It’s 4pm on a bank holiday Sunday as I begin to write this and I’ve just woken up from one of the best nights of my life; watching Swedish House Mafia (SHM) at
. Alexandra Palace
I like to think of myself as a party animal but when I arrived at the venue and looked at the queue of fans, that self-evaluation went out the window. I felt like I was at the circus. Within minutes I’d seen a man dressed as a panda, a girl wearing nothing but plastic hooker heels and a bikini and a woman in a leopard print PVC catsuit. One girl had even turned up on crutches with a broken leg. To put myself in comparison, I had arrived in what I would call sensible ‘raving attire’. Flat shoes, tight demin shorts and a crop top, complete with fanny pack. (I would say bum bag but I’m childish and fanny pack just sounds funny) I’d even taken the liberty to bring some deodorant and hydrating face spray; anal maybe but that’s how I roll. Feeling somewhat inferior, I took a swig of our homemade alcoholic concoction and offered it to my friend.
As we reached the front of the queue and passed security we were told to get rid of our drink and hold our hands up to be searched, most likely for drugs.
The security guard asked: “What’s in the bag?”
I looked at him with a drunken smile and said “What…you mean my fanny pack?” for laughs.
He didn't find it so funny. “What’s in your fanny pack ma’am?”
I looked at him blankly “My fanny. Why don’t you take a look inside while I finish my drink?” and thrust my crotch forward giving him a wink while taking a sip from my bottle. My friend was cackling behind. He didn’t even bother searching me.
Once inside, we put our coats in the cloakroom, had a gander at the SHM merchandise and made our way to the concert hall to watch the warm up acts. I gazed down at the floor and saw what looked like two empty drug packets; it was 9:30pm and half the people were already off their face.The crowd shuffled in front of me and a huge black man who looked like John Coffey from The Green Mile aimlessly waded toward me mumbling “Mandy, mandy, mandy?” I moved to one side to let him through and watched a group of young girls pounce on him, flaunting £20 notes in his face; business was booming. Within minutes I’d been asked if I wanted coke, ket or pills- all of which I declined. This was a drug addicts dream, but I was here for the music. Meanwhile, my friend and I looked around and smirked at all the fake tan on display. Every time the strobe lights flashed, girls’ faces would go lime coloured; they looked like the green goblin on crack. “Bet you’re lucky you’re mixed race” she said with a laugh as we made our way to the foul smelling portaloo’s. They reeked so badly it was almost offensive.
My other friends arrived towards the end of the warm up set, ready to rave and we went to the back of the hall to buy a round of drinks, which actually weren’t too expensive. That only meant one thing: double vodka’s were now triples and after making friends with the bar staff, those triples turned into free quadruples. And then, out of nowhere, I heard the lights flash, the music stop and the crowd scream; SHM had made their entrance. Instinctively, my friend grabbed me and propelled me forward telling us to get to the front quickly. My friends followed behind as I politely squeezed past the crowd apologizing for stepping on people’s feet, but we were getting nowhere. I was too much of a pansy to barge my way through. But that soon changed when my friend stepped up to the plate, shoved past me and bulldozed her way through the crowd like a bull to a matador. The crowd parted before her like Moses before the
Red Sea and I followed her straight to the front row. Once up against the front railings I turned and realised we had lost our other friends and in a drunken stupor, I made a feeble attempt to rummage for my phone to call them. Of course in a room full of 8,000 people who were off their face it was highly unlikely that we’d find them again.
I was busy worrying about my other friends when I heard it. It was game over. Above the noise of the crowd, I looked up on stage and saw Axwell, Sebastian and Steve put their hands up, one finger in the air. One: Your Name. The keyboard intro was foreplay to a climax. I was about to reach eargasm as I anticipated the drop and lifted myself up on the front railing screaming “I WANNA KNOW YOUR NAME!” I was buzzing, jumped off the railing and started dancing until I looked up and realized that I was emblazoned on two massive projector screens either side of the stage. I smiled, blew a kiss to the camera and carried on dancing, wanting to appreciate every single, note, drop and break in the song.
An hour later and I was still off my face dancing and jumping, momentarily recognising it was doing wonders for my cardio workout. I was surprised at the amount of energy I had left considering I was one of the only people there who wasn’t on drugs. One by one, girls were being lifted over the front barriers and carried out of the VIP evidently unable to sustain their high; they looked sedated. Truthfully though, I remained unconcerned. I was too busy eyeing up Axwell on stage, trying in vain to get his attention. While everyone, including SHM, had their hands up in the air bobbing up and down I remained completely still, put my arms high up in the air and cupped my hands together in the shape of a hollow heart; the SHM symbol. Almost immediately Axwell turned to face me in acknowledgement, waved directly at me and cupped his hands together in the shape of a heart. I could have died and gone to heaven, but I was too busy waving like a manic groupie at the stage. In my catatonic state I even contemplated jumping the gate and running up on stage. Fail. Minutes later I got a second helping of the coveted attention I’d been seeking when Steve spotted my heart symbol amongst the crowd and in acknowledgement sent me another direct wave. I jumped up on the barrier, blew him a kiss and hovered there for as long as my triceps would let me (which wasn’t very long at all considering the state I was in). But we had the best spot in the house, and it didn’t matter if I was up on the rails or bumping shoulders with the crowd. The atmosphere and the music was more than enough, I just didn’t want the night to end.
It was all over in a flash. SHM signed off, said their goodbyes and ended the show. I was left feeling emotionally euphoric. I can’t possibly tell you what happened after that, but let’s just say I wound up in my bed at 6am, with a huge grin on my face. I would do it all again.