David Gray has never been an artist that caught my attention, indeed, the most I’ve felt for his inoffensive tunes is mild dislike. So why was I at this gig?
The reason I found myself at the Brixton Academy this winter evening comes back to my ill-fated attempt at a relationship earlier in the year with Crush Boy. Following my devastation in the summer when he had decided to pursue a relationship with someone else, we had tried to maintain an uneasy friendship – particularly important given that we still worked together. (Reader, do not fall in love with your colleagues. It never ends well). He was also very keen for me to be friends with his new girlfriend, and so, the three of us went to this gig together, to see an artist that I’d never given much thought to, but was a fave of the happy couple.
Looking back across the chasm of 15 years, it’s easy for me to holler “what the hell are you thinking???” at my younger self. But the sad truth is, I still loved Crush Boy so much that I would do anything to keep him in my life, and that included sitting through this snoresome gig and trying to pretend I didn’t notice when he snogged his new love during the romantic songs.
My friendship with Crush Boy would, remarkably and defying all logic, endure for some time. In fact, I’m still occasionally in touch with him to this day, and when I quizzed him recently about his memories of this gig, all he could come up with was the fact that the journey home was a nightmare due to the Northern Line being part suspended (ah, those words that strike terror into a South Londoner’s heart). Just like with my own memories of my 2005 gigs by Alabama 3 or Nick Cave, it seems that events that occur after a gig are somehow far more memorable than those that happen in it, when you don’t record things for posterity in your diary.
So this was an uncomfortable night for me. And this gig remains, at best, a lesson staring at me through time, of What Not To Do When Your Ex Wishes To Remain Friends.