Not everyone can pinpoint their first time. But I can.
No, not that first time. And I’m also not talking about the first time you ride a bike, get drunk, smoke a cigarette or see Bruce Springsteen
2012. Springsteen announces concert dates in New York, a city filled with so many food options my former ten year old chubby self that I’m trying hard to forget quivers at the endless bagels, pretzels, pancakes and burgers. I love a challenge, but securing tickets to see Springsteen at Madison Square Gardens over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend? There’s never been one quite like it. Who said Bruce Springsteen’s music was a good way to relax.
I remember that night. I stay late in the office so I am in a calm and quiet place when the tickets are released, as opposed to frantically trying to connect to wifi on the tube. I talk a colleague into ‘working late’ with me. I dial the ticket hotline and switch the phone to loudspeaker as I am placed into a virtual queue for tickets. Kanye West is playing on repeat as the hold music, telling me I’m a “Gold Digger”.
I squeeze my stress ball and patiently wait for dear Kanye to finish, willing a voice to appear on the other end of the line. On my computer I have the ticket website up, refreshing, refreshing, refreshing, because of course it keeps crashing. In another town, my dad is on standby to try and buy tickets online too, in case my various methods don’t work. Potentially even worse with technology than me, I’m concerned about the likelihood of success of the task in hand.
A few anxious hours later, hallelujah, I’m making progress. The kind person on the end of the line has two tickets for me, but of course they won’t send them to me in the UK or let me collect them at the MSG box office, that would be too helpful. I need a US postal address.
I haven’t managed to buy that loft apartment in New York just yet, so I turn to my Californian colleague, subjecting her to my red face and sweaty brow: “I need the tickets to be delivered to your mum in America and her send them to me in the UK as soon as they arrive, it’s CRUCIAL.” My colleague obliges, because she knows what’s good for her. I leave the office four hours later het up and clammy, with two tickets to see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band in New York. My “stools” are behind the stage at the very top level, in what is referred to as “the bar”.
The view is described as “blocked”. It will have to do.
The next morning I wake up to something a woman in her twenties never wants to see. One of my hairs looks suspiciously light blonde. I go into a state of denial, as I so often do in life, and tuck it under some other better coloured hair and get on with my day.
The harsh white lighting of the New York subway isn’t the most flattering of places but that’s where I am a few months later. I’m on my way to see Springsteen and the E Street Band and I’m happy and smiling. I’m chatting away, about Shake Shack
burgers I think, when my friend’s eyes widen and his mouth forms a small ‘O’. He smirks and plucks something out of my head and shows it to me. “This was sticking out of your head almost poking me in the eye.” There’s no denying what he holds up in front of me, especially when I lie it across my black bag for further confirmation.
Am I going grey?
Cold rain and blustery winds greet me in Manchester a few months later. I battle with my umbrella, which insists on blowing inside out a few times before it flies off on its own accord to live a better life in the Etihad Stadium car park. I’ve been here since the early hours but the pit queue system is going wrong. It’s chaotic. I have to eat a McDonalds (upsetting) and go to a supermarket to buy men’s gym clothes to keep me warm (also upsetting). I’m freezing cold, wet and stressed. The next morning I find another grey f**ker.
Don’t get me started on the financial stuff. Being a Bruce Springsteen fan comes with a hefty price tag and it’s a careful juggling act of finances to fund tickets to that concert in Italy I’ve told myself I just have to go to. Recently Springsteen announced his very first tour dates in South Africa, somewhere I’ve been eyeing up for a visit regardless of a concert. Three days after announcing the date the tickets go on sale. I run through possible travel options in my head but the sums don’t add up. I can’t afford to go to this one, there’s not been enough time to save.
“Hannah” I hear you say, “be rational” – don’t be so, dare I say it, greedy.
Call me ridiculous, it wouldn’t be the first time, although I’d prefer the term “wild”. My friends and family try to talk some ‘sense’ into me.
“This has to end somewhere. You can’t go to every single Bruce Springsteen concert.”
But the problem is, I think I can. Why see the band in rainy Newcastle (apart from the pies) when you could go to South Africa and have a holiday too??
Ah yes I remember now, your pockets aren’t stuffed with cash Hannah.
The day after I realise this, I find another grey hair.
I have thought about this problem. A lot. It can’t be the ticking of time, a stressful job or genes. Being a Bruce Springsteen fan is slowly turning me grey. Every anxious Springsteen related moment has directly correlated with a grey hair. I have found four in the last two years. I have pulled them out obviously.
Life as a Springsteen fan appears to be unsustainable (in the hair department at least), but would we have it any other way? Springsteen’s music is our therapy. Who knows, I could have a full head of grey hair if I didn’t have him to listen to.
With all this 2014 tour angst I’m threatening to have more grey hairs than Springsteen himself, but ultimately it’s worth it. I’m not reaching for the blue rinse just yet. Just keep those tour dates coming please Bruce.
Is Springsteen turning your hair grey too? Tell me about it below and help me a feel a little bit better about myself…