threatening to for a while) so our entertainment for our babysitter was a bit thin on the ground. Bloody thing.
The tram’s system of offering cheap return tickets if you’re on your way to an event is a marvellous thing and very much appreciated. It was just the thing to distract S from his horror as I explained we had standing tickets. I think he liked me being pregnant at gigs as I got seats if they were available. We walked down to the soulless cavern in the company of an large amount of middle aged people. The problem with not realising you’re ageing is that you suddenly find yourself at a gig with loads of grey haired people.
We arrived in time to catch the perennially lovely Jimi Goodwin as support. Some of my best gigging times have been watching him and the new album is an interesting mix of styles that I haven’t fully got used to yet. But I couldn’t help noticing Jimi was going grey (fetching at the temples) too. And, although I did promise S to think about seats next time, I looked around us and decided that they were the equivalent of an early death. I just don’t enjoy sitting at gigs.
Of course the benefit of seats is that you get a good view. In days of yore, when we had more energy and could leave earlier, we’d be down the front. These days I have to take my short-arsed chances (I was even wearing DMs because I can’t handle standing in heels these days) but it wasn’t too bad though the man next to me was dancing with the enthusiasm of the recent convert. I can only guess that he hasn’t been a fan for long, but apart from that, and the irritating habit that people have of taking rubbish pictures with their phones, the view was pretty good.
We got a couple of bottle of water – neither of us usually drink during the week plus I’m always conscious, since passing out so much during pregnancy, of being places where I might feel faint and have water with me just in case. In the arena they confiscate the lids though (we’re not going to throw them, we’re Elbow fans for chrissakes) and this makes clapping difficult.
I describe my relationship with Elbow these days as that of a jaded ex-lover. I was hoping the gig would help bring the new album to life for me and some of the tracks did improve in a live setting. Whatever else they do, Elbow are a lovely live band. There were a couple, Real Life in particular, that I think are still unremarkable, but I did notice one man raising his arms during that one, clearly it meant something to him. Guy saw him too and pointed to him, a gesture that made me smile. The acoustic version of Great Expectations was worth the ticket price alone (it’s still the song they’ll be playing at my funeral) and I wiped away a tear or two during that and The Night Will Always Win. Enough of this ‘making everything beautiful’ shit, sometimes we just need to wallow.
As is the way with all good date nights, we ended up leaving the tram early as S didn’t feel well. But this did mean a bit more time to chat easily as we walked to the next stop, by which time he’d perked up a bit. Perhaps next time I’ll just try taking him out for dinner and home by 10.