It’s probably not really an epiphany at all.
An epiphany is a sudden realising of a truth, a revelation. What I’m about to describe is probably a slow acceptance of the bleeding obvious, but well, with the next tour date looming on the horizon it prompted the thought process – so now you have to put up with it, ha ha!
In another part of my life I’m a pretty avid football fan – I support Nottingham Forest for my sins – and have a season ticket. A few times in the last few years Ferocious Dog has come into conflict with this other life passion of mine. This passion is one I don’t regret – it’s if nothing else a chance to spend time with my brother and a number of my closest friends – many of whom I met through this shared interest.
Of course, it also allows me to fund millionnaire footballers which sits less easily in the justification stakes!
Where I used to find myself planning my life around Forest fixtures I’ve increasingly started to skip the odd game to fit in with, say Dogfest, or this coming Saturday to avoid the faff of having to get away from the City Ground in traffic to Derby in time for the Hairy Dog gig. This would have been unthinkable a few years ago – where my frowns were cast at friends daring to get married on the day of a play-off fixture just in case the Reds make it (they didn’t).
No such worries on that score this season!
You spend hundreds of pounds watching a football team regularly – where entertainment is, frankly, anything but guaranteed (indeed, generally at Forest the only entertainment guaranteed is for the fans of the other team!). You’re herded into uncomfortable seats and offered frankly awful food and drink for extortionate prices and treated like an inconvenience by the security staff.
Compare that with the local and national live music scene I’ve largely hooked into through Ferocious Dog and the acts that has introduced me to, and there really is no comparison. Except maybe with the security staff on occasions!
There’s the same sense of camaraderie to be had by attaching yourself to a particular band, but without the negative aspect of conflict with ‘other’ teams. There’s a much better chance of genuine entertainment – I’ve seldom, if ever, left a gig without having got something from the experience even if ultimately I might not have wanted to see the band in question again in a hurry, and whilst not always amazing there’s certainly generally better beverages on offer at gig venues, and certainly I’ve made countless awesome friends in the process.
And it costs a whole lot less. I think the most I’ve paid for anything ticket-wise this year is Farmer Phil’s Festival – which at £70 for 3 days of entertainment is an absolute steal. When it comes to individual gigs then the range is from free to less than £20 – the same chance to feel that sense of belonging, the same calibre of friends to make – often an opportunity to support some fantastic charities and causes – and certainly not often a case of funding over-privileged ‘performers’ (certainly not in the circles I tend to gig in).
So next season I’ve decided not to renew my season ticket for the first time in god knows how many years. I’ll still always be a fan, of course, but rather than commit to a season of fixtures I’d be happier picking and choosing a few games that fit around whatever musical diversions might be available to me over the course of a year. I’d rather get to more gigs, more festivals – support more charitable events, and follow my team on my own terms.
None of this is unique to Ferocious Dog of course, but they are the band that picked me. I often think that if I’d been a bit more forthright or braver when younger and watching the Levellers and got to know a few more fellow fans rather than dragging my existing mates along who would eventually grow up/settle down then I might well have reached this juncture a lot sooner – but well, better late than never, hey?
Don’t worry, I can get back to the band at the weekend – it’s nearly time for a trip to Cambridge!