we are the in crowd birmingham

Brad Proposal

“Brad will you please tell me why I’m awake so early?”
“Just shush, you’ll thank me later”
You proceeded to get into the car with your suitcase. Brad would not tell you where on earth he was taking you. All he said was for you to pack a suitcase for a weekend away. It was dark outside, but you could see the sun making the skies light up a little.

The taxi pulled away from the flat you shared with your boyfriend. Brad loved to surprise you, especially for your birthday. But your birthday was two weeks away so it couldn’t be anything for that. If there was one thing you hated, it was being completely clueless. You’d at least like to have known where it is you were going so you could have packed the right things to wear. During the journey, you looked out for hints as to where you were going, but Brad just kept waffling on to you about stupid little things.
“Brad seriously, this is getting ridiculous, where are we?”
“Oh look we’re here”
Looking out the window, you’d pulled up at Birmingham Airport Departures. Getting out of the taxi, Brad paid the driver and pulled your luggage our of the car. Handing you your case, Brad waved at the driver as he drove away. Okay, you were even more clueless now than you were before. 

“The departures lounge?” You asked as you looked around at the crowds of people dragging their luggage into the airport. 
“Mhm” Brad laughed as he pointed over to the trolley stand.
Then you spotted a couple. A tall guy with brown hair and a girl just a little smaller with straight blonde hair. They were waving at you.
“Brad…Brad…Is that Con and Luisa?”
“Maybe it is?” He smirked
Shaking your head, you smiled giving him a nudge as you dragged your case over to the couple. Luisa came running up to you straight away giving you a hug. Con doing the same afterwards.
“So has he told you where we’re going yet?!” Luisa asked, giddily.
“No he hasn’t…wait we’re”
You looked at Brad, who was looking at Connor giggling. 
“Lets just go inside” He smiled, as you all dragged your cases into the airport lounge. Brad said he needed to go and sort something out, so you sat on your case with your friends. Luisa was getting so giddy and excited, but you just didn’t understand what was going on. It was pretty obvious you were going somewhere on a plane, but where, you had no clue. Soon, Brad returned.
“They’re ready” He nodded to Con as they both pulled out their phones, holding them high as if they were about to take a selfie.

The next thing, James and Kirstie and Tristan and Anastasia popped up on the screens. They looked like they were in an airport too. Luisa had her phone out ready to film something. 
“Brad, what is going on?” You laughed, feeling the excitement bubble inside.
“Okay, so it’s your birthday soon, and we wanted to do something special. So the 8 of us are going away together for a weekend”
“BRAD JUST TELL HER” Kirstie shouted
“Open this” Brad said, handing you an envelope
Taking it from Brad, you opened it up carefully to reveal two boarding passes and a letter. The boarding passes said that you were flying to CDG, meaning Paris. Then, you took out the letter and your hand rose to your mouth. Tears started to brim in your eyes. Brad had booked for everyone to go to Disneyland Paris for your Birthday. 

You looked up at everyone, who were now waving their boarding passes at you. Brad was smiling that cheeky grin, as you jumped off your case and hugged him so tightly. 
“Thankyou” you whispered as you placed a kiss on his lips. 
Luisa then came up behind you and placed a pair of red and white dotty Minnie Mouse ears on your head
“WE’RE GOING TO DISNEY” she squealed. 
James and Tris were flying out from London, because it would’ve been a struggle for them to treck to Birmingham with all of their luggage. 

Before you knew it, you’d boarded the plane and were ready to take off for Paris. Brad was scared of flying, so as the plane rumbled along the runway, you held his hand tightly, kissing him on the cheek as another thankyou for what you already knew was going to be the most wonderful trip. Con had already fallen asleep on Luisa’s shoulder, who was sat reading a fashion magazine. Brad and you were sharing earphones, listening to his playlist from his Ipod. Then, the flight attendant announced that you would be descending into Charles De Gaulle. It was a very quick flight, much quicker than you thought it was going to be. 

As you all plodded out into the arrivals section, you waited for your luggage. It seemed to take forever to come around, there were so many people. Finally, they were released, and Brad handed you your case, holding your hand as you walked tried to make your way through the crowds. The next thing you heard was screams. Kirstie and Anastasia came bounding up to you, hugging you and jumping around. You’re girls after all, what girls don’t get excited over going to Disney. The boys all gathered around, putting their arm around Brad as if to be discussing something but you didn’t know what. 

Now that the group had been re-united, you all piled into a black taxi to take you to your hotel. You had no clue where Brad had booked for you to stay. On the journey, you all sang along to the classic Disney songs, as James tried to do his impression of 60% of the Disney characters. Brad held your hand throughout the entire journey, he just seemed to be really touchy today, much more than normal. Then, you pulled up at the most beautiful pastel pink hotel; not just any hotel; the Disney Hotel. It’d been your dream to stay here since being a little girl. Looking at Brad, your mouth open you blinked in bewilderment. 
“Is…Thi…Is this our hotel?”
He nodded and giggled as you bombarded him with even more thankyous and hugs and cuddles. 

Once you’d all checked into your rooms, changed into something a little more comfortable, your holiday could begin. Everyone had some ears to wear, and everyone was getting into the Disney spirit, even Connor who wasn’t the greatest Disney fan in the world. The majority of your time was spent on the rides, taking so many funny photos and meeting all of your favourite characters. You had the most adorable group photo taken with Mickey and Minnie in front of the castle. It was one of those things where you were just so happy to be in your happiest place with the people who meant the most to you. 

Brad seemed to be having an amazing time, until it came to your last day. He was so distant and quiet, not like the normal Brad that you knew. The girls were keeping you occupied, pointing out all the cute things and the characters whilst the boys seemed to be re-assuring Brad. You wondered why he couldn’t speak to you about whatever was troubling him. After having another amazing day in the park, you all walked down Main Street to take your place to watch the fireworks. Kirstie stood with her arms around James, Luisa stood snuggled into Con and Anastasia was trying to fix Tristans ears onto his head. You however were stood alone, Brad had gone to a shop somewhere, so you said you’d go on and save a space.
“Is Brad okay?” You turned to ask James
“Yeah, he’s fine why?”
“He’s just been really distant today that’s all”
“Oh…”
“I thought I’d done something to upset him..”
“Oh no no no, believe me you’ve done nothing to upset him, nothing at all”
“You sure?”
“I’m more than sure” He smiled.

Then, you felt warm arms wrap around you and a chin rest on your shoulder. The couples were stood in a diamond shape right in front of the castle.
“Hey” he whispered
“Hey” you whispered back, as he kissed you on the cheek.

*James and Kirstie were stood behind you. Brad had one hand behind his back with a small box in it. James took a photo of this moment; Brad with his arms around you, the castle right in front of you both and the ring in his hand, you completely unaware. He uploaded it to Instagram with the caption “Lets hope she says Yes”.*

As you waited for the show, Brad kept shuffling. 
“Brad, are you okay?”
“Yes…I…”
And with that his hands were removed from around your waist. 
“Brad what’re you doing?”
He knelt down to the floor, and the crowd around you burst into gasps and aws! The boys and the girls stood back, to give you and Brad some space.
“(Y/N), I don’t know what my life would be like without you. You bring me so much joy and laughter everyday, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. So…(Y/N)…Will you marry me?”
You looked around at the couples, they were all smiling and James gave you a wink.
“OF COURSE I WILL YOU BIG MUPPET” You shouted, as he placed the ring on your finger, pulling you into the tightest hug. You kissed him on the lips as you looked down and giggled. 
“SMILE” James said as he held up his phone
Brad enveloped you into a cuddle as you showed the ring to the camera giggling. He then uploaded it to the Instagram with the caption “She said Yes”.
Then, the fireworks began as the internet went into complete craze because you and Brad were engaged. You both watched the castle be lit up by exploding lights, as you snuggled into one another. Looking up at your Fiance, you wondered how you ever got so lucky.

Manchester bombing live updates: UK on critical alert as Threesa May raises terror threat to highest level

A suicide bomber killed 22 people, including children, as an explosion tore through through fans leaving an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena.

Some 59 people were also injured in the blast when the attacker, now named by US officials as Salman Abedi, 22, detonated an improvised explosive device shortly after Grande had finished her performance on Monday night.

It is the worst terror attack in the UK since 56 people were killed in the 7 July London bombings in 2005.

Please allow a moment for the live blog to load

Announcing that the death toll had risen overnight, Greater Manchester Police chief constable Ian Hopkins said: “What I can confirm is that there are children among the deceased.”

He said: “This has been the most horrific incident we have had to face in Greater Manchester and one that we all hoped we would never see.

"Families and many young people were out to enjoy a concert at the Manchester Arena and have lost their lives.”

Mr Hopkins said investigators believed the attack was conducted by one man who died at the scene, although detectives were working to establish if he “was acting alone or as part of a network”.

Police were called to reports of an explosion at the Manchester Arena at 10.33pm, shortly after US singer Ariana Grande had finished her performance.

Victims described being thrown by the blast that scattered nuts and bolts across the floor.

More than 240 calls were made to the emergency services, with responders including 60 ambulances flooding the area.

More than 400 police officers were deployed as part of the operation, with a visible presence remaining on the streets of Manchester on Tuesday.

The injured are being treated at hospitals across Greater Manchester, and a hotline has been set up for those with concerns over loved ones who remain unaccounted for.

Police have appealed for concert-goers and witnesses to provide them with any footage they have from the scene if they believe it can assist the probe.

The Prime Minister has condemned the “appalling” incident and General Election campaigning has been suspended.

Grande said she had been left “broken” by the events.

Andy Burnham, the Greater Manchester metro mayor, said the attack was an “evil act”.

Speaking on Tuesday morning the former Labour MP said: “It is hard to believe what has happened here in the last few hours, and to put into words the shock, anger, and hurt that we feel today.

"These were children, young people and their families that those responsible chose to terrorise and kill.

"This was an evil act.”

He added: “We are grieving today, but we are strong. Today it will be business as usual, as far as possible in our great city.”

Take A Look (Jacob Frye X Assassin!Reader)

(I know it’s been a while since my last fic - with the schedule going out the window with a week or two, but here is the newest one!)

I listened to Peter Hollens’ cover of Underground from the Assassin’s Creed Syndicate soundtrack and wrote this at about 10pm. 

I hope everyone like this; enjoy!

~*~

Keep reading

I wanted to write briefly to thank everyone for the overwhelming amount of messages we have all had over the last week, even the handful of people I’ve bumped into since the announcement. So many stories about little events and crossovers of significance our band has had, accidentally or otherwise, with you in the last ten years or so. It’s all truly appreciated and really re-affirmed what an amazing time it has been. So, thank you.


On a personal note, The Maccabees always meant the absolute world to me. It has given me incredible purpose and been the place where I have lived out what were childhood dreams. I am very grateful for that. We were what I considered to be as authentic a band as you could get, from putting a band together in a bedroom as teenagers and learning between ourselves, literally starting being totally unable to play, to making four albums, writing and recording everything ourselves from the beginning to the end, touring the world and making the band our lives into our thirties. Part of being in a group that works is just the coincidence of the right collection of people meeting each other at the right time. It’s that little thing that just makes a band it’s own and inimitable. I believe we had that.


It was far from unblemished and, as tends to happen when you are learning in public, there were a lot of calamities, which though at the time were mortifying, with hindsight, are just really funny. Personally, given the chance I probably would take back shouting ‘FELIX!” down the microphone to a very silent but very full Birmingham NIA (supporting Ben Folds, ten years ago) when asked by someone in the front row, ‘What’s your name?”, him just trying to point out we hadn’t told the crowd what the band were called yet. It’s one of many.


Amongst those though, we made some huge strides, laughed a lot and were part of some really special shows. In the early days they were chaotic, drunk and frenetic, and in the latter they felt fully attentive, impassioned and multi-dimensional. Though the nature of the shows changed quite dramatically across the years I, almost always, felt borderline euphoric on stage with the band, looking across and seeing my brother, for a while both brothers even, and friends I had grown up with playing this music we had made and that I loved. Of course, there were more than a handful of really average gigs, some of which I’m sure you witnessed yourselves, but there were also no doubt some really magical ones too. When you have been part of something like that it is an absolute buzz, a really unexplainable thing. I used to walk around still fuelled by them, on top of the world, for weeks after they happened. Just as valuable to me as those over time were the never-ending hours travelling on buses, sleeping on airport floors, generally waiting around and turning killing time into an art form on tour between all of us, road crew and whoever else happened to be there. I wouldn’t be surprised if the waiting around, having moaned about it pretty much for the duration, is the thing I miss the most once we have had distance.


There were long spells too when making a record felt so impossible that we were never going to get out of it sane. We poured so much detail into the writing and the making that over the 14 years we probably made less music than we could have done. Sometimes we just felt like we were going backwards for months. But we always got there, always finished with evolved music, something different from the last and a progression of where we had been, and those records always took us to new places too. It wasn’t for everyone. But I loved it all. I really, honestly did. It’s where I learnt to play guitar, write music and have lived out my entire adult life until now. I’d recommend being in a band to anyone. I feel like we did it on our own terms and always immersed ourselves really passionately into what our group stood for. It was a magical time.


I’m looking forward to what is next. We’ll wait and see exactly what that is whilst the dust settles. The future is a bit unknown, but then again, it kind of always is. Thank you again to all those that shared in any of the good times over the years!!! The farewell shows should be great I hope.


See you soon and lots of love,

Our Little European Vacation.

At the request of management, I have agreed to write a post concerning our recently cancelled tour of Europe. I wouldn’t have bothered to do this on my own, since a rather self-explanatory general statement has already been made explaining our reasons for leaving and that seems more than sufficient to me- the basic gist of the post was that something specific occurred that made some of us in the band feel that it was unwise to continue on with the tour, potentially putting ourselves, our crew, and large numbers of defenseless people in harm’s way. Simple enough. And I won’t elaborate on the details of that occurrence here, since I have no wish to add to the atmosphere of speculation and fear that currently surrounds terrorist activities in Europe- there are way too many ill-informed running mouths across the globe making an already tense, highly complex, and extremely fluid situation on that continent even worse. I feel pretty ridiculous even writing this (who knew deciding to cancel a tour after venues you have played start getting blown up would require any sort of explanation to anyone?), but since I have been asked nicely to do so by the people I employ to manage my band, I will.

And as one of the band members who said “I am done here,” I will speak solely for myself, not my band as a whole. I have no problem with this because, well, because frankly I don’t give a rat’s ass what most people think of me in general- historically, other people’s opinions of what I should or shouldn’t do or say hasn’t made much of an impact on my decision making process, and it’s not about to start now. Besides, I’m already more than used to being the bad guy, so I won’t lose any sleep over the inevitable pissy internet comments. That kind of stuff just isn’t significant enough to keep me up at night, and I don’t pay much attention to it anyway- I’ll leave that to the hand-wringers and gossipmongers who have nothing better to do. So here is what I have to say, and it’s all I’m going to say on this matter, PERIOD- those with just half of a functional brain in their heads will easily understand, the rest… well, who really gives a fuck what you (don’t) think anyway? Certainly not me.

Obviously, no working band wants to cancel a tour, especially once it is underway- fans get disappointed, a lot of money gets lost by several different groups of people, a massive amount of time is wasted by all parties involved, it’s generally an all-around bad business move, and (trust me) it’s just a huge pain in the ass. My band is not in the habit of cancelling tours, so unless there is a family emergency, we carry on regardless of almost anything. And lots of “interesting” things have occurred in our 21 years of existence as a band. We have taken the stage five minutes after martial law has been declared (Bangkok, Thailand), we have been stuck in airports for multiple days unable to enter a country because the armed forces and the police force of that country have decided to go to war with each other (Ecuador), we have narrowly missed, driven through, or managed to maneuver around deadly natural catastrophes (earthquakes in China, floods in Poland, hurricanes here in America, and more). Personally, I’ve gone onstage with a broken arm, broken ribs, various broken toes, a broken nose, staples in my forehead due to a stage dive gone wrong- hell, I’ve even been to prison in a foreign country, gotten out after a month, and played massive gigs a little over a week later. In fact, before the first night of this very tour had even gotten underway, I met a group of particularly unpleasant young people on a dark street and consequently played the first few shows with a banging headache.

My band and I aren’t even strangers to touring in an environment of terror- just over a month after September 11, 2001 we played in Times Square, downtown Manhattan, New York City (a lot of bands, especially European bands, cancelled tours of the States around that time, and I didn’t blame them- it was a seriously heavy time to be in America). But such is the life of a touring musician, so something really, really serious has to occur to make us cancel.

And something really, really serious (and utterly heartbreaking) did occur in Paris, prompting several bands to go home early or cancel upcoming tours- I couldn’t blame them. But my band didn’t leave- we paid attention to what was going on, evaluated the situation the best we could, and decided to continue on with the tour. Despite some obvious concerns, it felt like the right thing to do.

Sitting in a hotel room in London, as I followed along in real-time during the tragic massacre in Paris at Bataclan I could see the layout of the club in my mind, and I thought “That is a terrible spot to be trapped in like that (which of course is exactly why the gunmen chose it)- God help those people inside.” It was sickening to me that people were dying just because they wanted to see a rock show, and what made it worse was that I could clearly envision it happening as it went down- I’d played that club several times before. 89 people died in Bataclan that night, including one individual known to several crew members of our tour. The next day the mood was serious before the gig, but all the bands got up and played their hearts out- it felt like the right thing to do, to try and raise people’s spirits. From the stage, I told the audience to try not to be consumed by hatred or to live in fear- after all, we were still onstage, people had come out, and no one wants to sit around and be overwhelmed by anger, anxiety, and sadness over something they have no control over. It was an emotional show for everyone involved.

The next day the tour played another smaller UK gig in Birmingham. I was forced to stop the show so an injured member of the crowd could be carried out to an ambulance, but overall it still felt good, like we were doing the right thing.

Then the band and crew flew to Stuttgart, Germany. We had originally planned to ride the ferry from Dover, England to Calais, France and from there make our way to Germany, but after the bombings and shootings in Paris the French government shut the borders, and we figured either the ferry wouldn’t be available or it would just be a complete security nightmare, so we spent money on flights. Imagine my surprise when I talked to our bus driver the day of our gig in Stuttgart, asking him how crowded and hectic the ferry ride was- “Oh, no, it was almost empty,” he said “And when we got to France, we were just waved in- there were no cops there at the border or anywhere in sight.” Umm… ok. That seemed just a little loose to me, given that just three days previously men who had traveled from a nearby different country had blown themselves up in Paris after massacring over 100 human beings, but I’m no security expert, so what do I know, right? Right before I walked onstage in Stuttgart, I saw on the news that they evacuated a soccer stadium north of us in Hannover, Germany due to threat of explosives. I didn’t exactly feel relaxed going onstage that night, but it turned out to be a great gig, despite once again me having to stop the show so another injured crowd member could get wheeled out to an ambulance (two gigs in a row of people getting badly hurt was a real bummer for sure though- it really throws things off when you know an audience member is injured). And so we continued on through mainland Europe to Tilburg, Netherlands- once again, it felt like the right thing to do.

I woke up in a great mood around 1 or 2 pm on the day of the Tilburg show (I like Holland, and always enjoy my time there), went into the venue, ate lunch and began looking online to see if there was a camera store nearby. Sometime later that afternoon, soon before the band was scheduled to soundcheck, our tour manager called us together, closed the dressing room door, and said “I’ve got some news, and it’s not good.” He then informed us of a specific occurrence that made me immediately say “Fuck this, I’m not going on that stage tonight.”

At that moment, it no longer felt like the right thing to do anymore, not at all. It did not feel like the right thing to still stand on stage and tell people “Don’t worry about it- come on in and enjoy yourselves. There’s no need for concern.” It did not feel like the right thing- not for myself, not for the people I employ, and not for our fans. Things had quickly changed- it felt foolish, it felt irresponsible, and it felt potentially very, very dangerous.

As I mentioned earlier, I do not wish to add more rumors or speculation to an already tense and constantly shifting situation in Europe, so I won’t go into details. Suffice it to say, this new specific piece of information (not some nebulous news story about the generally pensive atmosphere pervading Europe at the time) gave me enough to pause to think “I am not going to chance endangering the lives of myself, my crew, and the 1,800 or so fans expected to show up this evening by going on with this show. I can’t tell these people they are safe in here. It does not feel right, screw this, I’m out of here.” Furthermore, what I had just been told made me think “Even if it’s nothing tonight, I’m not going to go through this every day. Our job is done here for now- it’s time to go home. It doesn’t feel safe enough to cram ourselves and hundreds of people into venues anymore.”

And I wasn’t the only one who thought or spoke that way, but since I’m writing this, I’ll own it here. That was my judgement call, I stand by it, I was at the time (and I remain to this very second) completely and utterly 100% unapologetic about it to anyone anywhere, and if placed in the same situation right this instant the only thing I would do differently would be somehow get the words “Fuck this, I’m done” out of my mouth quicker (which would probably be difficult, but I would damn sure try). Shortly after our tour manager told the club manager we had decided not to play, the venue put a press release saying the gig was cancelled, and our crew began to pack up everything onstage. The doors never opened to the general public, and I feel very, very good about being part of the decision that caused that. Why?

Because aside from some grumpy fans’s feelings, no one got hurt that night. To my knowledge, everyone made it home ok. Sure, if we had done the show, maybe nothing would have happened anyway. Maybe it would have been a great gig, as all our gigs at that club have been before. Maybe cancelling the gig was all for nothing.

But maybe not. And if things had gone badly, afterwards while I sat talking to the cops (because in all probability, once guns started going off, I would have made it out the nearby back exit while the fans and maybe some of my crew got stuck inside and gunned downed or blown to bits like those poor people in Paris), I would have said to myself “You got some specific information. You knew there was something potentially sketchy. You didn’t feel right about this. Why didn’t you just cancel the show, you stupid, selfish, idiot?”

When I said I was done, did I know that some fans would be bummed out about our cancelling the tour? Yes. Did I realize that this was going to cost us a lot of money? Yes. Did I know that some people would be incapable of understanding why we were going home and complain about it? Yes. Did I care? Hell no. And I still don’t- in fact, looking at news about the current situation in Europe, I feel better and better about leaving before something else happened, either at our show or anywhere else over there. I don’t feel like constantly wondering what the security climate in the next country we are scheduled to play in is, playing terror alert hopscotch through Europe right now just to play a few fucking heavy metal concerts- I’m glad I’m home. I feel like I made the right decision, and that’s all that matters to me. I don’t care what anyone else thinks.

Once a few years ago in Europe, I made a poor decision to let a show go on, despite the fact that that show was obviously dangerous and out of control. While the particular circumstances were very different than what was happening in Tilburg, the general problem was the same- there was a possibility that band members and/or fans could get hurt. I ignored that possibility, and as it turned out, a fan did get hurt that night- in fact, he died a month later as a result of his injuries. I went to prison in Europe for a bit over it, got out on bail, then returned to Europe to stand trial and face up to any responsibility I may have had in the matter- that story is pretty well known, so I won’t bother explaining it further. What I will say is that I already have one dead person in Europe forever attached to my name- I won’t add anymore if I can prevent it, no matter who it pisses off or disappoints. I’m not going to play around with my life or the lives of others if I feel there is a dangerous situation I could potentially stop from occurring by simply saying “The show is over.” It’s not worth it to me, and if someone can’t understand or won’t accept my reasoning, then I have nothing for them but a firmly raised middle finger.

I will not be castigated or chastised for making a decision I felt was in the best interest of the safety of a) first and foremost, myself, and b) hundreds of other people. Like it or lump it, that’s the way it fucking is.

I hope that the situation in Europe and everywhere else calms down, posthaste (and yes, I know that an attack could occur in America- obviously, I’d feel better about being at home to help deal with it the best I could, or at the very least die on my native soil). I hope no one else dies anywhere on the planet (and this is a global problem) because some misguided maniacs with suicide vests and Kalashnikovs decide to martyr themselves over their twisted interpretation of divine will. But yesterday at least 21 people died in Mali during a hostage situation at the hands of terrorists, and as I write this, Milan, Italy (where we were booked in three days) is on high alert. And the city of Brussels (where we were scheduled to play next week) has been placed on the highest possible alert, with governmental officials telling people to avoid high concentration areas like sporting events, train depots, airports, and… concerts. Downtown is basically shut down, and I’m more than happy we won’t be filling a concert venue there (or any other place at the moment) for something to potentially go terribly, terribly wrong. The way I feel, to do so at this particular time seems not only risky to myself, but irresponsible to our crew and fans- enormously, cosmically, irresponsible. And as of this second, the venue we were supposed to play in Brussels is closed anyway. I guess they don’t feel safe remaining open at this time, what with their government basically telling everyone to expect something really bad to happen at any moment. Not the best environment for a rock show.

While we were still on tour, when other bands canceled their tours immediately after the attacks in Paris, one typical and very widespread online reaction I saw (and was completely baffled by) was “ISIS wins! By not playing, they are letting ISIS win!”

“By not playing, they are letting ISIS win”? People, do you have any idea of how colossally stupid this sounds?

Please crawl out of the hive mind echo chamber for a second and try to use your own head for a change- these are ROCK BANDS trying to play a gig without being gunned down onstage, not Navy SEALS assaulting a mountain stronghold in the Hindu Kush. You aren’t going to stop a bullet with a ripping guitar solo- Jimi fucking Hendrix couldn’t do that, even if he resurrected and came back to rock Europe one more time. This isn’t a game of Mortal Kombat or a goddamn G.I Joe cartoon or just some news story- almost 100 people died horrific deaths just over a week ago, screaming with terror as they were gunned down like fish in a barrel simply because they were crammed into a club trying to have a good time at a rock show. These were real human beings, not blips in a Twitter feed. Tragically, more people might die before it’s over. I hope not, but overall the situation in Europe doesn’t look good at this second. I encourage those of you who don’t agree with my assessment of the situation to immediately book a ticket to Belgium, walk around with picket signs in front of Ancienne Belgique (the club we were booked to play in Brussels) and yell at them about how they aren’t properly fighting terrorism by closing their doors. I’m sure your presence there will do the people of Brussels a ton of good. Hell, the Belgian authorities will probably immediately give you a job as a high-ranking officer in their anti-terrorism task force (since you obviously know how to end the current crisis).

Right now, several of my friends remain in Europe on tour. I hope they have good gigs, I hope they stay safe over there, and I hope (most importantly) that they return home safely to their loved ones. It is their decision to stay, and I respect that. When you join a touring band, you aren’t issued some sort of rock-n-roll handbook that reads “Section C: In case the country you are touring in falls under threat of attack by homicidal Jihadists, viable options are: A) play only secret basement shows until the threat passes, B) appeal to the local armed forces for a loan of assault rifles, C) issue body armor to all band, crew, and concert attendees D) roll the dice and hope for the best or E) catch the next thing smoking home.” There is no textbook answer for a situation like this, so I can’t even pretend to say what other people should or shouldn’t do. I can only do what I think is the right thing to do for me and mine, and so I did. I stayed on tour in Europe until something concrete, not a general sense of dread, made me decide to go home. And I don’t regret going home in the slightest- not one tiny shred.

None of this makes me happy- not cancelling a tour, not losing money, not bumming out fans, not people having to worry about being blown up, and especially not people dying. It sucks on a very, very deep level. And I hope nothing else happens. I honestly hope we cancelled a tour for absolutely nothing, so that people can point their fat little fingers at this later and laugh their heads off at my unwarranted concerns. I would rather be ridiculed by the entire online virtual peanut gallery of pinheads than take chances on myself or anyone else getting hurt or killed (and yes, I include even the dummies who are mad and still can’t understand why we cancelled) because I ignored what I felt was the smartest move given our circumstances. I can deal with people disagreeing with me and my actions, no problem. I could not deal with a news story that reads “Hundreds die at lamb of god concert; authorities say potential warning signs were ignored by band.”

Then people would have something of actual consequence to bitch about, not a few cancelled heavy metal concerts- “How could those fucking American morons play a show when they thought something might happen? Why didn’t they cancel? Now there are dead people everywhere- what a bunch of ASSHOLES.” No thanks- better safe than on CNN.

Y'all stay safe, and let’s hope this mess gets sorted out soon.

That is all I have to say.

yesterday, my twin sister got the oppurtunity to interview her favourite band - 5 SECONDS OF SUMMER! She invited me along and we were let into the venue at 5.45pm and got to listen to Mike Dignam soundcheck before the interview began. We were lead into their dressing room and to set up and a few minutes later we heard knocking on the door followed by giggles, Australian giggles! The boys then burst in and shouted ‘TWINS!!’ before giving us massive hugs. The interview began and they were so lovely and genuine. After the interview they were like 'so, shall we take selfies?!’ of course we did and had a chat, Ashton said 'you are so fashionable!’ to me and I am amazed I didn’t faint, oh bless him. We spent about 45 minutes with the boys before being lead out by the manager to stand in the venue and wait until everyone else arrived! They were phenomenal live and the crowd was so lovely and amazing, everyone was so chatty and I met some brilliant people. The fans are so dedicated to the boys and I hope one day they’ll get to meet their idols. Thank you 5SOS for an amazing time and thank you to my sister who gave me a once in a lifetime experience!

Serendipity part 1

A/N: I saw this prompt from otpprompts and I thought I’d give this one a try. It’s candy-floss level fluffy, fluffiest thing I’ve ever written. So it might be a bit sickly for some. It was going to be a one shot but I had to split it up a bit because it got away from me. Hope this is ok.

July 2000

In hindsight booking a red-eye flight was probably one of the more stupid decisions he’d made that month. Right next to agreeing to a lad’s weekend in Amsterdam with Chop, Archie, Barney and Little Al at the last minute in the first place, but it was a lie to say that he wasn’t at least looking forward to it. A bit. Work had been non-stop for weeks and by the time he’d got round to booking a flight out all that had been left were either at five in the morning or the one he was waiting on which was closer to two. Finn adjusted himself in the uncomfortable lounge seat, flexed the spine of his paperback and chewed on the corner of his thumb absently once he’d found his place and started to read the words over when the din of the chatter around him died down as the speakers played out the announcement bell.

‘Attention all passengers,’ the overhead voice clamoured from the crackling speaker above him. ‘We are sorry to announce that the following flights departing for: Vienna, Amsterdam, Birmingham, and Leeds have been delayed for approximately one hour. We apologise for any inconvenience, please be advised to check departure boards for further information.’

The collective groan from the seating lounge around him erupted as a few passengers rushed with their suitcases across the departure gates to the screens further down. Finn let out a quiet sigh and collected his holdall as a crowd had gathered in a cluster over at the information boards. Sure enough when he found his flight on the board above him the one forty-five to Amsterdam wouldn’t get him there for another two hours. At this rate Chop would beat him there and have already worked his way through the bars and clubs over there by the time he even got on the plane.

Rae had already been running late for the third time that day, she had a marathon sprint to check in after getting stuck in traffic on the way to the airport, then she couldn’t find her sodding passport in the check in queue and to top it off she got held up in the security line before she’d even had a chance to sit down. She’d  only been at the airport for a few hours and she was already knackered. Uni had been finished for a week and she had three left before term started back to visit Chloe before she went back. Before that was her little sister’s fourth birthday which meant a welcome but long trip to Tunisia to visit her, her mum and Karim while the three of them were on holiday visiting Karim’s family. In hindsight an hour delay wasn’t a massive problem, a nuisance, but she had her Diskman to pass the time before everything got sorted out. She’d be on the way to ‘Sunny Stamford’ soon enough.

Famous last words.

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In A Universe Made of Blood and Love

It’s been too long since I have written and quite a lot has happened since then.

Today, a travel day with no show. 12 hours in the car from Dallas to Las Cruces.  While being confined in a car for so long was rather difficult physically, it was an incredible day.

For the bulk of the tour’s first two weeks we zigzagged across the South, a constant blur of fields and forests and rolling hills with our stops in cities in between. And then out into the flat and still green rangelands of central Texas.

Today brought real change - within two hours of passing Fort Worth we were in dry terrain dotted with oil derricks and karst hills rising up in the distance.  When we crossed into New Mexico the land was flat again and the earth turned from red to light sandy brown.  After a brief stop in Roswell we continued west and here the shifts in landscape were even more dramatic.  An hour after leaving town we were in deep valleys between wind-shorn round hills.  Then steeper mountains covered in evergreen forest.  And within an hour that forest disappeared and we were in desert again, but surrounded by even more mountainous terrain.  Then a wide valley of white sand dunes glowing in the sun - this beautiful expanse also a missile testing range for the Air Force - then back and over more mountains, and finally into Las Cruces, a blend of pueblo style homes and chain restaurants, sprawled across a valley surrounded by jagged pinnacles.  

Jeffrey stayed behind in Dallas and will rejoin the tour later on in Seattle.  Joseph joins us again in Los Angeles.  For the first time we will be performing the show without its creators.  Odder still, it is on this leg of the tour in which are travel through the lands most similar to Night Vale itself.  As we drove into Las Cruces and noted the radio and cell towers, an Arby’s sign poking up from the strip malls, the desert landscape in the background, the recent memory of Roswell’s alien themed tourist traps and conspiracist lures, the darkening sky. I wish they could experience it with us, but at the same time that landscape itself is a reassurance, a reminding presence of that world’s origins and the atmosphere we all work together to create.

Now an early night and with my roommate already asleep I have Swans’ Love of Life in my ears as I write this, and I find myself focusing not as much on the songs themselves, but more on the short interstitial bits, samples found or made by Jarboe (or so I read once), seeming to come from decades earlier, candid interviews or just friendly chatter, seemingly people talking about their personal and musical lives or figuring out a jam or lecturing the listener about the damaged state of their world and ours - who are they? I’ve never known, and while I’m sure I could dig up an answer somewhere I kind of prefer to not have that specific knowledge.  I prefer to keep the voices disembodied, detached, allowing me to imagine them coming from folk of Abilene or Snyder or Hondo or Alamogordo in decades past, then detach and take them with me again to be reimagined in the past of some other place.

We are now 16 shows in.  The last several shows have been a mix of experiences.  Nashville a sad night, the last performance of Aby and Dessa. Birmingham and Memphis the typical frustrations of trying to do Night Vale in venues more suited to rock bands. New Orleans a drinking show and a drinking crowd, good fun and the beginning of finding our feet again.  Houston’s preshow setup a drawn out ordeal of technical problems, a chaotically-run venue, a bizarre setting - but the show itself was strong. San Antonio and Dallas a return to form, in my opinion the strongest shows of the tour so far.

Midway through our meandering journey across the South we were joined by Mary and Will.  Pilgrims from another time, half awake already to the next world, living in constant wonder at the remaining present and the lingering shadows of the fading present’s exceptions and oddities.  Their music is melodic and raw psychedelic rock, in one sense an abrupt change from Dessa’s moody driving beats and intricate dark poetry, but there is commonality in the otherworldly moments they reach at the height of their performances.

But what does that mean, otherworldly?

It is not a formal musical or artistic term, it is not a genre or specific style, it cannot be quantified or measured.  To me, it is closer to being an emotion than anything else, but not one that most typically experience or talk about in every day life.

It is a moment that occurs in which the artist and their audience experiences a connection, not just with each other but with a world beyond.  A world separate from the practical world of soil and concrete and flesh and blood.  At its peaks, the feeling is consuming, that leads to a loss of the self.  And to those who focus on this feeling, to using it in works, a moment and feeling that can be stretched out in time, or even condensed and carried to another place.

Signifiers of other worlds are everywhere, particularly on this trip. The afterlives alternatively promised or threatened by the billboards of Christian zealots that dot the highways of the South, the cartoonish mocking at the idea of aliens covering every surface in Roswell, the world of Night Vale itself that we inhabit every night on stage, the fans who seem to inhabit that world to a far deeper degree.  

And there are of course other paths to that same raw material, in other contexts - meditation, ritual, zeal, substances, etc.

But for me personally, in between the practicalities of every day life, and doing my job and getting in between places and enjoying the company of friends and pleasures of food or drink - it is has been within the half hour every night when I stand on the side of the stage or at the back of the house, watching Dessa and Aby or Mary and Will, that I can find those moments to forget, briefly, my own existence or at least the self that I was occupying on a given day, to go Somewhere Else, to capture the momentum of that going and use it to drive my own ability to create and perform.  

5SOS Preference: He Sees You Talking to One of the Other Boys (Muke)

Luke:

The concert was gonna be so dope.

I could feel it in every inch of my body; every time i saw one of the ROWYSO posters or the giant banners with the safety pinned heart, my stomach would flutter in excitement. The guys had been organizing The New Broken Scene for a little over two months now, and it was amazing to see their vision made a reality.

I sat across from Luke at a small table, a paper coffee cup in his hand while I sipped hot chocolate from an exclusive New Broken Scene ceramic mug, complete with logo. We were just spending some time together before he would be due to meet fans along with the other boys.

At the moment, we were staring each other down without blinking. Ashton was chattering in the background about how Snapchat should be longer than 15 seconds and something about zebras.

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