Jamal Guthrie // Penny For Your Thoughts

Last weekend a good friend of mine struggled for 22 minutes to put one slice of pizza into his own mouth. This is an intelligent friend who knows far more than I do about the possible financial and social ramifications of Brexit, the nuanced beauty of Sofia Coppola films or the fact polar bears are left handed but an action he’d performed thousands of times before was almost impossible for him to complete because he was rendered incomprehensibly, yet hilariously stupid by alcohol. There must be something in the air causing a similarly mentally destabilising effect in people in the nether zone between showing ID to the security guard and approaching the ticket booth.

I’ve seen it from all sides. Being the idiot, serving the idiot and observing the idiot, Attenboroughesque, on the sidelines. Certain encounters are quite inexplicable. There are the people who walk straight past either thinking they’re invisible or that the door person’s job is to make sure the table they’re sitting behind is propped up at all times. The people who say “I’m on the guestlist” and stare at you blankly as though you’re a piece of retina identification software rather than a human who needs some sort of social interaction in order to help you get in. A simple piece of information such as your name would suffice, although admittedly sometimes that is difficult. I always say “ummmm it should be under Jamal” appearing uncertain of my own name.

Then there’s the questions, the questions which have almost entirely been answered by venue signs you’ve either walked straight pass or are looking directly at. Where’s the toilet? What time are the band on? Where’s the venue? What’s a gig? And for the people who truly, truly don’t get it; no, you can’t come in just to see the headliners for free, because you “won’t take up much space.”

Another friend of mine suffered from a severe but brief bout of brazen overconfidence. When asked for her tickets by a pleasant, if understandably bored looking member of the door staff at Bussey Building she declared “I’ve got five tickets bitch!” with a sassy Aunt Viv from The Fresh Prince Of Bell Air style finger snap thrown in for good measure. This was followed by an instant sheepish apology and three subsequent hours of introspective turmoil. This provided two helpful lessons. Number one: do not be sassy at the door. And number two: get better friends.

Jamal is head of the internet at LNZRT and editor of Route. On Twitter at @JamalGuthrie