The Day I Missed Paul Weller

A gig the Guardian the next day referred to as “One of the Best Paul Weller concerts”.

A gig for which we had tickets.

A gig for which we schlepped all the way to that concert hall, and in normal times that’s miles away enough and you’d better be pumped for the ride; and in heavily pregnant times you need to multiply that travel aggravation by the number of weeks you have been gestating and that’s 29.

But we brave the train and the tube and the other tube, a journey during which I complain a lot, all social grace having left me around week 21.

We’re cutting it fine on time, because I stop to buy a chocolate bar at the Wimbledon station kiosk, and later on I have a short Jelly Babies break at the top of a broken escalator, sweeping sweat off my forehead whilst catching my breath.  

I am excited. The only other time I went out in the last 29 weeks it ended up with me falling out with my friend on his birthday, insulting his mate (who completely deserved it) and my husband (who definitely didn’t deserve it) and storming out of the bar before getting lost on the way home and I’ve been keeping a low profile since.

And the last live I attended was the Pogues at Christmas time. Something tells me this night might be a bit different. We have seats, for starters; and I sip a disappointing unit-free drink.

As I squeeze into what seems to be a ridiculously small seat, the music starts.

Paul Weller!

But the guys on the stage are most definitely not Paul Weller. They are called the Something Somethings and they are not gorgeous and with a deep velvet voice I want wrapped around me.

They just stand on the stage screaming things, and every time they hit the bass drum, I can feel the baby somersault. Thankfully, they only play a few songs before a short interval during which I go on a quest for pistachios.

This is where my husband finds me. Sat on the steps outside the bar, looking at the concert programme, large tears plopping onto it.

The Something Somethings will be followed by another few Something Somethings for another hour and a half up until 9.30, the time at which Paul Weller will finally appear.

Also the time at which I generally fall asleep on the couch listening to David Attenborough talking about penguins while I dribble on a cushion.

I sob harder.

I just want to go home, I say.

And we do.

And I missed Paul Weller. 

B F Jones is French and lives in the UK. She has stories published in various UK and US literary magazines: Ellipsis, The Cabinet of Heed, Rejection Letters, Spelk, Idle Ink and Storgy amongst others. Her debut collection, The Fabric of Tombstones, was released in April 2020.

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