Friday, July 08, 2005

[Blog Entry] Heaven, Hell, and Everything in Between, At A Loss for Neil

Heaven, Hell, and Everything in Between

Yesterday was full of excitement, to say the least. Pulp’s Good Charlotte concert brought many new experiences, interesting sights, and many interesting stories to tell.


The band’s vegetarian so arranging their meals was far from easy. Thankfully, I didn’t have that job. Last minute plans though had me buying the Garden Burger from Mexicali. Once that was over though, there was much idle time for me as I watched the staff arrange the set for Good Charlotte. It was 11 am at the time, and the bands (both local and international) aren’t due to arrive until mid-afternoon.

Jonathan the Bouncer

One of the bouncers in Good Charlotte’s dressing room is named Jonathan. Seeing that we both had nothing to do, he started making idle chatter.

Jonathan narrated at how he graduated with a degree in engineering, yet pursued the life of a bouncer. He was a music fan, after all, and as a bouncer, you get the privilege of meeting various artists like Linkin’ Park and Jerry Yan. “Kahit mga mayayaman nga naghihirap para makita sila,” he says. (“Even the rich struggle to see them.”) He also gets to travel, depending on where the concert is scheduled to take place at. Of course he admits that the life of a bouncer isn’t for everyone. He was, after all, single, and the traveling life had many luxuries. If he was married and had children, he’d have lots of things to worry about, and had to save money instead of spending it carefree whenever they were out on location.

Jonathan also takes pride in his job. When it comes to concerts where the crowd can get rowdy, no one’s better at crowd control than them. With big bulging muscles and a tight grip, Jonathan and his fellow bouncers are disciplined. Whenever there’s a riot, they clasp their hands together and form a tight formation to fend off the opposition. Police officers, in his opinion, aren’t adept with such matters. Once, the bouncers were asked to leave a gate undefended. One of the police officers foolishly opened the gate to take a peek, and the crowd started swarming in. It was up to the bouncers to fend them off, again. And when it comes to celebrities, security guards and the police might avert their eyes from their duty and stare at the subjects they’re supposed to be protecting, but the bouncers remain focused at doing their job: that is distancing everyone else from their client.

Not that bouncers have it easy all the time. One of the things they’re criticized of is harming the crowd. Jonathan explains that they only do it in self-dense. “Nambabato sila tapos kapag natamaan ang isa sa amin, basag ang mukha niya.” (“They throw stuff at us and when it hits one of us, it disfigures the face.”) Only in such cases do they retaliate, and only to quell the crowd. They don’t harm the innocents, but rather the rowdy folk, the gatecrashers, the drug addicts, the mobs. He exclaims that the police criticize them of that, yet when the police’s lives are placed in jeopardy, they fire a warning shot with their gun. “Eh mas grabe naman ‘yun, kasi baka may matamaan.” (“That’s worse, because someone might be hit by the bullet.”)

Good Charlotte

The band arrived on time at around 2:30 pm, and said hello to everyone they met. I was inconspicuous in my corner, so I never really got to meet them or shake their hand, although I did see them.

What some people didn’t realize was that after the press conference and the sound test, Good Charlotte went back to their hotel all the way in Ortigas. Which, of course, put a lot of pressure on us because of the heavy traffic that would ensue later that day.

Flashback 2001

When Pulp had its first Summer Slam at the Marikina Sports Complex, many Fillipinos were rioting in the streets, a prelude to what would be labeled as EDSA Tres or EDSA 3. Amidst all the heavy music we were hearing, an even bigger riot was happening nearby. The mosh pit in our rock concert was apparently the safer place to be at the time.

Apparently, it would make a repeat performance during the Good Charlotte concert, where there were rallies in both Makati and Manila, blocking off vital sections of the street. Stranded in our duties at the Folk Arts Theater, we didn’t know the details of what was happening, except for the fact that people were trying to depose GMA through rallies, and they had delayed the food, water, and ice that needed to be delivered in our location.

When Good Charlotte left after their sound test, our main concert was whether they would be coming back on time considering the mayhem that was happening.

Photocopier at 9 pm

Earlier that day, I had to run to Harrizon Plaza to photocopy an important document since the Folk Arts office didn’t want to loan the services of their own machine. Unfortunately, Manila is not my area and I didn’t know how to get there.

Honestly, it’s a walkable distance for me. Unfortunately, I took a wrong turn somewhere hence I hailed a cab to get to Harrizon Plaza. This was at around 3 pm.

Unfortunately at 9 pm, they wanted me to photocopy another document. Honestly, what place is open at 9 pm that offers photocopying services? Apparently, the Westin Hotel. But since it’s as hotel, they charged P10.00 per page. And I had to photocopy ten.

Kamen Rider!

Unlike my previous trip to the photocopiers, I had a ride available. One of our messengers had a motorcycle (which Filipinos shorten to mo-tor [the dash present to stress the accent]) and I was hanging on to him as he gave me a lift to the Westin Hotel (especially considering the fact that I don’t know how to get there either way).

It was actually fun feeling the breeze on your face. Of course since I wasn’t exactly secured on the motorcycle, we didn’t move that fast lest I fall off or lose my grip on the papers that needed to be photocopied.

Screaming Fans

The Folk Arts Theater was filled with fans, and unbeknownst to them, Good Charlotte hadn’t arrived yet. Not that the place was totally cramped since the bleachers could still be seen, but there was a strong presence at the front of the stage. When they cheered “Good Charlotte! Good Charlotte!”, there was no denying that the voices were feminine.

I don’t know if it was just me, but a lot of their female fan base seems to have this American or European look and/or accent. Not that there were any shortage of native Filipinas, but the ones etched in my memory were the more exotic looking ones.

Good Charlotte did give a great performance, and if I’m not mistaken, went down before they did their opening act to touch the hands of adoring fans who were in front. When they finished their last song, they immediately left the stage and went back to their hotel.

It was actually pitiful seeing some female fans, who right after the band had performed, went around to try to enter the backstage, hoping to get their CDs signed. No one told them that they had already left. (Besides, they’re not allowed at the backstage.)

When I finally left the Folk Arts Theater, girls were still going goo-goo-ga-ga over Good Charlotte’s performance. In English of course.

At A Loss For Neil

When I woke up today, one of the first text messages I get is asking if I’ll be at Neil Gaiman’s book signing. Only to be followed up by another text message from another friend who’s asking the same thing.

As I said before, while I do like Gaiman’s writing, I’m not THAT much of a fan (or a fan of any other author, anime, manga, etc. for that matter… I’m a fluid chameleon whose taste changes quickly over time). That and the fact that the only comic I really valued for sentimental value was my hardcover copy of Dream Hunters, and that’s gone (see last week’s entry to know the fate of the book that was lost then found, then lost again).

Still, a lot of my friends (and people who dislike me, an understatement I’m sure) will be there so I just might pop up to reacquaint myself with old friends, and annoy those that aren’t (just kidding).

I did do some digging up at home and managed to uncover my copy of Death: High Cost of Living, which is pretty and a fan favorite of some, I’m sure. It’s not my favorite though, although I do like it. Might as well bring it along, in case I meet a friend and I can give it to him or her if he or she really wants it.

On a side note, while I know where all the foreign artists are staying (and that includes Good Charlotte, since lately, every foreign celebrity seems to be staying at the same hotel in Ortigas), I’m wondering if Gaiman is also staying there.


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