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I feel like this post is too long for the relationships thread so seems like a better place to chuck it in the blog.
My boyfriend/damn near fiance and I have been together for 3 years. BEST three years of my life. He treats me like a princess, he's kind to me, we hardly argue, and he's a sexy beast. All around, we are a perfect fit and I'm madly in love with him. I bug him about getting married all the time! We talk about the future, kids, all that stuff.
But... I still find myself occasionally seeing an attractive man (or woman, I swing both ways) and I think "damn he/she is hot" and then I feel incredibly guilty for it. I almost feel like I'm cheating for thinking these things. My boyfriend says it's normal, but I still beat myself up about it.
Please help... Is it normal to feel this way? Is it normal to notice attractive people and to not want anything to do with them, just noticing they are attractive?
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This is the last of the lyrics for Angel In The Drone. I don't have anything else prepared after this, so this might be the last you hear from me, at least for a while. I hope you enjoyed all the shit that I wrote up until this point. Thanks for reading!
Lift your hands to the heavens like Babel
I'll be your sediment as long as I am able
The thread around my heart cleaves it in two
The red fibers stretch to the point I follow through
And while the world changes in the corners of the gallows
The bliss of the synapses while you're wading in the shallows
Whatever our connection is, believe me
God willing, nothing has moved me so positively
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To this day, I still get chills when I hear the intro to 21st Century Breakdown. I can still see my favourite band, as if in slow motion, running onto that stage like the heroes they were to 14 year-old me. I can see Mike thumping his heart and Tré sitting to play the show’s first beats. I can still feel the unbridled joy, the disbelief and looking back, how my life changed in that very moment.
This tour was arguably the biggest act of Green Day’s career. It was also the biggest turning point in my own life.
If you’ve read my Italy recap, you know I was unwell when I saw Green Day for the first time. For three years I’d barely left the house. I never went to school. My hope for the future was gone. While my single mum worked herself to exhaustion to support us both, my only company was Green Day’s music.
21st Century Breakdown, bringing with it the excitement of a new era, inspired me. I wanted to be like Gloria. I wanted to be able to say, one day, that I’d found a home in all my scars and ammunition and I’d never put away my burning light. Through that, I found hope. For the first time in years, I could see a light at the end of the tunnel.
‘Gloria is a person that’s trying to hold the torch for staying inspired, even as you lose a certain sense of your own naivete.’ – Billie Joe Armstrong, Radio NRJ, 2009
The first British dates for the 21st Century Breakdown Tour were announced later that year. My mum, as big a fan as me, bought tickets for four shows. I didn’t know if I could even go. After all, I could barely leave the house. How could I stand in a crowd of 16,000 people?
Before we knew it, we were in our Green Day shirts on the bus to the station. The local bus was one thing. A train to Birmingham, an unknown city, was a different story. I felt painfully obvious, like my illness was on display for everyone’s amusement. Of course, it was all paranoia. There was no one lurking to laugh at me. But either way, my love for my favourite band was stronger than my fear.
We got off the train at Birmingham Airport. It was quiet. Past a lake was our hotel. To its right was the LG (now Genting) Arena, white against the overcast sky. We checked in and wandered. Kids with multicoloured hair sat on the cold concrete, lining up to secure their spots in the pit. A line soon formed for seats. No one needed to join that so early, including us, but we were too excited not to. The arena’s walls were pink inside. We bought shirts and went to find our seats. It was when I looked at the stage, saw the album art I loved so much there, it suddenly became real.
My now well-worn shirt from my first show
Prima Donna were supporting. They opened with the jingling piano of Soul Stripper. Singer Kevin Preston soon tossed his leopard print jacket aside. Their glam rock sound kept the crowd entertained and dancing while they waited. My chest was tight after their set. Not because I was afraid – because, to my surprise, I wasn’t. As the drunk bunny stumbled around to YMCA, it was sinking in that all the live videos I’d watched of a show that seemed so far out of my reach… I was about to experience that for myself. The bunny was gone. The Ramones’ Do You Remember Rock ‘n Roll Radio? played. Then the crackling static that introduced Song of the Century echoed through the arena. The crowd of 16,000 sang along in unison. My heart was pounding with the first chords of 21st Century Breakdown.
Tré Cool ran onstage. The Big Three. Mike Dirnt. Then, finally, Billie Joe Armstrong.
With flicks of his wrists he drew roars from the crowd. My voice was another scream in the tumultous applause. The crowd clapped along with Tré’s hits of the bass drum. With exploding pyros the show began. I was screaming my favourite lyrics, the words that lifted me from stagnation, back at my favourite band. Billie Joe commanded us all to stand up. We already were, clapping as if our lives depended on it. Green Day’s ferocious energy reached from the front row to the highest tiers. In my seat that looked down on them as specks, I felt as part of the show, the mass of bodies obeying Billie’s every command, as I ever have on the floor since. It was a sense of belonging. A sense of acceptance. I felt understood. I knew I, like the other 15,999 people in that room, mattered.
Photo by Rob Ball, another fan coincidentally sat a few seats from us at two shows. We bought them from him afterwards.
The first fan was pulled onstage in Know Your Enemy. He staged dived to the pyros. Their sound was all enveloping, like a pounding warmth that attacked every cell. Everyone, on the floor, in the seats, was dancing. We repeated Billie’s ‘whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh!’ to East Jesus Nowhere religiously. In the bridge he announced he was going to save someone from the crowd. He stubbornly made his way up into the seats, heading for a young girl called Catherine. There was a long exchange before he returned. Unsuccessful in recruiting Catherine, he called up his own 11 year-old son, Jakob Danger (ensuring we knew his middle name was Danger). Jakob obediently waved his arms before allowing himself to be ‘saved.’ The crowd chanted his name while Billie sang ‘the sirens of decay will infiltrate Jakob!’ and he fell to the floor. Once the song ended, he tried to make a quick escape. Billie announced ‘hey, where are you going, Jakob, you little shit? Come here for a second!’ and promptly planted a kiss on his forehead.
‘Alright, see you later. That’s Jakob – Danger – Armstrong! Danger is his middle name.’
Jakob Armstrong onstage with dad Billie Joe to be ‘saved’ in East Jesus Nowhere. Photo by Rob Ball.
Then Billie yelled ‘do you wanna start a fucking war?’ and the show resumed with Holiday. Watching Bullet in a Bible, it was hard to imagine how chanting ‘hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!’ back at Billie in the bridge really felt. It was like a reeling high. As we screamed along to ‘the static aaaaa-aaaaaa-age!’ I just couldn’t believe I was there. The sweltering heat and my hoarse voice were reminders it was real.
Back then, we weren’t looking at setlists. My mum had no idea they were about to play one of her all-time favourite songs – Give Me Novacaine. I can still see the disbelief on her face. After all those years, working so hard she could barely wake up, she was free. Billie even announced that he was now one of us:
‘We’re still alive, Birmingham! It’s been a long fucking time, goddamn I’m so fucking happy to be back in England, you have no idea. Goddammit I’m fucking moving here, fuck this shit, I’m fucking moving. Packing my bags, I’m gonna get on a big old fucking aeroplane, I’m gonna take all my shit across the pond, and I am officially fucking English as of now! I’m bringing it back home!’ – Billie Joe Armstrong, October 27th, 2009
Another fan came up for Are We The Waiting. With a disco ball reflecting skulls around the room, it was like being in the starry nights, city lights coming down over me. It was anthemic. That dirty town might as well have been burning down in my dreams, because nothing mattered but singing at the top of our lungs. The world outside was irrelevant.
Photo by Rob Ball
Billie darted around the stage to St. Jimmy. It was more ferocious, more passionate than I could have imagined watching videos. The crowd was deafening through Boulevard of Broken Dreams. Then they burst into Murder City, a performance that was recorded for GreenDay.com. I didn’t expect that and I was thrilled. I was even more thrilled when, two songs later, they played At the Library. People were confused, wondering if this was a new song. We were the only ones in our block screaming every word. Now I wasn’t just seeing Green Day. They even went and played At the Library and Murder City.
Playing At the Library. Photo by Rob Ball.
When I Come Around’s old-school charm wasn’t lost in the dazzling show. Dancing to Brain Stew and Jaded, I didn’t feel I’d missed a thing by hearing them live 14 years after their release. Green Day were every bit the band they were in the 90s – except even more energetic. Everyone around us, young or old, was jumping.
As Knowledge came to a close, Billie announced a band of fans would finish the song. He sought out a drummer first. I was a drummer. I’d bought a poster before the show, which up until this point had been inconvenient. Without thinking, I waved it around. Then Billie was actually looking at me, pointing up into our seats like he did with Catherine. There was an exchange with security. Then I chickened out. I put the poster down. Looking confused, he went to find a bassist instead. Maybe he wouldn’t have picked me, even if I’d had the balls, but it’s still sort of funny.
Basket Case and She followed. The hits were every bit as invigorating as the rarities. The extended King for a Day, with all its goofiness, floor-humping and cover snippets, was a fun and amusing break in the intense set. Could anything top At the Library? Probably not.
‘It’s not written for two people. It’s written for about 20,000.’ – Billie Joe Armstrong on 21 Guns
Or so I thought, until King for a Day’s silliness faded to 21 Guns. I already loved this song. The music video was my all-time favourite. But I could never have imagined its rawness live. I was moved beyond words as I watched the fire rain down to ‘as a liar looking for forgiveness from a stone!’ and Billie’s added ‘whoa-ohs’ that seemed to come from the depths of his heart. Following that was emotional piano absent on the studio version. The band were silhouetted against the music video playing on the screen behind them. I might have been crying. I don’t remember. Billie described 21 Guns as not being written for two people, but 20,000. He was absolutely right.
21 Guns. You can see everyone dancing in the seats opposite us! Photo by Rob Ball.
Then the show was uplifted again with Minority. Billie thanks every crowd countless times after the solo, but each word remained sincere. Blue and white confetti burst from the stage, sprinkling the crowd as the song closed.
Green Day confetti during Minority. Photo by Rob Ball.
Finally, with American Idiot and Jesus of Suburbia, the show too was coming to an end. The crowd, drenched in sweat from the pit to the seats as if at the end of a journey with the band, watched the inimate Last Night on Earth, still and in awe. Billie began with an acoustic guitar. We didn’t yet know that with lights flooding the darkened stage, the full band would return. An emotional Wake Me Up When September Ends followed. Good Riddance (Time of Your Life), a hate song turned revelling closer, ended the set. The band bowed and waved. It was over. We charged down steps to scoop up confetti from the floor, filling two tissue packets before security chased us off. Green Day played hundreds of shows every tour. Yet this, my first show that to anyone else was just another city on a list of tour dates, was still so special. That, how every show is a precious memory to be treasured forever, is why I follow Green Day on tour.
Tré Cool tweet about the Birmingham show
Sunset over Birmingham LG Arena
We prepared to do it all again the next day. This time our seats were closer. My new-found wellness could stretch so far, though. By Holiday, a panic attack so bad I was throwing up left me listening to East Jesus Nowhere from the toilets. First aid sat me beside someone with a broken leg. There was nothing they could do. I remember passing the back of the pit, seeing the crackling gas mask image in The Static Age. As When I Come Around echoed from inside, drunks assured me I wasn’t missing anything, because Green Day suck now. It was almost comical. I didn’t want to leave, but I was too sick to stay. We returned to the hotel. It took a while, but I convinced my mum to go back. Arriving to Billie humping the floor, she recorded 21 Guns for me and saw American Eulogy, Christie Road and Macy’s Day Parade.
It was a huge setback. I was more afraid than ever to go on to Manchester. But maybe it had to happen, because it also strengthened my resolve. Mental illness would not take my favourite band from me. It could have my future, my dignity, but not my spark of hope.
We arrived in Manchester. On the bus to our hotel, we met another mother-and-daughter pair on their way to the show. I stuck six A4 sheets together to make a ‘PLAY ¡VIVA LA GLORIA!’ banner before we left.
The Manchester Evening News Arena from the bus. This is a terrible photo, but this view was so exciting at the time!
My ‘Play ¡Viva La Gloria!’ banner
This time our seats were on Mike’s side. Watching Prima Donna and the drunk bunny, I was nervous. But once I heard those opening chords of 21st Century Breakdown, saw my heroes run onstage, I knew I would be alright. I knew whatever plagued me in Birmingham, I had overcome. The songs I was hearing for a second, third time were as fresh as ever. Those I heard from outside in Birmingham were even better knowing nothing could take this from me.
Billie with seated fans during East Jesus Nowhere. Photo by Rob Ball.
Security followed Billie as he ran up into the seats in Know Your Enemy and East Jesus Nowhere. In Boulevard of Broken Dreams, he announced he’d split his pants.
‘Did anyone see my balls?’
Boulevard of Broken Dreams. Photo by Rob Ball
After Boulevard of Broken Dreams, I held up my banner. Billie stopped and squinted. People around us were screaming ‘he’s seen it, he’s seen it, he’s seen it!’ and he pointed before yelling into the band mic. They began 2000 Light Years Away. The guys behind us were laughing, saying he misread it. I have no idea if it was really anything to do with my banner, but it was funny either way – and thrilling since they weren’t playing that regularly at the time.
Oldies section. Photo by Rob Ball.
Hitchin’ a Ride was followed by Coming Clean. It was a furious performance of a poignant song. I’m sure there was the odd homo/biphobe in that crowd, but everyone was dancing. This time, I noticed a stencil of Gloria was the backdrop for She. With that, the 15 year-old song joined the narrative of 21st Century Breakdown. In King for a Day, Billie sang snippets of Stand By Me, I Fought the Law and Champagne Supernova. 21 Guns remained as emotional as that first night. Maybe even more so. Because, though I hadn’t quite figured out what yet, I knew something was worth fighting for. That bridge was my favourite moment of every set.
It was all surreal. Watching the confetti spray out again; hearing a passionate Jesus of Suburbia and seeing the show close, lights dimmed and band bowing, with Last Night on Earth, Wake Me Up When September Ends and Good Riddance.
The show closing with Good Riddance. Photo by Rob Ball
I’d reclaimed my missed show. I would reclaim it even more if I made it through the second night.
‘I like playing big places a lot. We got a chance to be playing these arenas, and I’m really grateful for that. I’m not going to sit here and say “fuck our fans, man, they’re not true Green Day fans because they heard us on MTV.” These people are paying to see me play. A lot of those kids have never heard the kind of music we play before, and a lot of them are from somewhere where there’s a single parent that works their ass off to give them $12 to go out and see us play our show. The last thing I want to do is slag on them for coming out to our show. They made us as big as we are.’ - Billie Joe Armstrong, Rolling Stone Magazine, 1996
Green Day merch in Manchester
It was Halloween. I hung back while my mum looked at merch after Prima Donna. Music was playing inside. It sounded awfully familiar. Was I hallucinating? Because I was sure I could hear Stop Drop & Roll! I squeezed past people to alert my mum.
‘Prima Donna are playing the Foxboro Hot Tubs!’
My mum stopped. Listened. Then her eyes widened.
‘That’s not Kevin, it’s Billie!’
We saw this tweet later
We ran from the merch stand to our seats. In our mad charge down the steps, we knocked over someone’s beer. They just laughed. Steps buckled and we almost fell. Everyone around us, as we stumbled clapping and singing into our seats, looked baffled. The Reverend Strychnine Twitch, AKA Billie, sprayed Carling beer – a British replacement for his signature Pabst Blue Ribbon – over the front row. His blond head darted all over the stage. Tré wore a leopard print shirt and Jason a fluffy white coat. In Mother Mary, Billie threw down his tambourine to leap into the crowd. Security helped him back up.
‘My name is the Reverend Strychnine Twitch and yes, we are the proverbial Foxboro Hot Tubs.’
The short set closed with Sally. Before we move on, I’d like to share another fan’s recollection of this from the We Are Revolution Radio book. I don’t think any trick or treat will ever match this for anyone!
Story by English fan redundantburnout from the We Are Revolution Radio book
The intro to 21st Century Breakdown still unleashed butterflies in my stomach. In Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Billie told us ‘last night in the last song I split my pants. I did that splits thing and my whole butt was hanging out after that.’ It was also the last outing of the leopard print thong. #blessed
That night, as 21 Guns faded to drum rolls, I expected Minority. Instead, in an explosion of pyros and energy Billie roared ‘MASS HYSTERIA!’ and I was swept up in exactly that; mass hysteria as I screamed along to one of my all-time favourite songs, American Eulogy, that I missed in Birmingham. In my own blurry video, I’m deafeningly loud as I bellow ‘vigilantes warning ya, CALLING CHRISTIAN AND GLORIA!’ over Billie’s ‘RIGHT HERE IN MANCHESTER!’ It was unreal. Thousands of people were in a shared ecstasy conducted by a tight performance. We watched through moments of quiet while Billie stamped his foot to solos, basking in the band’s talent and energy, religiously echoing ‘heeeeeey-ooooohhhhhh’ as Mike sang his last verse…
‘I can hear the sound of a beating heart, it bleeds beyond a system that is falling apart, with money to burn on a minimum wage…’
…and we screamed in unison – ‘I DON’T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT THE MODERN AGE!’
…and the song exploded into its final chorus.
‘I don’t wanna live in the modern world! I don’t wanna live in the modern world! I don’t wanna live in the modern world – MASS HYSTERIA! In the modern world – MASS HYSTERIA! In the modern world – MASS HYSTERIA! In the modern world – MASS HYSTERIA! In the modern world…‘
Then the music stopped and 21,000 voices, alone with Billie’s and Mike’s, echoed that we didn’t want to live in the modern world, mass hysteria… until Billie sang like an anthem, ‘nobody likes you, everyone left you, they’re all out without you, having fun!’ over Mike and, as Tré conducted with his drumsticks, we joined him.
The world could have ended then and I would have felt the bricks crashing down were healing gold dust. I could hear the sound of my own beating heart. The heartbeat of a kid stifled by mental illness now impassioned, inspired and ready to smash the silence with a brick of self control.
‘A lot of people were like, “you saved my life, you saved me from depression, you gave me hope.” All these things – it sounds cheesy to sit there and say it, but it’s true.‘ – Tré Cool, VH2 Dookie documentary
As we looked for our train home, my mum was, for some reason, driven to get on the London train. She insisted it was ours. I assured her it wasn’t and even if we wanted to go and attend the Wembley show, after blowing our money on merch we had a grand total of 2p ($0.025). Turned out the Foxboro Hot Tubs played a secret show that train would’ve taken us to. Maybe she should’ve become a psychic instead of working for the UN.
I returned to school. Though I was advised not to take on more than English, Maths and Science, I insisted on taking Art, too. I didn’t know what I wanted to do or who I wanted to be. But I knew now I wanted to be something.
One of my GCSE art pieces inspired by Green Day
‘Being in a band, you have to be a fan first. So when you meet people who have something to say about how some song affected them, those are the people I connect with. I still am that person myself.‘ – Billie Joe Armstrong in Spin Magazine, 2010
We began selling our possessions on eBay. Bags of clothes and trinkets swamped our conservatory, where light for taking photos was best. With our meagre results, my mum’s savings and some abandoned bills, we booked to attend four more shows – Hannover, Manchester, Glasgow and Paris.
This was my first time, at least that I remembered, leaving England. We could never afford holidays. So we landed in Hannover, Germany, on May 29th. Google Maps and internet access abroad weren’t really things back then. We couldn’t figure our way out of the airport. Expedia told us there was a train, but the ticket machines were broken. We ended up spending half our money on a taxi.
Expedia also boasted that Hannover Expo Plaza was full of things to do and a short train ride from Hannover Zoo. We arrived to a barren square of closed-up shops. Hannover Zoo might as well have been on the other side of Germany. The only shop was a distant gas station. We had two days until the show. It resulted in us aimlessly wandering around and filming a variety of videos whirling round on chairs and dancing in the hotel room. The most exciting moment was spotting some Green Day merch and a poster through a window.
Green Day poster in Hannover, Germany
On the day of the show, we awoke to another day of Expo Plaza fun to find some American band parked outside the hotel. There, we met another British fan, Kate. Her ticket was coincidentally just two rows and a few seats from us.
Because there was so much to do in the area, the three of us hung around to see if the band didn’t mind meeting fans. We didn’t meet them, but we did meet a lovely German mother and daughter, Julia and Iris and an Italian fan, Silvia. We also met some guys who climbed on our shoulders to let us know the band didn’t care about us.
Before the show in Hannover
As doors approached, we waited nervously with our tickets. Inside was a display promoting Green Day Rock Band, where kids tried out the ‘instruments.’ Then we filed in to find our seats. Julia and Iris were on the opposite side to us and spotted our Union Jack flag. Next to us was a Welsh solider stationed in Germany, who never missed a local show.
Fans playing Green Day Rock Band at TUI Arena, Hannover, before the show
German band The Donots opened. They were great. Then we waited, with excited butterflies, to be enraptured once again by our favourite band.
When my mum hears the 21st Century Breakdown intro, it’s this show she remembers. Billie running onstage in his red jeans, pointing at our flag, Tré sitting and blowing her a kiss, the pyros and city backdrop the band were silhouetted against.
‘Dream, Deutschland, dream, I can’t even sleep, the light’s early dawn!’
Mosh pits formed and crashed together as songs rose and dropped. They played Nice Guys Finish Last. Both of us were jumping up and down, pushing each other and dancing in our seats. The intensity between the band and the crowd was something else. I laughed at my mum and Tré’s interaction. I cried to 21 Guns. I was there, in Germany, another country, seeing Green Day. Billie didn’t sing ‘from Hannover to the Middle East,’ but I did.
Before we left, my mum bought some tobacco at the gas station and accidentally thanked the staff, who worked through our broken German with us, in Spanish. At least we provided amusement. The airport bid us goodbye with ‘see you again in Hannover – City of International Fairs.’ I don’t even know if the city is nice. We never saw it.
The excitement of seeing Green Day never changed. But there is just one thing about those first five shows I’ll never get back. I didn’t know anyone. I was just another fan. I hadn’t acquired an array of stalkers and I was unaware of fandom drama and hierarchies. No one was waiting for me to do something, anything, wrong so they could flaunt it online. There are parts of this I’m hesitant to share because someone will take my vulnerability out of context to use against me. It’s unavoidable when attending a lot of shows and having said all that, I willingly stuck myself in by making a documentary about it. Being oblivious was nice while it lasted, though.
When we got home, I saw an ad on the National Express website for coaches to the Wembley show. Well, if it was going to be that easy, we couldn’t say no. We bought tickets.
Green Day ad on the National Express website
On June 16th, we boarded another train to Manchester. We were halfway when it occurred to me our tickets were open. We didn’t have to go for the seats. What if we could make the front row? Catching a tram to the LCCC, we joined the line behind a group of blokes writing ‘GEORGE’ on everyone. The sun scorched the concrete. It was only after I agreed to become a George that I realised the sun would emblazon it over both of my arms. It was permanent marker. I couldn’t escape my destiny as a George. Then a lady saved me with some breath freshener. My mum has carried breath freshener ever since.
The line at Lancashire County Cricket Ground
It was still light when doors opened. With a speedwalk across the floor we made second row on Mike’s side. People around us had travelled from all over the UK. They were kind enough to squeeze me in. The girl beside me, who’d also been at the Birmingham shows, taught me how to hold a barrier spot. That was one of the closest things to this mythical ‘punk spirit’ I’ve experienced at Green Day shows.
Waiting for Green Day at Manchester LCCC
Frank Turner and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts opened. Then we waited for our first close-up experience to begin. The band ran onstage one by one. Up close, Mike looked perfect, as if someone had drawn him. Tré and the Jasons were unexpectedly petite. In Know Your Enemy, Billie ran all the way out to our side. He stopped in front of me and his face lit up as he pointed, looking surprised to see me on the front row. I can still see it now, preserved like a photograph in my memory. It meant the world to 15 year-old me that my hero remembered me, even though he’d only seen me from a distance in seats. Class lad, he is.
My first front row view
That was my first taste of the front row. It was also my first experience of petty catfights over front row spots, but I remember how in St. Jimmy, that all stopped; we were just one huge, thriving organism losing our minds to music, equal and united. People were being pulled out left right and centre. The heat was sweltering. Yet I loved it. I loved every second of being crushed and punched and my hair pulled. From that moment, seats would never be the same again.
‘I swear to God I would never want to be in any other fucking band than Green Day. I swear to God. I hate when bands break up. All of my favourite bands, either someone died or they broke up. It’s like your parents or something. But you gotta wheel me away in a fucking coffin to get me out of this fucking band, I’ll tell you that.’ – Billie Joe Armstrong, Lancashire County Cricket Ground, June 16th, 2010
I watched the show close with When It’s Time with tears in my eyes. Singing ‘we are all born in a world of doubt, but there’s no doubt, I figured out I love you,’ I was sort of speaking to myself, to my own life, knowing love was beautiful and real; and to my favourite band who reminded me how to love when I thought I never could again.
‘I feel lonely for all the losers that will never take the time to say what’s really on their mind; instead, they just hide away. Yet they’ll never have someone like you to guide them and help along the way, or tell them when it’s time to say I love you.’
Because, as I held my mum’s hand threading through the crowd on our way out, my heart was fit to burst with all the love it held. I did feel lonely for all the losers who would never understand.
Green Day billboard at Manchester Arena
We went home and got straight back on the bus to Wembley Stadium. Doors opened as our bus pulled in. Knowing there was no hope for front row, we hung back, taking in the atmosphere of Green Day’s biggest headline show so far.
‘When I was a little kid doing air guitar to my favorite records I never thought I’d be doing it with an actual guitar in front of that many people.’ – Billie Joe Armstrong, Kerrang, 2005
That yell of our capital city’s name is on the following live album, Awesome as Fuck.
‘Are you with me? Are you with me? This is what I need you to do. This is what I need you to do. When I say one, two, three, four – I want everybody to go fucking crazy! Are you ready? We are the class of, the class of 13, born in the era of humility, we are the desperate in the decline, raised by the bastards – ONE, TWO, THREE, GO!’
It was like a call to arms. At each yell of ‘jump, jump, go!’ Wembley Stadium obeyed. The band radiated energy.
‘Fucking Green Day is going to win the goddamn World Cup, I can tell you that now.’
For the first time since 2004, they played my mum’s favourite song – Waiting. People stared bewilderedly as we lost our minds. We laughed along as Tré played Dominated Love Slave and Billie gleefully hit the drums.
Confetti fluttered into the night from Minority to Jesus of Suburbia. I remember looking up and seeing it floating above me; stretching out my hands to catch some. The show closed with When It’s Time and Good Riddance.
Me after the Wembley Stadium show
National Express buses for the Green Day show at Wembley Stadium
A few people were late back to our bus. I took the chance to buy a £2 knock-off poster from a man who said our driver was ‘bein’ a bit of a funny bugger.’ Before we boarded, the driver said there was no way he could possibly drive off without us, because he’d remember my hair. The lights of Wembley Stadium faded away. I was jolted awake at a service station stop. We all piled off the bus. I nearly left my bag and merch, but I thought better of it. I left the knock-off poster. We bought a couple of cold drinks. My mum had been chatting to another passenger, moments before we went back outside. Where had the bus parked? We couldn’t see it anywhere.
That was because it had already left.
This is hilarious now. At the time, it was not remotely funny. It was 2am. We were stranded at a service station, in the middle of the M1, miles from Nottingham when we needed to be back in a few hours to catch the train to Glasgow. The summer heat faded to a chilly night. All we had for warmth was our Union Jack. This wasn’t even a regular National Express service. It wasn’t like another one would come by in a few hours.
A long-haired man who felt sorry for us bought my mum a coffee. We stared hopefully at the tired drivers passing by but no one was going our way. Our only hope was to contact National Express. We scanned our tickets and found an emergency number. I was fairly sure it wasn’t for Green Day fans stuck on the motorway at 2am, but it was our only hope; so with my remaining 10% battery, I called it. A grumpy voice picked up.
‘Hi. We’ve been stranded in the middle of the M1.’
‘What do you mean, stranded?’
He argued that it was our own fault. I argued it wasn’t. The driver just didn’t count his passengers after saying he’d never miss us because of my hair. Eventually the man sighed.
‘What service station is it?’
He agreed to divert a coach from Stansted and told us to go outside immediately. We waited for what felt like hours in the cold. Only cars and trucks rolled past. The bus wasn’t coming. My mum called them back (noting that this guy sounded like her call woke him up, which improved the scene). The bus was coming in half an hour, he said. It was an hour later when a Veolia coach turned into the car park. The driver’s assistant sat down to talk to us.
‘Were you at a football game?’
‘We went to see Green Day.’
‘What? Green… what?’
‘A band. An American band. Green Day.’
He looked lost. We suggested American Idiot. Wake Me Up When September Ends. Boulevard of Broken Dreams. He shook his head.
‘What kind of music is it?’
‘Rock. It’s like rock. Punk rock.’
‘Punk… rock!’ he told the driver, ‘A punk rock band called Green Day!’
We arrived in Nottingham as the sun rose. Whether we’d make our train to Glasgow was another matter. Our train and Green Day tickets were at home. We leapt into a taxi. Nottingham city taxis go as slow as possible and take the longest routes to maximise the fare. We explained our situation. The driver asked if either of us were available for marriage. We changed the subject.
Well past our 24th hour of no sleep, my mum called another taxi while we rummaged for our tickets and threw clean clothes into our bags. We made it to the station with minutes to spare. After our train to Preston was delayed, we narrowly missed our change by blocking the door with our bags. Someone was in our seats and we didn’t even bother questioning them. We just stood, basking in the relief of surviving Newport Pagnall service station.
A blue sky welcomed us to Glasgow. Misunderstood accents led to us buying the wrong onward tickets to the SECC. We escaped before the conductor reached us. From the station, we walked through the ‘SECC Walkway.’ We fondly nicknamed it ‘The Oven.’ Ever spent too long in a greenhouse? It was like that but worse.
In The Oven
We checked in and dumped our bags, finding ourselves in another episode of There’s Nothing Here. The only way out was back through The Oven. We chose being baked over more videos of us spinning on chairs in the hotel room. A chip shop offered a cheap meal. My sausage was rejected and cold. We walked back through The Oven to find the SECC was actually open and had a shop. The sausage was unnecessary.
We saw a bit of a river and a bridge the next day. Doors were still hours away. Unsure what else to do, we resumed aimless wandering. We thought someone was washing the stage trucks but it was just a guy having a piss. Sometimes I think that now I line up early, I miss all the sights, but I really don’t.
The River Clyde, Glasgow
Other fans were waiting for the band, so we joined them. I wrote ‘¡VIVA LA GLORIA!’ on my arms and held our Union Jack. Billie and Tré wound their windows down as they arrived in black cars. Tré stuck his tongue out. We chatted to a crew member who was amused by our National Express story. As soundcheck rumbled from inside, the first song we heard was ¡Viva La Gloria! so I guess that was more successful than seeing merch through a window in Hannover.
Our Union Jack outside the SECC
Doors opened. Fans trooped into the rectangular room. Joan Jett and the Blackhearts opened again. Billie wore a fan’s tie bearing the Armstrong family tartan. He wound up the crowd with statements of ‘fuck England!’ and ‘so much better than England – Scotland always is!’ Afterwards he grinned at us, as if expecting us to be pleased. Thanks, but I’m not Scottish.
In East Jesus Nowhere, Billie ‘saved’ a pair of twins. While a fan sang Longview, he took a toilet break. They played Waiting again. The arena show was intimate after stadiums. Coincidentally, the confetti was also the colours of the Scottish flag. Scooping it up after the show, all of this was still surreal. Also surreal that PCL Presents managed to get something right.
While my mum smoked a cigarette outside, a man asked if she was with the band. She said no, he replied ‘come here hen, ave got a picture o’ ye wee man’ and showed her photos of Billie, and not so wee Mike, at the airport.
Joan Jett’s drummer ate breakfast a few tables from us. Our hotel recommended some things for us to see, but we had no money left, so we just sat on some plant pots watching an incredible number of people cycle by. Glasgow is an active city, apparently.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that we then missed a connection and spent the night on a bench in Manchester Oxford Street Station. I put my remaining pennies in a vending machine. Nothing came out. Of course it didn’t.
We were still exhausted when we boarded the train to Paris. Our fellow passengers thought being on the Eurostar was very classy, then there were these two Green Day fans munching cheap snacks. Emerging in the city centre, we took the metro to our hotel in the suburb of Saint-Cloud. Green Day’s crew were drinking in a bar opposite. For our dinner, we had the rest of the crisps we brought from home and some packaged ice-cream from a convenience store. If we craned our necks, we could see the Eiffel Tower from our window. Before the show, we actually – you might want to sit down for this – went to see it. We saw something! Sightseeing! It was a gr8 day. Even spotted someone else in the same Green Day shirt as me.
Me at the Eiffel Tower
On the way back, I saw another Green Day shirt and complimented it. I never expected the wearer to launch into a verbal essay about their Green Day experiences, how important they were to the band and – after asking how many shows we’d attended – how irrelevant we were in comparison. We laughed it off, because it was ridiculous, but that was the moment we realised what came with multiple shows. Anyway, we met some nice Swedish fans afterwards to restore our faith in humanity.
Green Day merch at Parc des Princes, Paris
At Parc des Princes, we found our seats and danced to Billy Talent’s set. Paramore followed. Then we were waiting, once more – with a new friend, the Paris native next to me – for Green Day. We clapped along as they ran onto the vast stage. Billie’s commands to stand up were unnecessary. Everyone already was, filling the stadium with a deafening chorus of ‘hey-oooooooh!’
‘Know Your Enemy is about empowering yourself, like within yourself. There’s no specific enemy out there. It’s just trying to stay engaged and educated to the world – being able to read between the lines and figure out what the bullshit is, but also trying to find the truth.’ – Billie Joe Armstrong, MTV, 2009
In Know Your Enemy, he waved the French flag and hugged a kid from the crowd. It was our second show out of the UK and hearing Billie scream ‘PARIS!’ was surreal. For my mum, hearing him thank us in French after living much of her life in Brussels and Geneva was incredible. In the Holiday bass solo, as red text scrolled over black screens, Billie told us in a French accent that they were going to play all night long, before singing a verse of The Saints Are Coming.
‘I cried to my daddy on the telephone, how long now? Until the clouds unroll and you come home, the line went. But the shadows still remain since your descent, your descent. The saints are coming! The saints are coming!‘
The crowd completed the chorus. Then Billie announced ‘the representative from Paris has the floor!’ and the show resumed. Stageside, Hayley Williams fangirled to The Static Age. I waved my (new, Union Jack replacement) England flag. We heard Nice Guys Finish Last and Geek Stink Breath. It was almost 40°C and people were passing out in their seats. Others did the conga through seats below. Fans jumped in unison through the pit. Chants of ‘Green Day! Green Day! Green Day!’ filled moments of silence. The atmosphere was intense.
The sun set as fire rained down in 21 Guns. Billie held up his acoustic guitar, magnified by the huge screens, through the piano bridge. ‘Merci, merci, merci, merci, merci, merci beaucoup, thank you Paris, France!’ he yelled as drum rolls led to Minority. We watched confetti cover the stadium like shooting stars against the setting sun. As the show closed with When It’s Time, Wake Me Up When September Ends and Good Riddance, rain pattered down and the floor was a sea of ‘thank you’ signs. They inspired the signs that later named Awesome as Fuck. We left, drenched in sweat and spilled beer, picking up two discarded posters that have been on our wall ever since.
Sunset in Paris
That was our last show… or so we thought. When we watched videos of the secret shows leading up to this tour, from Oakland and New York, we laughed and said ‘imagine if we could see them in America one day?’ It seemed impossible for a single parent family who’d never had a holiday until the excitement of Hannover Expo Plaza. Transatlantic flights back then weren’t cheap. But we wanted to see Green Day again, and going to America was the only way. It had to be the last few shows. Otherwise we wouldn’t have time to save up. So, we spent the summer selling our possessions while mortgage arrears stacked up, living on toast. Our destination was California. San Diego, LA and the Bay Area.
We were late to the party, though. The only tickets available were from scalpers. It soon became clear we couldn’t afford three shows. San Diego would have to go. LA tickets were too expensive. What did we do? We couldn’t afford this. I tentatively looked up flights to, and tickets for, the prior Phoenix show; even though it meant staying extra days we couldn’t really afford. Well, it was see one show or find a way to see both. So of course, we chose finding a way. We put down a deposit on a flight. As departure drew closer, things weren’t looking good. Up until the last minute, when we were able to borrow some money, it was uncertain whether we could even go. We arranged with our Arizona scalper to meet him in the hotel lobby. Then, before we knew it, we were on a plane to Washington, DC.
The queue at Immigration inched forward agonisingly slowly. At this rate, we’d miss our connection. When we finally reached the front, they took our fingerprints and stamped my passport. They didn’t stamp my mum’s. On her Immigration slip was a huge X. A clock told us we had 30 minutes. Our flight was boarding. Then security stopped us.
‘You gotta go to immigration. That room over there.’
We were confused. Uncertainly, we took steps in the direction they pointed. We were eventually directed into a small room filled with confused passengers and people in handcuffs. A lady took our passports in silence. They were at the bottom of a large pile. We heard someone else ask about his connecting flight.
‘It’s not your connection you need to worry about. Your main concern is whether you are going to be admitted into the United States.’
With 10 minutes left until our flight, my mum stepped up to the desk. ‘We’re going to miss our flight to Phoenix!’
‘You shouldn’t be worrying about your flight to Phoenix. You should be worrying about whether you’ll be admitted to the United States.’
Five minutes to take off and we were stuck in a room with Homeland Security who made me cry. When they finally called us up, they handed our passports back without a word. We’ve since found out it’s because my mum shares her name with a criminal, but at the time we were just confused.
Our flight was long gone. The corridor outside was empty but for a baggage attendant.
‘Where ya going?’
‘Phoenix. But we’ve missed the flight.’
Without warning, he snatched our bags and threw them on a conveyor belt. Our bags containing our documents and worse yet, receipts for our Green Day tickets, which we’d need to show the scalpers (having since worked for an airline, that stupidity pains me). My eyes were wide.
‘But – but where are they going? We’ve missed our flight!’
The man looked bewildered. ‘They’re goin’ on the next flight to Phoenix. You’ll get ’em in Phoenix.’
Then he turned to chat to a friend. Feeling lost and like seeing Green Day was a distant dream, we went through security again and got directions to customer service. We were on our way when my mum grabbed my arm. ‘Maria, it’s Cone!’
Indeed, Cone McCaslin from Sum 41 was wandering along beside us in Washington Dulles Airport. Sum 41 were my second favourite band at the time. I ran the UK fansite. Cone was my favourite member. I was going to see Green Day in Phoenix. What were the chances of this? But there he was. I said hi and even though his flight was boarding, he took 15 minutes to talk to us. He was at Green Day’s Toronto show that month and loved it. He said he’d remember my hair and was kind enough to sign the only paper I had on me, the 21st Century Breakdown booklet. Without a doubt, he was one of the most polite people I’ve ever met. I always wonder if he missed his flight because of us. I hope not.
Cone’s autograph in my 21st Century Breakdown booklet
Every flight to Phoenix was full. United put us on a flight to Denver to connect there. The lady on the desk said ‘I’m gonna give you these boarding passes and you’re gonna run.’ So we ran, promptly stopping to buy a Washington shirt. This was ridiculous and I wanted to remember it, after all. We arrived in Denver on time. The only notable thing on our flight to Phoenix was a guy getting so excited about his hometown he shouted ‘PHOENIX!’ at regular intervals. After 48 hours of travel, we arrived… and there were our bags, looking sad and neglected in the lobby of Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. A shuttle bus driver, who said ‘I thought you were a werewolf!’ picked us up. The hotel were about to cancel our booking. We were just in time.
Phoenix from our hotel
Our scalper met us in the lobby the next day. He told us it was awesome we’d come from England and advised us to drink lots of water. We hopped in a taxi to the amphitheatre. Doors had long opened and AFI, the opening act, were closing their set.
Green Day stage in Phoenix, AZ
‘I think of rock ’n roll as being the ultimate American culture. And I always look at that and feel like that’s what I’m playing too, and that’s what I want people to look at: this is the good side of America, this is the side that doesn’t just settle for the grand scheme of things.’ – Billie Joe Armstrong, Rolling Stone Magazine, 2006
It was like everything leading up to this was a five-second dream. I was sitting in England, then I was suddenly there in the dry Arizona heat, surrounded by palm trees; hearing Song of the Century, the closest I’d ever been to a stage Green Day were about to take. Around us, the crowd chanted ‘Green Day! Green Day!’
Then the band ran on – Billie with his blond hair and striped jeans, Tré in shorts, perfectly drawn Mike, Jason in a blue jacket – in perfect clarity.
‘Buenos noches Phoenix, ARIZONA!’
I have no words to describe what hearing that for the first time was like. My words caught in my throat as I sang ‘dream, America, dream’ there, in America. I could have cried, broken down in tears of joy, but I danced them away to Know Your Enemy. We were living a dream that once seemed impossible of seeing our favourite band in the United States. In East Jesus Nowhere, Billie pulled up a kid called Alexander, stealing his earmuffs and helping him play his Les Paul Jr.
‘Security, security, get rid of this kid! He’s gonna steal my pot! Alex, do you wanna start a fucking war?’
I was as thrilled as any local with Billie’s every roar of ‘are you ready, Arizona?’ In the Holiday bass solo, the amphitheatre flushed red by lights and scrolling text, Billie ran over to our side. He spotted us, grinned and pointed.
Billie spotting us in Phoenix. Video by Sheri Hunter. All others posted from this show are mine.
‘The representative of Arizona now has the floor!’
Pyros exploded with Billie’s ‘bang bang!’ as on the screens, troops marched in black and white. Drum rolls led to Murder City.
‘The clock strikes midnight in A-RI-ZO-NA!’
Then it cut to Give Me Novacaine. ‘Oh, it’s so hot, it’s so hot, I think I’m gonna take all my fucking clothes off. Whoever gets naked tonight gets 50 bucks!’
We chorused ‘heeeeeeeey-ooooooooh!’ to tinkling piano. The crowd waved, at Billie’s command, from the pit to the lawn in sync. Instead of ‘Jimmy says it’s better than here,’ he sang ‘Arizona’s better than California!’ and I screamed approval with everyone else. It ended with ‘give me the entire state of Arizona!’ Billie couldn’t have reminded us where we were any more if he tried.
Then Tré began the intro to a ferocious Letterbomb. It was my second favourite song at the time, after only ¡Viva La Gloria! and it was the first time I’d seen it. I went insane. I was screaming, the lyrics, just screaming, turning my voice hoarse and jumping until my legs were weak.
Me dancing to Letterbomb for the first time
‘This is it! Your time is right now! This is it! There’s no fucking job you’ve gotta fucking go to! There is no boss! There’s no bullshit! There’s no computers! There’s no television! There’s no cellphones! There’s no fucking school you gotta report to! This is it! This is the opportunity right now! This is your fucking freedom! Are you with me, Arizona?’
Some fans criticise Billie’s Letterbomb speeches. But you know what? He was right. That was our freedom and I was liberated, with Arizona as we screamed to tell Billie yes, we were with him. As Tré began Are We the Waiting, Billie announced ‘my aunt is out there in the crowd tonight! She’s a resident! Right here in Arizona!’ before singing ‘are we, we are! And screaming…’ and holding up his mic for the crowd to echo him. I had one hand on my heart, one in the air, screaming ‘heads or tails, fairytales in my mind.’ I felt like Jesus of Suburbia, escaping to a fairytale city to live ‘the rage and love, the story of my life.’ In St. Jimmy Billie roared ‘are you talking to me? Are you screaming at me?’
After the crowd sang the first verse of Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Billie placed his guitar down. He proceeded to attempt a headstand. He soon fell on his ass, but he just got back up, did a dance and announced ‘I’ll fucking do anything for fucking Arizona, I’ll tell you that!’ The song was anthemic.
‘If you take a song and you get enough people singing it, it becomes an anthem, and an anthem becomes the national anthem, to a degree. I love people when they join together and sing, and it’s just massive, and it’s done for the right reason. Even if it’s just a great party.’ – Billie Joe Armstrong, Rolling Stone Magazine, 2006
Billie caught something from the crowd, threw it out, then grinned.
‘We’re gonna play a brand new song.’
My mum and I glanced at each other with wide eyes. We had no internet and no idea what they’d been playing.
‘It ain’t that brand new. This song’s called Cigarettes and Valentines!’
We didn’t know the words, but with the strangers around us, we jumped and danced as if our lives depended on it. It couldn’t have been more appropriate that it was here, in the Valley of the Sun, we danced and screamed to ‘the end of the earth, under the valley of the stars.’
The Cigarettes and Valentines performance on Awesome as Fuck
Burnout followed. If I thought this couldn’t get any better, I was wrong, because then they played One for the Razorbacks. I was drenched in sweat, watching people pass out around us, but I felt like I could pass out and stand straight back up. In 2000 Light Years Away they invited as many fans as they could fit onstage. Security guided them up, they danced, then were escorted back off. The regular oldies section followed. Seeing it here was like seeing it for the first time all over again. My mum and I were our own mosh pit, dancing and shoving and grabbing the other’s arm to scream our favourite lines. King for a Day’s fun dissolved into 21 Guns. Billie spoke into the internal microphone as he returned onstage to rolling drums. We expected Minority.
‘Sing us a song of the century, it sings like American Eulogy…’
We heard American Eulogy, in America. This mass hysteria was like the entire show’s rage, love, energy and passion rolled into one triumphant, dazzling climax as confetti exploded around us and the band.
Jesus of Suburbia
The crowd stilled as the show closed once again with Last Night on Earth, Wake Me Up When September Ends and Good Riddance. No dream of seeing Green Day in their home country could ever have prepared us for this reality. It was better.
One of Billie’s then-infamous ‘ho as hell’ tweets. Good to know he liked American Eulogy as much as we did.
The next day, we one-upped the Eiffel Tower and went to the Grand Canyon, stopping in Sedona on the way. It’s still one of the most breathtaking things I’ve ever seen and I have no doubt that without Green Day, we’d never have visited.
On our way to Sedona
Back on the road to the Grand Canyon
My mum in her Green Day Paris shirt at the Grand Canyon
This is one of my favourite photos ever.
We landed in San Francisco to find we had, yet again, managed to book a hotel with no connection to civilization. Well, OK, there was one escape route. We got on the airport shuttle, which dropped us in Burlingame, where we could take the CalTrain to San Francisco.
Approaching Golden Gate Bridge
In San Francisco, we broke our own sightseeing record and crossed Golden Gate Bridge. The sky was cloudless blue.
Looking not very candid at Golden Gate Bridge
As we walked back, thick fog blanketed the bridge and city until we could barely see. We got to see two sides of it in one visit. It was cool until we found it caused most public transport to stop running. We wandered until we found a bus that took us back.
Fog over Golden Gate Bridge
Fog over the San Francisco skyline
We passed the rest of the time Hannover-style in Burlingame, where we lived on Walgreen’s buns, because we could only afford one more CalTrain and that had to be to the show.
Sunset over Burlingame
Arriving in Mountain View
‘Music is inspiring for me, it’s changed my life, so yeah, I absolutely think music can inspire people to change their lives.’ – Billie Joe Armstrong, Absolute Radio, 2009
On show day, we got off the train in Mountain View and walked through clean streets to the Shoreline Amphitheatre. Christian protests surrounding it went ignored. Scalpers met us on the driveway, where they upgraded our tickets for the all-seated show, placing us next to Mike.
Christian protest against Green Day’s show at the Shoreline Amphitheatre
Green Day merch at the Shoreline Amphitheatre. Tré did an interview at the Live 105 tent earlier that day.
We caught AFI’s set this time. Halfway through, Green Day invaded the stage in animal costumes. Singer Davey Havok went on to play St. Jimmy in the American Idiot musical. You should check them out.
Green Day crashing AFI’s set in animal costumes at their homecoming show
Darkness was falling when Song of the Century echoed through the amphitheatre. This was it. The homecoming and final show of the North American tour. It was filled with fans from the Bay Area to Japan to Australia.
The band ran onstage together. Billie screamed the names of every unfamiliar town we’d sped past on the CalTrain.
‘Home! Home! I am fucking home! It’s been fucking months! But Green Day are back at home! In the fucking Bay Area! However… if you don’t mind, I’m gonna refer to this night as Rodeo, California.’
Mike pointed at my England flag and stuck his tongue out. When he walked out, he beckoned for me to high-five him. Instead of ‘saving’ a kid in East Jesus Nowhere, Billie pulled up an older lady who ‘saved’ him.
Green Day playing East Jesus Nowhere at the Shoreline Amphitheatre
They played Murder City and Letterbomb again. My voice that had just recovered from Phoenix was hoarse already. The seats restricted no one. I was directly in Mike’s line of view and for much of the show he pulled faces and interacted with me. I rocked out with Mike Dirnt and I’m still not over it.
We knew a few of the words to Cigarettes and Valentines now, but it was like seeing it for the first time all over again. After Geek Stink Breath was Coming Clean. Billie announced ‘this next song is about revenge!’ before Going to Pasalacqua. Everyone was jumping to Only of You. It was followed by an explosive performance of Paper Lanterns. That bled into 2000 Light Years Away. They invited fans on stage. The people in front of me were screaming at me to go. My mum was pushing me. I shrugged and said I didn’t want to. By the time I realised both Mike and Eddie (band security) were beckoning me, it was too late. I’m honestly surprised I ever ended up on stage.
In 21 Guns, during that bridge I loved so much, Billie thanked us all for the last 22 years. It was beyond surreal to hear that where it all began in the Bay Area. Then we were thrown back into American Eulogy. I can see, clear as if I’m still there, Billie spinning around as he played the solo. I can still hear the roar of ‘Bay Area!’ and see the confetti covering us. I can still see the band returning to play Last Night on Earth and feel the tears in my eyes as I looked up at the night sky. Not going to lie, I was head over heels for my now-fianceé Annabelle who was at the show, but too stupid to realise. I remember thinking ‘I don’t know who you are, but I love you,’ and knowing, somehow, that whoever it was felt the same way. A year later, we danced to Last Night on Earth in my living room.
The tears were still streaming down my face as we left because it was over. This adventure, this journey I’d taken with my favourite band that had undoubtedly changed my life, came to an end. We packed our bags and caught the shuttle to San Francisco Airport. California disappeared below the clouds.
We hadn’t even considered the Latin American tour. So of course, we got home and looked it up. This story has been retold by others in various ways, from ‘Joy and Maria randomly decided to go to Latin America 24 hours before the show!’ to ‘Joy and Maria went to [insert Latin American country we didn’t actually go to] for 24 hours just to see Green Day.’ None are exactly accurate.
Our options were Caracas (before the terrible crisis Venezuela is in now) or Costa Rica. Flights elsewhere were too expensive. We settled on Costa Rica. It was the last show and gave us longer to save up. Every day was spent photographing eBay items and packaging them. It was mentally exhausting. My eyes were sore and bloodshot from staring at the screen. Our chances of making it still seemed low. With one week left, we emptied most of what remained in our house onto eBay for whatever low price it would sell at. We couldn’t even carry all our parcels to the Post Office. My grandpa kindly drove us with his car piled high.
Me sticking cardboard over a window to get the best light for eBay photos
‘I got my education through punk rock. It may not be the biggest education in the world but I formed opinions and views on the world and society, feminism and racism through it. I think it changes individuals.’ – Tré Cool, Big Cheese, 2004
If I went to this show, I’d miss a crucial Maths exam. My only option if I did was to take a much more difficult one and teachers assured me I would fail it. Regardless, with less than 24 hours to go, we crashed into STA Travel and booked everything. We had no tickets to the show. Just some National Express tickets printed on STA Travel paper and flights to San José, Costa Rica.
That night, we were on a flight to New York. My mum was, of course, taken to ‘the office’ and we were, once again, at risk of missing our flight to San José. If we did, we would miss the show.
We escaped to find someone had walked off with my mum’s bag. Staff shrugged, said it was probably on its way to San Juan and told us to file a report in San José. I was then held up by my illegal cargo, some sour cream and jalapeño crunchy combo mix that travelled all the way from Nottingham just to be told it wasn’t welcome. Rude. We ran and made the flight. In the seat beside us, someone was making a ‘St. Billie’ tapestry. We thought it had to be a bizarre coincidence but no, she was indeed a Green Day fan from New York heading to the show.
It was a relief when we arrived in Costa Rica and my mum was let straight in. She described it as ‘I could see the screen and it had like a big light bulb on it, and it said something like “green light, no problem, admit this person!” I love Costa Rica.’ We got into a taxi with our fellow fan from the plane. The next day we were in another cab on our way to Estadio Ricardo Saprissa, stopping briefly at a Masxmenos supermarket to buy our tickets. We joined a long line at the purple-painted stadium. Men with coolers walked up and down, shouting ‘agua!’ while others offered sunglasses and umbrellas.
Green Day line in Costa Rica
TV crews arrived and filmed our England flag. Other fans posed with it. We bought knock-off wristbands and shirts. Our new friend Alejandro entertained his mother during a phone call with ‘I’m with two British girls! No, really! I’m serious!’ He and I went to a nearby McDonald’s to get food and on our way back, thought we could hear Nice Guys Finish Last. Both of us cursing in English and Spanish, we ran, avoiding potholes and cars that honked as we charged in front of them. Turned out to be techs just testing the drums. Oh well.
Green Day fans in Costa Rica
We met up with others from England, Honduras and the US who we knew from the Green Day Community forum. Sitting on bird shit in Tibás, Costa Rica, probably should have been the moment we knew Green Day had ruined us, but honestly? There was a sense of community I wouldn’t have traded for the world.
Me and Alejandro with my flag
It was dark when doors opened. Security sorted us into male and female lines. When I ran for front row, my trousers fell down. Twice. After that, we made second row. There’s a reason I only wear leggings to shows now.
In the pit, we made two more new friends, Silvia and Adriana. We’re still in touch today. The local opener, Bufonic, were great.
Then, Song of the Century echoed into the night for the last time. We were in Costa Rica, about to see Green Day. I will never, ever, forget being diagonal, off my feet, as I looked up at Billie to see him put his mic aside to check he wasn’t seeing things, then give me the most incredible look of ‘what the fuck are you doing here?’ I will ever receive.
In East Jesus Nowhere, Billie ‘saved’ a man on crutches. Watching him wave the Costa Rican flag was like a bizarre, but wonderful, dream. I unfortunately had to give up the spot after being mugged and finding my passport was gone. Silvia kindly came with me. I should have been afraid, having been attacked in a foreign country with no passport to get home, yet as Billie and Mike ran over to point at me in Holiday, I felt safer than I ever had in my life.
Video by reinierocks
The attack went over my head. It was a minor inconvenience before we resumed dancing in decent new spots. After Holiday, Billie headed to the internal mic. I heard piano.
They were playing ¡Viva la Gloria!
I was hearing my favourite song, the words that gave me hope when I thought there was none, in Costa Rica. I couldn’t believe it. There are no words to describe the unconditional happiness I felt then.
‘Don’t let the bonfires go out, Costa Rica!’
Singing Give Me Novacaine, Billie one-upped ‘Arizona’s better than California!’ with ‘Costa Rica’s the best country in the world!’ and ‘at home in Costa Rica!’ That was certainly how I felt. As the show went on, he repeatedly checked I was alright. We exchanged funny faces and he pointed as we screamed lyrics at each other. Even Tré, who I was sure had no idea I existed (and I’m sure he no longer does), nodded and smiled as he threw out drumsticks. I’d never felt so connected to my favourite band. In Are We the Waiting, local fan Isabel who I knew from Green Day Community got onstage. Billie waltzed with her.
The dreamlike fuzz only intensified as One for the Razorbacks was followed by Brat, One of My Lies and Only of You. Then Tré switched places with Billie for Dominated Love Slave. They swapped back for Disappearing Boy. I felt like we were all in a bubble, on a separate plane to the rest of the world, with Green Day. Screaming until my voice would no longer come out to I Was There, I knew I would look back, thinking I was there, for the rest of my life. Road to Acceptance was next. I’d lost my mum, but I knew somewhere in that crowd, she was losing her voice to Waiting. After Christie Road, Billie announced ‘this next song was one of the earliest songs we’ve ever written and I gotta fucking tell you, it’s my fucking favourite fucking song to play right now! So right now, I want everybody here to lose your fucking mind and go crazy and dance, are you ready?!’ and pyros exploded to Paper Lanterns. I waved my flag and Billie pointed as we yelled ‘to this day I’m asking why I still think about you!‘ at each other.
In 2000 Light Years Away, after thrilled fans danced onstage, Billie commanded us to wave as we echoed ‘CO-STA RI-CA!’ to the bassline. I still get that stuck in my head every now and then. Fans posed for a photo with my flag before Hitchin’ a Ride. I waved it when Billie asked for a drummer in Knowledge. He considered it for a moment before shaking his head, smirking, then went to find his son Joey.
King for a Day
‘This is the last show… you wanna keep going?’
The crowd roared approval. Extraordinary Girl provided a poignant prequel to 21 Guns. I had never bellowed anything as loud as I screamed ‘one, 21 guns!‘ or ‘like a liar looking for forgiveness from a stone!’ in my life. I was crying, my whole body wracked with sobs that had waited all the years I was unwell to come out. Because I had so much to fight for.
In Minority, I wanted so desperately to scream ‘no, thank YOU!’ back at the band who not only blessed us with such a set but treated me with such kindness; yet I felt at the same time I didn’t need to. Rain fell as Whatsername began the encore. It was one of the first Green Day songs I ever heard. Listening to it on radio.blog.club, trapped at home with my Canada 3000 headphones from the charity shop, I never imagined I’d hear it live… let alone 5,375 miles from that home, smiling through tears in Costa Rica. My voice was trembling as I sang with my arms raised high.
As Good Riddance closed the tour, I sang ‘I hope you had the time of your life!’ with what little remained of my voice. They played almost four hours. I had the time of my life. More than I could ever have imagined. I found my mum and Alejandro after the show. They loved it. Everyone was buzzing on a Green Day high. We were all still smiling as we spoke to staff about my passport. ‘Where are you from?’ one lady asked my mum as she blathered a mixture of Spanish and Portuguese. Who cared? We’d sort it out somehow.
While we’re here, I’d like to share another fan story from the We Are Revolution Radio book. This one is by Isabel who got on stage for Are We the Waiting.
Story by Costa Rican fan Isabel from the We Are Revolution Radio book
We walked through dark streets, stepping over cockroaches, to Silvia’s car. Thanking them for the lift, we parted with hugs and a gift of Silvia’s amazing gun earrings.
The 21st Century Breakdown Tour was over. But the next day, as we waited at the police station to report my stolen passport, there were no regrets useless in our minds. Unable to get hold of the British Embassy the day before our flight home, we resigned ourselves to being stuck in Costa Rica and went to Volcán Irazú and Cartago anyway.
Fog over Volcán Irazú
The main crater at Volcán Irazú
I might have been stuck here indefinitely, but at least it was beautiful
Heading back down to San José
On our way back, I got an international phone call. Hoping it might be Annabelle, I answered to the unimpressed voice of my aunt, who has described the relief she feels when she imagines shooting us over Green Day. Needless to say, she did not know we were in Costa Rica.
‘A man in Costa Rica has called the number in the back of your passport to say he’s found it.’
‘Where the hell are you? You’re not telling me you’re in fucking Costa Rica?’
On the road in ‘fucking Costa Rica’
I was, of course, telling her I was in fucking Costa Rica. She gave me the mystery man’s number and hung up. We called him on a hotel phone. He said he’d found my passport discarded on the floor at the stadium and, after realising we did not understand Costa Rican addresses (have you ever seen one?), arranged to meet us outside. When we got downstairs, the passport was at reception. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed I wouldn’t get a new one saying it was issued in Costa Rica.
Please don’t get the wrong idea about Costa Rica because of the passport incident. The people I met there were some of the kindest and most welcoming I’ve ever met. I’ve experienced equally bad behaviour – for far pettier reasons – from European and North American fans. The same thing could have happened anywhere.
’21st Century Breakdown is sort of a collection of photographs, or ideas, or circumstances that have happened within the past five years. Whether it’s a different crisis or a natural disaster, or a financial breakdown, people losing their homes… revenge or whatever, there’s a lot of personal and political things going on in the record. It goes through a sort of dark tunnel with different themes, to hopefully find some sense of hope at the same time.’ – Billie Joe Armstrong, Radio NRJ, 2009
On arriving home, I passed the exam I was assured I’d fail. Two years after our first show, we sat on white folding chairs on our drive. Our remaining possessions were scattered around us, our keys in the hands of a sympathetic bailiff, as we waited for a moving van to take us to sleep on my grandparents’ floor. My mum’s UN pension disappeared with the house that was no longer ours. The words ‘Green Day’ stared at us, in white spray paint, from our green bin. We laughed. We cried a bit, too. But we regretted nothing.
Green Day are the faces of an inclusive culture from a little punk club in Berkeley. East Bay punks can criticise them all they want. With Green Day shows, their culture tours the world, becoming accessible to everyone and you know what? It doesn’t get much more punk than that.
21 Guns brought me to tears on this tour because I was no longer sure life was worth the fight. Two tours later, alone on the front row in an English arena – like the very one I had to leave in Birmingham – I couldn’t stop myself crying in Still Breathing. Because I knew, thanks to Green Day, that person who almost gave up no longer existed.
I could have chickened out of ever boarding that train to Birmingham. It was a bit like the moment of fear before, seven years on, I stage dived in Champaign, Illinois.
As I walked out on the ledge,
Are you scared to death to live?
Boarding that train, jumping out into that crowd – they’re like bookends to how terrified I once was to live.
But I did jump. I did live.
Did music save my life? Not literally, no. I saved myself. But would I have found the inspiration, the hope, the will to save myself without it? No way.
Hey, 14 year-old me –
You found a home in all your scars and ammunition. Don’t ever put away your burning light.
Thanks Green Day for bringing us the season we always will remember.
¡Viva la Gloria!
Disclaimer: all of these photos were taken with a cheap phone camera long before I studied photography.
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Caetano Veloso, Gal Costa – Domingo (1967) 8.5/10
Peter Buck of R.E.M recommended this album. It’s Brazilian but it’s an amazing album. Probably only accessible on Spotify and vinyl (as I couldn’t find a CD of this album) But has this easy-listening and folk infusion. The vocals are clean. The instrumentals are also pretty clean and easy to listen to. I think this could be an essential record for people into world music. And what I consider world music as an American is foreign for starters, and has an ethnic vibe to whatever region the artists belong to. On a personal base, I wanted to give this album at least two listen throughs before making a rating. This is the first Folk and World infused album I’ve given a chance to, and will listen to it again.
Esprit 空想 – 200% Electronica (2017) 7/10
A chillwave/vaporwave type of album. Definitely a must for avid vaporwave fans. People think of Vaporwave and only think of Macintosh Plus/Vektroid. Esprit 空想 has this chillwave vibe to their work; well with this album anyways. Generally I can’t give vaporwave more than an 8 out of 10, because of how it does sometimes blend into each song, and that can be overwhelming for my sensory issues sometimes; and could make me very tired easily. Not to say that this album is bad by any means, personally I have to be in the mood for this type of music anyways. It’s definitely not something I’d play on repeat every day.
Florence + The Machine – High As Hope (2018) 8.5/10
I’ve heard mixed reviews about this album. From the first lesson, it definitely is a hit with me. I think people didn’t like the polarizing of the tracks. Honestly, this is Florence at her finest, with her vocal range. Yes, this album might not appeal to the mainstream media (people who are fanatics of mumble rap or trending music) Objectively my favorite tracks are: Sky Full of Song, Hunger, and Grace. Indie for sure, through and through. I wanted to give this somewhere between an eight and nine for ratings, so I decided 8.5 would be appropriate (just from my personal tastes).
Earth – The Bees Made Honey in The Lion’s Skull (2009) 7.5/10
Introductory to Drone Metal/Rock. If you want to get into that genre, I suggest you all listen to anything by Earth really. This album in particular, I found via podcasts on iTunes circa 2009ish when I was a 10th grader in high school. For me personally, it does get to be a little boring after the first 2 tracks, because of how lengthy these tracks are (one being nearly 10 minutes long) with droning instrumentals, and no vocals; which is essentially the point of drone metal anyways. The album cover is interesting, I actually like it. There’s like 9 or 10 tracks on this album averaging around 6 to 8 minutes of a track. So around a 45 minute album.
Evanescence – Synthesis (2017) 4/10
Objectively, this has to be Evanescence’s worst album. The concept was okay. But the execution was highly poor. There were two newish songs on there Hi-Lo which was a demo from the previous albums, and Imperfection which was the lone new single that has been written for this album. Other than that, Amy was trying to copy what Epica, Within Temptation, and all the other symphonic metal bands have done in the past. And it was poorly executed in my opinion. There was 12 tracks on this album 2 newish songs, and at least 1 instrumental. Then the remaining tracks were rehashes of older songs/hits. The only good songs that I care for My Heart is Broken, Lacrymosa, Lithium and Hi-Lo. They butchered Bring Me to Life and Imaginary for sure. I try to dodge this album if I can when on Spotify unless it’s the remakes of songs I enjoy.
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Pinhead Gunpowder - West Side Highway
The Network - Money Money 2020 - of course this has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Green Day 😉
Billie Joe + Norah - Foreverley Taiwanese CD with OBI
The Frustrators - Griller on black and red vinyl
U2 and Green Day - The Saints are Coming - Japanese promo CD single with OBI
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Hello all! I'll keep this short and sweet -
Tomorrow is the Extra Life game day! This is my fourth year participating and I am so excited! I'll be playing video games for a solid 24 hours to raise donations for the Children's Hospital of Denver, Colorado. I'd seriously appreciate anything you can give! If you can only give 5$, then perfect! Everything helps!
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Who else thinks that today's "music" is stupid? raise your hand!
Yes, the "music" that we have today is, actually to some, considered not music, because all it actually is, is mashed up sounds to create a tune. When was the last time you heard a new song from 2016, 2017, 2018 on the radio which actually used a proper instrument like guitar or so?
I'm talking about songs like "the middle" by Zedd that blew up on radio stations this summer or Ocean by Martin Garrix... I don't hear any actual Instruments! Okay, sometimes you hear piano or drums that are also mushed up to sound kind of more electrical. I hate it!😫
With Green Day, you have something for everyone and the best thing is that they still use actual instruments! It is a way for everyone to hear what proper instruments sound like. Sure they have maybe the one mashed tone, but the song isn't made out of it, you can still hear and recognize the instruments. They do it in way that sounds cool, people can relate to their songs, the songs have powerful messages that are different from the cheesy songs you hear today. Green Day has something for everyone, some of the newer generation might not hear it and understand it yet, but here on the Green Day Community, where true GD fans are, all understand what Green Day's music is.
Green Day might swear a lot in their songs, it's still real music unlike today's.
Why everyone should appreciate Green Day.
They are actually real people not plastic image people like today, do mostly or always live singing not playback! Use real instruments on stage not a DJ playing in the background.
Green Day might seem a bit weird to some people, but those people can go piss off. Green Day have their moments of being crazy, but would ya just take a goddamn look at Justin Bieber!
We all should appreciate GD for still being original, and so we do!
Now all the musicians who haven't made it big out there, basically the people who play for friends and family, the private ones, you know what I mean? Anyway, they also mostly use instruments, which is good!
but all the big famous ones always, always, always use this mashed up shit to create a song. Green Day doesn't.
Yes, we all love Green Day here.
Which of the modern artists' music do you hate the most?
I hate Justin Bieber all the way to hell, I hate him so damn much I can't even explain how much I hate him!
Thank god Billie isn't Justin Bieber😀
By the way, I also hate Eminem.
Sorry if you like one of those two artists, it's just my personal opinion.
BOO! Did I scare you? Probably not. Anyway, welcome back to Nico Talks About Creepypastas, where this guy behind the screen called Nico talks about internet stories called "creepypastas". Yay!
Last week, I told you about the classic Lost Episode pasta "Suicidemouse.AVI", and today we'll talk about another classic Lost Episode pasta. This one's based on the Simpsons and it's called "Dead Bart".
Lost episode in Simpsons season 1, Bart dies, some future predicting, the end.
Looooost eeeeepiiiiisooooode--- ok, I'll stop.
As you may know, Matt Groening is the creator of the Simpsons. During production of the first Simpsons season, he started behaving weirdly. So, he created the episode with the production number 7G06, which is the production number of a real episode in Season 1 called "Moaning Lisa".
The author of the Pasta (let's just call him Nico because why not) got the opportunity to meet Matt at a fan meetup. When he was asked about this Lost Episode, he turned pale, was close to tears. Matt wrote something on a piece of paper, gave it to Nico and told him to never bring this episode up again. An unknown URL was written on that piece of paper. When he typed it in, he got to a website that looks like this...
Nico clicked on the download link, and a download started. (No shit) And lo and behold, it was a virus from HELL. System Restore didn't work, Windows had to be reinstalled. However, before that happened, he copied the file onto a CD. It was the episode. It consisted of three acts, so here's descriptions of all three acts:
Act I - The Plane Death
First of all, we have an angry Homer, a depressed Marge, an anorexic Lisa and a hateful Bart. They want to do a plane trip. Great idea. As the plane takes off, about 50 feet in the air, Bart accidentally destroys a window and gets sucked out, resulting in his death. At the beginning of the series, Matt said that he wanted the animation style to be very realistic at times, and that was used for Bart's dead body. (Warning: the picture contains graphic content)Spoiler
Act II - Cry Me a River
I chose that title for a reason. Homer, Marge and Lisa are sitting at the table crying. Throughout the ENTIRE SECOND ACT.
Act III - "One Year Later..."
...is what it says at the beginning of Act III. The Simpson family is still sitting at the table, as skinny as skeletons. No sign of Maggie or the pets. Later, they walk through an empty Springfield into the cemetery to find Bart's dead body laying in the same exact position as at the end of Act I. (basically like the graphic picture) They start crying again, and Homer tells a joke, but it's unknown what exactly he says because the audio is really bad. At the very end, the camera zooms out to show the other gravestones in the cemetery. They're all gravestones of celebrities that have had guest appearances in the Simpsons. Some of them were unknown back when the episode was made. Some of them didn't have their guest appearances yet. Their death dates were ALL correct. That's not all though.
There's also death dates for those who haven't died yet. All these death dates are listed as the SAME DATE.
That's it for today's Creepypasta! Just like Suicidemouse, there's fan-made videos that try to replicate this episode. There weren't any videos that were very good, but here is, in my opinion, the most accurate representation, made by The Lavender Town Project (yes, the bad quality is supposed to be like that):
Link to the CP: http://creepypasta.wikia.com/wiki/Dead_Bart
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Okay so it's been a while since I updated this!
Basically we ran into a bit of trouble during the painting process. First off, the weather is shit for a few weeks so the guy painting it couldn't really do it without it turning to shit. When he finally was able to paint it, he started relicing it and went a bit overboard so he had to restrip the guitar and start again.
After getting it painted the second time, it was getting close to Christmas so he was shutting down for a few weeks. I had the option of him doing a rush job, or waiting till after Christmas when he was actually moving to my city and we could work on it together. It's currently in the processed of being reliced and looking fucking amazing.
I figured it had been a while since I updated here so I wanted to give a little tease of the paint job. So here it is!
Up next - Part Three: Relicing
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I made some art based on some songs by The Network.
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I have a request!
I'm going through all my photos and trying to make sense of the insane amount of pictures I have, with the goal of making some photo albums. I realized I lost all of the pictures I had of me + the gang (aka the circle-jerk crew) from the time we all met up in Cleveland a few years back. I think I might have deleted what I had in a fit of rage or something, idk. Anyway, if anyone has any of those pics, would you mind sending them to me? My Green Day phase was such a fun time in my life and I'd really like to have the pictures for my photo project!
I can't remember anyone's username on here anymore so if someone who's savvier than me could tag Alissa, Steve, Hannah, Eva, Carling, and WHOEVER ELSE WAS THERE and might have pics, I'd appreciate it! Thanks so much guys xoxoxo
This year has been a rocky one for me, hence my absence here on GDC. I still miss you all and lurk when I can. I figured I'd give you all an update if you're interested.
- Ricki passed away on April 14th, and I've cried every single day since then. For those of you who don't know, Ricki was my cat who was almost twenty-two years old. He was my best friend and got me through so much in my life. To live through his legacy, I've created a non-profit to raise funds for senior pets in need of medications or medical procedures in my area. It'd mean a lot to me if you could like his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Ricki.and.Friends/
- I finally graduated University. A photo is in the Photo Thread.
- I am currently working four jobs. I'm very tired.
- I have recently signed up for pole fitness to build my confidence and get my old body back. I hope it goes well.
- My stomach disease has really taken over my life. I was not approved for surgery, so I am taking tons of medications for that, as well as my other medical issues. My medications have made me bloat bigger than I have ever been in five years. My self confidence has been shot down, and I have resulted in self-harm as of recently. It isn't something I am proud of, but I am seeking help for this.
- I applied for my Master's degree in New York to be closer to Tom.
- I am also completing my licensing exam to be a social worker in New York to be closer to Tom. <3 I miss him very much every day.
Uhhh other that that I'm not sure what else to say!
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Okay so I was one of the lucky few to have gotten tickets to The Longshot. Twice.
The first ticket was actually bought by my partner and I gave him my information because I needed just one ticket for myself.
The second ticket happened Tuesday afternoon on the line as I was waiting to get in.
Let's recap with Tuesday 5/22:
- Get up at 6:00 AM and I’m at the venue at 7:30 AM
- There’s six people in front of me which was surprising but this is also the fact it was raining on and off today (and the fact it’s not technically Green Day despite Billie being the front man and Jeff being there too)
- People behind me start showing up sporadically between 11 AM and onward. There wasn’t 20 people around until about 3 PM? Maybe even later?
- Load in happens with the crew
- Throughout load in, we get a notification that they released 30 tickets for that night and Wednesday shows. I get a Wednesday ticket.
Black car pulls up about a hour after. Billie is the first to come out. An unintelligible yell comes out my mouth but also everyone on line is screaming too.
- Side note: Actually very good looking human being and the fluff is real.
- Soundcheck happens and then Jeff comes out but walks down the block and away from us.
Billie comes out and a few people in front of me are calmly and quietly asking for photos (and people slowly begin to notice). So I made myself seen by Billie and I said something of the fact “I’ve been here since 7:30 AM may I please have a photo?” And we did make eye contact and mini acknowledge that I was to be next. Then this woman who was a few people away shoves me and goes underneath the sanction rope and then everyone starts swarming and pushing him more to his car. And then he says he’s sorry he can’t take any more photos because he has to get laundry.
- Going to be bitter for a while about it.
- Get inside and I’m front row and made myself go in between Billie and Jeff because center was out of the question and so was the far side.
- Opener was The Trashbags and they were…decent. I couldn’t hear much because I became a certified adult and brought earplugs because I knew I would wind up next to a speaker. The lead singer kept weaving in and out of the crowd during every song. Which was cool because not a lot do that and he got the party going.
- Longshot gets set up and my heart begins pounding because it hit me I am arms length away from Billie Joe fucking Armstrong.
- They were incredible live. A lot of bouncing. My side of the stage wasn’t rowdy and we had a bit of elbow room in the front row too. There were a few people in the front who weren’t jumping around. And there was this older woman who had her arm out blocking a small area where someone could stand and also her other arm holding on to her kids and her feet were literally on the amp. I was like “…this is not the right show for you, lady.”
- He skipped over Happiness and we called him out on it.
- After a few songs, my arm was covering Billie’s set list and he bent down to look and I had to move my arm away and then he looks right into my eyes and sticks his tongue out at me. So I did it right back and then he laughed and then I freaked.
- Got a pick at the end of the show when there was one on stage and this other kid behind me lunged for it too but my hand was quicker.
- I did leave when it ended because exhausted and also because I was there for almost 17 hours with a mini nap now and then. Also it was a literal sauna in the room.
Recap of Wednesday 5/23:
- Made it a point to not be there as early because tiredness and also that I had an interview at 1 PM and I didn’t want to leave stuff there and come back and then see it leave.
- Get to the venue at around 2:30 and we have about 20 people in front of me. Tuesday it was pouring rain and a bit colder. And Wednesday it was bright and sunny and warm.
- Met up with Anna from the Green Day group we had on here ages ago and on Twitter.
- Made friends with a few people on line too
- The band doesn’t do soundcheck which was…odd. Or didn’t show up to the venue at all until after we got in.
- I get second row and get between Jeff and Billie again but people were taking up a lot more space so the amp was my friend.
- Crowd was a lot more rowdy. A lot of pushing and shoving and jumping on all sides. Thought I was going to merge with the amp.
- Caught Jeff’s attention a few times
WILD ONE LIVE akjdsfhkldsjhgljkhdsjkahgdjklas
- I will say Dos was my least favorite album of the Trilogy with Tre being my favorite. But Wild One is one of the songs I genuinely loved on it.
- The dork that is Billie had someone in the front hold the lyrics on a piece of paper.
- We wait around and head outside and it takes about a hour and Jeff comes by. He does a few autographs and I managed a selfie with him. I thanked him for the show and hope he has a great remainder of the tour. He says it was great having you on his side of the stage because I was active and responsive.
About a half hour later, I see Adrienne Armstrong and oh my god.
- There are people I do get starstruck for. I did not realize she would be one of them
- Her hair was pulled up in a high pony tail. She had minimal makeup on with black eyeliner/mascara and a red lip and she looked fucking STUNNING. Just such a beautiful woman that made me go “…oh my god.” Not only that but she has this aura about her that is welcoming and also you know she’s someone and want to be around her.
- I wish I could have told her she looked amazing and to thank her for putting up with the fans and that she deserves all good things
And then Billie comes out a moment after her
- Now I will say a selfie with Billie is always goals and the dream. But the literal dream DREAM is for him to write down on a piece of paper “Better Thank Your Lucky Stars” from Waiting and it would be my next tattoo.
- Sadly…either didn’t happen.
- I didn’t want to scream and rush him but everyone did even though he said something among the lines of “selfies take too long and I will sign”
- I asked about the lyric but he was getting rushed away by other fans and also his bodyguards saying he has to go. And I didn’t want to follow him down the block but fuck I wanted to do so because it’s a so close and yet so fucking far away.
I am not going to the Brooklyn show unless I do get a ticket and even then, I did say I would pick up a shift at work and money is needed to me because of other things. I know my friend Caitlyn will be going so I may ask her if she can somehow get the lyric for me.
Despite those so close moments, it was two of the best nights ever and two of the best shows I’ve been to.
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Wailing winds carry forth the sound
Of Empires past burning down;
They’re buried deep beneath the ground,
Sharing tombs with skeletons dispersed
Throughout our history, but in this mall
Stories of buried
Empires before us fall
On deaf ears.
Silent, I wait in the park
On Inauguration Day.
Gray skies are falling;
Weeping for a fool’s parade.
The crowd bow their heads;
Red hats wear white anger,
Worshiping false-prophet’s rancor,
Controls relented to Wall Street bankers.
In the trees, I hear their whispers,
And in their seeds, a disparate mixture.
Hold for pity and for grace,
Hold for all in broken faith.
Wave to soldiers beyond the gates,
Ask them if they know that they’re dying.
Fanatics kneel as the whistle-blows,
Echoing the strangest prose.
See Spring rise from the streets below,
See the early sun, the yellow rose,
Toppling the golden towers,
Gather here at midnight hour
To usher in the turning flowers,
The wiser half will turn and run.
Why has no one told them that they’re dying?
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it's four am and i just realized that i have a blog where i could post literally fucking anything and not care so here it goes i guess; don't mind the ramble like nature of this i'm just kind of exhausted.
there's something that's been bothering me for a long while and i didn't have anyone i felt really comfortable talking about it to; because it's just, i don't know, weird? unnatural? too unspecified? i don't even know.
my sexuality was never something i really struggled with. the first person i liked was a girl, and throughout my childhood i was so separated from everything that i never really realized how homophobic the world was. even so, i was, interestingly enough, kind of homophobic for a while. not towards myself, but the type that's just kind of weirded out by it and says it's unnatural. i moved past it, all fine and dandy, whatever.
gender was something i never really thought about, because i didn't know anything on the topic, you know? no one ever spoke about it, no one ever made me think about it, not in terms of gender identity. somewhere from the internet i learned about the fact that there are people who trans, and i was like ok, and still didn't think about it. since then i've learned a great deal more but again, i never gave it much thought in regards to myself.
but recently i have. a lot. and here's the thing.
fuck it's even hard to write. i don't know what the thing is. just that there's something, i think. i'm just perpetually confused, because there's things i'm now realizing i've always thought and done that i've just assumed were normal but now i'm thinking maybe they're not. and i'm not trans, i don't feel like a male.
most of the time.
and some times i don't feel like a female or a male and i'm just a fucking lump of nothing and i don't understand anything and it's so fucking stupid. i have no problems with female pronouns, or male pronouns or anything, but that probably stems from the fact that my mother tongue is a language with non gendered pronouns so to me, it's kind of all the same. i have no issues with my body being female, but sometimes, some fucking times, i just want it to be a dick instead. or both.
and it's not really a big deal, because i guess all of this is one of two things. it's either me just being fluid on the gender spectrum or just me being weird. either way, not too big a deal. but what's been bothering the fuck out of me is that i have no one to talk to about it. because i want to, who knows, maybe it'll help me figure out what the fuck i'm feeling.
i have five people that i would feel comfortable talking to about something this personal in detail, and with this i can't for any of them.
christina has been a safe haven of no judgment and comfort for a lot of topics, and i would have gone to her with this too except that i know she doesn't really believe the whole gender being a spectrum thing, as a lot of people don't. and i'm scared of becoming another person that she will support but not truly believe.
ana would believe me, probably, but she would kind of cling on to it. she would bring it up more than i would want her to, she would make it bigger than it is. she would make me feel alien because she's trying so hard to make me feel normal. she's a fantastic sister, but i've come to learn that she can't give me what i need in terms of things that really bother me.
kaylyn i might've told if we saw each other more often. since i moved we haven't seen so much of each other and i don't want to unload this kind of shit on her when it's the first time i'm seeing her in months. if given the right time and opportunity i might, because i know she wouldn't make a big deal out of it, and she wouldn't not really take it seriously.
asma and shidi are kind of a similar case, but also not. they're my fucking soulmates and i love them both so goddamn much but i don't know how much they know about gender stuff, and there's also the fact that i haven't seen them in like three and a half years. we talk all the time, sure, but that's different. i'm going home for like 6 weeks during the summer so maybe then i'll talk to them but i just don't know.
i'm exhausted. i feel like i'm lying to people, or lying to myself. i feel like i can't tell people because they won't understand or try to or even care or believe and i don't blame them because i don't understand it, i sometimes feel like i'm making it all up. like it's something the internet put in my head, something i'm forcing on myself to be different. but i don't want it. i don't want to feel like i don't know what i am, like there's something wrong with me. i'm just
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For those keeping up with the never ending saga that is my dad's health and my current family situation here is the latest...
He had finished treatments for throat cancer back in October. Yesterday, we went to have some scans done on my dad's lungs for a spot that noticed back in January. The nurse practitioner came in and went over the scans with us and told us probably 10-15 times that everything looked good and that she wasn't seeing anything worth worrying about. We were elated and relieved.
10 minutes later, she comes back in the room and tells us that she was completely wrong and that there is in fact something developing on my dad's left lung. I never wanted to yell and attack someone more than that fucking nurse. Who the fuck does that? That shit only happens in terrible movies.
So, now we have to schedule another PET scan and have a biopsy done on his lung to see if it's cancer.
Yesterday was awful. Hearing my dad say, "I'm going to die. I just want to see my grand kids grow up," was probably the worst moment of my life. His attitude and outlook did improve once we met with the actual radiation doctor and he's ready to fight cancer again for the 3rd time.
Fuck. Positive thoughts, vibes and prayers are welcomed.
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If you've paid attention to me recently, you'll know I went to Oakland in February. I wrote a thing about it here: https://wander.media/from-scotland-to-oakland-with-rage-and-love
Please go read! (or at least click on the link and leave it open for a while)
I really enjoyed my time there, and I'm so grateful to have had this opportunity, although there's still so many places I'd love to visit. I missed out on a Cover Ups show by about a week, which is frustrating, but at least I got to see Mt. Eddy. I might write something else about the trip here when I have time.
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Would love if you guys would take some time to check out my soon to be released to the public EP Good Luck with That and help me choose the song to lead off on promoting the album this Monday. Please help, I'm more indecisive than you could ever know.
*The title of the sermon today is inspired by the song by the aptly titled Chumbawumba.
Chapter/Verse/Hymn 3 - Head above the water.
Hello there. If you haven't read the last two entries in my randomly updated blog thing I suggest you do for context~.
As always, disclaimer that if I offer any opinions that they are my opinions and if I ramble I ramble.
I think I'm winning, y'know?
I'm being battered a lot by my brain but I'm very rarely staying down for 10 at the minute. Sure, I have lapses of fuck the world, and fuck myself but doesn't everyone? If anything it's good old procrastination that's holding me back a little.
I'll start with the positives, most I've kept to myself to now. I've always been private really, always a help people out but never reveal my troubles if prompted.
I was 20 stone 1lb at the start of the year, and am now nearly 18 stone. Through dieting and (kinda when not procrastinating) exercising I can see the physical progress I have made, as shown by the lack of double chin and I can kinda see my hips.
I have not relapsed back into gambling at all this year, as someone who did this daily this is a massive step up for me. It does help that I blocked everything from myself to stop including through my bank and PayPal, using programs that are password locked that block the sites. I kinda realize that, whilst not working currently I'm sure I will get this when I do start a full time job again, I'm not running out of money as much, so I can afford to go to London and see fellow members.
I have amazing support thanks to fellow members on here, and hey if you're reading this and we don't talk, drop a message. I'm always up for talking to new people. I'm always happy to offer help and advice for problems.
So yeah, let's keep fighting. Together if we can.
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Hello! My sister has started an online fundraiser to purchase supplies for her band students because her school doesn't have the money to pay for them.
I wanted to share it with you all in case you'd like to donate to support the cause — anything helps! If you use the promo code "liftoff" during checkout today, your donation wll be matched by the fundraising website.
I don't think many people realize how many teachers in the U.S. use their own money to purchase supplies, especially for elective classes like music and art that are seen as "non-essential" compared to the others. On average, they spend about $600/year on their own supplies, and it's worse in schools with lower-income students like the one where she teaches, according to the most recent survey from nonprofit adoptaclassroom.org.
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I don't know if The Voice is something that we are all born with, which only flourishes under the right circumstances. However, I know it has been active since I was old enough to form an opinion of myself. I remember thinking I was ugly and unlikeable at the very beginning of primary school. Throughout my childhood and my teenage years, The Voice grew stronger and more powerful, fuelled by the harsh words of my fastidious, traditional parents and bullies. At first, I believed The Voice was my friend. It pushed me to excel academically and to be an obedient daughter. It apparently protected me, the socially awkward kid, from any harm by reminding me I was just no good at making real friends. Yet, The Voice never rewarded, but only punished. No amount of A* grades, first class degrees and graduate job offers could convince The Voice to tell me I was worthy. They were all just a fluke. And if they weren't a fluke, The Voice would take all the credit.
The Voice became steadily more and more intelligent. It adapted to changes in my environment, and found ways to thrive. When I left home for university, I also left the bullies and my oppressive parents. Very quickly, I became more outgoing and sociable. By reminding me constantly of the shy, overweight teenager I once was, The Voice pushed me to make friends and to be a good friend, all under the guise of so called high self confidence, high self esteem and good social skills. It picked apart my appearance, alluding to the callous remarks of the year ten boys, who told me I was so ugly that I would never find love. I lost weight and started wearing make up. I got more attention and met my (now ex) boyfriend. The Voice congratulated itself.
I fell absolutely, hopelessly and deeply in love. For a year or so, I was so happy. The Voice lay dormant for the majority of the time, making only very occasional, flimsy remarks. But it was far from dead. It was just weak from a lack of negative events to fuel its purpose. Then it had its greatest chance yet. My boyfriend was white and non-Muslim, two features I knew my parents would not tolerate in any partner of mine. Thus, I kept my relationship secret for a year, uncertain of how to convince them that he made me happy. I felt guilty for keeping him a secret and even worse for lying to the two people who brought me into this world, but I knew telling them wouldn’t be easy. The Voice awoke from its slumber, more aggressive than ever.
“You selfish, undeserving bitch. You’re a fucking coward.”
And so, after a year of dating, at the beginning of my third out of four years of university, I came clean to my parents. As expected, they were furious, and not because I’d kept it a secret. The exact chain of events is long and difficult to explain exactly, but in short, over the course of the next year, they did everything they could to punish me. They emotionally manipulated me, withdrew what financial support they could and kicked me out of the family home where I grew up and would have spent my summers and Christmases in between university terms. They stopped speaking to me entirely. The Voice turned on me.
“This is what you fucking deserve, you cretin. This is all your fault.”
It seemed as soon as I told my parents, my relationship with my boyfriend began to falter. At first, I thought it was due the newfound long distance between us, as I had started a yearlong degree related internship, and he a PhD in different cities. He grew callous and disinterested, rarely coming to visit or allowing me to visit him, and constantly making snide comments about my intelligence, appearance and family. Through my tears and heartbreak, The Voice matured drastically.
“Oh stop crying, you weak bitch. It’s just a joke. You expect too much from the world, you spoilt fucking cow.”
I finished my internship and returned to my university city for the final year of my course, to live with four of the best friends anyone could hope for. Throughout the last four years, these people have supported me emotionally and practically, and I would not be anywhere without them.
“You don’t fucking deserve them. Why don’t they just let you rot on the fucking roadside?”
Their love and support helped me to see how unhappy my relationship was. No matter how much I told him he was being unfair or hurtful, he would not change/ After two and half years together, just before Christmas last year, I left my boyfriend. It was an agonising decision. I had made the effort to tell my parents about my life choices, at least partially for him. Now it felt as I was throwing it all away.
“You weak, flaky c***. You think you can do better? Bullshit. Don’t fucking cry. You broke your own fucking heart.”
But heart broken I was. Shortly after the break up, my housemates popped out for some groceries, leaving me alone for all of half an hour. I remembered I couldn’t even call my mother for support. The dreaded feeling of endless loneliness and a distinct lack of purpose started to arise. The walls felt like they were caving in. I started panting, then sobbing, as the feeling of abandonment began to overwhelm my senses. I collapsed on the floor, beating the ground with my fists and getting more and more frustrated when it didn’t give way. My housemate found me in this state. I still remember how immediately soothing her embrace and gentle instruction to “let it all out” felt.
Barely a month later and now in 2017, I half-jokingly joined a popular dating app, and met a rather arrogant but attractive man who chased me relentlessly. He held utterly appalling views with regards to women and non-white people.
“You’re never going to get any better, hun. Who the fuck do you think you are?”
Unsurprisingly, he disappeared more or less as soon as he got to sleep with me. He told me I was too aggressive and not feminine enough for him to want to consider a relationship with me. The fact my parents didn’t speak to me also made him think I was crazy.”
“Too fucking right. You need to know your place, you arrogant, entitled bitch.”
The new year did bring some good news. I graduated with a first and got an elusive graduate job near London with one of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies.
“You. Are. A. Fraud.”
With some encouragement from my friends and also The Voice telling me I was a cold hearted c*** if I didn’t, I invited my parents to graduation, making it clear that, while I was single, I would happily date outside my race again. My dad turned up and a month later I went home for the first time in almost two years. I thought it meant peace.
That summer, I moved down south in preparation for new job, which started in September. I also met a friend of a friend, a genuine and lovely man, at a festival in Scotland. We spent three days together. Although it would have meant very long distance, I was determined to see him again. He took a long time to answer my texts, and eventually stopped contacting me altogether.
“Why the fuck would a true gent like that want YOU? Disgusting trollop.”
As I started my first permanent graduate position, and started to experience the stresses of modern working life, The Voice employed a brand new tactic to keep me down: fantasy. It was like opium for my sense of reality. I was on the way to achieving my concept of perfection: an idyllic middle class family life, everlasting love, financial stability, and a fulfilling career. It was all I thought about – this journey to obtaining self worth through specific achievements. And my would be festival lover could be the leading man. We would not be apart if it were not for circumstance.
I clung onto this ideal for dear life for months following my trip, using it occasionally to distract me from the constant fear of being found out as an incapable, useless fraud at my new job. Then I fell out with my parents again. They told me they still couldn’t accept me or my life choices, that my successes were mediocre and unimpressive and that I would end up alone and a failure. As I walked away from my childhood home once more, I was utterly heart broken. But I was also angry. The Voice took a softer approach this time.
“You *could* prove them wrong. You just need to achieve perfection. I’ll let you off. But nothing less.”
I lived and breathed this fantasy future. It was so much more attractive than the present, seemingly so much more in my control than the bleak past. I started to adjust at work. The Voice wasn’t going to reward my progress.
“Everyone here can see how lazy you are. Stay late, you pig.”
One day, I kept telling myself, we will meet again and fall in love. The Voice didn’t correct me at moments like these. I was allowed to lie to myself, so long as I was aware there was a gold standard I had to aspire to, that I had to desperately want in order to achieve my worth.
This false sense of contentment, which led me to believe the counselling therapy I was now receiving was working all too quickly, inevitably shattered yesterday. Social media can be a poisonous thing. Our would be lover had found another. Upon investigation, it would appear he probably met her shortly after our weekend together.
“Fucking knew it. You would fucking repulse a nice guy like him, and he was mad enough to give you a chance in the first place! Oh, don’t get upset, you pathetic, selfish bitch. Be happy for people that are better than you.”
The ideal is over. I am faced with my reality. Single and alone in an expensive dreary commuter town, in a demanding graduate job, still many years away from the elusive senior positions and without the support of my family. I am forced to come to terms with the mediocrity and imperfections of my lonely, unimpressive and hateable existence. The Voice doesn’t care how far I have come. It only cares how far I have to go. It tells me everything will be just fine when I complete a list of actions, only to reprimand me when I complete the job, but don’t do any better.
But today was the first time in a long time that I accepted the present as being the best dimension for me to focus my attention on. It is the only time I truly have control over and can only be as happy as I am willing to make it. It was the first time in a long time I have ever made the effort to forget the mistakes and pain and the regrets of the past. It was the first time I tried to succeed in the present and for the benefit of tomorrow, without living entirely in the future. That is how I want my life to be.
To continue doing this, I need to kill The Voice. It won’t die with a single shot or a stab. It has to be starved slowly of the negative thoughts that arise from unfortunate situations. It will be a long, hard road. But I have spent somewhere between 15 and 20 years torturing myself by allowing it grow to the monster it is today. I can’t take it anymore. I know how bad it could get if I let it consume me.
“I don’t want your sympathy
I don’t want your honesty
I just want to get some peace of mind”
My friends and their families have supported and loved me through all of this, but their genuine kindness will not pull me through this alone, as grateful as I am. Silencing and killing these lifelong demons myself now is important.
“I don’t want to hear it anymore”
I’ve had enough, and I am ready to change.
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