The Misunderstood Concert, Wembley Stadium, London
“We love you, Lonigan!” my BFF Sondra screams at the top of her lungs, causing me to grimace and rub the ear closest to her. Her fingerless-gloved cloaked hands are cupped around her mouth, forming the miniature loudspeaker it’s compulsory to bring with you to every concert. Like it’s going to assist in her shout out being heard by the LG himself when we’re so far back from the stage he currently resembles a fucking dot.
Me? Well, I sigh loudly since I now have tinnitus, then I continue to stare at the LG on the big screens same as I do every sodding time. Drooling. Well, not quite. But almost. I inhale deeply, then wish I hadn’t as my olfactory senses get accosted by the stench of weed, popcorn and beer and not in a pleasant way either. The hellacious combination, which I can almost taste, leads to an almost gippy feeling. I fucking hate the smell of pot.
Sighing I take in the magnificence of the LG. They really should issue a public health warning against him, you know. The small print of any disclaimer should clearly state that the vast majority of the female population were at risk of going weak at the knees if they dared feast their eyes on his sheer physical rockstar perfection. That it ultimately could result in them falling over and banging their heads. Look at him at your own peril! You have been warned!
It’s surely not fair on the rest of mankind that any male should look that good and be that tempting? Hand on heart, I really do sympathise with the several unlucky sods who were short-changed when God was dishing out good looks and sex appeal due to the over-abundance of both bestowed upon the superstar that is the LG. There’s only so much of each available for distribution at any one time, right God?
“Son, it’s time!” I quickly bend my glow stick, which proceeds to light up like a miniature lightsaber. Raising them in the air like we’re Luke Skywalker and Darth bloody Vader, I take our selfie with the LG on the big screens as the background, and post the image to my Instagram.
Quickly turning around, we link arms just as the intro to the best song ever fucking written is played. I’m not trying to sound twee, but this really is one of those cliche lighters in the air moments. You know the ones. We all wave our illuminated symbols of devotion, so they resemble a host of glowing fireflies dancing in a rhythmic sway to the balladic tempo of The Misunderstood’s most successful hit to date.
The LG belts out Destiny, in his powerful and unique singing voice. ‘I knew you were my destiny. I knew you were the one,’ the colossal awe-struck crowd croons along. Me included.
I stand hypnotised alongside the thousands of other spell-bound fans; a mismatched group made up of people of varying ages that have turned out in loyal force to attend the long-awaited concert. We all rock together as though joined and connected by some great invisible force. No reference to Star Wars intended this time.
Son and I downloaded the track the moment it was released. We played it on repeat, memorising the words so we could sing the song in its entirety. When it came on anywhere, we’d show off smug as anything to our friends because we could recite the lyrics from beginning to end. We’ve all done it right? Course we have and anyone who says differently is a great big fucking liar.
My obsession with the band has stood the test of time. Well, my infatuation’s with the lead singer, to be honest. Lonigan Grey, or as we call him ‘the LG’, is the consummate performer and ultimate showman (sorry Hugh), as he now proves by working the crowd into an absolute fucking frenzy. The entire stadium now chanting and singing along to the powerful, world-recognised ballad word for bloody word.
The LG sings with passion and feeling, the rawness of his execution, causing tears of emotion to spring to my eyes. His presence commands attention and adoration without asking for it, and my insides melt as I feast my eyes on his epitome of male magnificence. My heart flips over as I take in the six foot three inches of lean sexy muscle as he moves across the stage, owning it as only he can in his rock star, godlike way. Jesus Christ, the man is something to behold. We truly are not fucking worthy.
His dirty blonde hair is shoulder-length, and his olive skin’s got just the right amount of stubble, gracing model-like features that look like they’ve been sculpted from the most beautiful marble. Golden-brown eyes sparkle with adrenaline, and sinewy muscles are taut and clearly defined, emphasised further by the layer of sweat covering his lethal body generated from the physical exertion of playing for, and performing to, his adoring fans. He’s wearing his trademark black biker boots, pale blue fitted jeans, and a black vest top, his electric guitar grasped in his hands like an extension of his phenomenal self.
I look at Son, and she’s now in a trance-like state, completely caught up in the moment. We get jostled by over-enthusiastic fans heading to the bar, and by others trying to push forward to catch a better glimpse, but we stand firm and continue to gaze in adoration at the man on stage.
Four band members make up The Misunderstood, but we ignore the other three as we’ve only got eyes for Lonigan. That’s fair enough, right? I mean it’s a well-known fact that singers get the bulk of the media and fan attention. I’m sure the rest of the band are used to playing second fiddle. Well, not literally fiddles. Drums, rhythm guitar, and bass guitar to be more precise.
As well as being the frontman of, in my opinion, the greatest rock band in the world, the LG’s also had the starring role in all my fantasies. There’s been no-one else. At twenty-five and a half, I still haven’t given away my V card. Fucking unbelievable, I know.
It’s not that I’m holding onto it intentionally or wearing it proudly like a Blue Peter Badge. But why should I settle for mediocre sex with one of the mediocre men I’ve dated so far?
Anyway, everyone who knows me knows I believe in fate. I’m a fatalist when it comes to love.
What’s for you won’t pass you by, right?
Lonigan Grey assures me that my elusive other half is out there every time he sings Destiny, so who am I to argue or disbelieve? If the LG believes, like me, that there’s a yang to my yin, then that’s damn well good enough for me. I don’t want to short-change myself. Time’s ticking though so spit spot, as Mary Poppins would say.
What’s the point in partaking in second-rate, vanilla sex in the meantime? None. No point whatsoever. I mean someone could come along in the intervening period and turn me into a sex-crazed, lust-filled nympho. Might happen, right? Chances? Exactly! I’m not holding my breath.
So yes, I’m single. It’s not like I haven’t dated, though—course, I have. There haven’t been loads of men in fairness, only a handful, and each a damp squib in his own unique way hence why I’ve never progressed beyond kissing and the occasional quick, top half only, fumble.
My last boyfriend, I use the term loosely, was Scott Parker, CEO of Parker Graphics. At twenty-eight, Scott’s a great catch. He’s tall and jaw-droppingly handsome with blonde hair and dark brown eyes, but he’s not the one or at least not for me he isn’t. He ticks every single box apart from the is there a spark box. Nope.
To try to instigate passion in that relationship, at least on my part, would be like trying to flog the proverbial dead horse. Everyone keeps telling me Scott’s a great catch, and for someone else, maybe he is. But not for me. Why should I settle for second best?
Why should anyone?
I know Scott’s still keen as he still asks me out from time to time, but I always turn him down. We never really finished what we started, not that we started anything as we’d have needed fucking jump leads. Scott seems to think we did, though. In his mind, we’re the perfect power couple. I mean, it’s been six months since we last went on a date, so you’d have thought he’d have taken the hint by now.
Maybe it’s because he’s met my parents. It wasn’t pre-arranged or anything like that. We just bumped into them in Ikea. So, Scott now seems to think our future is written in the stars. Or maybe he thinks just because we went to Ikea together, regardless of meeting my folks, that our future together is a given.
It’s what serious couples do, right? Go to Ikea together?
At the rate I’m going, I’ll probably end up an old maid with a dozen cats or eaten by Dobermanns or whatever the saying is these days. I’m too picky some may say, but why shouldn’t I be? In the words of Doris Day. Que sera, sera.
Whatever will be, will be.
So, yes. I’m a romantic fatalist. I’m also a tequila girl, but that’s another story.
Oh, and I should apologise in advance for my swearing and blasphemy. As Gloria says. I am what I am.
So how long have I been infatuated with the LG? Since I was sweet sixteen. Way back when my teenage self, filled with the optimism and hope that comes with youth, used to imagine he would leap from the stage and drag me into his arms. He’d kiss me passionately then declare me to be the one in front of the sold-out stadium even though we’d never met, and he didn’t know me from Eve.
I mean, even Eve got way more action than I’ve ever had just from taking a bite from a bloody apple. All I ever got from eating a Granny Smith was fucking indigestion.
The LG and I would then go on to live the happily ever after life we hear about in fairy tales or read about in OK or Hello magazine.
With age brings cynicism. It didn’t take me long to realise that fairy tale endings only happen in movies. Romcoms to be precise. Films produced with the sole intention of making you believe the rich and famous, day in day out, could meet and fall in love with us mere imperfect mortals. I mean, look at Notting Hill. As if Julia Roberts would wander into a random bookstore and fall in love with the blundering idiot of a bloke running it, even if he were Hugh Grant.
Fairy tale endings only happen in romance novels, and only for Cinderella or Snow White or one of the other Disney princesses. Fairy tale endings don’t happen for ordinary everyday folks like me.
So, except for the right here and now, where we’re inhaling the same London smog, the LG and I might as well live in two separate worlds.
Bridget Jones and I are not related, and my life isn’t a Romcom. So, no matter how much my teenage self wished upon a star for it to be the case, Lonigan Grey is never going to be my Mr Darcy.
My favourite song ends, signalling the show’s unwelcome conclusion and my reluctant return to life as I know it.
“Until next time, Lonigan,” I sigh sadly, realising I’ll have to wait a full year at least before I get to see the band perform live again.
The adrenaline rush I had during the concert’s fading fast. I feel deflated as I drop back to reality with a thud, likely feeling the same as most of the other devoted fans who surround me. Many of us turning up year after year for our brief moment of escapism, for our fix of The Misunderstood and the LG.
The stadium lights begin to raise, doing so gradually in an effort not to blind us, as this would only delay the impending mass exodus. The crowd reactively shuffles towards the exits, and we’re all just carried along, given no choice but to head back to the doom of our normality. Son and I are barged into by fans trying to escape, anxious now to be on their way so they can resume their ordinary, everyday lives. Their priority now is how quickly they can get their cars out of the car park.
“My feet hurt,” I grumble as I remove my foot from one shiny black four-inch stiletto before rubbing the pain away as best I can, repeating the process with the other offending article.
I pull down on the bottom of my black leather mini. It seemed like a good idea at the time to wear it, but with the temperature now dropped, I’m seriously starting to regret my choice of outfit and at having so much bare flesh exposed to the elements. I give up pulling on the hemline as it’s not going to make the length miraculously fucking grow.
I fully realise the LG can’t see me, but I still dress to impress when I come to see the band. Just in case he ever does that leap off the stage thing for me. You never know, right?
I look across at Son. We’ve been friends since we were sixteen and it’s the seventh time we’ve seen the band live. We became close when we stayed on at school. Pretty much everyone else in our year left as soon as they could, most venturing blindly off into the world of work or college, others having gotten themselves pregnant. I’d seen her around in the past, but we’d never really spoken, not until the need arose and until friend options were severely limited.
Son was one of those less popular types. I feel awful for saying that, but you know the ones I mean. They wore unflattering black clothes and, even though they didn’t smell, they still looked like they needed a good wash. That conclusion reached purely on the outward, most likely intentional, visual they portrayed with their long lank hair, dishevelled attire and chipped black nail varnish. There was a large group of them at my school. It was all the rage then I think.
That lot believed they had the God-given right to be more depressed than everyone else and were overjoyed when someone told them to cheer up. Only inwardly, of course. They had to retain the almost suicidal expression on the outside for overall effect and to retain their Emo badge.
At around five foot four, Sondra, or Son as I call her, is almost pocket-sized and strikingly pretty for an Emo with her elfin face, dyed long black hair and several piercings. She wears far too much dark eyeliner around her blue eyes, in my opinion, but it does create quite the striking contrast.
You know, like how Claudia Winkelman wears hers.
Son’s clothes sense has gotten better through the years but not enough to make that much difference to her overall outward appearance. Still, she no longer looks like she needs a thorough hose down, which is an improvement, I guess. Everything she wears still gives the overall impression that it’s second or maybe even third hand, though. I know Son doesn’t use charity shops, so I guess there must be a range of exclusive boutiques that allow you to purchase something new that, unfortunately, looks like it’s seen better days or had previous owners, while still charging you a designer price.
Unlike Son, I was one of the popular girls, and my friends were boring and beautiful in the main. At five foot nine, I’m tall and slim with porcelain skin and long jet-black hair. My hair isn’t dyed like Son’s though, it’s natural. My green eyes are large in my face, and my lips, which I fucking hate, are pouty and ruby red, hence why my parents called me Scarlett.
My close friends call me Scar.
Despite our differences, Son and I became forever friends after realising we both liked the New York rock band The Misunderstood, amongst other things. So, from aged sixteen to twenty-five, we’ve been what people refer to these days as BFFs. Unlikely ones on the surface, but BFFs all the same.
We inch forward in the slow-moving queue that’s meandering its way out of the arena at a sodding snail’s pace. I cross my arms in front of my chest, trying to retain what body heat I can, my breath now noticeably visible in the cooling temperature.
“You can stay at mine if you like, Son,” I offer. We both have work tomorrow, and I live much closer to the stadium, and at the rate the crowds are dispersing it’ll be well after midnight before we get home.
I run my own company called Vision Marketing and Son’s a Senior Journalist for The Dark Side magazine. So maybe her dragged through the hedge backward style clothing choices are, in fact, a compulsory uniform for her chosen career. I never really thought about it like that before.
“Cheers, Scar,” she replies distractedly without looking at me. Her thoughts are still likely on the concert, and she’s obviously going through the inevitable slump that arises when the long-awaited show’s over.
The departing queue seems to have come to a standstill. Not sure why that happens, but it always does. Do people have a brain fart and forget how to place one foot in front of the other? It’s a given at an event like this that the queue will come to a stop for no fucking reason whatsoever.
“What’s the delay?” Sondra grumbles. She gathers her jacket closer to her face as the temperature drops further, stamping her feet to warm herself up. I feel her pain. My exposed legs have goosebumps on their goosebumps.
Eventually, we reach the car park and find my car. I drive a little Audi A1 as it’s easy to manage in and around London, although I typically use the tube as it’s just more accessible and convenient. I change my stilettos for my driving shoes - an old pair of flat granny pumps I keep in the boot.
We join the queue of traffic exiting the car park, and I find my eyes drifting to the huge images of the LG displayed on the billboards and giant external screens. My heart flips in my chest as I gaze up and worship his perfect rock god persona. I exhale loudly, feeling totally deflated as I drag my gaze away from the luring visual when the queuing traffic finally moves forward.
The highly anticipated moment has passed in a flash for another bloody year.