True gripes / Rock journalists

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The Independent Online
If you go to gigs regularly, you will already be familiar with rock journalists. You may even have spoken to one. But my beef isn't with any old note-scribbling journalists. No, I'm talking about a far more pitiful strain; the bad apples if you like.

I saw it happen two weeks ago, at the Terrorvision gig at Brixton Academy. Even before the support band bounded on stage, the downstairs balconies were heaving. And this is where we find our preening princes. One of them was sitting up on the balcony - obscuring the view of six teenage fans behind him - flouncing his long blonde hair and ruffling that creased white shirt with the tail down to his thighs. He would have been the height of fashion, if this was 1981 and Spandau Ballet were in the charts.

When EMF began their set, his pal whipped out a Milan Kundera paperback. That act said: "Look at me, I didn't have to pay for my ticket." It reeked of arrogance. The Unbearable Lightness of Being? Bet he knows how that feels. Suspiciously, though, I didn't see him turn the page once. Was it all those long words, perhaps, or the almighty racket from the band?

The worst was yet to come. One of the girls who had been perched on tiptoes trying to see over Mr New Romantic asked him if he wouldn't mind moving along a bit, so that she could see. And he obliged. Really he did. He moved. A centimetre.

So why did this pair irk me so much? Probably because I'm the kind of music journalist who tries to hide his notebook. I cringe when I see writers waving their backstage passes or trying the "don't-you-know-who-I-am?" bluster on those gloriously impenetrable security men. It's not the fact that journalists get in for free and hang out with the celebrities that stinks, just when they feel the urge to make it plain to all those kids who've sold their kidneys for a ticket.

There was sweet justice when a certain purveyor of the "I'm-mates-with- all-the-famous-rock-stars" school of journalism was recenty refused admission to the swanky Menswear party because he'd been harsh on the band. Perhaps that's what these self-obsessed writers need: the odd "You're not on the guest list" to pull them up sharp. Oh, except me of course. I've never used a backstage pass in my life, all right? Well, only a couple. But that's all. Honest.